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Diaries, Autobiographies, Commonplace Books

Selected Primary Sources in the Sophia Smith Collection
and College Archives

Ames Family Papers include:
Blanche Ames Ames (1878-1969, Smith 1899), artist, suffragist, and birth control advocate. Diaries (circa 1893-1911).
Blanche Butler Ames (1845-1939), daughter of Gen. Benjamin F. Butler and actress Sarah Hildreth Butler of Massachusetts, and wife of Gen. Adelbert Ames, provisional governor of Mississippi during Reconstruction. Diary (1870).
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Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald (1762-1841), Scottish immigrant who lived on a pioneer farm in western New York from 1807 until her death in 1841. Journals and commonplace books (circa 1785-1840).
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Helen Tufts Bailie (1874-1962), Massachusetts editor and author, best-known for her opposition to blacklisting by the Daughters of the American Revolution in the 1920s. Journals (1886-1959).
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Mary Sheldon Barnes (1850-1898), historian whose journals (circa 1863-98) provide insight into her inner thoughts and feelings from age thirteen to just before her death.
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Diary of Patricia Beck
Pages from the diary of Patricia Beck, 6-7 May, 1949
(Patricia Beck Papers)

Patricia Beck (1924-1978), poet and writer whose diaries (1938-78) were used as the basis for her work and contain her insights into relationships and emotional trauma, and dream narratives. Later entries reflect her struggle with physical disability and depression for several years before her suicide in 1978.
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Florence Billings (1879-1959), relief worker. Journal and diary entries (1919-28) document her work in Turkey on behalf of the Near East Relief and travels throughout the Middle East (1920s-30s).
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Biography Collection includes published and unpublished autobiographies, diaries and journals.
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Bodman Family Papers include diaries of various family members reflecting experiences such as housekeeping of a recent bride (1883-85); traveling to Bermuda (1886); student life at Smith (1888-92) [See College Archives: 42.Hawks]; and relief work in Europe during World War I (with a related memoir).
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Brewster Family Papers include:
Anna Gertrude Brewster (1869-1967, Smith 1893), teacher in Northampton, Massachusetts. Diaries (circa 1883-1906).
Mary Kate Brewster (1871-1957), writer and traveler with a special interest in theater. Diaries (circa 1889-1927) document travel to Australia in the 1890s.
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Louise Stevens Bryant (1885-1956), social welfare and public health specialist with interests in maternal and child health, eugenics, and clinical psychology. Diaries (1921-55 ) and a privately published biography (1963) by Lura Beam, Bryant's co-worker and companion for several decades.
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Bush-Brown Family Papers include Margaret Lesley Bush-Brown (1857-1944), noted painter and etcher, wife of sculptor Henry Kirke Bush-Brown and friend of Ellen Day Hale (see below). Diaries (circa l869, l876-l903), document her personal rather than professional life, emphasizing family and friends with some private reflections.
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Kate Upson Clark (1851-1935), writer and lecturer. Diaries (1862-68, 1888), autobiographical sketch (1921), and European travel journal (1923-25).
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Madeleine Z. Doty (1877-1963, Smith 1900), lawyer with interests in social welfare and international affairs. She masqueraded as a prisoner to learn about prison conditions, reported from Germany in 1916, traveled from Japan and China across Russia to Scandinavia in 1917, had a romance with David Graham Phillips and a contractual marriage with Roger Baldwin, and participated in the postwar peace movement. Papers include her unpublished autobiography, A Tap on the Shoulder.
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Dunham Family Papers include:
Gertrude Parker and Maria Parker Dunham, commonplace books (circa 1820s-1860s).
Beatrice Dunham (1870-1911), writer and traveler. In addition to her travel diaries (1891-92), the papers also contain a number of autobiographical stories.
Mary Dows Dunham (1865-1938), philanthropist, traveler. Dunham was stricken with polio as a child which left her partially disabled. She traveled extensively and was an amateur photographer and artist. Travel diaries (1889 Bermuda), (1891 Europe); and commonplace book.
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Dorothy Dushkin (1903-1992, Smith 1925), composer and music educator. Journals (1919-87) are lengthy personal reflections on family and professional life.
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Garrison Family Papers include:
Agnes Garrison (1866-1950), daughter of a prominent reform family. Diaries (1879-1888, 1900-1945). The early volumes describe studies, family life, friendships, and cultural activities. Later volumes report family life, friendships, cultural activities, and occasional household management in somewhat less detail.
Ellen Wright Garrison (1840-1931), mother of Agnes and daughter of Martha Coffin Wright. Diaries (1834-1861, 1854-1861, 1901, 1915). Early volumes show a lively young woman setting down her opinions and aspirations as well as reporting her activities, and later volumes report the activities of the mistress of a household with many family and community connections.
Martha Coffin Pelham Wright (1806-1875), women's rights advocate. Diaries (1856-1874) contain brief notes of public and private activities.
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Hale Family Papers include:
Ellen Day Hale (1854-1940), artist. Diaries (1904-05, 1921); and commonplace book.
Sarah Preston Everett Hale (1796-1866), wife and collaborator of a Boston newspaper publisher and politician, sister and confidante of a national political leader, and mother of two prominent writers. Diaries (1850-62) and commonplace books.
Nathan Hale, Jr., Commonplace book.
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Nancy Hale (1908-1988), writer. Diaries, calendars, and notebooks (1917-88). She kept notes on engagements, activities, writing, dreams, psychological state, moods, health, etc., in a variety of formats ranging from line-a-day diaries to wall calendars, to individual sheets of paper.
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Alice Gorton Hart (1932-1987, Smith 1954), poet, artist and writer. Diaries (1948-87). Early volumes document life at Smith College in the early 1950s and the rest trace her life as a wife, mother and feminist. Entries made during the last six months of her life document her struggle with terminal illness.
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Ruth V. Hemenway (1894-1974), physician. Diaries (1924-41) record her experiences in China under the auspices of the Women's Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Excerpts have been published as Ruth V. Hemenway, M.D.: A Memoir of Revolutionary China, 1924-1941 / edited by Fred W. Drake (1977).
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Lorena Estelle Hermance (1898-1995), captain in the U.S. Women's Army Corps, serving with the Signal Corps in Italy. Transcript of journal, "As You Were" (1942-45).
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Hitchcock Family Papers include autobiographical manuscripts (1922) of Louise St. John Hitchcock (1841-1938); a journal and autobiography of her husband, Rufus Clark Hitchcock; and family journal. The Hitchcocks lived in Simsbury, Connecticut.
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Florence Ledyard Cross Kitchelt (1874-1961), settlement house worker. Journals (1901-05) kept while she was a resident of the New York College Settlement.
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Martha J. Lamb (1829-1893), novelist and historian. Diaries (1854, 1857, 1872, 1885). In the mid-1850s, she was living in Ohio, married and active in charitable work. The diaries from this period record her traveling to visit her family in western Massachusetts. In the 1870s and 1880s she was a successful author and editor living on her own in New York City.
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Lamont-Corliss Family Papers include  Florence Haskell Corliss Lamont (1873-1952), philanthropist, poet and pacifist. She grew up in a wealthy family in suburban New Jersey, and as an adult practiced philanthropy and pursued her interests in philosophy, poetry, and peace. Diaries (1886-88) and "Far Eastern Diary" (1920). The record of her visit to China and Japan was published under the same title in 1951.   View finding aid

Martha Lavell (1909- ), social worker and editor. Her journals (1926-38) were kept while she was a student and then a public health researcher.
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Harriet Elwell Bagg Loomis (1855-1919). Diary kept during a trip from West Springfield, Mass. to visit relatives in Huntington, West Virginia, 1874-1875 [Microfilm M45].

Elmina Rose Lucke (1889-1987), social work educator and YWCA official. Manuscript., Remembering at Eighty-Eight: Letters I Should Have Written, posthumously published; related papers. She was an early leader in international social service, especially noted for her work in India, Pakistan, and Egypt from 1946 to 1955. The memoir and other papers document this work and other travels in Europe and Asia from 1913 to 1965.
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Lizzie Parker McCollester (1865-1928, Smith 1888), civic leader. Diaries (circa 1878-1925 ). Short entry diaries mostly about household matters and daily activities.
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Dorothy Mabel Reed Mendenhall (1874-1964), physician, specializing in public and child health. Autobiographical manuscript (1939-53) covers her years as medical student and intern at Johns Hopkins, 1895-1900, and her professional and personal life, 1900-1953.
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Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection:
Cornelia Middagh Birdsall (dates unknown), traveler, whose autobiographical manuscript begins in l850 in the vicinity of New York City, with her early marriage to a civil engineer, continues with her life in Quebec Province during the building of the Grand Trunk railway to Portland, Maine, and ends as she arrives in Denmark in l86l for the building of the first railway across North Jutland.
Bertha Marie Clark (dates unknown), volunteer with prisoners in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and lobbied the state legislature on their behalf, 1963 to 1973. Includes autobiographical manuscripts, Immigrant Child (1980) and Crime and Corrections. Clark was born in Germany and grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Ophelia Hoefling Gleason (dates unknown) grew up as an adopted New York foundling on a farm in the Red River Valley of western Minnesota and tried out various living and working arrangements as a single woman in Montana and the Fargo-Moorhead area, and was a wife and mother in Minneapolis with many connections in the Upper Midwest. Autobiographical sketch (circa 1983).
Commonplace books of Clara Cotter (1850-56); Lucinda Andrus (1837-40); Fanny Lackey (1863-85); and Levi Lamb (1835-42).
View Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection finding aid

Charlotte Norris (1871-1957, Smith 1893), teacher. Diaries (1880, 1886-90, 1916-56). Norris taught modern languages in Holyoke High School, Holyoke, Massachusetts, and was active in professional and community organizations. In her diaries she recorded some of her activities and sometimes commented about them.
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Jessie Lloyd O'Connor (1904-1988, Smith 1925) and Harvey O'Connor (1897-1987), labor journalists and political activists. Tandem autobiography, The Contumacious Couple (1985). The manuscript was edited by Susan M. Bowler and published as Harvey and Jessie: A Couple of Radicals (Temple University Press, l988). The O'Connors were active for many years in labor organizing, social reform, and civil liberties. Her memoir includes 300 pages on her upper-class childhood in Chicago with visits to her grandparents' Texas ranch, her studies at Smith College, and her experiences as a tourist, worker, and labor journalist in the U.S., Paris, Geneva, and Moscow in the late 1920s.
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Azalia Emma Peet (circa 1889-1973, Smith 1910), missionary and teacher. Diaries (1902-56). She served as a Methodist missionary in Japan from 1916 to 1941, worked with Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II, and returned to Japan for rural reconstruction work through 1953.
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Judith Raskin (1928-1984, Smith 1949), opera singer. Diaries (1939, 1942-43). Before she went on to become an internationally recognized opera star, Raskin kept a diary during her teenage years and these diaries reflect the life experiences of an American girl during World War II.
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Bertha Capen Reynolds (1885-1978), social worker and educator. Manuscript, Informal Autobiography (1958); and published autobiography. Reynolds was a clinical social worker with interests in Marxist thought and social action.
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Grace Richardson (dates unknown), suffrage movement leader from Nebraska. Autobiographical manuscript, My Part in the Struggle for Equal Rights for Women, 1911-1920, in the Suffrage Collection.

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), birth control advocate, author and lecturer. Journals (1914, circa 1922-53). The first volume follows her flight from the United States after having been indicted for distributing a birth control publication in violation of federal anti-obscenity law. Later volumes are best for her travels in Europe and Asia and her personal reflections.
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Vida Dutton Scudder (1861-1954, Smith 1884), English professor, author and settlement house founder. Diaries (1932-45). In these years she was semi-retired from a life's work in social welfare, socialism, pacifism, Christian ethics, and English teaching. Her autobiography, On Journey, was published in 1937.
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Elisabeth Telling (1882-1979, Smith 1900), artist, traveler, and ethnographer. Diaries (circa 1902-65) follow her life in the United States and her travels in Central America, Asia, Europe, and the South Pacific.
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Florence Guertin Tuttle (1869-1951), author, pacifist, and feminist. She was a leader in the peace movement from the First World War through the 1930s. Autobiographical manuscript, I Travelled Hopefully (1948).
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Upton Family Papers include:
Cornelia A. Babcock Upton (1854-1941), traveler. Travel diaries and letters (circa 1876-1905 ). Usually accompanying her astronomer husband, she traveled to the Centennial Exposition (1876), the White Mountains of New Hampshire (1878), the Southwest and Hawaii (1883), Europe (1886-87), South America (1896-97), and Colorado and other western states (1904-05). She frequently traveled with her two daughters, who were also diarists.
Eleanor Stuart Upton (1886-1974, Smith 1909), librarian. Diaries (1896-1905, 1911-21). She traveled with her parents, worked briefly in several social welfare organizations, and became a history librarian. Her college diaries and other papers are in the College Archives. The post-college diaries are "Line-a-Day."
Margaret Frances Upton (1890-1967, Smith 1912), bacteriologist. Diaries (1904, 1908-26). Traveled with her parents and worked as a science teacher and hospital bacteriologist before receiving her Ph.D. from Yale in 1926.
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Ruth Frances Woodsmall (1883-1963), teacher, author and YWCA overseas official. She was a student in Nebraska, a teacher in Colorado, and a YWCA administrator in wartime France and postwar Europe, the Near East, and Asia. Diaries (circa 1904-1952).

Smith College Archives
The majority of diaries in the Smith College Archives were written by students during their college years. There are numerous diaries dating from 1876 to 1929. These range from traditional formats with lengthy daily entries to line-a-day books to scrapbook-diaries in which text is interspersed with photographs, news clippings and memorabilia. See Student Diaries list.

For secondary sources, see the Browsing and Reference collections in the SSC Reading Room.


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 © 2005 Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063 Page last updated on Wednesday, 23 September 2015