Five College Archives and Manuscript
Home >> Mount Holyoke College Archives & Special Collections >> Smith Papers, 1903-1984 (bulk 1920-1984)
Mount Holyoke College seal
Smith Papers , 1903-1984 (Bulk: 1920-1984)
1 box (5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0739

Smith, Christianna, 1893-1983; Zoologist and college teacher. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1915. Mount Holyoke College faculty member, 1915-1958. Papers consist of writings, correspondence and memorabilia, tributes and information regarding her death, sampler of needlework, newspaper articles, resumes, and photographs. Primarily documenting her professional career as a researcher and professor at Mount Holyoke College. Also contains Helen A. Padykula's correspondence concerning the tribute she wrote to Smith and Isabelle B. Sprague's correspondence concerning the death of Smith.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:


Restrictions on use:


Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections

Biographical Note

Christianna Smith, a zoologist and Mount Holyoke College graduate and faculty member, was born on March 27, 1893 in Newark, New Jersey. Her father was William Smith, a teacher. After graduating from high school in New Bedford, Massachusetts she attended Mount Holyoke College from 1911-1915, where she majored in mathematics and zoology and received a B.A. degree. She subsequently received a M.A. (1920) and Ph.D. (1923) in zoology from Cornell University. Smith taught zoology at Mount Holyoke College from 1915 until her retirement in 1958, except for the years when she taught at Cornell University (1918-1919) and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts (1920, 1922, 1924). She received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Mount Holyoke in 1975. She died at ninety on August 16, 1983 in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Christianna Smith Papers contain writings, correspondence, memorabilia, tributes and recollections, a sampler of needlework, stiches, newspaper articles, resumes and photographs. Most of the collection consists of copies of published articles and a textbook written by Smith between 1920-1969 concerning various topics in zoology and cell biology. Tributes and recollections in these papers provide detailed information about Smith as a teacher, colleague and friend. Most of these documents consist of letters by Smith's former students written in 1983-1984 in response to requests for information about her from Helen A. Padykula, who received a M.A. degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1948, and Isabelle B. Sprague, a 1937 graduate and professor of Biological Sciences at Mount Holyoke. Rounding out the collection are a few personal letters and greeting cards sent to Smith, resumes that she compiled, newspaper articles about her, a sampler of needlework stiches that she made in 1903, and photographs dating from ca. 1915-1983 that are primarily portraits of Smith in her office or laboratory.

This collection is organized into six series:

  • Writings
  • Correspondence
  • Tributes and Recollections
  • Sampler
  • Biographical Information
  • Photographs

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:


Restrictions on use:


Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Christianna Smith Papers, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.

History of the Collection

Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form:

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • College teachers United States History Sources.
  • Mount Holyoke College Faculty Sources.
  • Smith, Christianna, 1893-1983.
  • Women college teachers United States History Sources.
  • Women zoologists United States History Sources.
  • Zoologists United States History Sources.

  • Padykula, Helen A., 1924-.
  • Sprague, Isabelle B. (Isabelle Baird), 1916-.

Genre terms
  • Letters.
  • Photographs.
  • Samplers.

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
Home | Help | About | Search