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Department of English Records, 1912-[ongoing]
7 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 52

Abstract:
The English Department records contain materials describing the history and work of the department. Types of materials include course syllabi, correspondence, meeting minutes, newsletters, photographs, handbooks, and assorted typescripts and fliers. Meeting minutes provide a look at the administration of the department, while the scope of the academic material can be discovered through the numerous syllabi.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The records are open to research with the following restrictions: boxes #1152, 1154, 1154.1 and 1155.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright. When requesting material at the Smith College Archives, see the printed finding aid for specific instructions on completing the call slip.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

The first professor of English at Smith was L. Clark Seelye, who was also the college's first President. The third President, William Neilson was also an English professor. Seelye's early curriculum emphasized elocution and foreign languages as tools for better understanding English. His dual responsibilities as professor and President led him to share teaching duties with Heloise Hersey in 1878. In its early days, the English department had trouble attracting and keeping a full staff, and as a result was quite transitory and disorganized. Many instructors were young women who taught only a few years before resigning their positions to get married. The most prominent and influential English professor was Mary Augusta Jordan, who taught from 1884 to 1921. Kate Sanborn (1880-83) was also well-known. Early areas of study in the department included Rhetoric, Old English, Composition, and Literature, and writing requirements tried to guarantee that every student be able to competently express herself in written English. In 1893, student demands for a college magazine resulted in the creation of the Smith College Monthly. Beginning in 1904, the faculty adopted an official course of study that required students to write four long papers, one each year. This requirement continued, despite students' unhappiness, until 1916, when the college adopted the major-minor system, with distributed electives and no yearly papers. The Committee on Special Assistance in Written English was created in 1921 to provide one-on-one instruction to those students deficient in writing. The professors believed that "no girl should be able to graduate from Smith without the ability to write a clear, grammatical English sentence, properly punctuated and spelled." In the 1930s, course offerings were divided into Composition, Language, Literature, and Types; in the 1940s, areas were consolidated into two sections: Language and Literature, and Composition. In the 1950s English 11 became a requirement for first-year students. Important professors during these years include Mary Ellen Chase (1926-54) and Elizabeth Drew (1946-61). The school year 1970-71 brought the introduction of the ENG 120 course, composed of various colloquia in literature. In 1975-76 course offerings were rearranged into 100 level (introductory classes), 200 level (intermediate classes), and 300 level (advanced seminars). In 1996-97 a college-wide requirement was instituted, requiring that every student take a writing intensive course within her first year. Many English courses (especially 120 colloquia) were subsequently designated as fulfilling the "writing intensive" requirement. September 1997 marked the opening of the Poetry Center, which brings many prominent poets to campus each year to give readings.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The English Department records, 1915-1998, contain materials describing the history and work of the department. Types of materials include course syllabi, correspondence, meeting minutes, newsletters, photographs, handbooks, and assorted typescripts and fliers. Meeting minutes from 1912 to 1920 and 1941 to 1979 provide a look at the administration of the department, while the scope of the academic material can be discovered through the numerous syllabi.


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

The records are open to research with the following restrictions: boxes #1152, 1154, 1154.1 and 1155.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright. When requesting material at the Smith College Archives, see the printed finding aid for specific instructions on completing the call slip.

Preferred Citation

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

Smith College Dept. of English Records, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The English Department Records were donated over a period of time from a variety of sources.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to the collection are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Christina Lehman.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Committees - curriculum
1929-42

Box 1149: folder 1
Committees - departmental
1927-47

Box 1149: folder 2
Committees - library
1918-56

Box 1149: folder 3
Constitution and by-laws
1920, 1933

Box 1149: folder 4
Correspondence
1915-40

Box 1149: folder 5
Curriculum
1918-34

Box 1149: folder 6
General and miscellaneous


Box 1149: folder 7
Graduate studies
1927-42

Box 1149: folder 8
History
1925

Box 1149: folder 9
Honors - departmental
1922-80

Box 1149: folder 10
Honors - general
1931-42

Box 1149: folder 11
Honors - special
1919-39

Box 1149: folder 12
Majors
1937-39

Box 1149: folder 13
Newsletter
1995-98

Box 1149: folder 14
Photographs
1946-57, 1981-88

Box 1149: folder 15
Poetry Center
1998-

Box 1149: folder 16
Prizes
1918-41

Box 1149: folder 17
Prizes
1953-59

Box 1149: folder 18
Programs
1916

Box 1149: folder 19
Writing - remedial programs
1951-52, 1972-86

Box 1149: folder 20
Courses - ENG 11


Box 1150: folder 1
Courses - ENG 11 Handbooks


Box 1150: folder 2
Courses - ENG 12-13


Box 1150: folder 3
Courses - ENG 14


Box 1150: folder 4
Courses - ENG 16-19


Box 1150: folder 5
Courses - ENG 21-24


Box 1150: folder 6
Courses - ENG 25-28


Box 1150: folder 7
Courses - ENG 30-36


Box 1150: folder 8
Courses - ENG 37-39


Box 1150: folder 9
Courses - ENG 40-48


Box 1151: folder 1
Courses - ENG 111-120


Box 1151: folder 2
Courses - ENG 201


Box 1151: folder 3
Courses - ENG 207-218


Box 1151: folder 4
Courses - ENG 220-291


Box 1151: folder 5
Courses - ENG 309-310


Box 1151: folder 6
Courses - ENG 311-319


Box 1151: folder 7
Courses - ENG 321-327


Box 1151: folder 8
Courses - ENG 328-416


Box 1151: folder 9
Courses - Lyric Poetry


Box 1151: folder 10
Courses - Miscellaneous


Box 1151: folder 11
Minutes, Jan.1912-Jan. 1919
1912-19

Box 1152: folder 1
Minutes, Jan. 1919-May 1920
1919-20

Box 1152: folder 2
Minutes
1941-42

Box 1154: folder 1
Minutes
1942-43

Box 1154: folder 2
Minutes
1943-44

Box 1154: folder 3
Minutes
1944-45

Box 1154: folder 4
Minutes
1945-46

Box 1154: folder 5
Minutes
1946-47

Box 1154: folder 6
Minutes
1947-48

Box 1154: folder 7
Minutes
1948-49

Box 1154: folder 8
Minutes
1949-50

Box 1154: folder 9
Minutes
1950-51

Box 1154: folder 10
Minutes
1951-52

Box 1154: folder 11
Minutes
1952-53

Box 1154: folder 12
Minutes
1953-54

Box 1154: folder 13
Minutes
1954-55

Box 1154: folder 14
Minutes
1955-56

Box 1154: folder 15
Minutes
1956-57

Box 1154: folder 16
Correspondence re: Sylvia Plath hiring
1956-57

Box 1154: folder 17
Minutes
1957-58

Box 1154: folder 18
Minutes
1958-59

Box 1154: folder 19
Minutes
1959-60

Box 1154.1: folder 1
Minutes
1960-61

Box 1154.1: folder 2
Minutes
1961-62

Box 1154.1: folder 3
Minutes
1962-63

Box 1154.1: folder 4
Minutes
1963-64

Box 1154.1: folder 5
Minutes
1964-65

Box 1154.1: folder 6
Minutes
1965-66

Box 1154.1: folder 7
Minutes
1966-67

Box 1154.1: folder 8
Minutes
1967-68

Box 1154.1: folder 9
Minutes
1968-69

Box 1154.1: folder 10
Minutes
1969-70

Box 1154.1: folder 11
Minutes
1970-71

Box 1155: folder 1
Minutes
1971-72

Box 1155: folder 2
Minutes
1972-73

Box 1155: folder 3
Minutes
1973-74

Box 1155: folder 4
Minutes
1974-75

Box 1155: folder 5
Minutes
1975-76

Box 1155: folder 6
Minutes (incomplete)
1976-77

Box 1155: folder 7
Minutes (incomplete)
1977-78

Box 1155: folder 8
Minutes
1978-79

Box 1155: folder 9

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.

Subjects
  • English literature--Study and teaching (Higher)--Massachusetts--Northampton.
  • Smith College--History--Sources.
  • Smith College. Dept. of English.


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