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Dances and Recreation Files, 1881-[ongoing]
1 box (.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 80

Abstract:
The files contain mostly photographs, dance cards and invitations. Some photographs can tell their own story such as with the "Superdance USA" of 1981, with its succession of 4 photographs. Information about the Supper Dance can be derived from the many press releases about the event.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The files are open to public research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or quote from the documents must be obtained from the Smith College Archives.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

The tradition of dances and recreation at Smith is longstanding. From social gatherings, teas, and parties in the 1880s and 1890s, to the hosting of "Supper Dance" Weekend from the 1920s through the 1940s, to the present day traditions of Friday Teas, Winter Weekend, Spring Weekend and Rugby Prom, Smith has seen its fair share of parties.

While much of the information regarding the gatherings cannot be found in the folders, many of the photographs tell their own stories.

There is a plethora of information about the Supper Dance. Preceded by 'walk arounds" in the 1880s, when the Glee Club was founded in 1888, it hosted a yearly spring concert, which gradually evolved into Spring Dance and Supper Dance. Organized by a student committee, the dance was open to the entire college, with each house hosting its own dance and hired bands. Because Smith women are "unusually smart as well as unusually attractive, and . . . their hospitality is rightly famous" according to an article for LIFE magazine, the Supper dance was unusually popular and especially well anticipated by male guests. As their hosts, Smithies paid for their weekend and were allowed to cut in on couples and choose their dance partners. The weekend consisted of Friday classes, dancing lasting the greater part of Saturday with a break for dinner, and Sunday activities. The dance was so famous as to attract photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt of LIFE magazine to take pictures for an article about the Supper Dance in 1937. The Supper Dance continued until the 1940s, probably when wartime took its toll.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Information found in the files is incomplete and contains mostly photographs, dance cards and invitations.

Photographs can sometimes tell their own story such as with the "Superdance USA" of 1981, with its succession of 4 photographs. However, many photographs are vague and do not communicate who, when, where or why. Present day dances and recreations are unaccounted for.

Information about the Supper Dance can be derived from the many press releases about the event.


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

The files are open to public research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or quote from the documents must be obtained from the Smith College Archives.

Preferred Citation

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

Dances and Recreation Files, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The Smith College Archives collected the files on Dances and Recreation over time.

Processing Information

Processed by Christine Merrill.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA 01063

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

Email: nyoung@smith.edu
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/archives
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Card Parties
1887-1917

Box 1
Dance Cards/Invitations
1884-1889

Box 1
Dances, General Photographs
1979-1982, n.d.

Box 1
Dress Parties
1882, n.d.

Box 1
Faculty Teas
1894-1916

Box 1
"German"
1882-1889

Box 1
Group Dances
1894-1938

Box 1
House Dances
1894-1979

Box 1
House Dances Photographs
n.d.

Box 1
Mixers
1960-1964

Box 1
Parties
1986-87, 1990

Box 1
Picnics
n.d.

Box 1
Receptions-House Receptions
1938-1940

Box 1
Receptions-Senior Receptions
1881-1954

Box 1
Spreads and Dinner Parties
1882-1900

Box 1
Square Dances
1936

Box 1
Student Teas
1887-1987

Box 1
"Superdance USA"
1981

Box 1
Supper Dance
1928-1946

Box 1

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
  • Afternoon teas--Massachusetts--Northampton.
  • Ballroom dancing--Massachusetts--Northampton.
  • Recreation--Massachusetts--Northampton.
  • Smith College--History--Sources.
  • Smith College--Students--Social life and customs.
  • Women college students--Massachusetts--Northampton--Social life and customs.


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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