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Kate Sanborn Papers, 1878-1996
1 box (.45 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 42

Abstract:
The Kate Sanborn Papers contain biographical material, personal correspondence, lecture notes, publications and photographs. Among her publications are two verse collections, Grandma's Garden and Purple and Gold as well as a complete set of the Round Table of English Literature series. Photographs include portraits of Sanborn while she was a professor at Smith College and scenes of daily life at Breezy Meadows.

Terms of Access and Use: Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the papers may be requested from the College Archives. The Archives has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Katherine "Kate" Abbott Sanborn was born in 1839 in Hanover, New Hampshire. Her father, Edwin David Sanborn, was professor of classics at Dartmouth College. Her mother, Mary Webster, was a relative of Daniel Webster. Sanborn did not attend school, but was educated at home. In Memoirs and Anecdotes, she wrote of an intellectually rich childhood in which she was exposed to the politicians, academics, and writers who visited her father.

After starting a day school for faculty children, Kate Sanborn continued her teaching career at Mary Institute in St Louis, Mo. when her father became president of Washington University, and later at the Packer Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She was also a newspaper and magazine correspondent who reviewed books for Scribner's Magazine. In 1880, she was invited to teach English literature at Smith College. She left Smith in 1883.

A popular lecturer who became known for presenting literary topics in a humorous, entertaining manner, Sanborn traveled extensively throughout the country on speaking tours. In 1885, she wrote The Wit of Women, a collection of anecdotes and commentary that examined how women's humor was shaped by social attitudes. She also edited several illustrated collections of verse and published the Sunshine Calendar series, a set of small calendar books featuring quotes from famous Americans. She designed and wrote a series of study guides to literature that were published by James R. Osgood and Co. of Boston as the Round Table Series of English Literature. The set of 25 study packets ranges from ancient Celtic literature to Alfred Lord Tennyson and includes essay topics, quick reference material and special readings.

In 1888, Sanborn bought a dilapidated farm in Metcalf, (Holliston) Massachusetts, 25 miles from Boston. She wrote of her experiences and misadventures as a novice farm manager in Adopting an Abandoned Farm. Other farming books followed. She later wrote of selling that farm and moving to a nearby farm, Breezy Meadows, in Abandoning an Adopted Farm. Breezy Meadows, the setting of several light depictions of farm life, was Sanborn's home until her death at 78 in 1917.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Kate Sanborn Papers contain biographical material, personal correspondence, lecture notes, publications and photographs. Among her publications are two verse collections, Grandma's Garden and Purple and Gold as well as a complete set of the Round Table of English Literature series. Photographs include portraits of Sanborn while she was a professor at Smith College and scenes of daily life at Breezy Meadows.


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

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the papers may be requested from the College Archives. The Archives has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Preferred Citation

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

Kate Sanborn Papers, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The Kate Sanborn Papers were acquired over the years from various sources.

Processing Information

Processed by Lee Appelbaum.


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
Series I. Biographical Materials



The materials include newspaper articles, a scholarly treatment on Sanborn's contributions to the study of women's humor from Psychology of Women quarterly, and a list of Sanborn's publications in the Smith College Archives.

Biographical Materials
1894-1996

Box 1004
Series II. Correspondence



The correspondence collection consists primarily of personal letters. Correspondents include Louisa May Alcott, Julia Ward Howe, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Francis Willard, and Mary Mapes Dodge.

Correspondence
1880-1915

Box 1004
Correspondence
n.d.

Box 1004
Correspondence, Nina Browne
n.d.

Box 1004
Series III. Lecture Notes



The notes are hand-written drafts for lectures on Tennyson's "In Memoriam" and "The Life of Swift."

Lecture Notes
n.d.

Box 1004
Series IV. Photographs



The collection includes portrait photographs from Sanborn's tenure at Smith College (1880-1883) and an interior shot of the library of James T. Field signed and given to Professor Sanborn. Other photographs include scenes of Sanborn at Breezy Meadows with her butler Taki and a view of the Japanese teahouse built at the farm.

Photographs
ca. 1880-1883

Box 1004
Photographs, Breezy Meadows
ca. 1888-1917

Box 1004
Series V. Publications



Publications contain articles and books published by Kate Sanborn over her teaching and professional career.

Writings, miscellaneous
n.d.

Box 1004
Abandoning the Adopted Farm
1894

Box 1004
Grandma's Garden
1883

Box 1004
Calendars
1878-1879

Box 1004
Just a Christmas Laugh from 'Breezy Meadows'
n.d.

Box 1004
Mountain Day, Smith College
1882

Box 1004
Purple and Gold
1882

Box 1004
Tact and Other Essays
1889

Box 1004
Literature Lessons 1-25
n.d.

Box 1004

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
  • Authors, American--19th century--Biography--Sources.
  • English literature--Study and teaching (Higher)--Massachusetts--Northampton.
  • Sanborn, Kate, 1839-1917.
  • Smith College--Faculty.

Contributors
  • Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888.
  • Dodge, Mary Mapes, 1830-1905.
  • Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894.
  • Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910.
  • Willard, Frances Elizabeth, 1839-1898.


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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