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Katherine Elizabeth McClellan Papers, ca. 1879-ca. 1996 (Bulk: 1904-1918)
1 box (.4 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 42

Abstract:
The Katherine Elizabeth McClellan Papers contain biographical information, newspaper clippings, a small amount of correspondence, a scrapbook and photographs documenting McClellan's career as a professional photographer in Saranac Lake, New York, Northampton, Massachusetts, and later Sarasota, Florida.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

All files are open to researchers according to the regulations of the College Archives.

Permission to publish any material from the Katherine Elizabeth McClellan Papers must be secured from the Smith College Archives.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Katherine Elizabeth McClellan (1859-1934) was born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey. After graduating from Smith College in 1882 she worked for eight years in private schools and as a tutor in New York and New Jersey. Her career as a photographer began in the Adirondacks in 1892 when the McClellan family moved to Saranac Lake, NY so that Katherine's sister could be treated for tuberculosis at the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium. Katherine McClellan took up photography as a hobby, concentrating on landscapes. She turned her hobby into a thriving business. In addition to selling her photographs, McClellan also published two viewbooks, John Brown, or A Hero's Grave in the Adirondacks (1896) and Keene Valley: "In the Heart of the Mountains" (1898), and planned two more Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. It is not known whether these two were ever completed.

In 1903 McClellan started spending part of the year in Northampton, Massachusetts. She opened a studio on State Street and announced in the Smith College Monthly magazine that she 'was reading to take all order for photographs.' A large share of her business came from the college. She was hired to make photographs to illustrate college publications and newspaper and magazine articles. The College also called on her to document physical changes on campus. Her views of buildings, classrooms, the campus, and special events highlighted the College's facilities while presenting a dignified image of education and life at Smith. In 1912 she was given the title "Official Photographer of Smith College."

McClellan also produced for the College yearbook portraits of students and faculty, and group photographs of club members and house residents. She also documented the activities and events of college life such as dances, proms, and dramatic productions. In addition to her work for the College she also took portraits of local people, visiting dignitaries such as Helen Keller, Julia Ward Howe, and Henry James, to mention a few. She also took images of local townspeople.

In 1918, at the age of 59, McClellan retired to Florida. She and her sister, Daisietta McClellan, developed a tract of land known as McClellan Park and McClellan continued to make photographs of the Florida landscape and its people. On her move to Florida, McClellan sold her studio to her collaborator of ten years, Eric Stahlberg. He continued to shoot images for the College through the late 1940s and sold images, negatives and films to the College in 1958. Katherine McClellan died in Sarasota in September of 1934.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Katherine Elizbeth McClellan Papers contain biographical information, newspaper clippings, a small amount of correspondence, a scrapbook and photographs documenting McClellan's career as a professional photographer in Saranac Lake, New York, Northampton, Massachusetts, and later Sarasota, Florida.

In the inventory, OV=Oversize, unnumbered boxes.

This collection is organized into five series:

  • Series I, Biographical Material contains newspaper clippings, invitations, photocopies of advertisements, and photographs documenting the life of Katherine Elizabeth McClellan, a member of the Smith College class of 1882. In addition, articles written by other about McClellan are included in this series.
  • Series II, Correspondence contains correspondence of McClellan to class members relating to a series of reunion activities in 1913.
  • Series III, Publications Series III, Publications includes copies of two viewbooks, John Brown, or A Hero's Grave in the Adirondacks (1896) and Keene Valley: "In the Heart of the Mountains" (1898), and a calendar she produced titled, Twelve Months in the Adirondacks (1899).
  • Series IV, Photographs contains images McClellan took of the Smith College campus in 1904. The photographs are arranged in alphabetical order by name of building and include interior and exterior shots. In 1912 McClellan took a series of images of the Hillyer Art Gallery and these images are included with this series. McClellan was noted for her photographic landscape work and the Papers include 11 folders of images from the Adirondacks as well as another 11 folders of images of Florida, where she retired. Additionally, included in this series are images of her studio at 44 State Street in Northampton, a number of self-portraits and images of family and friends.
  • Series V, Smith College Scrapbook documents McClellan's undergraduate years at Smith College between 1878-1882 where she served on the Class Pin Committee and the Photographic Committee. It contains dance cards, class schedules, invitations, cards, and other college-related ephemera.

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

All files are open to researchers according to the regulations of the College Archives.

Permission to publish any material from the Katherine Elizabeth McClellan Papers must be secured from the Smith College Archives.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes.

Preferred Citation

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

Katherine Elizabeth McClellan Papers, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The Katherine Elizabeth McClellan Papers are part of 42.Faculty Biographical Files and were donated to the Smith College Archives by McClellan in 1918. Photographs by McClellan have been donated over time to the Archives by various individuals. Original prints and glass plate negatives were donated by her long-time business partner, Eric Stahlberg and his widow.


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

Contents List
Biographical Material
1892-1996

Box 935: folder 1
Correspondence
1908-1918

Box 935: folder 2
Publications: John Brown, or A Hero's Grave in the Adirondacks
1896

Box 935: folder 3
Publications: Keene Valley: "In the Heart of the Mountains"
1898

Box 935: folder 4
Publications: Twelve Months in the Adirondacks
1899

Box 935: folder 5
Photographs: Smith College Series A-L
1904

Box OV
Photographs: Smith College Series M-Z
1904

Box OV
Photographs: Smith College Hillyer Art Gallery
1912

Box OV
Photographs: Adirondacks and Florida Landscapes (2 boxes)
n.d.

Box OV
Photographs: Studio
1903

Box OV
Photographs: Self Portraits
n.d.

Box OV
Photographs: Family
n.d.

Box OV
Smith College Scrapbook
1878-1882

Box OV

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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