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Alumnae Oral History Project, 2010-2013
11 boxes (4.6 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG12

Abstract:
The Smith College Alumnae Oral History Project collection is comprised of oral histories conducted with alumnae during Reunion weekends in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The collection contains video recordings, transcripts, and project records.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The records are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives except as follows:

2010: No restrictions on use of transcripts or DVDs. Online access permitted with the exception of the following narrators: Katherine Evans, Nina Moe, Sindhumathi Revuluri, Jessica Rowe, Brittain Skinner, and Ana Tolentino. 2011: No restrictions on use of transcripts or DVDs. Online access permitted with the exception of the following narrators: Adele Baydin, Mary Bickerton, Carole DeSanti, Yvonne Johns, Phyllis (Patti) Klein, Marilyn Carson Nelson, Joyce Spencer, Eleanor Woods. 2012: No restrictions on use of transcripts or DVDs with the exception of Patricia Cunningham, Sandra Gleason, and the Group interview 1982, who restricted their interviews to the members of the Smith community. Online access permitted with the exception of the following narrators: Group interview 1957, Paula Duffy, Natalie Field, Marcy Friedman, Marlene Futterman, Jerri Pantages Long, and Brenda Lewis. 2013: No restrictions on use of transcripts or MP4s with the exception of the following interviews, which are open only to the Smith College Community: Jennifer Barone, Alexandra Dellerson, Martha Clough Engeman, Sharon Leyhow, and Catherine Pyun. Online access permitted with the exception of the following interviews: Jennifer Barone, Jennifer Harmon, Alix Kolar, Susan Korgen, Lori Lober, Eileen M. Ouellette, Catherine Pyun, Nancy Hutchens Reif, Emma Roderick, Marjorie Scheffer, Maria Sclafani, Mary Oakes Smith, Martha Gregory Tolles, and Barbara Ehrlich White. Access to Cynthia Kohlbry is by permission of the narrator only.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the College Archives.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

The Smith College Alumnae Oral History Project was funded by the President's Office and the College Archives and coordinated by Kelly Anderson. Students from the Archives Concentration and Anderson's class in oral history conducted the interviews with alumnae over Reunion weekend in May 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 in the Alumnae Gymnasium. Interviews were 30 minutes long, on average, and were taped by videographer Kate Geis and Rebecca Rideout, as well as student interviewers. Narrators were asked to reflect on their reasons for choosing Smith, key experiences during their time on campus, significant political and social issues that marked their time at Smith and the impact a Smith education has had on their lives and careers. In 2010, narrators graduated from the classes of 1985-2005. In 2011, narrators were graduates of the classes of 1941-1976. In 2012, narrators were mostly graduates of the classes 1957-1982. In 2013, narrators were primarily graduates of the classes 1943-2008.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection contains video recordings, transcripts, and project records.

2010: Narrators and class year

Evans, Katharine, 2000: In this oral history, Katharine Evans discusses her decision to attend Smith, her experiences playing sports (field hockey, lacrosse, and squash) and living in Lamont House, and her study of biology (major) and chemistry (minor). She also describes her life after Smith-working at a nonprofit, attending graduate school, and her current career as a physical therapist.

Fang, Clara, 2005: In this oral history, Clara Fang discusses her involvement with MassPIRG, working to oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, interning at the Environmental Science and Policy Program, working with the student group Gaia, and starting a student organization called Clean Energy for Smith. Fang also talks about living in Park House, going abroad at Oxford University, her experiences as an English major, racial tensions on campus, the impact of the September 11th attacks on Smith, and her life after Smith, attending the University of Utah and Yale, and working as an environmental professional.

Hall, Ginna Rohan, 1985: In this oral history, Ginna Rohan Hall discusses growing up in Northampton and how that impacted her time at Smith, her experiences living in Baldwin, Northrop, and Morris, and her work as a psychology major. She also describes issues of diversity at Smith, and the impact that Smith has had on her life.

Homestead, Melissa, 1985: In this oral history, Melissa Homestead discusses living in Lawrence House, Wilder House, and Parsons Annex, her experiences as an English major and her thesis on Willa Cather, and her participation in music clubs and the Lesbian Alliance. Homestead also describes issues surrounding sexuality and lesbianism, the Hover House controversy, incidents of homophobia and tensions between heterosexual and homosexual students, the Feminist and Lesbian Alumnae of Smith College (FLASC) group, and her experiences at the University of Pennsylvania.

Joslyn, Erin, 1990: In this oral history, Erin Joslyn discusses her involvement with the student publication The Green Age, her experiences living in Hopkins, studying in Cambridge, England, and her work as an art history major. Josyln also describes the overall campus atmosphere, including issues of diversity and tensions between heterosexual and homosexual students. Finally, Joslyn talks about the societal difficulties and pressures that women face, what it feels like to be back at her Smith reunion, and who she has become since Smith - working as an art historian, owning an antiques business, and working as a writer on several different projects.

Kahler, Jean, 2000: In this oral history, Jean Kahler discusses her decision to come to Smith, her experiences living in Hubbard House, her work as a theater major, her process of coming out as a lesbian, and the overall atmosphere surrounding homosexuality.

McCarthy, Katie, 2005: In this oral history, Katie McCarthy discusses her work as a psychology and education double major, and her involvement with SGA and Senate, Healthy Heads (a mental health support group), and Residence Life. She also describes the racial tensions on campus and her experiences while abroad in Australia.

Merrill, Christine, 2005: In this oral history, Christine Merrill discusses her experiences on the crew team and the swim team, her time abroad in Geneva, Switzerland and travels in Europe, and her work as an art history major.

Miller, Mariceleste, 1990: In this oral history, Mariceleste Miller discusses her experiences living in Morris House and Park House, her involvement with theater, and her work as a biology major and math minor. She also describes the general campus climate and atmosphere (including racial tensions), Helen Caldicott's commencement address, and her current work with the Smith admissions office in Baltimore, Maryland.

Moe, Nina, 2001: In this oral history, Nina Moe describes her experience coming to Smith from Europe (Norway and Poland), her coming out process, her work in the music department at Smith, and her current career as a musician. She also describes the campus atmosphere, including racial tensions and issues around sexual and gender diversity.

Perkins, KP, 1985: In this oral history, KP Perkins discusses why she decided to attend Smith, her involvement in extracurricular activities (including student activism), and her work as an Afro-American studies and French double major. She also describes the general campus atmosphere, particularly in regards to race, and her opinion of President Conway.

Pic, Sara, 2000: In this oral history, Sara Pic describes her involvement with activism at Smith (including her association with the Lesbian Avengers and working for transgender student rights), living in Hubbard House, her experiences abroad in Russia, her work as a Russian Civilization major and with the Study of the Women and Gender, and her decision to go to Northeastern Law School.

Revuluri, Sindhu, 2000: In this oral history, Sindhu Revuluri discusses her decision to attend Smith, her experiences living in King House, her participation in the Student Government Association and music clubs, her coming out experience, and her summer abroad in Ghana. She also describes the general campus atmosphere and incidents concerning conservative Smith students, and her graduate school experiences at Princeton University.

Rosen, Melanie, 2000: In this oral history, Melanie Rosen discusses her decision to attend Smith, her experiences living in Wilson House, working as a Gold Key guide, participating on the crew team, her work as a French studies major and Afro-American studies minor, and her time abroad in Paris and West Africa. She also describes the overall campus atmosphere and her experiences as a Fulbright scholar after Smith.

Rowe, Jess, 1997: In this oral history, Jess Rowe explains her decision to come to Smith, her work as a Painting and English double major, her coming out process and relationship with her partner, and her experiences after leaving Smith.

Skinner, Brittain, 2000: In this oral history, Brittain Skinner describes why she came to Smith, her experiences studying at the University of Kentucky for two semesters and how it compared to Smith, her work as an English major and biology minor, her experiences living in Wilson House and her role as house president, and her involvement with the Helen Hills Hills Chapel Protestant group. She also explains what it has meant to her to be a Smith graduate.

Tierney, Meghan, 2000: In this oral history, Meghan Tierney discusses her experiences living in Lamont House, playing on the volleyball and softball teams, acting as the Vice President of her class, and working in the Alumnae House. She also describes her time at the Smithsonian program, her work as an art history and archaeology minor, and her life after Smith.

Tolentino, Ana, 1985: In this oral history, Ana Tolentino discusses how she decided to attend Smith, her departure from Smith to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison for a semester, and her return to Smith. Tolentino also describes her time at Smith, including her experiences as an art history major and archaeology minor, and the atmosphere of the early 1980s.

Trabucchi, Sarah, 2000: In this oral history, Sarah Trabucchi discusses her experiences living in Lamont House, participating in the theater department and working with the Northampton High School theater program, and her work as an American Studies major. She also describes the 1996 Presidential election, gay rights, and the general campus atmosphere.

Wallace, Sophia, 2000: In this oral history, Sophia Wallace discusses her involvement with WOZQ radio, FIRE (Feminist Intercultural Revolutionary Encounter), PULSE (an art collective), rugby, and various activist activities. She also describes her appreciation of President Simmons, her experiences in Sessions House, her time studying abroad in Ghana, and the general atmosphere of Smith, particularly in regards to diversity.

Werner, Mary 1985: In this oral history, Mary Werner explains why she chose to attend Smith, her experiences with Student Senate, tutoring local children, and her work as a psychology major. She also describes the general campus atmosphere and diversity, her opinions on President Conway, and her life after Smith.

2011: Narrators and class year

Ames, Judith Silverman, 1961: In this oral history, Judith Silverman Ames discusses why she chose to attend Smith, her experiences living in Clark House, her participation playing on various sports teams and with musical groups. Ames also describes the campus atmosphere, the lack of diversity, the benefits of same-sex education, her post-Smith experiences living abroad in Mexico and Japan, and her various career choices.

Baldonado, Sandra, 1956: In this oral history, Sandy Baldonado describes the overall campus atmosphere, her experiences living in Hubbard House, participating in sports and theater, designing her own international relations major, her work at the CIA, and what a Smith education has meant to her.

Baydin, Adele, 1951: In this oral history, Adele Baydin discusses her experiences living in Chapin House, what it was like being a Jewish student at Smith, her travels in Europe, and why she decided to leave Smith after her sophomore year.

Bennett, Elaine, 1981: In this oral history, Elaine Bennett discusses her initial reactions to Smith, her experiences living in Ziskind House, her work as a theater major. Bennett also describes the dialogues surrounding feminism during the late 1970s and early 80s, the lesbian community on campus, and what it feels like returning to campus for reunion.

Bickerton, Marianne 1976: In this oral history, Mary Bickerton discusses her involvement in choir and service organizations, the campus dialogues surrounding feminism, and issues of race and class, and what a Smith education has meant to her.

Brush, Sally Anderson, 1956: In this oral history, Sally Anderson Brush describes the campus atmosphere of Smith during the early 1950s, the lack of diversity and issues of race, and the expectation that one would marry. Brush also discusses her involvement with the crew team, the Christian Association, Judicial Board, her experiences as a religion major, her interactions with Gloria Steinem, and how Smith has impacted her life.

Carr, Carolyn, 1961: In this oral history, Carolyn Carr discusses her work within the Art department (including spending a summer studying art in Italy), how it affected her later career, her experiences taking a class with Sylvia Plath, and her transition to Smith from a small town in Virginia. Carr also describes issues of race and the Civil Rights Movement on campus, and her reaction to the Newton Arvin pornography scandal.

Christensen, Ann, 1956: In this oral history, Ann Christensen discusses how Smith shaped her as a person, what it was like adjusting to Smith coming from the South, issues of race and diversity, her experiences living in Haven House, and who she has become since attending Smith.

Denison, Judith Snow, 1957: In this oral history, Judy Denison describes her experiences living in Lawrence House as a scholarship student, her work as a physics major, her internship at the CERN, and her education after Smith. Denison also discusses her marriage and subsequent divorce, her children and grandchildren, and her job with the Bureau of the Census and recent work with the Belize Education Project.

DeSanti, Carole, 1981: In this oral history, Carole DeSanti describes why she decided to attend Smith and what it was like to adjust to the new atmosphere, her work as an English major, and her Marxist feminist philosophy. DeSanti also discusses the Lesbian Alliance and issues of sexuality, Hover House, reactions to the national press coverage of Smith in the early 1980s, and her opinion of President Conway.

Esty, Katherine, 1956: In this oral history, Katharine Esty describes the political and social atmosphere at Smith during the McCarthy era, her experiences living in Jordan House and the divide between Jewish and non-Jewish students within the house, student protests regarding the Hungarian Revolution, the dating scene and how she met her husband at Amherst College, the lack of racial diversity within the student body, the impact that Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique had on her, and her later work for UNICEF and as a psychotherapist.

Gesing, Susan, 1961: In this oral history, Susan Gesing describes what it was like arriving at Smith from the Midwest, what the dating scene and social atmosphere were like, her work as an American Studies major, her opinion on the Newton Arvin scandal, and what a Smith education has meant to her.

Grace, Martha, 1961: In this oral history, Martha Grace discusses the overall atmosphere at Smith, her work as a zoology major, her experiences living in Dewey House, her marriage after her junior year, what a Smith education has meant to her, and her decision to attend law school and obtain a Masters degree in Animals and Public Policy.

Group interview, Class of 1946, Margaret Craig DeMott; Jane Hill; Rosalie Taylor Howlett; Helen Goddard; Abby Minot Gross: In this oral history, Abby Minot Gross, Rosalie Taylor Howlett, Jane Hill, Helen Goddard, Margaret DeMott, and Araxi Prevot discuss what it was like being at Smith during World War II, working on the farms, the fire in Dickinson House, and what it has meant to them to be Smith graduates.

Hazeltine, Glenna, 1966: In this oral history, Glenna Hazeltine describes why she chose to attend Smith, her reactions upon arrival, the overall campus atmosphere, her membership with the SDS, her involvement with Gold Key and The Sophian, her work as an English major, her opinion of President Mendenhall, and what a Smith education has meant to her.

Heller, Deborah, 1961: In this oral history, Deborah Heller discusses adjusting to Smith from Brooklyn, issues of diversity, the social pressures and her life after Smith, including her marriage, divorce, and coming out process, her involvement within the LGBT community, and her current work to establish an LGBTQQ alum affinity group.

Imbrie, Charity, 1976: In this oral history, Charity Imbrie describes her initial reaction to Smith, her involvement with choir and her work within the music department, the political and social atmosphere at Smith (particularly in regards to feminism and lesbianism), and her work within the legal field.

Johns, Yvonne, 1961: In this oral history, Yvonne Johns describes the overall campus atmosphere, the dating scene, her experiences as president of Gillett House, her work as an American Studies major, her experiences as a woman working within the Civil Rights movement, and what a Smith education has meant to her.

King, Sheryl, 1971: In this oral history, Sheryl King discusses what it was like being Southern at Smith during the late 1960s/early 70s, the overall campus atmosphere (particularly in regards to activism and feminism), and her experiences after Smith.

Klein, Phyllis (Patti), 1961: In this oral history, Phyllis "Patti" Klein describes the overall campus atmosphere, her work in the history, art history, and English departments, and her life after Smith.

Martin, Marilyn Johnson, 1957: In this oral history, Marilyn Johnston Martin discusses living in Lawrence House, her social life, her relationship with Sylvia Plath, issues of class, her decision to leave after her sophomore year, and her life after Smith.

McClure, Karen Lewis, 1961: In this oral history, Karen McClure describes the overall campus atmosphere, her involvement in sports, her work as a sociology major, issues of diversity, the dating scene, her experiences living in Wesley House, and what it feels like to be back at Smith.

Mooney, Jean Bradley, 1956: In this oral history, Jean Mooney discusses her work as an Education major, issues of diversity and class on campus, and her career in education.

Nelson, Marilyn Carlson, 1961: In this oral history, Marilyn Carlson Nelson describes why she decided to attend Smith, her experiences studying abroad in Geneva, her work within the theater and dance departments, her experiences working in the business world and as CEO of the Nelson Group, one of the largest privately held companies in the world, and what a Smith education has meant to her.

Pires-Hester, Laura, 1961: In this oral history, Laura Pires-Hester describes how she decided to attend Smith, what the overall campus atmosphere was like, her experiences living in Albright House, issues of race and class, the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, her work to increase the racial diversity on campus, her life and work after Smith, and what a Smith education has meant to her.

Prevot, Araxi, 1946: In this oral history, Araxi Prevot discusses being at Smith during World War II, working on the community farms, her experiences living in Cushing House and the French House, attending a summer session at Smith, her life after Smith, and what a Smith education has meant to her.

Siderowf, Topsy, 1961: In this oral history, Topsy Siderowf discusses the overall campus atmosphere, her work as a history major, the dating scene, the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, her interactions with Sylvia Plath, and her work at Golf Digest.

Spencer, Joyce, 1961: In this oral history, Joyce Spencer describes the overall campus atmosphere, her experiences singing in the choir, issues of race, ethnicity, and religion, and her life after Smith.

Taylor, Nell Cochrane, 1951: In this oral history, Nell Cochrane Taylor discusses her experiences living in Lawrence House, her various roles of leadership on campus, issues of race and class, campus reactions to the Vietnam War, her position on the Board of Counselors and Board of Trustees, her experience receiving the John M. Greene award, her work with the Committee on African-American Studies, and her life after Smith.

Thoresen, Susan Warner, 1966: In this oral history, Sue Thoresen describes why she chose to attend Smith, the overall campus atmosphere, her experiences singing in the choir and glee club, the social changes that occurred at Smith during her time there, campus reactions to the Vietnam War, and her life after Smith.

Walker, Janet Smith, 1961: In this oral history, Janet Walker discusses what a Smith education has meant to her, her work as a history major, her experiences living in Gardiner House, issues of diversity, and describes a typical Smith student during the late 1950s.

Wang, Kathleen (Kit), 1981: In this oral history, Kit Wang describes the overall campus atmosphere (especially in regards to lesbianism, homophobia, and race), her experiences living in Hubbard House and Hover House, her work as a biochemistry major, her participation in the first national gay rights march on Washington, her involvement with the Lesbian Alliance, her experiences in seminary, and current work as an Episcopal priest.

Woods, Eleanor C., 1961: In this oral history, Eleanor Woods describes her experiences playing in the orchestra, her continuing involvement with music, the dating scene at Smith, issues of racial diversity, the alumnae reaction to the Newton Arvin controversy, and what a Smith education has meant to her.

2012: Narrators and class year

Bershadsky, Edith, 1977: In this oral history, Edith Bershadsky describes her experiences living in Sessions House, specifically her experience dining with the male exchange students, the tradition of tea, being a feminist, and the strong friendships she formed at Smith.

Blankevoort, Eefje, AMS 2004: In this oral history Eefje Blankevoort compares the education system at Smith with her experiences in the Netherlands, discusses the new perspectives she received at Smith, her experiences in Iran before coming to Smith, and her surprise that the Iraq War was so ignored in the United States.

Boylan, Roberta Walsh, 1962: In this oral history, Roberta Walsh Boylan describes coming to Smith from Montana, living in Gillett house, campaigning for laxer social rules, moving to San Francisco after graduation with Mary Ann Savage Habib, going to Law School, and being the first woman at University of Montana Law School.

Cooper, Ruth, 1957: In this oral history, Ruth Cooper describes going to Smith in the mid-1950s and the social regulations that entailed, working hard academically, traditions like Ivy Day and after dinner coffee, and how Smith had changed when her daughter attended in the 1980s.

Cunningham, Patricia, 1947: In this oral history, Patricia Cunningham describes living in Comstock, studying abroad in Mexico, focusing on her studies rather than on dating, feeling as though women should be able to do anything and being gratified when feminism began developing a few years after she graduated from Smith. Lastly, she describes working in France and her experiences in the Foreign Service. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY

Davis, Nancy, 1982: In this oral history, Nancy Davis describes falling in love with Smith and the importance of house community to her experience. She talks about racial dynamics on campus, her participation in the Bridge program, student activism, feminism, the changes she has seen at Smith, and her experience as a class officer for her reunion.

Deutsch, Jo, 1982: In this oral history Jo Deutsch discusses her house community in Baldwin House, the Northampton feminist and lesbian communities, President Conway, and her first relationship with a woman at the end of her senior year. She touches upon her work as a lobbyist for 27 years and her current position at Freedom to Marry.

Devaney, Anne, 1977: In this oral history, Anne Devaney describes being at Smith for its' Centennial, living in Wilder, Washburn, and Lawrence and the house traditions she remembers, the struggle for funding for the lesbian organization Sophia's Sisters, being the only white student in an African American literature class, the excitement and happiness around President Conway's appointment, her experiences as head of rec council, and her career after Smith in student services and human resources.

Duffy, Paula, 1967: In this oral history Paula "Polly" Duffy discusses how her love of the French language drew her to Smith with the promise of the JYA Paris program. She describes her first impressions at Smith, the house community she found in Hubbard House, and her experiences as someone coming from a family with a lower income than most Smithies. She goes on to talk about the dating scene and her participation as the vocalist in the first female, white, rock and roll group on campus, called the RhymeStones. She ends by discussing the opportunities afforded to her through the Smith network.

Field, Natalie, 1957: In this oral history, Natalie Field described the tradition of singing at Smith at events like Rally Day and the senior show, and sang several Smith songs. She also describes going to chapel every Wednesday, watching TV in Davis, the kingsmen, being at Smith during the space race, and house social regulations. Throughout, Field laments the loss of Smith traditions.

Freeman, Margaret, AMS 1963: In this oral history, Margaret Freeman describes her transition from University of Manchester, England to Smith College as one of the first group of the AMS Diploma Scholars. She describes the social life in Talbot House, the cultural differences, her surprise at the quality of Smith food and the practice of knitting in classes, and the ways Smith affected her life, particularly her intellectual confidence.

Friedman, Marcy, 1972: In this oral history, Marcy Friedman discusses her initial impression of Smith as conservative, her activism protesting the Vietnam War, and the changes she saw during her time at Smith. She comments on the racial dynamics and the silence surrounding lesbianism and same-sex relationships. She describes graduating as an "emerging radical second wave feminist," and her current position as a New York Supreme Court Justice.

Futterman, Marlene, 1958: In this oral history, Marlene Futterman describes choosing Smith because of its study abroad programs, studying in Geneva and subsequently going into the Foreign Service after graduating, and gaining confidence at Smith.

Gleason, Sandra, 1967: In this oral history, Sandra Gleason describes becoming an economics major, coming from a military family, living in Capen House, her housemothers, the traditions of mountain day and Rally day, her experience as a research assistant, the atmosphere of acceptance and open-mindedness at Smith, the benefits of the women's college experience, and her career in the academic world. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY

Group Interview, Class of 1957, Gail Richards Blunt; Ann Loomis Jesse; Elizabeth Mayor; Joan Millspaugh; Judy Oksner: In this oral history, Gail Richards Blunt, Ann Loomis Jesse, Elizabeth Mayor, Joan Millspaugh, and Judy Oksner describe what it was like to be at Smith during the 1950s, their relationships with their housemothers, knitting during classes, the dating scene, expectations for them when they graduated in terms of marriage and work, and where their lives have taken them since leaving Smith.

Group Interview, Class of 1982, Caroline Ely, Winn Gilmore, Sue Marcoux: In this oral history Caroline Ely, Winn Gilmore, and Susan Marcoux discuss their decisions to come to Smith, the differences between the Smith and Northampton lesbian scenes, Hover and Tenney Houses as epicenters of lesbian culture at Smith, their experiences in Lesbian Alliance, homophobia and racial tension on campus, and the tensions in the lesbian communities at Smith. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY

Habib, Mary Ann Savage, 1962: In this oral history, Mary Ann Savage Habib describes struggling through her first year, the dating scene, seeing Martin Luther King Jr. speak at Helen Hills Hills Chapel, her decision to move to California after graduating, and working at the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections.

Hussey, Danielle, 2002: In this oral history, Danielle Hussey describes how she found out about Smith from a high school English teacher, how she transferred from University of Vermont after her freshman year, her house community in Morrow House, the atmosphere of intellectual rigor, her participation in Peer Sexuality Educators (PSE) and other clubs, how the campus reacted to 9/11, and the importance of Ruth Simmons to her and the Smith Community in general.

Kanner, Ellen Kipnis, 1967: In this oral history, Ellen Kipnis Kanner describes her experience at Smith as a Jewish student, her study abroad in Spain, and a love of Smith College that continues years later.

Lewis, Brenda, 1967: In this oral history, Brenda Lewis describes her class as the last traditional class, comments upon the changes that took place during her tenure at Smith, and discusses her success in the world of business after graduating.

Long, Jerri Pantages, 1967: In this oral history, Jerri Pantages Long describes arriving at Smith from California, living in Parson for one year and then Tenney House for three years. She talks about Mountain Day and May Day traditions and the importance of a women's school.

Marcoux, Sue, 1982: In this oral history, Susan Marcoux describes living in Albright House for two years, going abroad in Germany, living in Hover House for her senior year, the lesbian scene at Smith, her work with Lesbian Alliance, and building an intellectual Smith community in San Francisco after graduating.

Nawara, Lucille, 1962: In this oral history, Lucille Nawara describes coming to Smith as a legacy student, her fear of posture pictures, coming from an artistic family and deciding to study art and music at Smith, feeling out of place in high school but comfortable at Smith, struggling through astronomy class, living in Tenney House and having President Mendenhall over for dinner, traditions like Mountain Day and regulations in the houses, the positive aspects of taking phys ed, and the confidence and analytical skills that Smith gave her as she continued on as an art professor and landscape designer.

Pepper, Francie Garber, 1962: In this oral history, Francie Pepper describes shattering her high school teacher's expectations by not only going to Smith but succeeding as well. She discusses coming from a long line of strong women, participating in sports while at Smith, studying abroad in Madrid, going to secretarial school and using her Spanish to get top jobs, raising money for the YWCA, and working on social issues like birth control, domestic violence, and trafficking.

Roberts, Paula, 1967: In this oral history, Paula Roberts discusses her political consciounsness starting at a young age, and how it grew and developed at Smith. She describes interning with Congressman Conte and Project Cornerstone, an experience that developed her understanding of racism. After leaving Smith, she talks about becoming a welfare caseworker and going to Law school.

Sargentini, Monica Ricci, AMS 1987: In this oral history, Monica Ricci Sargentini contrasts her education experience in Italy with Smith, specifically in regard to classes and social expectations. She talks about her academic interest in language and American literature, interests that drew her to the AMS Diploma Program. She ends her interview with a discussion about the value of women's colleges in general and the American approach to life.

2013: Narrators and class year

Barone, Jennifer, 2008: In this oral history, Jennifer Barone recalls political and social justice issues around race, sexual orientation and class on campus during her time at Smith and the student and administration response to those issues. She reflects on finding her voice at Smith and speaks about how she feels returning to Smith for reunion helps graduates stay connected to the sense of empowerment they experienced here. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY/NO ONLINE ACCESS

Boutin, Christine, 1988: In this oral history, recorded on the occasion of her 25th reunion, Christine Boutin speaks about the importance of lifelong friendships which began at Smith and remembers Smith traditions, including Thursday night candlelight suppers and Friday teas. She recalls social justice activism on campus, including participation in the College Hall divestiture sit-in as well as challenges like experiencing class differences in the student body.

Brassord, Lia, 1983: In this oral history, Lia Brassord, who has attended nearly every reunion since graduation, discusses the importance of that experience in her life. She reflects on the intergenerational bonds she has witnessed at Smith and the importance of the underlying qualities that cross those and other boundaries among Smithies.

Brickman, Ravelle, 1958: In this oral history Ravelle Brickman observes the changes she has seen on the Smith campus over the years, including the growing diversity of the student body. She reflects on her political activism at Smith and other highlights of her college years, including as a columnist for The Sophian and her role in founding of the Grecourt Review that published writers including Sylvia Plath.

Budd, Ruth, 1958: In this oral history, Ruth Budd recalls seeing Smith for the first time when she arrived alone as a first-year from Colorado. She speaks of the important role of women's colleges and remembers her junior year abroad in Geneva in 1956, during the Hungarian Revolution, and the life-long friendship that began during that experience.

Callahan, Kara, 1988: In this oral history, Kara Callahan discusses the deep connection she feels with Smith and the importance of attending a women's college. She expresses a delight in traditions like Convocation and Rally Day as formative in giving students a sense of what it means to be a "Smith woman."

Campen, Elizabeth, 1958: In this oral history, Elizabeth Campen reflects on the house culture at Smith which, in the 1950s, included house mothers. She recalls fondly traditions which no longer exist on campus, including Wednesday chapel. Campen talks about the importance of the legacy of a Smith education, the confidence that Smithies can do anything.

Dellerson, Alexandra, 2008: In this oral history, Alexandra Dellerson speaks about the importance of Smith's challenging academic environment as well as the open discussions of gender and sexuality. She recalls political and social issues on campus, including race and the presence of transgender students on campus and how the energy generated by that political climate contributed to her college experience. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY

Dwyer, Carol, 1958: In this oral history, Carol Dwyer reflects on the changes she has seen take place at Smith, the importance of the friendships she made in her house, and the opportunities for travel and exploration that accompanied her Junior Year abroad.

Dybwad, Barbara, 1998: In this oral history Barbara Dybwad speaks about the powerful effect of the Smith network in her life. She discusses the Smithenpoofs and the central role that group played in her college experience. She recalls classes that enriched her life as well as the unique experience and the camaraderie that developed during finals exams and the importance for her of the seriousness with which students approach academics at Smith.

Elliott, Susan, 1958: In this oral history, Susan Elliot, returning on the occasion of her 55th reunion, reflects on the importance of friendships formed through Smith's house culture and remembers house activities including playing bridge after supper with housemates. She recalls a meeting with a Smith advisor that lead to her to a new recruitment program that IBM had launched for women and how that became the foundation for her future business success.

Engeman, Martha Clough, 1983: In this oral history, done with classmate Nancy Hutchens Reif on the occasion of their 30th reunion, the women discuss how their meeting as freshmen lead to a lifetime relationship as best friends. They recall traveling to Paris together, including visiting the Smith office. They also reflect on the importance of Smith traditions, including Friday tea and Thursday night dinners. They recall political controversy on campus, such as an outcry against Jeane Kirkpatrick delivering the commencement address, as well as being on campus during the assassinations of Anwar Sadat and the murder of John Lennon. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY/NO ONLINE ACCESS

Franks, Rosalie Horne, 1958: In this oral history, Rosalie Horne Franks talks about why she has attended every Smith reunion since graduation in 1958. She discusses her experience of entering Smith at 16 as well as her observations of how Smith has changed, including the growing diversity of the student body and the global nature of the curriculum and the student population.

Gordon, Feivel, 2004, and Erica Hieggelke, 2003: In this oral history, Feivel Gordon and Erica Hieggelke, who met as first-years, reflect with candor and humor on their evolution as a couple. Feivel discusses his own process of self-discovery while at Smith and they speak candidly about the issue of transsexual students attending all-women's schools. They also recall being together on 9/11 and the aftermath of that trauma on campus.

Greer, Margaret Miller, 1978: In this oral history, Margaret Miller Greer speaks about the critical role that the self-confidence she acquired during her Smith years played in helping her meet future challenges. She recalls favorite Smith traditions, including tea and vespers, the importance of lifelong friendships she formed at Smith and wise words from Jill Kerr Conway.

Griffith, Theanne, 2008: In this oral history, Theanne Griffith speaks of choosing to attend Smith because of its neuroscience program, her involvement with the Black Students Alliance and the Smith Democrats, as well as the Underrepresented Science Students group on campus. She speaks of the overall importance of maintaining a diverse student population and how her experiences with issues of diversity at Smith prepared her for her future.

Harmon, Jennifer Lynn: In this oral history, Jennifer Harmon reflects on her experience as a woman of color at Smith, the benefits of the Bridge program, political issues on campus around race and sexual orientation during her years on campus, and the importance of her house community in her Smith experience. NO ONLINE ACCESS

Harris, Ali, 2008: In this oral history, Ali Harris speaks about treasured Smith traditions, including Friday tea, which provided a space for her and her housemates to detach from the pressure of academic life, pause and reflect, and enjoy each other socially. She speaks of the a commitment to community which she learned at Smith. She also recalls the mentors she met at Smith and the important role that mentorship played in her Smith life and beyond.

Hector, Allison, 2003: In this oral history, Allison Hector discusses the political environment during her college years, including the Iraq War and being on campus during the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11 which occurred only weeks before she embarked on her junior year abroad. She recalls the importance of being with her Smith family during that difficult period and some memorable events, including Madeline Albright delivering her class's commencement address.

Hemingson, Celeste, 1963: In this oral history, Celeste Hemingson recalls the backdrop of political activism that marked her time at Smith, including student sit-ins to integrate the lunch counter at the Northampton Woolworths. She observes how her Smith experience gave her a love of learning and the self-confidence to pursue her passions, including becoming a priest.

Hieggelke, Erica, 2003, and Feivel Gordon, 2004: In this oral history, Erica Hieggelke and Feivel Gordon, who met as first years, reflect with candor and humor on their evolution as a couple which included Feivel's transition after graduation. Feivel discusses his own process of self-discovery while at Smith. They also recall being together on 9/11 and the aftermath of that trauma on campus.

Hudson, Julia, 2008: In this oral history, Julia Hudson talks about her views on Smith traditions, particularly Convocation, and the importance of the school's house culture, especially in formation of strong, lasting friendships. She discusses the way political thinking was developed in conversation with other Smithies and how issues of race, religion and sex were all part of the conversation.

Kestenbaum, Toni, 1963: In this oral history Toni Kestenbaum, who has attended every reunion since graduation, speaks of the affirming importance of this gathering. She also reflects on the changes she has witnessed over the years, including the diversity of the student body and an openness to sexual identity differences. She attributes her successful career in finance and business to the foundation she received at Smith.

Kohlbry, Cindy, 1978: In this oral history, Cindy Kohlbry recalls her love of Smith's theater department and the professors who made long-lasting impressions on her life. She reflects on some of the extra-curricular activities which shaped her Smith experience, including performing with the Smithenpoofs and the enduring friendships which were formed in that singing group.

Kolar, Alix, 1998: In this oral history, Alix Kolar speaks about the unique environment on the Smith campus and the foundation in critical thinking and breadth of interests that her Smith education provided. She recalls her favorite Smith traditions, including Friday teas, which remain important. NO ONLINE ACCESS

Korgen, Susan, 1983: In this oral history Susan Korgen, who is back on campus for her 25th reunion, reflects on her decision to go to Smith and speaks about her experience as a scholarship student and the class and racial differences she observed in the student body. She speaks about the influence going to Smith has had on her career, including a foundation of self-confidence that she attributes to the even playing field she that Smith created. NO ONLINE ACCESS

Laskin, Lisa Lauterbach, 1988: In this oral history, Lisa Lauterbach Laskin, whose mother was Smith Class of 1957, reflects on the way Smith has changed since her mother's years. She talks about her favorite tradition, Mountain Day, and the pleasure of spontaneity that it taught her.

Lehmann, Kate, 1978: In this oral history, Kate Lehmann recalls the Women's Movement and lesbian activism as significant pieces of the political backdrop during her Smith years, as well as her experience living in Greer Street rooming house. She speaks of the many ways Smith prepared her for the future by helping her develop analytical thinking and self-confidence.

Leyhow, Sharon, 1973: In this oral history, Sharon Leyhow recalls the political climate during her years at Smith, including student protests against the Vietnam War and other events and issues. She recalls her involvement with the Black Students Alliance and their activism to bring African-American Studies to Smith, and affect other changes. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY

Lober, Lori, 1983: In this oral history, Lori Lober speaks of feminism and its role in her Smith experience, including activism around the Women's Resource Center and the founding of Take Back the Night, as well as rape counseling and Lesbian Alliance workshops, and recalls stories of her experience as part of the Jewish Students Alliance. She credits her Smith education with her ability to reason, make a cogent argument and write effectively. NO ONLINE ACCESS

Maranuk, Allison, 2008: In this oral history, Allison Maranuk, speaks of how her activism at Smith prepared her for her career. She recalls the politically-charged climate during her Smith years, four years which began during the Bush-Kerry election, included the recession and the Iraq War, and came to an end with graduation in the year of President Obama's election. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY/NO ONLINE ACCESS

Mark, Leslie, 1983: In this oral history, Leslie Mark, who serves on the Smith Board of Directors, discusses her strong connection to the college. She speaks of the continuing importance of the Smith network in her life and the local alumnae chapters she's been a part of.

McKenzie, Leslie, 1968: In this oral history, Leslie McKenzie, a philosophy of religion major, recalls the professors and classes that made strong marks on her life and tells stories of unique teaching moments which she has never forgotten. She also recalls the difference that living in a small house made in her college experience.

Moffett, Jane, 1954: In this oral history, Jane Moffett recalls the extraordinary caliber of Smith's Art History Department which became the center of her life during her college years and beyond. She relates stories that shaped her worldview, including a conversation with Ruth Simmons that changed her life.

Morales, Lisa, AC, 1988: In this oral history, Lisa Morales speaks of her unique path to Smith and challenges faced by many Ada Comstock Scholars. Morales speaks of attending Smith for three years with as the mother of a young son. She recalls bringing her mother to her first Illumination Night and the importance of that and other experiences for them both.

Moses, Claire Goldberg, 1963: In this oral history Claire Goldberg Moses reflects on the occasion of the 50th class reunion. She speaks of the important role the house culture played in her college experience and on the central role her Junior Year abroad in Paris played in her life. She recalls a progressive political environment at Smith, which included Civil Rights demonstrations in front of the Northampton Woolworth building.

O'Bryant, Camille, 1983: In this oral history, Camille O'Bryant speaks about the critical role that athletics played in her Smith career and about discovering later the historic role Smith played in women's sports. She reflects on the people who helped her overcome the challenges Smith presented her with, including Jill Kerr Conway, and how that experience instilled in her the importance of giving back.

Ouelette, Eileen, 1958: In this oral history, Dr. Eileen Ouellette speaks from the perspective of her 55th reunion week. She recalls the preparation she received at Smith which allowed her to go on to Harvard Medical School and a career that has combined medicine and social justice activism, including national advocacy on behalf of victims of Hurricane Katrina, particularly, children. NO ONLINE ACCESS

Pilvin, Barbara, 1973: In this oral history, Barbara Pilvin relates memories of Smith professors who made important and lasting impressions on her. She recalls a life-changing year abroad and talks about the importance of reunion and why she has only missed one since her graduation.

Pyun, Catherine, 1988: In this oral history Catherine Pyun speaks during her 25th reunion weekend. She discusses the role that her first visit to campus played her decision to apply to Smith and of making lifelong friends, including through her participation in sports. She also discusses the importance of having an engineering and science program for women at Smith. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY/NO ONLINE ACCESS

Rabin, Eva, 2008: In this oral history Eva Rabin discusses the pull that attending Smith reunions has for her and her friends. She recalls her decision to go to Smith after attending an alumnae reception in California and her continuing admiration for Smith graduates. Rabin recalls her junior year abroad in Scotland and the ways in which that experience changed her future.

Reif, Nancy Hutchins and Martha Clough Engeman, 1983: In this oral history taken during their 30th reunion weekend, Martha Clough Engeman and Nancy Hutchens Reif, discuss how their meeting as freshmen lead to a lifetime relationship as best friends. They recall traveling to Paris together, including visiting the Smith office and reflect on the importance of Smith traditions, including Friday tea and Thursday night dinners. They remember political controversy on campus, such as an outcry against Jeane Kirkpatrick delivering the commencement address, as well as being on campus during the assassinations of Anwar Sadat and the murder of John Lennon. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY/NO ONLINE ACCESS

Roderick, Emma and Justine Sheffler, 2008: In this oral history, Emma Roderick and Justine Sheffler discuss changes in identity politics at Smith since their graduation. They recall social justice movements on campus and the learning that went on outside the classroom, through that activism. They share memories from their time at Smith, including of a favorite J-term origami class. NO ONLINE ACCESS

Rosenthal, Betsy Robins, 1963: In this oral history Betsy Robins Rosenthal recalls her first days at Smith, the divisions she encountered among students along lines of race, religion and class, and the way she's observed diversity increasing on campus over the years. Asked about a "typical Smithie," she reflects on how different Smith students are from one another, but that they are also universally serious students who continually impress her.

Rossen, Susan Friebert, 1963: In this oral history, Susan Friebert Rossen credits her Smith education, particularly her art history professors and her junior year in Paris, with giving her the foundation for a successful professional career. She talks about the experience of helping to prepare her class reunion book and all she learned while researching in the College Archives during that process.

Ross-Reid, Alexandra, 2008: In this oral history, Alexandra Ross-Reid talks about the unique nature and the importance of Smith's house communities. She discusses her perspective as a woman of color and how navigating racial differences and looking at issues from a variety of perspectives during her Smith years prepared her for the world after graduation.

Sclafani, Maria Christina, 2008: In this oral history, Maria Sclafani discusses the central role her house played in her Smith experience. She speaks of professors who played an important role in her Smith education, and recalls a charged political environment that was the backdrop to her college years. She also reflects on how being at Smith gave her an understanding of gender bias and the way that operates in the world, which has informed her post-graduate life. NO ONLINE ACCESS

Sheffler, Justine and Emma Roderick, 2008: In this oral history, Emma Roderick and Justine Sheffler discuss changes in identity politics at Smith since their graduation. They recall social justice movements on campus and the learning that went on outside the classroom, through that activism. They share memories from their time at Smith, including of a favorite J-term origami class. NO ONLINE ACCESS

Simpson-Sawyer, Miranda, 2008: In this oral history, Miranda Simpson-Sawyer recalls the culture shock she experienced on arriving at Smith as a first-year, her favorite Smith traditions, like Convocation, and some of the professors who served as important mentors, and how that influenced her choice of a major.

Smith, Mary Oakes, 1963: In this oral history, Mary Oakes Smith speaks of the ways in which her Smith experience shaped her future activism and her career in international development. She talks about the importance of Smith's Engineering School, and the emphasis on a global education and community service, and recalls professors and classes that presented her with unique opportunities. NO ONLINE ACCESS

Stone, Lysbeth (Libby), 1953: In this oral history, Lysbeth (Libby) Stone, who has only missed one reunion since graduating Smith in 1953, tells stories from her Smith years, recalling that Sylvia Plath was in her Chaucer class and how evident it was that she was a unique talent.

Thorpe, Anne Kingsley, 1943: In this oral history Anne Kingsley Thorpe looks back on her experience of being on campus during World War II, including rushing from classes to listen to reports of critical battles. She remembers Smith traditions which inspired her during her years on campus and the professors who shaped her college career.

Tolles, Martha Gregory, 1943: In this oral history Martha Gregory Tolles recalls her experience being at Smith at the beginning of World War II. She recounts being called into her house mother's sitting room and listening to the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor, as well as work she did for the WAVES. She also tells of meeting her future husband on Mountain Day and recalls working on the college newspaper when Betty Friedan was editor.

Walraven, Berneta, 1983: In this oral history, Berneta Walraven speaks about her the graduation commitment she made to attend Smith reunions and discusses the central role the crew team played in her Smith career. She speaks about her personal identity and political journey, and how that influenced her career as an activist. She discusses the central role the crew team played in her Smith career.

White, Barbara Ehrlich, 1958: In this oral history, Barbara Ehrlich White discusses her view of reunions as markers in our life journey. She looks back on her Smith experience and reflects on the importance of her junior year in Paris in preparing her for her career as an art history professor and author. She credits her Smith training in art history as foundational for her later success. RESTRICTED TO THE SMITH COMMUNITY/NO ONLINE ACCESS


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

The records are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives except as follows:

2010: No restrictions on use of transcripts or DVDs. Online access permitted with the exception of the following narrators: Katherine Evans, Nina Moe, Sindhumathi Revuluri, Jessica Rowe, Brittain Skinner, and Ana Tolentino. 2011: No restrictions on use of transcripts or DVDs. Online access permitted with the exception of the following narrators: Adele Baydin, Mary Bickerton, Carole DeSanti, Yvonne Johns, Phyllis (Patti) Klein, Marilyn Carson Nelson, Joyce Spencer, Eleanor Woods. 2012: No restrictions on use of transcripts or DVDs with the exception of Patricia Cunningham, Sandra Gleason, and the Group interview 1982, who restricted their interviews to the members of the Smith community. Online access permitted with the exception of the following narrators: Group interview 1957, Paula Duffy, Natalie Field, Marcy Friedman, Marlene Futterman, Jerri Pantages Long, and Brenda Lewis. 2013: No restrictions on use of transcripts or MP4s with the exception of the following interviews, which are open only to the Smith College Community: Jennifer Barone, Alexandra Dellerson, Martha Clough Engeman, Sharon Leyhow, and Catherine Pyun. Online access permitted with the exception of the following interviews: Jennifer Barone, Jennifer Harmon, Alix Kolar, Susan Korgen, Lori Lober, Eileen M. Ouellette, Catherine Pyun, Nancy Hutchens Reif, Emma Roderick, Marjorie Scheffer, Maria Sclafani, Mary Oakes Smith, Martha Gregory Tolles, and Barbara Ehrlich White. Access to Cynthia Kohlbry is by permission of the narrator only.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the College Archives.

Preferred Citation

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

Smith College Alumnae Oral History Project, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The Smith College Alumnae Oral History Project collection is comprised of oral histories conducted with alumnae during Reunion weekends in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.


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
Evans - Werner
2010

Box 1
Preservation copies and original tapes

RESTRICTED

2010

Box 2
Ames - Heller
2011

Box 3
Imbrie - Woods
2011

Box 4
Preservation copies and original tapes

RESTRICTED

2011

Box 5
Bershadsky - Kanner
2012

Box 6
Lewis - Sargentini
2012

Box 7
Preservation copies, original tapes, master DVDs

RESTRICTED

2012

Box 8
Barone-Lober
2013

Box 9
Maranuk-White
2013

Box 10
Records and release forms

RESTRICTED

2010-2013

Box 11

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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