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Elizabeth Crocker Lawrence papers, 1861 - 1951 (Bulk: 1880 - 1945)
6 boxes (3 linear ft.)
Collection number: 80

Abstract:
Alumna. President of the Alumnae Association. Contains correspondence, diaries, journals, news clippings, photographs and publications documenting the life of Elizabeth Crocker Lawrence (Clarke), Class of 1883.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The records are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Copyright to materials created by other individuals may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Smith College Archives to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

As the first Smith alumna after whom a college dormitory was named (Lawrence House), Elizabeth Crocker Lawrence excelled in accomplishments while at Smith, and continued to be a leader in Alumnae communications after graduation.

Born November 11, 1861, Elizabeth Crocker Lawrence lived with her brothers George and Ned and her father, Amos Edward Lawrence. A Congregational minister, her father retired to Newton Center where he lived with his family; Elizabeth graduated from Newton High School in 1879. Though the reasons remain unclear, Lawrence joined Smith as a sophomore in 1880 and experienced quite a bit of homesickness her first month. On the top of one letter from her stepmother Lucy Watson Davis she wrote "1st letter after they left me at college. They had spent a week at Round Hills (Northampton), rather a mistake for me I think as I spent all my spare time with them instead of making friends- and then others were all settled when folks left me".

However, further correspondences are more reassuring. A letter from "Papa" as early as September 24th (1880) reads "Dear 'Tip'", a nod to Lawrence's college-given nickname. A particularly amusing letter from her brother Ned from Keene State arrived in early October, and reveals a fully adjusted undergraduate: "I am sorry to hear that your college life is getting so terribly dissipating-going to the theatre with Amherst students-going to masquerades-balls-and living on chocolate creams. I fear that you will set a very bad example to such model young ladies as are supposed to inhabit Northampton".

While in college at Smith, Lawrence lived in Number 23 Hubbard House and frequently attended shows at the nearby Opera House, recitals of music students, and outings to other college towns. Her older brother George attended Amherst College, which also made for an easier transition from home to college as they were able to connect quite easily. Though the students in Lawrence's day had less of a variety of classes to choose from than those of today, the students nonetheless had electives and took classes spanning the disciplines in the liberal arts tradition. According to the schedules meticulously saved in the pages of her scrapbook, Lawrence took classes in such diverse subjects as physics, German, French, Greek, Shakespeare, psychology, the Bible, geometry, and political economics. Also quite an accomplished athlete, she has the distinction of placing first in Smith College's first ever tennis tournament in the fall of 1882.

After graduating in 1883, Lawrence spent a year abroad travelling in such places as England, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Austria, and Italy. She returned to Smith for a Masters degree in 1889 and continued to support her alma mater. She advised the school on physical education, and Lawrence House, the dormitory in her name, was so named "to recognize Elizabeth's skill in raising $100,000 to match an offer from John D. Rockefeller Sr.". From 1901 to 1912 she served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Association of College Alumnae (American Association of University Women), and was President of the Alumnae Association from 1909-1911. Because of her incredible involvement both as a student and as an active alumna, Smith President L. Clarke Seelye drafted her help in 1915 for the student life section in his Early History of Smith College.

For a time, Elizabeth lived in Williamstown, MA with her husband, Samuel F. Clarke, a professor at Williams College. Their daughter Beth graduated from Smith as a member of the class of 1916. Detailed accounts of attendance at Commencement reveal that, among the 70 commencements between 1879 and 1948, Elizabeth Lawrence was present at 56 of them, and gives full reasons for each of the 14 other absences. Indeed, a 1948 article in the Berkshire County Eagle reveals her to be the last surviving member at her 65th reunion.

Between the years of 1926 and 1931, Lawrence began wintering in Sarasota, Florida, finally making the move permanent in 1949. While in residence there, she founded the Smith College Club of Sarasota, Florida (1947), held an office in the American Association of University Women, and was secretary-treasurer of the Naples (Italy) table, which was an organization formed to aid scientific research for women. When not working, if the "charming, active, Mrs. Clarke is not working puzzles or keeping up with her reading, she can be seen during the big league training season, attending the baseball games over in Payne Park…and rooting for the Red Sox…'my home state boys'".

Before passing away in 1951 at the age of 89, Elizabeth Lawrence Clarke donated her portrait to the Smith College Art Museum in an attempt to clean out her Massachusetts home. The likeness now hangs in the Lawrence House living room to honor her memory and valuable influence on the early days of Smith College.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection contains correspondence, diaries, journals, news clippings, photographs and publications documenting the life of Elizabeth Crocker Lawrence (Clarke), Class of 1883. Later materials were created by her daughter Elizabeth Clarke, Class of 1916, in partnership with her mother. Correspondence and journals dating past 1939 describe life during World War II, both in the United States and also abroad in Surrey, England.


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 without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Copyright to materials created by other individuals may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Smith College Archives to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Preferred Citation

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

Elizabeth Crocker Lawrence papers, Box #, Smith College Archives

History of the Collection

The Elizabeth Crocker Lawrence papers were created by Elizabeth Lawrence Clarke (Class of 1883) and donated to the College Archives.


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
autograph album
1875 - 1879

Box 1408: folder 1
citations
1918, 1946

Box 1408: folder 2
clippings
1999

Box 1408: folder 3
Colloquium
1915, undated

Box 1408: folder 4
commencement attendance - chronology
1879 - 1948

Box 1408: folder 5
correspondence from Family, September - December (1880)
09/1880 - 12/1880

Box 1408: folder 6
correspondence: Family, January - March (1881)
01/1881 - 03/1881

Box 1408: folder 7
correspondence: Family, April - June (1881)
04/1881 - 06/1881

Box 1408: folder 8
correspondence: Family, September -October (1881)
09/1881 - 10/1881

Box 1408: folder 9
correspondence: Family, November -December (1881)
11/1881 - 12/1881

Box 1408: folder 10
correspondence: Family, March - June (1883)
03/1883 - 06/1883

Box 1408: folder 11
correspondence: Bowen, Julia A. (class of 1883)
1949

Box 1408: folder 12
correspondence: Brooks, Frona M. (class of 1883)
circa 1940

Box 1408: folder 13
correspondence: Choate, Helen A. (class of 1904)
1950

Box 1408: folder 14
correspondence: Clarke, Samuel F.
1923

Box 1408: folder 15
correspondence: Haskell, Louise Woodward (class of 1883)
undated

Box 1408: folder 16
correspondence: Hawks, Emma B. (class of1892)
1949

Box 1408: folder 17
correspondence: Lawrence, Elizabeth crocker
1883, 1921, 1927 - 1928

Box 1408: folder 18
correspondence: Mather, Mary A. (class of 1883)
03/11/1882

Box 1408: folder 19
correspondence: miscellaneous
1883, 1912-13, 1916, 1920, 1944)

Box 1408: folder 20
correspondence: L. Clark Seelye, "Early History of Smith college"
1915 - 1925

Box 1408: folder 21
correspondence: Stoddard, John T.
1910

Box 1408: folder 22
correspondence: Surrey, England
1941

Box 1408: folder 23
correspondence: Wilkie, Wendell L.
1940

Box 1408: folder 24
book, Induction of (President) Harry Augustus Garfield, Williams College
10/7/08

Box 1408: folder 25
daguerreotype, "Elizabeth Crocker Lawrence around age of 4"
circa 1863

Box 1409: folder 26
Diamond Jubilee
1941

Box 1409: folder 27
Handbook of Light Gymnastics by Lucy B. Hunt
1882

Box 1409: folder 28
house in Sarasota, Florida
1998

Box 1409: folder 29
"Longevity", article for the Harford Tribute
1944

Box 1409: folder 30
"Kalendar, A Medley"
1892

Box 1409: folder 31
marriage certificate
1892

Box 1409: folder 32
pen holder and pen
undated

Box 1409: folder 33
photographs
1840, 1881 - 1883, 1890, 1892, 1896, 1913, 1916, 1919 - 1920, undated

Box 1409: folder 34
photographs: portrait
1949 - 1950

Box 1409: folder 35
photographs: tennis
1882

Box 1409: folder 36
plaque in Lawrence House
1949

Box 1409: folder 37
silver bowl, gift dedication
1933

Box 1409: folder 38
speeches
1879, 1884

Box 1409: folder 39
theses
1883, 1889

Box 1409: folder 40
Early History of Smith College: notes for "Student Life" chapter, A-C
circa 1915

Box 1409: folder 41
Early History of Smith College: notes for "Student Life" chapter, D-G
circa 1915

Box 1409: folder 42
Early History of Smith College: notes for "Student Life" chapter, M-O
circa 1915

Box 1409: folder 43
Early History of Smith College: notes for "Student Life" chapter, P-r
circa 1915

Box 1409: folder 44
Early History of Smith College: notes for "Student Life" chapter, S-Z
circa 1915

Box 1409: folder 45
Smith College Alumnae Association
1914, 1924

Box 1409: folder 46
wedding register
circa 1890

Box 1409: folder 47
journal (1880 - 1881)
1880 - 1881

Box 1410: folder 48
journal (1881 - 1882)
1880 - 1883

Box 1410: folder 49
journal (1882 - 1883)
1882 - 1883

Box 1411: folder 50
Line-a-day (1882 - 1921)
1882 - 1921

Box 1411: folder 51
Line-a-day (1885 - 1886)
1885 - 1886

Box 1411: folder 52
Line-a-day (1923 - 1927)
1923 -1927

Box 1412: folder 53
journal (1942 - 1951)
1942 - 1951

Box 1412: folder 54
from journal (1942 - 1944)
1942 - 1944

Box 1412: folder 55
from journal (1947 - 1951)
1947 - 1951

Box 1412: folder 56
guest book at The Perch
1892 - 1920, 1922 - 1936, 1942, 1946

Box 1412: folder 57
guest book at the Eeyrie
1900 - 1902

Box 1412: folder 58
photo album
1882 - 1883

Box OS

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
  • Northampton (Mass.) - History -- Sources
  • Smith College -- Class of 1883
  • Smith College -- Students -- Correspondence
  • Smith College -- Students -- Sources
  • Smith College. Alumni Association
  • Smith College. Lawrence House
  • Women college students -- Massachusetts -- Northampton

Genre terms
  • diaries
  • personal correspondence
  • photograph albums


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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