Five College Archives and Manuscript Collections
Home >> Smith College Archives >> Sophia Smith papers, 1796 - 1870 (bulk 1861 - 2001)
Smith College seal
Sophia Smith papers, 1861 - 2001
8 boxes (3.2 linear feet)
Collection number: RG 10

Abstract:
Benefactor. Contains books, correspondence, journals, photographs, and personal and property records.

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

Sophia Smith, benefactor of Smith College, was born in Hatfield, MA on August 27, 1796. She was the fourth of seven children of Joseph Smith, a prosperous farmer, and his wife, Lois White Smith. Of the seven Smith offspring, three died young and only Joseph Jr. married, producing no heirs. Sophia, her sister Harriet and brother Austin shared the family homestead which still stands at 22 Main Street in Hatfield.

Harriet Smith's death in 1859, followed by Austin's in 1861, left Sophia a wealthy woman attempting to make provisions for the Smith family fortune. Deeply religious, Sophia turned to her pastor, John Morton Greene, as well as other advisers, to discuss her options. Considered were bequests to Amherst College (Reverend Greene's alma mater) and to the nearby Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.

Initially, Sophia settled on a variety of projects, including a school for the deaf, a logical choice in light of her own struggles with impaired hearing. Thus, Smith College may, at least in part, owe its very existence to the fact that John Clarke died before she did, endowing a school for the deaf (the Clarke School in Northampton) and prompting Sophia to abandon her plan.

Sophia Smith died on June 12, 1870. The "Last Will and Testament of Miss Sophia Smith" was completed in March of 1870, nine years after her first meeting about the matter with John Greene. This final version supported "the establishment and maintenance of an institution for the higher education of young women, with the design to furnish for my own sex means and facilities for education equal to those which are afforded now in our Colleges to young men."

The will went on to state: "It is my opinion that by the education of women, what are called their 'wrongs' will be redressed, their wages adjusted, their weight of influence in reforming the evils of society will be greatly increased, as teachers, as writers, as mothers, as members of society, their power for good will be incalculably enlarged...It is my wish that the institution be so conducted, that during all coming time it shall do the most good to the greatest number. I would have it a perennial blessing to the country and the world."

[from Sophia Smith's vision: "A perennial blessing to the country and the world"]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers consist of her personal journal from 1861 to 1870, original correspondence to Mary Lyon Bliss, family papers and memorabilia including deeds and pew rent information, photographs, printed biographical and genealogical material, information about the Smith homestead in Hatfield, MA and volumes from her home library.

Organization of the collection

The Sophia Smith Papers are composed of seven (7) series:

  • I. Biographical Material
  • II. Correspondence
  • III. Journals
  • IV. Memorabilia
  • V. Photographs
  • VI. Publications about Hatfield
  • VII. Personal Library

Series I: Biographical Material contains newspaper clippings, publications, photographs, copies of deeds, Smith Family genealogy, copies of Sophia Smith's will, and information about the Smith Homestead in Hatfield, MA. The materials range in date from 19th century to the present.

Series II: Correspondence contains a letter to Mary Lyon Bliss, dated April 4, 1866.

Series III: Journals (1861-1870) consist of journals documenting Sophia Smith's thoughts and personal reflections, mostly of a religious nature, as she struggles with the second half of her life.

Series IV: Memorabilia contains pamphlets, a copy of a sampler by Sophia Smith, and other ephemera documenting Smith's role in establishing Smith College.

Series V: Photographs contains a small number of known images of Sophia Smith.

Series VI: Publications about Hatfield include the centennial history of the town and documents the role of the Smith Family in the community.

Series VII: Personal Library contains a selection of volumes from the Smith family household with publication dates ranging from 1810 until 1870.


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:

Sophia Smith papers, Box #, Smith College Archives

History of the Collection

The materials in the Sophia Smith papers were donated by members of the John M. Green family as well as by interested alumnae over time.

Processing Information

Nanci A. Young


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

Contents List
Series I: Biographical Material



Collections Listing


Box 1: folder 1
Albums with Sophia Smith signatures


Box 1: folder 2
Booklist (from Homestead)


Box 1: folder 3
Centennial and other Anniversaries


Box 1: folder 4
Centennial: Photographs


Box 1: folder 5
Centennial: Publications


Box 1: folder 6
Deafness


Box 1: folder 7
Genealogy: general


Box 1: folder 8
Genealogy: oversized


Box 1: folder 9
Genealogy: deeds and pew rents


Box 1: folder 10
Genealogy: pew rents


Box 1: folder 11
Genealogy: photographs


Box 1: folder 12
Genealogy: Smith, Austin


Box 1: folder 13
Genealogy: Smith, Joseph


Box 1: folder 14
Genealogy: Smith, Oliver


Box 1: folder 15
Genealogy: publication Oliver Smith, Esquire


Box 1: folder 16
Genealogy: wills

Box 1: folder 17
Genealogy: Smith Charities, Inc.


Box 1: folder 18
Hatfield, Massachusetts


Box 1: folder 19
Hatfield, MA: photographs


Box 1: folder 20
Sophia Smith Homestead


Box 1: folder 21
Sophia Smith Homestead: Chintz


Box 1: folder 22
Sophia Smith Homestead: Photographs


Box 1: folder 23
Sophia Smith Homestead: Sampler


Box 1: folder 24
Sophia Smith Homestead: House built in 1865


Box 1: folder 25
Printed Matter, general


Box 2: folder 26
Ring


Box 2: folder 27
Wills


Box 2: folder 28
Sophia Smith Window


Box 2: folder 29
Series II: Correspondence



Mary Lyon Bliss
04/04/1866

Box 2: folder 30
Series III: Journals



Journals
1861 - 1870

Box 3
Series IV: Memorabilia



General


Box 3: folder 31
19th & 20th century materials


Box 3: folder 32
Series V: Photographs



Photographs


Box 3: folder 33
Photographs


Box 3: folder 34
Series VI: Publications about Hatfield



Publications About Hatfield


Box 3: folder 35
Publications About Hatfield


Box 3: folder 36
Series VII: Personal Library



A Comprehensive View of the Leading and Most Important Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion
1815

Box 4
A Compendium on the System of Divine Truth
1824

Box 4
Conversations on Chemistry
1820

Box 4
Thaddeus of Poland
1817

Box 4
A Compendium of Pysiology and Systematic Botany
1820

Box 5
Sabbath Hymn Book
1858

Box 5
Barnes' Family Prayers
1863

Box 5
Little Women
1870

Box 6
The Plays of William Shakespeare, volume I
1824

Box 6
Holy Bible
1859

Box 6
Kardoo, the Hindoo Girl
1869

Box 7
The Corner Stone
1834

Box 7
Thaddeus of Warsaw, volume III
1817

Box 7
Morrisons' Strangers' Guide and Etiquette for Washington City
1864

Box 7
The Plays of William Shakespeare, volume II
1824

Box 7
The Happy Choice
1847

Box 8
The Still Hour
1860

Box 8
Adjutant Steams
1862

Box 8
The Young Christian Directed
1854

Box 8
A Place in the Memory
1851

Box 8

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
  • Smith, Sophia, 1796-1870 -- Will
  • Hatfield (Mass.) -- History -- Sources
  • Smith College -- History -- Sources
  • Smith College -- endowments


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
Home | Help | About | Search