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Dorcus Brigham Papers, 1918-1986 (Bulk: 1924-1967)
1 box (.4 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 42

Abstract:
Professor of Botany. Contains biographical material, correspondence with Kate Mott Greene Stephenson, photographs, and printed material about Village Hill Nursery.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

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

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Dorcas Brigham was a member of the Class of 1918, and a valued member of the Smith College faculty. After graduating and spending time in Florida, Brigham returned to Smith to do graduate work in 1923, and stayed almost twenty-five years . She taught Botany until her retirement in 1947.

Brigham was born on May 18, 1896, in Newtonville, Massachusetts, but spent most of her childhood in Springfield, Massachusetts. While a student at Smith she was house president, a student adviser, a member of Psi Kappa Psi, played halfback on the field hockey team, was class treasurer her Sophomore year and contibuted to the war effort by chairing the Supply Committee of the Smith College Relief Unit. She was also on the Senior Dramatics Costume Committee.

When she graduated she spent her winters in Florida working in an orange grove and an herbarium. She spent her summers in Alexandria Bay, located in the Thousand Islands of New York State. When she returned in 1923, she studied and taught botany. She eventually became an associate professor in the Botony Department. She wrote several popular articles for the Gardeners' Chronicle of America, was a member of the Highlands Biological Foundation, Highlands-Cashiers Garden Club, National Horticultural Society, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, American Rock Garden Society, American Association of University Professors, and the American Amaryllis Society. During World War II she "helped locally to promote interest in house gardening" In 1928 she left Smith for a year to teach horticulture at the Lawthorpe School of Landscape Architecture in Groton, Massachusetts. There she met her future business partner, Dorthea Wallace Ward. In the spring of 1929 Brigham located a 25-acre farm about five miles away from the college in Williamsburg, Massachusetts. Together they moved into an 18th century farmhouse, and began to develop the land. They soon turned the farm into a business. Although it started as a roadside flower stand, it eventually became the Village Hill Nursery. The nursery was a center of horicultural supplies and knowledge for the area. They raised pigs, cows, and chickens on the farm, becoming virtually self-sufficient. Both women lectured locally on rock gardens, herbs and various botanical issues and interests. When Ward married in 1939, Brigham sold off the animals, but expanded the nursery, building a greenhouse, putting in a pond, and a massive grape arbor. She began working there full-time when she retired in 1947. In 1955 she was honored by the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts for her "unselfish, untiring efforts in furthering the interest in and knowledge of unusual plants…" Birgham stayed in Williamsburg year-round until the 1950s, then took a house in Mount Dora, Florida, where she founded the area's first Audubon Society and became the namesake for a nature preserve on lake Gertrude. She still returned to Massachusetts in the summer months, but spent most of the year in Florida until her death on February 14, 1986.

At Smith she not only taught botany, but she oversaw the care and identifucation of the many varieties of trees on the campus, (and designed a garden room in Capen House). When Brigham began her career, L. Clark Seelye had left office only four years before. When she died in 1986 Mary Maples Dunn was the College's president.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Dorcus Brigham papers consist of biographical material which includes newspaper clippings, photographs, and career summaries. The correspondence was written by Brigham to Kate Mott Greene Stephenson between 1934 and 1967 and chronicles their friendship.


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

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

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Preferred Citation

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

Dorcas Brigham Papers, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The Dorcas Brigham Papers were donated over a period of time to the Smith College Archives from a variety of sources.


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
Biographical Material
1918-86

Box 690.1: folder 1
Correspondence with Kate Mott Greene Stephenson
1934-67

Box 690.1: folder 2-8
Photographs
c1914-68

Box 690.1: folder 9
Printed Material re: Village Hill Nursery
c1950, 1960

Box 690.1: folder 10

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
  • Brigham, Dorcas
  • Smith College-Faculty
  • Stephenson, Kate Mott Greene
  • Village Hill Nursery


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