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Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests records, 1922-1983
0.625 linear feet (2 containers)
Collection number: CA.MS.00081

Abstract:
These records document a research institute to develop methods of combining efficient home management with serious intellectual endeavors. The collection contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes, proposals, and programs.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

Materials in the Smith College Archives are open for use, with the following exceptions: Faculty tenure and promotion files, as well as inactive faculty files are closed permanently. Board of Trustees' records are closed permanently. Minutes of the Faculty Council are closed to all except current Smith College Faculty for a period of 75 years following their creation. Student academic records, student disciplinary records, and all records containing FERPA-covered student information are closed during the lifetime of the student. Student records created 100 years or more ago are assumed to be about deceased students. In all cases, the College Archives will continue to provide public access to materials that were intended to be public at the time of their creation (press releases, publications, etc.) References

Restrictions on use:

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Smith College Archives

Biographical / Historical

The Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests was established at Smith College in 1925 with Ethel Puffer Howes as director. Mrs. Howes, an advocate of domestic reform, formulated a plan for a research institute to develop methods of combining efficient home management with serious intellectual endeavors. Mrs. Howes submitted her proposal to the president of Smith College, where she had studied and taught. The proposed institute received a three-year grant from the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Foundation and the approval of the Smith College Board of Trustees.

The Institute had two major goals: to find practical ways to make household chores easier for women and to educate women to pursue interests which could be integrated with the duties of marriage. In an effort to achieve the first objective, the Institute experimented with ways to help married women lighten their daily routines. Between 1926 and 1929, the Institute conducted research and practical demonstrations to provide home assistance through cooperative nursery schools, dinner kitchens, and cooked food delivery services. To attain the second objective, Mrs. Howes sought to guide women into professions and activities which could be combined with marriage. Toward this end, the Institute studied domestic and landscape architecture and free-lance writing to determine their possibilities for coordination with family life.

Associated by the faculty with vocational training and home economics, the Institute functioned as an isolated entity. In two recent papers about the Institute, the authors concluded that neither the goals of the Institute's programs nor its theoretical bases were clearly defined. In 1929 Mrs. Howes asked the Trustees for a two year extension for the Institute. She also proposed that the Institute be incorporated into the college curriculum, a plan which the faculty did not endorse. After the Rockefeller Foundation denied a request for continued support, the Trustees appropriated funding for Howes to conclude her work. Howes did not complete her research and by 1931 the Institute was at an end.

Scope and Contents

The records consist of .625 linear feet of correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes, proposals, and programs. In addition, the Institute published a series of nine studies which present its various projects in greater detail.

Although numbering fewer than 150 pages, the correspondence and memoranda follow the affairs of the Institute from its conception in 1922, through its development, 1925 to 1928, to signs of its decline in 1929. The minutes of both the Smith College Board of Trustees and Trustees' Committee on the Institute reveal the attitudes and intentions of their members regarding support for the Institute. The material includes reports which outline the activities of the Institute and a 1926 questionnaire sent to 500 Smith alumnae in an effort to learn whether college graduates had integrated the interests of marriage and work. Two student projects contribute to our understanding of the Institute. An important source is an honors thesis for a B.A. in American Studies, "In Search of the 'Good Life': Ethel Puffer Howes and the Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests," by Elizabeth A. Harwick. This paper traces the rise and fall of the Institute concentrating on its conceptualization and formation. A research paper, "A Matter of Compromise: The Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests at Smith College, 1925-31," by Amelie Russell, also examines the Institute's history.


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

Materials in the Smith College Archives are open for use, with the following exceptions: Faculty tenure and promotion files, as well as inactive faculty files are closed permanently. Board of Trustees' records are closed permanently. Minutes of the Faculty Council are closed to all except current Smith College Faculty for a period of 75 years following their creation. Student academic records, student disciplinary records, and all records containing FERPA-covered student information are closed during the lifetime of the student. Student records created 100 years or more ago are assumed to be about deceased students. In all cases, the College Archives will continue to provide public access to materials that were intended to be public at the time of their creation (press releases, publications, etc.) References

Restrictions on use:

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Preferred Citation

Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests records, College Archives, CA-MS-00081, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Massachusetts.

History of the Collection

A few items in these records were donated by Benjamin T. Howes, son of Ethel Puffer Howes. The source is unknown for the remainder of the materials.

Processing Information

Processed by Eleanor M. Lewis.


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
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Organization



Correspondence
1925-29

Box 1303: folder 1-5
Memoranda and miscellaneous items
1922-28 undated

Box 1303: folder 6
Minutes of the Board of Trustees of Smith College
1925-31

Box 1303: folder 7
Questionnaire to alumnae for program development
1926

Box 1303: folder 8
Reports to the Board of Trustees of Smith College (5)
1926-27

Box 1303: folder 9
Minutes of the Trustees' Committee on the Institute
1926-27

Box 1303: folder 10
Proposals for extension of the Institute
1928-30

Box 1303: folder 11
Articles and clippings
1926-28 undated

Box 1303: folder 12
Programs



Conferences: press releases, programs, clippings
1926-27 undated

Box 1303: folder 13
Dinner Kitchen: Press releases, notices, menus, price lists
1927-29

Box 1303: folder 14
Free Lance Writing: publicity statement, announcements
Oct. 1927

Box 1303: folder 15
Home Assistance Club: publicity statement, announcements
1927 undated

Box 1303: folder 16
Nursery School: articles, correspondence, notes, memos, reports, photographs
1927-28 undated

Box 1303: folder 17
Summer Institute: brochure, miscellaneous notes
1929

Box 1303: folder 18
Publications



Alma Louise Olsen, "Free Lance Writing as an Occupation for Women," Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests, no. 1
1927

Box 1303: folder 19
Alice Peloubet Norton, "Cooked Food Supply Experiments in America," Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests, no. 2
1927

Box 1303: folder 20
Ethel P. Howes and Dorothea Beach, "The Cooperative Nursury School: What it Can Do For the Parents," Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests, no. 3
1928

Box 1303: folder 21
"The Nursery School as a Social Experiment," Conference, Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests, no. 4
1931

Box 1303: folder 22
Esther H. Stocks, "A Community Home Assistants Experiment," Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests, no. 5
1928

Box 1303: folder 23
Ethel Puffer Howes and Dorothea Beach, "Cooked Food Supply Experiments in an Eastern College Community," Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests, no. 6
1928

Box 1303: folder 24
Henry A. Frost and William R. Sears, "Women in Architecture and Landscape Architecture," Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests, no. 7
1928

Box 1303: folder 25
Ethel Puffer Howes, "The Progress of the Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests," Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests, no. 8
1928

Box 1303: folder 26
Ethel P. Howes and Doris M. Sanbourn, "The Dinner Kitchen Cookbook, including Report for 1928-29 Smith College Community Kitchen," Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests, no. 9
1930

Box 1304: folder 27
Student Theses



Amelie Russell, "A Matter of Compromise: Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests at Smith College, 1925-31," 39 pp.
1977

Box 1304: folder 28
Elizabeth A. Harwick, "In Search of the 'Good Life': Ethel Puffer Howes and Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests," 88 pp.
1983

Box 1304: folder 28
Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests, Publications 1-9 in one volume
1927-30

Box 1304

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
  • Family life education--Massachusetts--Northampton.
  • Family life education--United States.
  • Home economics--Massachusetts--Northampton.
  • Home economics--United States.
  • Howes, Ethel Puffer, Class of 1891
  • Institute for the Coordination of Women's Interests.
  • Women--Education--Massachusetts--Northampton.
  • Women--Education--United States.
  • Women--Employment--Massachusetts--Northampton.
  • Women--Employment--United States.


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