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Camp Bonnie Brae Records, 1917-2007 (ongoing)
13 boxes (11 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 592

Abstract:
Camp for girls. Records document camp activities and include photographs; administrative records from the camps founding in 1919 through 2007, including correspondence, reports, minutes, financial information, information about staff, songbooks, publicity materials, and publications; and as well as files pertaining to buildings and grounds.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • The collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
  • Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information.
  • Researchers must sign an Access Agreement Form before using this collection, agreeing to protect the confidentiality of living persons.
  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

The material in this collection may be protected by copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights for permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Permission must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

Camp Bonnie Brae, located in East Otis, Massachusetts, is the oldest continuously operating Girl Scout camp in the United States. Begun in 1919, the camp is administered by the Girl Scouts of Pioneer Valley in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. The original building was an inn, also called Bonnie Brae, and was owned by Loring P. Lane. Edith Sinnett, first director of the Springfield Girl Scouts, and her friend, Edith G. Newell, wished to see the organization establish a summer camp, and in the summer of 1919 they rented Bonnie Brae from the Lane family and gave public notice that Girl Scouts could apply to attend. The fee was five dollars per week. The program for summer included nature study, as well as tennis, basketball, baseball, and volleyball. The official uniform was middy blouse and bloomers. No high heels or silk stockings were allowed. A bugler and a cook were hired for the summer, and two dietitians from Boston planned the menus for the camp. The success of the 1919 camp season made certain the continuation of the project, so accordingly the Girl Scout Council bought the 227 acres of land, the buildings, and the furniture from Mr. Lane for $10,000. Counselors served on a volunteer basis, and came from various occupations around the Springfield area. The camp maintained a 1:7 staff to camper ratio. In 1921, several troops of the Springfield Council donated money for scholarships so that girls who lacked the fees could attend. The camp has always accommodated persons of all races, creeds, and economic backgrounds. Also in 1921, the waterfront program at Camp Bonnie Brae was reorganized by an instructor from the American Red Cross. The campers were divided into three groups according to their swimming skills, and great emphasis was placed on graduating from one group to the next. The system of water buddies as a means of keep track of swimmers was instituted at Camp Bonnie Brae, the first camp in the country to do so. To enable Bonnie Brae to accommodate older girls, and to offer a better program for younger scouts, property was purchased a half-mile from Bonnie Brae and a Brownie Camp established there in 1941. Also in 1941, the Second Western Hemisphere Encampment was held at Camp Bonnie Brae. Girls from fourteen countries and from all over the United States attended. The guest of honor was Eleanor Roosevelt, and during her visit she spoke with the girls about democracy, proper nutrition, the bases of a post-war peace, and international cooperation. The camp has expanded its facilities over the years to include more campers and offer more activities. As of 2007, the summer program accomodated 140 girls from around the country and the world. There are also non-residential programs offerd in spring, fall, and winter.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Camp Bonnie Brae Records consist of extensive documentation of camp activities, notably photographs; files pertaining to construction and maintenance of buildings and grounds, including maps, blueprints, drawings, and photographs; and administrative records from the camps founding in 1919 through 2007, including correspondence, reports, minutes, financial information, information about staff, songbooks, publicity materials, and publications. Thre are also documentary films, slides of camp grounds and activities, a camp scrapbook, and memorabilia. Recent additions pertain to Adeline Friedlander, from her time as a camper at Camp Bonnie Brae in the late 1920s and early 1930s; materials from her funeral (2007), and from the dedication of the Girl Scouts of Western Massachusetts's Adeline M. Friedlander Museum and Visitor Center (2009). A small amount of clippings and photographs relating to the camp, collected by Friedlander, is also included.

[NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]

Note: the films from this collection have been digitized and are available to view online.


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

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • The collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
  • Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information.
  • Researchers must sign an Access Agreement Form before using this collection, agreeing to protect the confidentiality of living persons.
  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

The material in this collection may be protected by copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights for permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Permission must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Preferred Citation

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

Camp Bonnie Brae Records, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

Additional Formats

The films from this collection have been digitized and are available to view online.

History of the Collection

The Camp Bonnie Brae Records were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Shelly Kolb and Jill Paul in 2007.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Processing Information

Processed by Burd Schlessinger, 2008.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/

Language
English


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
  • African American girls--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Camp Bonnie Brae (East Otis, Mass.)--History--Sources
  • Camps--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Girl Scouts of the Pioneer Valley--History--Sources
  • Girl Scouts of the United States of America--History--Sources
  • Girl Scouts of Western Massachusetts
  • Girls--Health and hygiene--United States
  • Girls--Societies and clubs--History--Sources
  • Girls--United States--History--Sources
  • Race relations--Massachusetts


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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