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Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards papers, 1882-1974
.75 linear feet (2 containers)
Collection number: SSC.MS.00130

Abstract:
Ellen Richards was a chemist and professor. She taught analysis of water, sewage, and air, and devised the first water purity tests. Involved in home economics movement, Richards introduced ideas of nutritious lunches in schools and systematic domestic science instruction. Materials include photographs, correspondence, notes and writings.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. 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. 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.

Sophia Smith Collection

Biographical / Historical

Ellen Swallow was born 3 December 1842 in Dunstable, Massachusetts. She received a B.S. from Vassar College in 1870. She earned another B.S. from M.I.T. in 1873 and, in the same year, an M.A. from Vassar. She studied for a doctorate at M.I.T., but never received it, reportedly because "the heads of the department did not wish a woman to receive the first D.S. in chemistry." In 1875 she married M.I.T. chemistry professor, Robert H. Richards, and devoted the next ten years to advocating for scientific education for women. Richards was the first woman elected to the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers and in 1882 she helped found the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (later the American Association of University Women). She was also a leader in the effort to improve physical education in colleges. She wrote three books: The Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning (1882 and 1887), Food Materials and Their Adulteration (1885), and The Cost of Food, a Study in Dietaries (1901). In 1884, M.I.T. set up a chemical laboratory for the study of sanitation, the first of its kind, with William Nichols in charge and Ellen Richards as his assistant. During this time, Richards devised the first water purity tests and, beginning in 1887, she was put in charge of the laboratory; she ran it during the groundbreaking study of water pollution in Massachusetts that modernized sewage treatment ("The Great Sanitary Survey"), commissioned by the State Board of Health. After teaching gratis in the women's laboratory at M.I.T for eight years, when women were admitted to M.I.T. on an equal footing with men Richards was appointed to the faculty as instructor in sanitary chemistry. She also taught analysis of water, sewerage, and air in the department of sanitary engineering, established in 1890. From about 1890, she increasingly concentrated on what came to be known as the "home economics movement." Among her many accomplishments, she introduced the idea of nutritious lunches in schools; worked for public support for systematic domestic science instruction; and carried on important work for the Society to Encourage Studies at Home, founded in 1873 to "help women who needed guidance and encouragement in acquiring knowledge which they could not go to school to get." Ellen Swallow Richards died in Boston on 30 March 1911.

Scope and Contents

The Ellen Swallow Richards papers are primarily related to her work as an advocate of higher education for women and as an expert in water chemistry. The collection contains photographs; correspondence; notes and writings; and printed matter, including scientific writings and selected tests, diagrams, drawings, and reprints. Of particular interest are writings and photographs related to water testing and pollution of Jamaica Pond in Boston (1900-07). There are articles written for the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA) on the education of women, as well as Richards' books on home economics. The papers also contain correspondence and printed material related to the founding of the ACA (1882) and to the Society to Encourage Studies at Home (1873). The papers of Robert Hallowell Richards are located in the Archives of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Researchers may also wish to contact the M.I.T. Archives for information about the records of the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Civil and Sanitary Engineering.

This collection is organized into three series:

  1. I. Biographical Material
  2. II. Correspondence
  3. III. Writings

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

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. 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. 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

Ellen Swallow Richards papers, Sophia Smith Collection, SSC-MS-00130, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Massachusetts.

History of the Collection

According to a letter written in 1960 by Margaret Storrs Grierson, Nina Browne, Grierson's predecessor as Smith College Archivist and a friend of Ellen Swallow Richards', persuaded Richards to place her papers in the Sophia Smith Collection; no other details are known.


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
SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL
1911-74 1911-74


This series is comprised of several articles and clippings about Ellen Swallow Richards and her pioneering work in home economics and in chemistry, particularly as applied to water purification.

Contents


Box 1: folder 1
Biography and tributes
1911-74

Box 1: folder 2
SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE
1899-1910 1899-1910


This series contains letters from U.S. citizens regarding Richards' work in the home economics field, as well as correspondence on various subjects from professional colleagues. A significant amount of correspondence pertains to the Association of Collegiate Alumnae.

Association of Collegiate Alumnae



General
undated

Box 1: folder 3
Academic members
1906-09

Box 1: folder 4
Quarter Centennial meeting
1907

Box 1: folder 5
General



Balch, Emily G.
undated

Box 1: folder 6
Balliet, Thomas
1905

Box 1: folder 7
Barrus, Annie
undated

Box 1: folder 8
Benedict, Francis Gano
1908

Box 1: folder 9
Bevies, Isabel
1907-08

Box 1: folder 10
Breckinridge, Sophonisba
1906-08

Box 1: folder 11
Brown, Elmer Ellsworth
1908

Box 1: folder 12
Butler, Nicholas Murray
1907

Box 1: folder 13
Calkins, Mary Whiton
1907

Box 1: folder 14
Clarke, Elizabeth Lawrence
1900-10

Box 1: folder 15
Coes, Mary
1898-1905

Box 1: folder 16
Cone, Kate Morris
1899-1902

Box 1: folder 17
Cook, Caroline J.
1905-07

Box 1: folder 18
Cushing, Florence
1902-09

Box 1: folder 19
Dabney, Charles William
1907

Box 1: folder 20
Decker, Sarah S. Platt
undated

Box 1: folder 21
Draper, Andrew Sloan
1902

Box 1: folder 22
Earle, Mabel
1905

Box 1: folder 23
Franklin, Effie Scott
1907

Box 1: folder 24
Gill, Laura
1905-08

Box 1: folder 25
Goodrich, Henrietta I.
1905

Box 1: folder 26
Greene, Mary E. Lewis
1908

Box 1: folder 27
Harris, William R.
1901

Box 1: folder 28
Hicks, Verna
1908

Box 1: folder 29
Hussey, Ethel Fountain
1908-09

Box 1: folder 30
Jackson, Edith Talbot
1907-08

Box 1: folder 31
Kingsbury, Susan M.
1908-09

Box 1: folder 32
Kinne, Helen
1907

Box 1: folder 33
Knight, Edward
1908

Box 1: folder 34
Langworthy, Charles Ford
1907

Box 1: folder 35
MacMurphy, Archibald E.
1908

Box 1: folder 36
Maltby, Margaret E.
1908

Box 1: folder 37
Moore, Eva Perry
1905-06

Box 1: folder 38
Noyes, Lucia Clapp
1905

Box 1: folder 39
Pearmain, Alice u.
1905

Box 1: folder 40
Salmon, Lucy
1908

Box 1: folder 41
Talbot, Marion, 1895 (?)
1895

Box 1: folder 42
Thomas, M. Carey
1900

Box 1: folder 43
Van Hise, Charles
1907

Box 1: folder 44
Welch, William H.
1907

Box 1: folder 45
Wilder, Constance
1905

Box 1: folder 46
SERIES III. WRITINGS
1882-1907 1882-1907


The series is comprised of typescripts, notes, published articles, and books relating to Richards' advocacy of higher education for women, to her study of water pollution and purification, and to her work in developing the field of home economics.

Education of women



Typescripts



"The Ideal College Course for Women!"
1898

Box 1: folder 47
"The Ideal Course for Women to go into Effect in 1910"
1898

Box 1
Notes, n.d


Box 1
Photocopy: "Tendencies in Women's Professional Education", (about Ellen s. Richards) The Woman's Journal
16 Nov 1907

Box 1
General

[See also Oversize Material]

Articles
1906-07 undated

Box 1: folder 48-49
Metropolitan Park commission: water analysis
1904

Box 1: folder 50
Water supply and water pollution



Oscillaria Prolifica



Notes
undated

Box 1: folder 51
Reprints of published articles
1901-04

Box 1: folder 52
Tests and photographs
1901 undated

Box 1: folder 53
Jamaica Pond: correspondence and notes
1900-07

Box 1: folder 54
General

See also Flat File.

General: reprints of published articles
1902-03

Box 1: folder 55
OVERSIZE MATERIALS



The Woman's Journal
16 Nov 1907

Map case Flat file
Jamaica Pond: Sanitary Water Analysis
1892

Map case Flat file

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
  • American Association of University Women--History--Sources
  • Ecology--Massachusetts--Jamaica Pond
  • Home economics--Study and teaching--History--Sources
  • Massachusetts Institute Of Technology--Faculty--History--Sources
  • Nutrition--Study and teaching--United States--History--Sources
  • Richards, Ellen
  • Richards, Ellen H. (Ellen Henrietta), 1842-1911
  • Richards, Ellen Henrietta Swallow
  • Sanitary chemistry--Study and teaching--History--Sources
  • Unknown
  • Water--Purification--Massachusetts-History--Sources
  • Women chemists--United States--History--Sources
  • Women scientists--United States--History--Sources

Genre terms
  • Books
  • Drawings
  • Notes
  • Research
  • Writings
  • correspondence
  • photographs


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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