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Margaret Wooster Curti Papers, 1898-1963
6 boxes (2 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 38

Abstract:
Professor and psychologist. Creator of a successful pre-school program at the Peoples' Institute in Northampton, Massachusetts, which evolved into a laboratory for Smith College's child psychology classes. Papers also depict family life in Nebraska and Northampton. Materials include correspondence, research, writings, photographs, scrapbooks, and artwork.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Margaret Wooster Curti. Copyright to materials created by others 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 Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

NB: Mother Felicitas requests that scholars respect "the privacy of persons still living."

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note
Merle and Margaret Wooster Curti,  Smith College,  May 3, 1926

Merle and Margaret Wooster Curti,
Smith College, May 3, 1926

Margaret Wooster Curti was born in Silver Spring, Nebraska on 18 February 1891, the daughter of Lillie Margaret (Todd) Wooster and Charles Wooster. After graduating from Lincoln (Nebraska) High School in 1908, she attended the University of Nebraska, earning an A.B. in 1913 (Phi Beta Kappa) and an M.A. in psychology in 1915. She went on to the University of Chicago, where she obtained her Ph.D. in 1920.

Curti taught briefly at Mesa High School in Mesa, Arizona and then at Beloit College prior to her appointment in 1922 as Assistant Professor of Psychology at Smith College. While at Beloit, she met historian Merle Eugene Curti; they married in Paris in 1925 while he was studying under a fellowship at The Sorbonne. The couple had two daughters, Nancy Alice, born 3 March 1927, and Martha, born 7 January 1932.

Curti taught at Smith until 1937, during which time she was promoted to Associate Professor. She went on to work as Research Associate in the Teachers' College at Columbia University from 1937 to 1942, and lectured at the University of Wisconsin during the 1943-44 academic year. In 1930, Curti published the book Child Psychology, which was a widely used college textbook for many years. She also wrote for professional journals and lectured at national conferences. Liberal in her politics, Curti was a member of the national Socialist Party and of the Hampshire County Progressive Club in Northampton, Massachusetts. She was also involved in The People's Institute in Northampton and in 1935, in response to the needs of the city's working mothers, she created a successful pre-school program for two- to five-year-olds at the People's Institute, which quickly evolved into a lab for Smith College's child psychology classes as well.

Margaret Wooster Curti died of breast cancer in Madison, Wisconsin on 18 September 1961.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Margaret Wooster Curti Papers consist of 2 linear feet and primarily contain biographical material and correspondence, dating from 1900 to 1961. Types of material include school records; artwork; correspondence; photographs; and published and unpublished monographs and journal articles. The correspondence is extensive and contains letters between Margaret Wooster Curti and her husband, Merle Curti, as well as letters between Curti and her parents and siblings. The photograph album depicts the Wooster and Curti families and their lives in Nebraska and in Northampton, Massachusetts; the scrapbook created by Curti's grandmother depicts the kinds of newspaper clippings that were of interest to an early-nineteenth century girl. Some of Curti's writings about intelligence testing of black and white children may be of interest to scholars, as might a M.S. thesis by Wendy Spotts, titled "Illegitimacy as it Relates to the Physical, Intellectual, and Personality Development of Lower-Class Negro Jamaican Children."

This collection is organized into three series:


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.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Margaret Wooster Curti. Copyright to materials created by others 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 Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

NB: Mother Felicitas requests that scholars respect "the privacy of persons still living."

Preferred Citation

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

Margaret Wooster Curti Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The Margaret Wooster Curti Papers were donated in 1978 by her daughter, Martha Curti, now Mother Felicitas Curti, OSB.

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Burd Schlessinger, 2001.


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.