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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The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Margaret Wooster Curti.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."


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.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Series Descriptions
(1900-62)
1 linear ft.

This series contains basic biographical information about Margaret Wooster Curti and her family. It includes Curti's death certificate, her obituaries, and letters of condolence to Merle Curti; school records; photographs, including an album; a scrapbook created by Curti's grandmother, Nancy Ann Todd; clippings about Margaret and Merle Curti, and about her father, Charles Wooster; several Curti family newsletters; and artwork and special occasion cards created by Margaret Wooster Curti as a child, for her family.

(1898-1961)
.75 linear ft.

Family correspondence is extensive and includes over twenty years of letters between Margaret Wooster Curti and her husband, Merle Eugene Curti, as well as many years of correspondence between Curti, her siblings and her extended family.

(1923-63)
.25 linear ft.

This series is comprised of published monographs and journal articles, and typescripts of unpublished essays by Margaret Wooster Curti; it also includes poems by Curti. Wendy Spotts's thesis, "Illegitimacy as it Relates to the Physical, Intellectual, and Personality Development of Lower-Class Negro Jamaican Children," is based in part on unfinished research conducted by Curti on the intelligence of black children and white children in Jamaica, B.W.I.

Contents List
SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL



Obituaries, essays, telegrams, photographs, and clippings,
1927-61, n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Education



Primary and secondary school: writings and drawings,
circa 1903

Box 1: folder 2
Lincoln (Nebraska) High School: report cards and graduation invitation,
1906-08

Box 1: folder 3
University of Nebraska



Correspondence,
1916

Box 1: folder 4
Commencement program, A.B. degree, mementos,
1915, n.d.

Box 1: folder 5
Petitions, clippings, and related correspondence,
1913-17, n.d.

Box 1: folder 6
Note:
Essays,
1917, n.d.

Box 1: folder 7
University of Chicago: correspondence, and program and script for plays,
1917, 1920, 1930, n.d.

Box 1: folder 8
Note:
Post-graduate employment



Mesa High School, Mesa, Arizona: program for play directed by Curti, and Valentine's Day card,
1919, n.d.

Box 1: folder 9
Beloit College: correspondence, clippings, and pamphlet,
1921, n.d.

Box 1: folder 10
Artwork and special occasion cards for family members



To Lillie Margaret Wooster, Charles Wooster, Charles Wooster, Jr., Dorothy Wooster, and Sophia Wooster,
circa 1900

Box 1: folder 11-15
Note:
Handmade booklets,
circa 1900

Box 1: folder 16
Unidentified,
n.d.

Box 1: folder 17-18
Note:
Condolences,
1961

Box 1: folder 19
Family



Curti, Merle: biographical information, correspondence, clippings and poem,
1944-62, n.d.

Box 1: folder 20
Curti, Nancy Alice: birth certificate, records of conversations with mother, and typescripts of early poems,
1927-34

Box 1: folder 21
Curti family: holiday letters and family newsletter,
1935-37

Box 1: folder 22
Wooster family: correspondence, family tree, obituaries, essay, clippings, photograph, and poems,
1921-38, n.d.

Box 1: folder 23
Note:
Photograph album,
circa 1920-32

Box 2
Scrapbook made by Nancy Ann Todd, Margaret Wooster Curti's grandmother,
n.d.

Box 3
Book of sheet music,
n.d.

Box 4
SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE



Family



Brightenberg, Edith Wooster,
1918-54

Box 5: folder 1
Curti, Evla
May, 1922-23, n.d.

Box 5: folder 2
Curti, Martha,
n.d.

Box 5: folder 3
Curti, Merle,
1921-60, n.d.

Box 5: folder 4-9
Curti, Nancy Alice,
1929-41

Box 5: folder 10
Swinney, Sophia Wooster and family,
1913-30

Box 5: folder 11
Swink, Dorothy Wooster,
1906-28

Box 5: folder 12
Wooster, Charles and Lillie Margaret Wooster,
1898-1933, n.d.

Box 5: folder 13-14
Wooster, Mildred and family,
1918-1940

Box 5: folder 15
Wooster, Pauline,
1922-47

Box 5: folder 16
Unidentified,
1909-61, n.d.

Box 5: folder 17
Third party



Brightenberg, Edith Wooster,
1918, n.d.

Box 5: folder 18
Wooster, Lillie Margaret,
1913-28

Box 5: folder 19
Friends and acquaintances



Hunter, Louis and Trixie,
1932-61

Box 6: folder 1
Neilson, William A.,
1931

Box 6: folder 2
Wolfe, Harry Kirk,
1914-18

Box 6: folder 3
Wolfe, Katharine Brandt,
1914-25

Box 6: folder 4-5
Miscellaneous,
1910-53, n.d.

Box 6: folder 6-7
Political,
1952

Box 6: folder 8
Professional,
1930

Box 6: folder 9
SERIES III. WRITINGS



List of publications,
n.d.

Box 6: folder 10
Published works



Book: Child Psychology: publicity, clippings and reviews,
1930-31

Box 6: folder 11
Articles



"Certain Factors in the Development of a New Spatial Coordination," Psychological Monographs, Psychological Review Publications,
1923

Box 6: folder 12
"The Gesell Schedules Applied to One-, Two- and Three- Year Old Negro Children of Jamaica, B.W.I.," Journal of Comparative Psychology,
1935

Box 6: folder 13
"The Intelligence of Delinquents in Light of Recent Research," The Scientific Monthly,
1926

Box 6: folder 14
"Intelligence Tests of White and Colored School Children in Grand Cayman," The Journal of Psychology,
1960

Box 6
"Native Fear Responses of White Rats in the Presence of Cats", Psychological Monographs, Psychological Review Publications,
1935

Box 6: folder 15
"A Further Report on Fear Responses of White Rats in the Presence of Cats," Journal of Comparative Psychology,
1942

Box 6
"The New Lombrosianism," Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology,
Aug 1926

Box 6: folder 16
"A Preliminary Report on the Testing of Young Maya Children in Yucatan," Journal of Comparative Psychology,
Oct 1939

Box 6
Article in German journal,
1937

Box 6
Book review: Psychological Bulletin,
Jun 1934

Box 6: folder 17
List of book reviews by Curti, Report of the President of Smith College,
n.d.

Box 6
Unpublished works



"Does Democracy Work in Wisconsin?,"
1957

Box 6: folder 18
"An Experimental Study of Bright and Dull Children" (M.A. thesis),
1915

Box 6: folder 19
"Relationships Between Goodenough Draw-A-Man Test Performance and Skin Color Among Preadolescent Jamaican Children,"
n.d.

Box 6: folder 20
Poems,
n.d.

Box 6: folder 21
Writings by others



Spotts, Wendy S.: M.S. thesis: "Illegitimacy as it Relates to the Physical, Intellectual, and Personality Development of Lower-Class Negro Jamaican Children,"
1963

Box 6: folder 22
OVERSIZE MATERIALS



Daily Nebraskan,
11 Apr 1917

Flat File:
Pencil sketch by Myrtle Harris,
n.d.

Flat File:
Application for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, Lillie Margaret Wooster,
n.d.

Flat File:
Play program, "The Research Significant",
10 Apr 1910

Flat File:
Handmade card to Lillie Margaret Wooster,
n.d.

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
  • Child development--Study and teaching--History--Sources
  • Child psychology--Study and teaching--History--Sources
  • Children--Intelligence testing--History--Sources
  • Curti, Margaret Wooster, b. 1891
  • Curti, Merle Eugene, 1897-1996
  • Family--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Nebraska--History--20th century--Sources
  • Smith College--Faculty--History-Sources


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