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Archives Concentration: Teaching the Archives: Finding Materials in the SSC/CA/MRBC

Sophia Smith Collection, College Archives, Mortimer Rare Book Collection (Originally created in Fall 2015)

Ask the Archivists

No matter how detailed the collection description, it just isn’t possible to capture all of the potential housed within our collections. We’re happy to help develop a list of likely collections to consult and/or share specific knowledge of particularly good options.

Email for information about visiting the reading room and questions about the collection.

ARX website

Visit the Archives Concentration website at for more information, including news, course descriptions, application, resources, and links.

Search Special Collections

For tips on navigating finding aids and the library catalog, visit our Search Special Collections page.

Using Finding Aids

Finding Aids are guides for collections of archival material. They list material in boxes, usually organized in series of like materials. Materials are most often described at the folder level, not the item level. If you would like to know more about the contents of a folder, you can email

It is essential to read the main page of each individual collection or record group group.  In each individual record group you can search the collection using the navigation bar on the right of the screen (or at the bottom depending on your screen size). You can search within that collection using the search bar or you can browse by expanding the different headings (series title) in the navigation bar. To expand a series title, click the arrow next to the title.

You can also search associated names, events, organizations, locations, etc. in the main finding aid page for all Smith College Special Collections ( navigation bar and see what comes up.

For more tips on navigating the finding aids, visit our Search Special Collections page.


For questions about the collection, digital resources, and digitization requests...

please email

Staff are here to help, but the best place to start is by emailing!

Sophia Smith Collection
(women’s history)
Maureen Callahan

Smith College Archives
(college history)
Nanci Young

Mortimer Rare Book Collection
(literary manuscripts)
Shannon Supple