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Smith College Archives research resources

Sources in the College Archives for research

Special Collections Overview

What is Special Collections?

Smith College Special Collections is a unit within Smith College Libraries. As a special collections library, it is home to materials outside the general library collection, including rare books, archives (historic records), manuscripts, maps, oral history interviews, and audiovisual material. These materials do not circulate outside of the library and are used onsite in the Reading Room. People engage with materials are working on a variety of projects, such as family history, fiction books, art pieces, documentaries, podcasts, academic publications, coursework, and general curiosity.

For more information about Smith College Special Collections, please visit our website.

How Do I Access Material?

All materials that are available for research can be viewed in the reading room. Select material has been digitized and made available online. For more information about finding digitized material, please read the Find digitized content online section of this page.

To learn how to access the collection, please visit the Search Special Collections page.

Can I Visit? 

Yes! The Reading Room is open to everyone. For more information, please read our Visit Special Collections.

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.

Read the “Scope and Contents” and the "Biographical/Historical" notes in the finding aids for more information on each individual collection.

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

Find digitized content online

Select material from Smith College Special Collections has been digitized and made available online.


Digital images from the collections at Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire colleges. Images from Smith College represent materials in the College Archives, Mortimer Rare Book Collection, and Sophia Smith Collection.

Finding Aids

To review digitized material available for each collection, click on the "View Digital Material" tab for each finding aid.

Smith Digital Collections

Smith College Special Collections offers digital resources that can assist your research. These resources represent a sampling of the materials in the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History, College Archives, and Mortimer Rare Book Collection.

Online Exhibits

Exhibits on select topics represented in Special Collections. Includes images of collection materials and contextual information.

Archive-It Web Archiving

Archived web content for Smith College including the Libraries and Special Collections.

Digitization Requests

For instructions on submitting digitization requests, please visit our Digitization & Use page