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World War I Special Collections Resources

Guide to resources related to World War I in Smith College Special Collections

World War I in Smith College Special Collections

Materials related to the World War I are found throughout Smith College Special Collections. Smith College Special Collections comprises the Mortimer Rare Book Collection, the Smith College Archives and the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History.

The lists below are not comprehensive, but are intended to help you start your research.

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

Collections Related to Smith College: Organizational Files

Below the record groups are briefly described. For more extensive and detailed information, reading the following sections of the finding aid: Scope and Contents, Biographical / Historical, Additional Description.

Smith College Relief Unit records

The Smith College Relief Unit was founded in 1917 to bring relief to those areas of France that were most devastated during the first World War. The records include letters, journals, photographs and albums, correspondence with the War Service Board and information about the reconstruction.

War Service collection

These records contain correspondence, reports, news articles, publications, and photographs, related to the service of Smith College students in World War I.

Buildings records

The Buildings records focus on the College's buildings, both extant and demolished. This collection interprets the term "building" loosely, and includes information not only about the buildings themselves, but also about what occurred / occurs in the buildings, especially where student residences are concerned. Much of Smith College student life is and has long been centered in the residential houses, and so a buildings file may contain annual group photographs of house residents, student rosters, house government material, and information on house traditions, in addition to the architectural information, ownership history, and photographs of the building itself.

Grounds subject files

The Grounds subject files contain information relating to the history, composition, and physical features of the Smith College campus, including the Botanic Gardens and the Genetic Experiment Station.

Smith College Archives artifacts collection

The College Archives is home to over six hundred artifacts which supplement the documentary and photographic history of Smith College. The Artifacts Collection includes Smith College, class, and club pins and jewelry, Reunion paraphernalia, house banners and t-shirts, samples of the Smith Wedgwood china, Smith College Relief Unit mementos, souvenirs from special events, and countless other objects.

Rally Day Files

Smith College celebration. Contains convocation programs, texts of speeches, photographs, newspaper clippings, press releases, show programs and scripts, dance programs, tickets, and class songs. 

Through the years, students have sponsored and participated in a range of activities: rallies, debates, basketball rivalries, dramatic presentations, singing and dancing. The current tradition of sponsoring an event to benefit a charity began in 1918 when the Rally Day Show was held to raise funds for the Smith College Relief Unit serving in World War I France.

Smith Club of Seattle records

The Smith Club of Seattle records contains minutes, notebooks, correspondence, and mailings documenting the club's activities. The general files include a club scrapbook from 1912-19 which contains clippings about the Smith College Unit in Grecourt, France, during World War I

Individuals: Smith Alumnae

Alice Weld Tallant papers

Smith College Class of 1897. Physician, Settlement house worker, Relief worker, World War I. Small collection related to Tallant's medical career after graduation from Johns Hopkins University in 1902, at Joy Settlement and St. Martha's House, Philadelphia; and more extensive documentation of her work in France during World War I, both as Director of Smith College Relief Unit, and later in a French Army Hospital.

Ruth Pierson Churchill papers

Smith College Class of 1919. Smith graduate and WWI relief worker. The bulk of the papers documents her relief work for the Foreign Missions Board of the Methodist Church in France, during World War I. Papers include photographs, a scrapbook, postcards, news clippings, and an outline of Church's service in France. Also included is correspondence between Churchill and her family, friends, and U.S. servicemen.

Fannie Clement papers

Smith College Class of 1903. WWI relief worker; Nurse. The papers include correspondence, reports, papers, and pamphlets relating to Clement's administration of the American Red Cross rural nursing program in Appalachia, circa 1912-1917, and various of accounts of her visits to impoverished communities in that area. There is also correspondence from Clement to her family while working with the Smith College Relief Unit in Grécourt, France, after World War I (1919).

Harriet Boyd Hawes Papers

Smith College Class of 1892. Instructor of Greek, archaeologist, nurse, relief worker, organizer and first Director of Smith College Relief Unit in France - World War I. Contains writings, correspondence, journals, news clippings, notes, photographs, and publications. 

Her World War I activities are documented in various accounts of her experiences as a representative of the American Distributing Service on Corfu where she organized a hospital for the wounded and ill of the Serbian Army (1915-16). There are approximately 30 photographs of the facility, its staff and surroundings. Hawes' work with the Smith College Relief Unit (1917-18) is documented by correspondence and writings on the founding of the Unit, plus a journal, news clippings and photographs.

Charlotte Bannon papers

Smith College Class of 1895. Red Cross relief worker, World War I. Papers primarily consist of a typescript of letters Bannon wrote to family and friends from Paris between 1918 and 1921. Additional papers provide a small amount of information about her life before and after her Red Cross work in Paris. Materials also include photographs. She had frequent contact with friends from home, including members of the Smith College Relief Unit stationed at Grecourt and other parts of France.

Dorothy Sears Ainsworth papers

Smith College Class of 1916. Dorothy Sears Ainsworth was Professor and Director of Physical Education at Smith College. The papers contain biographical material, speeches, lectures, organizational notes and correspondence, student papers, subject files, publications, photographs, and awards. The Dorothy Sears Ainsworth papers contain significant documentation of her involvement with Smith College as a student, alumnae, professor, and with the Smith College Relief Unit. 

Harriet Bliss Ford papers (College Archives)

Smith College Class of 1899 and Resident Trustee from 1931 to 1964. Collection contains correspondence, reports, clippings, publications, and photos. During WWI, Ford worked in close contact with the Paris headquarters of the American Red Cross for two years and acted as chairman of the Paris committee of the Smith College Relief Unit in France. 

Harriet Bliss Ford papers (Sophia Smith Collection)

The papers include biographical materials, correspondence, memorabilia, photographs, writings, and subject files. The correspondence and subject files relate to her work with Century Magazine and her political and intellectual life during her residence in Northampton, Massachusetts. Included are plays and pageants written and published by Ford for the Young Women's Christian Association (as well as other YWCA publications), and manuscripts of her speeches and writings. There is also an unpublished biography of her husband, George B. Ford. Notable correspondents include Carrie Chapman Catt; Grace Coolidge; Elizabeth Cutter Morrow; William Allen Neilson; Ada Comstock Notestein; Abby Rockefeller; William Rose Bennet; Helena Gilder. and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Morrow family papers

Includes materials related to Elizabeth Cutter Morrow, Smith College Class of 1896. Among the Elizabeth Cutter Morrow materials, the largest category relates to her work for Smith College. Of particular note are materials related to the War Service Committee during World War I which includes extensive correspondence from members of the Smith College Relief Unit in France.

Florence Homer Snow papers

Smith College Class of 1904. This collection contains correspondence, photographs, news clippings, and brochures documenting the life of Florence Homer Snow as a student at Smith College and as the first general secretary of the Smith Alumnae Association.

After graduating she spent only three years away from the college before returning in 1907 to become the first general secretary of the Alumnae Association. During her time as general secretary, Snow organized many major alumnae projects, including establishing the New York headquarters of the Smith College Relief Unit during World War I

Addie Genevieve Stockwell papers

Smith College Class of 1912. These papers contain memorabilia and correspondence between Addie Genevieve Stockwell, Class of 1912, and her family and friends.

Index to Letters relating to World War I
5/6/1917, 1/8/1918, 7/21/1918, 7/22/1918, 8/1918, 8/1918

Dorcas Brigham Papers

Smith College Class of 1918. Professor of Botany. Collection contains biographical material, correspondence with Kate Mott Greene Stephenson, photographs, and printed material about Village Hill Nursery. While a student at Smith she was house president, a student adviser, a member of Psi Kappa Psi, played halfback on the field hockey team, was class treasurer her Sophomore year and contributed to the war effort by chairing the Supply Committee of the Smith College Relief Unit. She was also on the Senior Dramatics Costume Committee.

Individuals: Unaffiliated with Smith

Florence Billings papers

Near East Relief worker, Turkey; World War I Relief worker. Papers include correspondence, journal entries, reports, travel notes, articles, thesis, clippings, photographs, and memorabilia document the work of Florence Billings and her colleague Annie T. Allen with the Near East Relief in Turkey and Greece, 1920-22; Billings' travels in and writings about, the Middle East; and a small amount on relief work in World War I France and travels in Europe.

Grace Nobili papers

Biographical material, clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, and a journal pertaining to Nobili's World War I service in Italy as a Red Cross volunteer and hospital worker for the YMCA. 

Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson papers

Author; Travel writer; Feminist; Suffragist; and Relief worker, World War I. Includes printed material, correspondence, published writings and typescripts, memorabilia, notes, photographs, and organization files. Information relating to the International Council of Women, the National Council of Women, and the Montessori Education Association of New York.

Katharine Geddes scrapbook

Katharine R. Geddes (1887-1939) of Toledo, Ohio, served as a relief worker for the American Red Cross during World War I in France. She was the sister of Laura Geddes Miller (Smith class of 1907) and Florence Geddes Loomis (class of 1913). The Katharine Geddes scrapbook was compiled from her service as a Red Cross relief worker in France during World War I. Included are photographs, correspondence, postcards, reports, lists, clippings, maps, memorabilia, and citations. 

Kate Hillis Boyd papers

YWCA volunteer, World War I, YWCA executive, YWCA overseas secretary. Papers are primarily related to her work as an Overseas Secretary for the YWCA of the U.S.A in France and Belgium during and immediately after World War I.

Mary Alletta Crump papers

Owner, Crumperie Tea Room; Red Cross volunteer; YWCA volunteer; Suffragist. Collection includes guest books and memorabilia from the Crumperie Tea Room (Greenwich Village, N.Y., 1916-26) with entries from theatrical and literary personalities; and materials from Mary Alletta Crump's volunteer work with the Grenfell Mission (Labrador) and American Women's Voluntary Service in World War I.

Dunham family papers

Theodora Dunham Bodman, World War I volunteer worker. The Dunham Family Papers represent four generations of the Dunham, Parker, Kellogg, and Dows families. Among many other topics, the collection documents the World War I medical and the volunteer work of women, including Theodora Dunham Bodman.

Juliet Barrett Rublee papers

Birth control advocate; Pacifist; and Feminist. Papers include correspondence, mostly from Margaret Sanger; pamphlets on birth control and other topics; a thesis on Rublee and Sanger correspondence by Jane Bowers (1994); photographs; and glass slides used for protesting World War I.

Sarah Tinsley Rees papers

Missionary and Red Cross worker. Rees worked as a missionary in Japan and Russia, and as a nurse's aid during World War I. Correspondence includes her many letters from Japan and Siberia, plus letters from her family in the U.S. to Rees. Other materials include memorabilia and photographs

Lola Maverick Lloyd papers

Pacifist; Suffragist; Women's rights activist. A small collection documenting her peace-related activities, during and after World War I, through correspondence and published pamphlets, newsletters, and clippings.

Organizations (Not Smith-Affiliated)

YWCA of the U.S.A. 

The YWCA was responsible for many programs, both international and domestic, during World War I. To learn more about searching the YWCA records in Smith College Special Collections, check out the YWCA Special Collections Resources research guide