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Reading and Writing Cursive in Special Collections: Home

Sources and methods to aid in the reading (and writing) of cursive in Smith College Special Collections. Created by Amelia Dolbeare '24, Reference Assistant

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. The Reading Room is open to all researchers working on a variety of projects including fiction books, art pieces, documentaries, family history, academic publications, and coursework. 

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

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

Mortimer Rare Book Collection

The Mortimer Rare Book Collection includes rare, historical printed books, medieval European manuscripts, literary archives, artists’ books, and other historical and cultural material texts. As part of Special Collections, these rare books and manuscripts support the curriculum of the College and enable us to function as a laboratory for the exploration of material history and culture. The collection scope is chronologically and geographically broad, with substantial holdings in English and American literature, botany, history of science, early children's literature, fine press books, and artists’ books.

Smith College Archives

The Smith College Archives document the life of the College by collecting materials created by students, faculty, administrative and departmental staff during the course of their time here. The records in the College Archives can provide researchers with answers to specific questions or help them to understand broad social and cultural issues.

The majority of the student biographical information available for undergraduates. Information about graduate students is more limited.

Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History

Founded in 1942, the Sophia Smith Collection (SSC) is one of the most significant collections of women’s history in the United States that focuses on women working on behalf of other women and gender minorities. The SSC has substantive strengths in women’s reproductive rights and justice, women’s liberation movements, suffrage and civil rights, community activism, iconoclast creators, women’s economic justice, lesbian and queer communities, and women’s environmental justice. It is a collection that reflects the diversity and complexity of women’s lives and identities through the lens of social, political, and cultural change, and gender justice.

Ask an archivist

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!

College Archives
Nanci Young

Mortimer Rare Book Collection
Shannon Supple

Sophia Smith Collection
Beth Myers

Research Services
Kate Long