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Panoramic view of Special Collections Reading Room, Neilson Library

About Smith College Special Collections

The Collections

As a steward of historical materials of enduring value, Smith College Special Collections fosters inquiry, critical thinking, and knowledge building through active engagement with the past and a focus on the future. Special Collections is home to three unique repositories and holds 35,000+ linear feet of diverse archival collections, rare books, and manuscripts.

College Archives

The College Archives holds the many narratives of Smith College, with an emphasis on its vibrant undergraduate life. From the Smithies of 1875 to today, the College Archives documents campus life, landscape, and activism. Stop by to peruse the scrapbooks, journals, and photos of alumnae and to learn how to donate your own material. 

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Mortimer Rare Book Collection

The Mortimer Rare Book Collection contains printed books and manuscripts from every continent (including Antarctica!) and in many subjects and languages. You’ll find anything from Babylonian clay tablets to medieval codices to contemporary artists’ books. You can also study the original papers and drafts of such literary writers as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath. 

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Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History

The Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College is an internationally recognized repository of manuscripts, archives, photographs, periodicals and other primary sources in women’s history. The Collection strives to make visible women who have typically been invisible in the historical record and seeks to document women’s diversity and lived experiences. Dig deeply into the collections of generations of women’s history from Girl Zines such as Girl Germs to Sojourner Truth’s carte de visite that she sold while giving speeches. 

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