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Friends of the SC Libraries Oral History Project

In October 1976 the Committee of the Friends voted to sponsor an oral history project and put on tape the recollections and reminiscences of retired members of the faculty and administrative staff. Coordinated by Gertrude Smith (Class of 1928), Professor Emeritus of Music and head of the Smith Centennial celebration, the project team included Laura Scales, Charles Hill, Marine Leland, Margaret Grierson and John Duke.

The interviews on these tapes give depth and nuance to the the history of the college as interviewees reflect upon their experiences and social issues that affected them. Speaking candidly, they reflect upon:

  • past presidents
  • campus housing
  • social clubs, extracurricular activities and shifting social expectations
  • Smith relationships with Northampton and the surrounding Western Massachusetts' community
  • World War I, the Depression, and World War II
  • changing curriculum and the emergence of women in the fields of science and technology
  • the establishment of major departments and programs such as Junior Year Abroad, Theater Department and Special Collections

This project gives us the opportunity to experience the many ways Smith has changed over the years and identify meaningful ways in which it has remained the same, all through the lens of their personal experiences.

The original audiocassettes are available for research in accordance to the Smith College Archives policy. For further description and information on use, please see the Friends of the Smith College Libraries Oral History Project, 1977-1982 finding aid.

A summary of the tapes can be viewed here.