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Physical Education & Sports

Records and Collections Relating to Physical Education and Sports

Records of the Department of Physical Education and the Department of Athletics at Smith College, c1880s-1990s.

These records document the history of the department from its early years to the present. Materials include office files, scrapbooks, subject files, photographs, student files, and record books. Also included are financial records of various sports teams, rosters, game photographs and printed material. Some material is restricted. Please consult with a reference archivist for further details.

Records of the Smith College Athletics Association, 1900-present

These records document the history of the Athletics Association through by-laws, meeting minutes, officer notes, and files on programs offered by the organization.
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Dorothy S. Ainsworth Papers, 1916-1975

Dorothy Sears Ainsworth, Smith College class of 1916 served as the Director of Physical Education at Smith College between 1926-1960. She was actively involved in organizations interested in advancing the physical education of women, including the Eastern Association of Directors of Physical Education for College Women, the National Association of Directors of Physical Education for College Women, and most notably, a founding member of the International Association of Physical Education and Sports for Girls and Women. Dorothy S. Ainsworth died in 1976.

The Papers contain correspondence, photographs, publications and speeches, and records of the various organizations for which she served on the Board of Directors, including the IAPESGW (1947-1973), the American Academy of Physical Education (1967-1973), the International Council of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (1960-1973), and the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession, (1958-1969).
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Senda Berenson Papers, 1875-1996 [bulk 1890-1952]

Senda Berenson Abbott (b. Senda Valvrojenski, March 19, 1868, Vilna, Lithuania; d. Feb. 16, 1954), as Director of the Gymnasium and Instructor of Physical Culture at Smith College, introduced the first rules of women's basketball and organized the first women's college basketball game. Trained at the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, Berenson was hired at Smith in January 1892. At Smith Berenson instituted an effective program of Swedish gymnastics, which was supplemented by organized athletic contests in sports such as volleyball, fencing, field hockey and basketball, all intended to build character in her female students. She believed in strict and careful supervision of all activities and in offering "the most for the most," i.e., including young women of all skill levels in the program rather than devoting her time to a small group of highly skilled students. This philosophy resulted in a policy at Smith College to favor a strong intramural program over interscholastic athletic competition.

The Papers include biographical materials, writings, publications and photographs of Berenson, and subject files relating to her work at Smith.
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Caryl M. Newhof Papers, c1920s-1990s

The Papers contain materials relating to Newhof's career at Smith College as teacher, coach, and administrator of intramural athletics between 1948-1991. This collection is unprocessed and some of this material may be restricted. Please consult with a reference archivist for information about accessing these records.

Hazel C. Peterson Papers, 1968

The Papers contain research materials for her dissertation, Dorothy S. Ainsworth:Her Life, Professional Career, and Contributions to Physical Education.

Subject Files Relating to Physical Education and Sports

Smith College Athletics Subject Files, 1890s-present

There are subject files relating to physical education and sports iThe College Archives has general files on athletics, Senda Berenson, physical education. The Sophia Smith Collection has a large collection of printed materials, including articles, newspaper clippings, reports, biographical articles, subject files relating to physical education, sports and women's health.

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Publications and Other Resources

Many college publications are useful for researching physical education and sports at Smith. The College Circular/Bulletin provides information about the curriculum over time; lists faculty members of the departments; lists requirements of students and provides general academic information about the College. The Smith Alumnae Quarterly over the years has printed articles about the history of physical education at Smith, as has the Smith College Monthly. In addition, letters written by women to their parents, family, and friends often contain references to college life, including sports. While there is no index to these letters, many of them are found in the Class Records--Alumnae Biographical files. Additionally, information about faculty members in the Department of Physical Education and Department of Athletics may be found in the Faculty Biographical Files. The Athletics files of the Class Records also contain general information about sports at Smith.