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All visiting researchers can now access the Special Collections Reading Room by booking an appointment 24 hours in advance. The Reading Room continues to be open on a walk-in basis to Smith students, faculty and staff who are in the campus COVID-19 screening program. Emeriti faculty, Five College students who are registered for a Smith course, Smith research affiliates, and invited guests are also welcome. Masks are required in library buildings; see Library Services During COVID-19 for details.

Special Collections public services staff

The robust primary sources in Special Collections are fully integrated into the teaching and educational mission of Smith College. More than 100 unique classes are hosted every year across disciplines and divisions within, and outside of, the Five College community.

Collaborating with us can take many forms, from object-centered lectures to group discussion based upon students’ firsthand examination of documents. Course assignments using materials from Special Collections may include everything from research papers and publications to translations, creative performances, and interactive websites. We look forward to exploring the possibilities with you and can customize instruction to your course topic.

Expert curators and archivists on staff teach a dozen credit courses, particularly for the Archives Concentration and Book Studies Concentration. Capstone projects in the concentrations often include symposia, oral histories, and exhibitions that take the archives public.

Other groups, including high school and Five College classes, take advantage of Smith College’s 26,000 linear feet of manuscripts and 46,000 rare books. Special meetings, lectures, workshops, and seminars for outside groups of activists and book artists in the community enhance the offerings of Special Collections every year.

We are also part of a collaboration with Smith College and edX to offer MOOC courses, which increase access to our primary resources worldwide.

Scheduling a Class Visit

For assistance in scheduling a class visit, please contact the relevant staff person below. If you're not sure who to contact, please call 413-585-2970 or email We look forward to exploring the possibility of collaboration.

Collection Name Phone Email
College Archives Nanci Young 413-585-2970
Mortimer Rare Book Collection Shannon Supple 413-585-2906
Sophia Smith Collection Maureen Cresci Callahan 413-585-2970

Classroom Policies

In order to preserve the unique materials we steward for future use, please leave food and drinks outside of the Classroom. All materials must be handled respectfully and with care -- for example, use of book cradles, specialty lighting, gloves if necessary, and gentle handling. Researchers will be guided by the staff.