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Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History

Buttons from the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History

The mission of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History is to collect, preserve, and make accessible records documenting the history of women and other gender minorities. It is a rich source for those interested in women’s movements for social change, particularly suffrage, reproductive rights and reproductive justice, and the women’s liberation movement. We collect these records so that any researcher has the opportunity to tell the full, complicated story of these social and political movements. For this to be possible, the records we steward must reflect the diversity of the people and movements that have changed everyone’s lives.

Special Collections Finding Aids

Special Collections Finding Aids - You can find Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History materials by using our finding aids. These provide in-depth information about collections.

Search Tips:

  • Search for names, events, or organizations.
  • Click the arrows to see the folders under each topic.
  • Read the Scope and Content notes as well as the Biographical/Historical note on the main page to get a sense of the materials and subjects in the collection.

What We Collect

This list represents topics documented in our collections of historical records. Most of our collections have been assigned to multiple categories. For more information on the kind of materials the Sophia Smith Collection collects and the topics it plans to steward in the future, please visit our collection development strategy.

The Sophia Smith Collection is committed to anti-oppressive subject analysis. This means that while we primarily use Library of Congress Subject Headings (“LCSH”) to describe and categorize our collections, we also acknowledge that many LCSH terms are offensive or outdated. In those cases, we use our best understanding of the preferred terms as defined by the communities the subjects describe.

The arts

Women in the film and television industry
Women in the music trade
Women in the theater


Asian American women
Black women
Jewish women
Latina women
Lesbian and queer women
Native American women
White women

Literature and writing

Children’s literature
Feminist literature
Publishers and publishing
Travelers’ writings
Women authors
Women poets


International cooperation
Politics and government


Women and religion

Social and political movements

Abortion rights movement
African American civil rights
Anti-rape movement
Antislavery movements
Birth control movement
Criminal justice reform
Environmental justice
Left wing political movements
Labor movement
Lesbian community
Peace movements
Reproductive and sexual health
Reproductive justice
Welfare rights movement
Women’s liberation
Women’s suffrage
Women’s societies and clubs

Social Roles

Female friendship
Older women
Significant others


Social work
Women in higher education
Women in medicine
Women in sports
Women in STEM
Young Women's Christian associations

Digitized Content

Special Collections Finding Aids To review digitized material available for each collection, click on the "View Digital Material" tab for each finding aid.
Sophia Smith Collection Digital Collections Digitized materials (including audiovisual materials) from the SSC and databases featuring digitized SSC material.

Research Guides

Gloria Steinem Special Collections Resources

Ms. Magazine Special Collections Resources

Oral Histories Special Collections Resources

Planned Parenthood Special Collections Resources

Women's Suffrage in the U.S. Special Collections Resources

World War I Special Collections Resources

World War II Special Collections Resources

YWCA of the U.S.A.

Collection Development

For more information on the kind of materials the Sophia Smith Collection collects and the topics it plans to steward in the future, please see our Collection Development Strategy.

Schedule a Class Visit

For assistance in scheduling a class visit, please contact Maureen Cresci Callahan (, 413-585-2970) or email We look forward to exploring the possibility of collaboration.


Contact with questions regarding the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History.