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Art collection

Identifier: SSC-MS-00429

Scope and Contents

The Art Collection documents women's participation in, and contributions to, the broad field of art from 1857 to 1988. The material consists of articles, autographs, bibliographies, brochures, catalogs, correspondence, interviews, newsletters, newspaper clippings, notes, pamphlets, photographs, postcards, posters, publicity, resumés, a reel-to-reel tape, speeches, and typescripts. There are only a few items dating from the nineteenth century, all of which are magazine articles or newspaper clippings that focus on the lives and work of individual women artists, including Angelica Kaufman and Rosa Bonheur. The bulk of the collection dates from the twentieth century, with most items originating between 1920 and 1980. The earlier twentieth century material documents women's contributions to the fields of visual art, architecture, landscape architecture, and graphic design. This includes biographical materials on designers Florence Morton and Helen Dryden; landscape architects Adelaide Derringer, Louise Klein-Miller, and Beatrix Farrand; and artists Mary Cassatt, Katharine S. Dreier, Caroline Durieux, Sarah Eddy Jackson, Beth Creevey, Hildreth Meiere, and Georgia O'Keeffe.

There is also a large amount of material in the collection dating from the late 1960s and 1970s documenting the impact of feminism on the art world, showing both the reassessment of women's historical contributions to the field, and the explosion of feminist art that occurred in the 1970s. Included here are studies and reports on the status of women in the arts, catalogs for exhibits of feminist art, newsletters from organizations of feminist artists, and material on contemporary women artists such as Judy Chicago, Alice Neel, Louise Grassie, Frieda Savitz, Myrna Shiras, Lilly Martin Spencer, and many others.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1857-1988
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1920-1980


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.


1.772 linear feet (6 containers)


Documents women's participation in, and contributions to, the broad field of art. Contains primarily printed material, plus, correspondence, interviews, notes, photographs, postcards, posters, speeches, and typescripts. The collection documents the lives and work of individual designers, landscape architects, women in the fine arts, as well as the status of women in the arts and organizations of feminist artists.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials in this subject collection were either purchased or given to the Sophia Smith Collection by various donors.

Processing Information

Finding aid revised in 2002 by Kerstin Larson, intern. Introductory text by Kate Weigand.

Art collection
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by mnsss.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss81 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2019-04-25: Made paper FA pencil edit changes.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063