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Charlotte B. DeForest papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00044

Scope and Contents

The Charlotte Burgis DeForest Papers include correspondence, memorabilia, photographs, clippings, awards and citations, and writings. Personal and professional correspondence includes letters from friends and colleagues in Japan, most related to her work at Kobe College. Historical material on Kobe College includes articles by DeForest; her book, History of Kobe College; and college publications such as brochures, calendars, reports, historical sketches, and handbooks (1925-50). Writings include manuscripts of her books, the paper "Some Types of Japanese Poetry" she submitted for her Master's thesis, as well as other short pieces and poems. There is also a paper entitled "Well-known Professional Women of Japan" (1960) written by Chieko Cho. Memorabilia includes a pair of sandals, Smith College Club pins, a plaque and a book of photographs regarding the 85th anniversary of Kobe College. Clippings and articles relate to DeForest's her life and activities, and details pertinent to Kobe College. Also included is one file of Charlotte's sister, Sarah DeForest Pettus with correspondence, articles, and an essay entitled "Prison conditions in Peking" (n.d.).

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1903 - 2007


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

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.

Biographical / Historical

Charlotte Burgis DeForest was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1879. Her parents were pioneer missionaries and her father, John Hyde Deforest was decorated by Emperor Meiji for efforts to promote international friendship and for relief work during the 1906 famine. Charlotte earned an A.B. (1901) and A.M. (1907) from Smith College, and received an honorary degree from Smith in 1921. In 1903, she volunteered for service with the American Board of commissioners for Foreign Missions to work in Japan . She spent ten years on the faculty at Kobe College in Nishinomya, originally a missionary school and now the oldest Christian College in Japan. In 1915 she became President of the college, a position she retained until 1940. She was awarded the Sacred Cross by Emperor Hirohito in 1940. During World War II, DeForest returned to the United States and taught Japanese at Pomona College. She was also a counselor at the Manzanar Relocation Center, a Japanese internment camp in California, 1941-45. In 1950, DeForest was decorated by the Japanese government for "services in the education of Japanese women." After her retirement in 1950, she resided in Claremont, California. She published several books, including Evolution of a Missionary (1914), a biography of her father; Poems Down the Years; The Prancing Pony (1968), a book of Japanese nursery rhymes translated to English that won the Chicago Tribune book award; and History of Kobe College, compiled for the 75th anniversary, 1950. Charlotte DeForest died in 1973.


7.104 linear feet (16 containers)

0.00222 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Missionary. President, Kobe College. Papers include correspondence, memorabilia, photographs, clippings, awards and citations, and writings. Personal and professional correspondence includes letters from friends and colleagues in Japan, mostly relating to her work at Kobe College.


This collection is organized into four series:

  1. I. Biographical
  2. II. Kobe College
  3. III. Memorabilia
  4. IV. Japanese Friends and Japanese in the US
  5. Oversize Materials


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Charlotte Burgis DeForest donated her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1960. Additional materials were donated by Elizabeth Losa, 2005-2009.

Processing Information

Finding aid revised in 2002 by Christine Jedziniak, intern.

The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created.

Processing Information

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. A full crosswalk of old to new numbers is available.



Charlotte B. DeForest papers
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: mnsss86 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.
  • 2020-06-11: Description added for born-digital content.

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063