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Katherine Gabel papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00182

Scope and Contents

The collection consists mostly of personal and professional correspondence; subject files; teaching material and undergraduate and graduate notes, reports and writings. It also includes printed material related to the Adobe Mountain School and the Smith College School for Social work, as well as material pertaining to Gabel's involvement with professional associations.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1950 - 1985


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 Note

Katherine Gabel was born on April 9, 1938 in Rochester, New York. She earned a B.S. in sociology and anthropology from Smith College in 1959, having written a thesis on African women (The Urbanization of the Lone African Woman) and traveling with a Smith group to Africa in 1957. She earned a M.S.W. from Simmons College School of Social Work in 1961; a Ph.D. in Criminology from Syracuse University in 1967; and a J.D. from the Albany (New York) Law School in 1970.

She was employed by the Boston Children's Service from 1959 to 1960; the Massachusetts Mental Health Center Children's Unit from 1960 to 1961; the Central Island Mental Health Center in Uniondale, New York from 1960 to 1962; and the Georgia State Training School for Girls in Atlanta, Georgia from 1962 to 1964, first as a psychiatric social worker and then as Acting Superintendent. From 1968 to 1970, Gabel served as a consultant to the New York State Crime Control Council and during her tenure there wrote the legislative report New York State's Prostitution Problem: The Streetwalker. She served as Superintendent at the Adobe Mountain School (for juvenile offenders) in Phoenix, Arizona, 1970-76, and also as part-time faculty member and lecturer at the Center for Criminal Justice, Arizona State University, Tempe from 1974 to 1976. In 1976, she was awarded a Smith College Medal. From 1976 to 1985, she was Dean and Professor at the Smith College School for Social Work, also working as a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Gabel continued to be interested in Africa, and traveled there on several occasions. She assumed the presidency of Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, CA in 1985; the length of her tenure there is unknown. Gabel was active in several professional associations, including the UN Commision for Social Development, the UN Economic and Social Council, the UN Association of the USA, the Council on Social Work Education, and the American Psychoanalytic Association.


18.417 linear feet (17 containers)

Language of Materials



The collection consists mostly of personal and professional papers of Katherine Gabel, a social worker. It also includes printed material related to the Adobe Mountain School and the Smith College School for Social work.


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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the collection was donated by Katherine Gabel in 1985. Additional materials were transferred from the Smith College School for Social Work in 1986 and 1994.

Related Materials

College Archives: Gabel-biographical, clippings, SSW report, photographs. 12. SCM 1975-76 Strickland. 5 reels of film (SC class of 1959) by K.G. given to College Archives.

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.

Finding Aid to the Katherine Gabel papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Madison White
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2018-12-20: Updated to conform to DACS
  • 2021-03-09: Added info. to the bio. note

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063