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Anne MacKay papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00472

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the personal and professional papers of Anne MacKay, reflecting MacKay's decades of teaching theater at two prestigious NYC prep schools (Dalton and Horace Mann Schools) and her amateur theater work. The collection also includes her work as an author of both fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Particularly well documented is her active participation in reunion activities at her alma mater Vassar College (Class of 1949). Materials include books she wrote or edited, literary manuscript, scripts, photographs and scrapbooks, school work, correspondence, and audio-visual materials. Much of the collection has notes from MacKay explaining her relationship to individuals and organizations. Materials related to MacKay's work in the North Forks Women for Women Fund are in their own separate collection.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1910 - 2013


Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that she owns copyright, Anne MacKay has retained copyright until her death in her works donated to Smith College. After her death, copyright in these works will transfer to Manuela Soares, and upon her death copyright passes to Smith College, with the exception of Wolf Girls at Vassar which passes to Vassar College. Copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. 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. For those few instances beyond fair use, or which may regard materials in the collection not created by MacKay, 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

Anne MacKay was an amateur theatre director, playwright, and author, who was prominent in the lesbian community of New York in the 20th century. She was born in New York, NY on March 31, 1928 to Franklin MacKay and Isabel (Dorman) MacKay. She grew up in New York City, Corning, and Orient, NY; Pittsfield, MA; and Berkeley, CA. Summers were spent with extended family in Orient, NY, on the North Fork of Long Island. MacKay attended the Dalton School in New York, and graduated from Vassar College in 1949. From 1949 to 1953, she was stage manager for various New York theater companies, and from 1953 to 1973 she taught Drama at the Dalton School. She was employed as Director of Theatre Arts at the Horace Mann School in New York from 1973 to 1991, when she retired.

MacKay was active in the amateur theater scene, creating and directing three lesbian musical revues, including "Taking Liberties," performed at Symphony Space in New York in 1984. She also wrote poetry and several books about lesbianism and other topics, including Wolf Girls of Vassar on the experience of lesbian students at Vassar. MacKay was active in the Vassar Alumnae community, and founded the Lesbian and Gay Alumnae of Vassar College. She was also a member of a lesbian community on Long Island's North Fork and a founder of that group's women's health initiative, the North Fork Women for Women Fund, for which she also served as archivist. She died in 2012.


18.105 linear feet (19 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection contains personal and business files of Anne Mackay, an amateur theatre director, playwright, and author, who was prominent in the New York lesbian community in the 20th century. It includes materials regarding MacKay's amateur theater work, as well as her work as an author of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Also well-documented is her active participation in reunion activities at her alma mater Vassar College (Class of 1949).


The collection is divided into six series.


  1. Personal
  2. Education
  3. Correspondence
  4. Writings
  5. Theater and Music Productions
  6. Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was gifted by Anne MacKay between 1998 to 2012.


In 2019, approximately 3 record cartons were removed from the collection and discarded or returned to Manuela Soares, including duplicates, blank stationary, sensitive information (third party student evaluations and financial records), and widely available Vassar materials (including scrapbooks and reunion books available at Vassar's archives).

Related Materials

North Fork Women for Women Fund Records, Voices of Feminism Oral History Project

Processing Information

The collection arrived at the Sophia Smith Collection in four batches, and had no discernable order. In 2019, Madison White, Sylvia Hickman, and 3 student workers, Catherine Zeng, Ellen Brancart, and Madeline Michels, processed the collection into one coherent structure. Papers were moved into archival folders (keeping original folder titles when possible) and arranged into series. A container list was made and the finding aid was updated.



Finding aid to the Anne MacKay papers
Minimum Finding Aid (Completed)
Sylvia Hickman, Madison White, and Madeline Michels
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.
  • 2018-10-04: Updated legacy finding aid and added some further notes.
  • 2019-06-04: Updated with new arrangement and added container inventory

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063