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Peggy Penn papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00729

Scope and Contents

This collection contains writings of Peggy Penn, such as manuscripts and other publications, poetry, and work files of Peggy Penn. The collection also includes audiocassettes, VHS tapes, computer disks, and with a backup of Penn's computer files.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1968-2011


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

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

Peggy Maurer Penn was born on February 26, 1931 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Before becoming a therapist, Penn was a successful American actress and married to director and film producer Arthur Penn from 1955-2010. Peggy Penn is most notably known for her roles in the films Playhouse 90 (1956), The Alcoa Hour (1955), and Peter Pan (1960). After her acting career, Penn became a therapist in New York City; she was the Supervising Faculty Member of the Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy and did extensive research on the effects of writing in therapy as well as using conversation as a theraputic tool for patients. Penn was Director of Clinical Training at the Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy from 1986-1992, and led various workshops on chronic illness, violence, and gender issues within the family. Penn was also the author of extensive publications including: Creating a Participant Text: Multiple Voices, Narrative Multiplicity and Writing (with Marilyn Frankfurt, Family Process, 1994), Letter Writing in Family Systems (1991), Rape Flashbacks (1985), and Chronic Illness: Writing Voices and Trauma (2001). Because of her extensive research and contribution to family therapy, Penn was honored by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy in 1988. Aside from her work as a therapist, Penn was a Board Member of the Poetry Society of America and New Yorkers for Children. She passed away on July 27, 2012 in New York, NY.


4.354 linear feet (6 containers)

0.213 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



This collection contains the writings, publications, and work files of Peggy Penn during her time as a therapist. Other writings include poetry by Peggy Penn and publications of other therapists. The collection also contains VHS tapes and audiocassettes of family therapy work by Peggy and various therapists, such as with the Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

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

Donated by Peggy Penn, 2014.

Processing Information

Processed by Elisabeth Champion, July 2019.

The contents of the data CD was been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created. Two floppy disks were unable to be copied. See the log files linked in the container list for more details.

Peggy Penn papers
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.
  • 2020-05-11: 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