Skip to main content

Elinor Lipman papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00746

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, drafts, manuscripts, notes, published books and articles, photographs and audiovisual material documenting the author's life and work.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1971 - 2010


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, Lipman has assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, 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 instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Lipman, 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

Elinor Lipman was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, the second daughter of Julia M. and Louis S. Lipman. She attended public schools and graduated from Simmons College in 1972 with a BA in journalism. While still in college, Lipman worked as an intern for the "Lowell Sun." During the 1970s she was a staff writer and editorial assistant for the Massachusetts Teachers Association monthly newsletter,"Massachusetts Teacher."Lipman also worked for a time for Boston's public television station, WGBH, writing press releases. She credits the adult education creative writing class she took at Brandeis University in 1978 for propelling her into writing fiction. Her first short story appeared in "Yankee Magazine" in 1981 and after publishing several more short stories, she published a collection of "seven linked stories, which gave [her] the courage to try a novel" ( That novel was "Then She Found Me" (1990) and since then, as of 2015, Lipman has published nine more novels and two collections of essays. Known for her wit and her keen observations of people, her fiction has addressed issues as far-ranging as Anti-Semitism ("The Inn at Lake Devine") and widowhood ("The View from Penthouse B"). Her essays have also appeared in multiple venues, including the "Boston Globe," the "New York Times,", and In addition to her own writing career, Lipman has inspired others through her teaching at Simmons, Hampshire and Smith Colleges. For the 2011-2012 academic year she held the Elizabeth Drew Chair in Creative Writing at Smith. For many years, Lipman and her husband, Robert Austin, a radiologist, lived in Northampton, Massachusetts, raising their son, Benjamin Lipman Austin (b.1982). In 2009, after thirty-four years of marriage, Robert Austin died from complications associated with frontotemporal dementia. Elinor Lipman now makes her home in New York City and continues to write very popular fiction.


14.0 linear feet (13 containers)

0.329 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



The collection contains the personal and professional papers of Elinor Lipman, fiction author and teacher.

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 or email 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

The collection was gifted by Elinor Lipman in 2015.

Processing Information

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.



Finding aid to the Elinor Lipman 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.
  • 2018-10-18: Updated to conform to DACS
  • 2020-03-30: Added boxes 1-13, updated dates
  • 2020-06-17: 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