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Mary Mackey papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00758

Scope and Contents

Literary papers including multiple drafts, galleys, published works, correspondence, publicity, interviews, and reviews.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1937 - 2023


Language of Materials

The collection contains materials in English, Spanish, Hebrew, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, German, and Japanese.

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

To the extent that she owns copyright, Mackey 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 Mackey, 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

Born in 1945 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Mary Mackey knew by the age of eleven that she wanted to be a writer. She graduated, magna cum laude, from Harvard College in 1966 and earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from The University of Michigan in 1970.

As a professor of English and Writer-in-Residence at California State University, Sacramento from 1972 until 2008, Mackey was one of the founders of the University's Women's Studies Program and of its Graduate and Undergraduate Creative Writing Programs.

She is the author of fourteen novels, including "Immersion", believed to be the first feminist novel published by a Second Wave feminist press (Shameless Hussy Press, 1972); "McCarthy's List" (Doubleday, 1979); "A Grand Passion" (Simon & Schuster, 1986) which made "The New York Times" Best Seller list; "The Year the Horses Came" (Harper San Francisco, 1999); "The Widow's War" (Berkley Books, 2009), and “The Village of Bones,” which won a 2018 California Institute of Integral Studies Women’s Spirituality Award from the Department of Diversity and Inclusion. Mackey is also the author of eight volumes of poetry including "Sugar Zone" (Marsh Hawk Press, 2011), winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence and finalist for the 2012 California Book Reviewers Award, and "The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams: New and Selected Poems 1974 to 2018" (Marsh Hawk Press, 2018), which won the 2019 Eric Hoffer Award for the best book published by a small press. She has written numerous screenplays, including that for the award-winning feature film, "Silence."

She has also written two autobiographies (“Creativity” and “Never Go to The Beach with Mary”) and two comic novels under the pen name of "Kate Clemens."

A co-founder of the Feminist Writers' Guild in 1978, Mackey served as president of the PEN American Center, West from 1989-1992


50.271 linear feet (46 containers)

1 website (archived website)

0.02442 Gigabytes


The collection contains the literary papers of Mary Mackey, feminist novelist and poet.


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.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed listing with annotations by Mary Mackey of what is included in this collection is available in this downloadable document: inventory to the Mary Mackey papers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Mary Mackey, 2015-2016 and 2023.

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. Some floppy disks were unable to be copied. See the log files linked in the container list for more details.

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. The following changes were made in this collection: Accession 2015-S-0089, Boxes 1-17 renumbered as Boxes 23-39

Processing Information

2023 addition accessioned by Dan Michelson, 2023.



Finding aid to the Mary Mackey 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
  • 2020-05-27: Description added for born-digital content.
  • 2020-11-08: Description updated to include Mackey's edits to her bio.

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063