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Alice Gorton Hart papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00227

Scope and Contents

The Alice Gorton Hart papers consist of 2.5 linear feet (6 boxes) of correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, clippings, printed material and miscellaneous writings, which are contained within her extensive personal journals dating from 1948 to the day before her death in 1987. In addition, there are two poetry collections: Prints and Poems (1982), and To Fly Once More (1988). The latter was published posthumously to commemorate her life. Her obituary and the eulogies given at her funeral were appended to the last journal.

In a letter to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1983 Hart described her journal: "It spans a great deal of philosophical change in women's lives ... [the] impact of the women's movement on a well educated normal wife/mother in a conservative environment who read, wrote, raged and changed." Her undergraduate life at Smith is well documented, reflecting an active social life with many male friends and much dating. There are several class notebooks, some papers she wrote, college event programs, memorabilia, and photographs included in the collection. These provide an excellent insight into life at Smith in the 1950s. Although Alice Gorton was at Smith at the same time as Sylvia Plath, with the exception of some clippings and articles about Plath, there is no indication that the two knew each other.

Hart's later journals document her life as wife and mother and her struggle to come to terms with the constraints of her life. They provide an intimate view of her sometimes troubled marriage; a close relationship with her parents, especially her mother; and strong friendships with both men and women. She also recorded some of her dreams. The journals are intimate and personal. Among the subjects she explored were women's spirituality, the feminist movement and the raising of feminist consciousness, poetry, and daily life. The 1957 journal (page 11) contains a letter from Aldous Huxley. Entries made during the last six months of her life document her struggle with terminal illness.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1948-1988


Language of Materials


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 they own copyright, Alice Gorton Hart's heirs, Andrew and David Hart, have assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College as of 2013; 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 Alice Gordon Hart, 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

Alice Gorton Hart was born September 2, 1932 in Cleveland, Ohio, daughter of Douglas and Eunice Gorton. She earned an A.B. from Smith College in 1954, majoring in English. At Smith in the early 1950s Alice fulfilled her intellectual promise and was also involved in the typical contemporary social whirl.

She put aside her dreams of graduate school when she met George Hart, whom she married in September 1954. They had two sons, David and Andrew. George Hart's career in forestry took them to Michigan, West Virginia, New Hampshire and finally Logan, Utah. There Alice received an M.A in English from Utah State University in 1970. She taught part time in the English department for many years. She was also a technical writer for various academic publications. During this period she grew as a sensitive poet, artist, and writer. In January 1987 she was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died six months later on June 2, 1987.


2.625 linear feet (6 containers)


Poet and teacher. Primarily personal journals and notebooks, with inserts, dated from 1948 to 1988. Her undergraduate life at Smith is well documented. Materials from student life at Smith in the 1950s are included. Later journals document her marriage, friendships, and close relationship with her mother. Among the subjects she explored were poetry, women's spirituality, dreams, and the feminist movement. There are also poems and writings and a letter from Aldous Huxley.


This collection is organized into two series:

  1. I. Journals
  2. II. Publications

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Alice Gorton Hart papers were a bequest of Hart, and were presented to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1987 and 1988 following her death.

Additional material was donated by Donata Coletti Mechem in 2009.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Boone, 1997.



Alice Gorton Hart papers
Finding Aid
Susan Boone
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss27 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:14-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063