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Grace Hoadley Dodge papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00603

Scope and Contents

The Grace Hoadley Dodge Papers consist of 1.25 linear ft. and are primarily related to her professional and public life, dating from 1882 to 1915. Types of materials include biographical materials, a small amount of correspondence, photographs, newspaper articles, writings, and memorabilia.

Two types of material make up the bulk of the papers: biographical writings about Grace Dodge (1910-80), and clippings scrapbooks containing articles by Grace Dodge and about her activities and concerns (1882-1914). The biographical writings include many memorial tributes from 1915; Abbie Graham's 1926 biography, Grace H. Dodge: Merchant of Dreams; and Ester Katz' 1980 Ph.D. thesis, "Grace Hoadley Dodge: Women and the Emerging Metropolis, 1856-1914." In addition to these there are general biographical materials and memorabilia, small files on three organizations Dodge was involved with (Irene Club, Three P's Circle, and YWCA), photographs of Dodge, and a few of her other writings. The clippings scrapbooks focus on Dodge's efforts on behalf of "working girls" in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century urban areas. They include articles from a wide variety of newspapers and other periodicals.

Dates of Materials

  • 1882-1995
  • Majority of material found within 1882-1915


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

Works created by Grace Hoadley Dodge are now in the public domain. Copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Dodge, 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

Grace Hoadley Dodge was born on May 21, 1856 in New York City into a wealthy family with a strong tradition of philanthropic and evangelical activity. She was the oldest of six children born to Sarah Hoadley and William Earl Dodge, Jr. Dodge received most of her education at home from private tutors, but spent two years at Miss Sarah Porter's School in Connecticut (1872-74).

On her return to New York City, she began teaching Sunday School at the Madison Square Chapel and later in industrial schools for the Children's Aid Society. Dodge's interactions with the evangelist Dwight L. Moody, who stayed with the Dodges during his 1876 campaign in New York City, had a profound effect on Grace's decision to dedicate her life to social service work. Her approach was committed and businesslike. She came to regard her work for a wide variety of causes and organizations as full-time employment, with a salary that had been "paid in advance" through her family's business successes.

Drawn to ventures that allowed for close personal association, Dodge often acted as a facilitator, but not a leader of informal clubs. In 1881 she formed a club with factory girls around her own age. Their weekly meetings for "fellowship and discussion" gradually came to include a headquarters, library, recreation rooms, and classes. Within a decade, the concept grew into a national Association of Working Girls' Societies. Her mantra was always to work with, rather than for, working women. Some of the friendships formed in this first club lasted throughout Dodge's life.

Dodge also worked to promote vocational education and practical training as a means of combating poverty. She founded the Kitchen Garden Association in 1880 which was reorganized into the Industrial Education Association in 1884. These groups offered classes in "household arts," manual training, and later, teacher training. The Industrial Education Association was eventually reorganized into Teachers College in 1889 with Dodge as its first Treasurer.

Dodge developed somewhat of a specialty of encouraging organizations with similar missions to join forces in order to increase their effectiveness. In 1906 she brought together two warring national associations of YWCAs to form a single national association. Grace Dodge served as the new Association's first president until her death.

Other organizations benefiting from these talents included the New York Travelers Aid Society, formed in 1907, and the American Social Hygiene Association in 1912.

Grace Dodge died suddenly in her home on December 27, 1914.


1.875 linear feet (3 containers)


Social welfare worker, Philanthropist, Educator. Papers are primarily related to her professional and public life and primarily include biographical writings about Grace Dodge and clipping scrapbooks containing articles by Grace Dodge and about her activities and concerns (1882-1914). The scrapbooks focus on Dodge's efforts on behalf of "working girls" in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century urban areas.


This collection is organized into three series:


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Grace Hoadley Dodge Papers came to the Sophia Smith Collection with the YWCA of the U.S.A. Records in 2002. They were a gift to the YWCA from Mrs. Cleveland Dodge in 1978.

Related Materials

Related materials can be found in the YWCA of the U.S.A. Records.

Additional papers of Grace H. Dodge are housed in Special Collections in the Teachers College Library at Columbia University.

Processing Information

Processed by Maida Goodwin, 2008

Grace Hoadley Dodge papers
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Maida Goodwin.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Processing of the Grace Hoadley Dodge Papers was made possible by the generous support of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:15-04:00: 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