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Mary Shannon Strudwick papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SSC-MS-00269

Scope and Contents

The Mary Shannon Strudwick Papers consist of four volumes of scrapbooks and one volume of her self-published memoir, Mary Telling. The scrapbooks, like the memoir, document the story of Strudwick's life from 1929-1994, and are artfully arranged. Many photographs of Strudwick's family, her travel, and her design work, along with fabric samples, are interspersed within the text. The collection could be a useful source for researchers interested in women's careers in business in the mid-20th century, the fashion industry, retailing, advertising, and marketing.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1932 - 1994


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

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

Mary Shannon Strudwick was born in Columbus, Ohio, 1908. She graduated from the Columbus School for Girls in 1926 and attended Smith College for two years before she left to marry Austin Shannon, 1928. The two divorced in 1939 and she also had a short-lived second marriage. After spending many years as a single woman, she married again in 1976 to the actor Sheppherd Strudwick, who died in 1983. Professionally, Mary Shannon Strudwick was a self taught fashion designer and consultant. She got started in the profession by helping her first husband in his interior design business. After moving to New York City in 1939 she sold fashion ideas to stores. Later, when she was living in La Luz and Sante Fe, New Mexico, she designed store windows and displays. After World War II she moved back to New York, became an ad agency executive, and later worked for Macy's, Bonwit-Teller, and other retailers. As the founder and driving force behind "Mary Shannon, Inc.," which existed from 1949-1956, she consulted with industry leaders, most notably Cone Mills, on the styling and promotion of textiles. Strudwick also acted as a consultant for the American Craftsmen's Council, Catalina, and Levi Strauss. Her most notable achievement was her pioneering effort to promote denim as "fashion."


6.063 linear feet (5 containers)


Fashion designer. The collection consists of four scrapbooks and her self-published memoir, Mary Telling. The scrapbooks include photographs of Strudwick's family, travel, design work, fabric samples, and text.

Other Finding Aids

A more detailed listing of what is included in this group of materials is available in this downloadable document: inventory to the Mary Shannon Strudwick papers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Mary Shannon Strudwick, 1992 and 1996.


Mary Shannon Strudwick papers
Finding Aid
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 (
  • 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