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Alice Morgan Wright papers

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00176

Scope and Contents

The Alice Morgan Wright Papers include biographical material, correspondence, writings, postcards, scrapbooks, artwork and photographs of her work as a sculptor; subject files, and memorabilia. Wright's career as a sculptor and her activism are well-documented; personal material is more fragmentary. Topics include art, women's suffrage, women's rights, women companions, birth control, world peace, animal welfare, the International Police Force and the United Nations, and Navajo Indians. Her postcards provide a vivid and interesting account of Wright's travels, especially her years as an art student in Paris. Also included are reminiscences of the Pankhursts and of Wright's confinement in Holloway Gaol where she spent two months after her arrest at a suffrage demonstration in England.

Notable correspondents include Florence E. Allen, Emily Greene Balch, Mary Ellen Chase, Helen Keller, Stella Newsome, Ada Comstock Notestein, Emmeline Pankhurst, Alice Paul, Emmeline Pethink-Lawrence, Adlai S. Stevenson, Elisabeth Telling, Mary E. Woolley, Edith J. Goode (Wright's lifelong partner), and her mother, Emma Morgan Wright.

Dates

  • 1873-1994

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

The Papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (specialcollections@smith.edu) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright ownership of the Alice Morgan Wright papers is unknown. Copyright to materials created by persons other than Wright may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Biographical / Historical

Alice Morgan Wright, sculptor, suffragist, and animal welfare advocate, the daughter of Henry Romeyn Wright, a prosperous wholesale grocer, and Emma Jane Morgan, was born on October 10, 1881, in Albany, New York. She attended the St. Agnes School in Albany (now the Doane Stuart School) and then graduated from Smith College in 1904.

Wright worked for the Collegiate Equal Suffrage League and began studying sculpture at the Art Student League in New York City. In 1909 the League awarded her both the Gutzon Borglum and the Augustus Saint-Gaudens prizes for her outstanding art work. She went on to study art at the Académie des Beaux-Arts and at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. While in Europe, Wright involved herself in both the British and French suffrage movements. She organized a meeting in Paris at which English suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst spoke in 1910 and arranged for Pankhurst to make an appearance in Albany during her tour of the United States in 1911.

During a suffrage demonstration, Wright was arrested and spent two months in London's Holloway Gaol. During this time she modeled a small bust of Emmeline Pankhurst, her prison-mate, with art supplies she had smuggled into the prison. When she returned to Paris she organized a petition drive demanding the release of jailed British suffragists. By 1913 Wright's art work had won several prizes, and had been exhibited in New York, Paris, and London. After returning home in 1914, she became the recording secretary of the New York State Women's Suffrage Party, and only returned full time to her sculpture after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Wright's lifelong companion was Edith J. Goode, whom she met at Smith, and together they worked tirelessly for peace and justice. Wright's love of animals increasingly drew her to the cause of animal protection, and although she was heralded as one of the leading young American sculptors, art increasingly took a backseat to her reform activities. By 1945 she was devoting all her time to the cause, founding the National Humane Education Association, and working with various other animal protection organizations. Russell Sage College awarded her an honorary degree in 1947. Wright died in Albany at the age of 93, on April 8, 1975.

Extent

11 boxes (4 linear feet)

Overview

Sculptor, Suffragist, Animal welfare advocate. Papers include biographical material, correspondence, writings, postcards, scrapbooks, artwork and photographs of her work as a sculptor; subject files, and memorabilia. Wright's career as a sculptor and her activism are well-documented; personal material is more fragmentary. Topics include art, women's suffrage, women's rights, women companions, birth control, world peace, and animal welfare. Notable correspondents include Florence E. Allen, Emily Greene Balch, Mary Ellen Chase, Helen Keller, Stella Newsome, Ada Comstock Notestein, Emmeline Pankhurst, Alice Paul, Emmeline Pethink-Lawrence, Adlai S. Stevenson, Elisabeth Telling, Mary E. Woolley, Edith J. Goode (Wright's lifelong partner), and her mother, Emma Morgan Wright.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into six series:
  1. SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS (1873-1990)
  2. SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE (1909-78)
  3. SERIES III. SCRAPBOOKS (1903-75)
  4. SERIES IV. ARTWORK (1907-78)
  5. SERIES V. SUBJECT FILES (1912-94)
  6. SERIES VI. PHOTOGRAPHS (1893-1970s)
  7. OVERSIZE MATERIALS

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Most of Alice Morgan Wright's papers were given to the Sophia Smith Collection by her cousin Elinor Wright Fleming (Mrs. Clark M. Fleming) in 1980. Wright herself had sent small increments earlier. Photographs of Smith College, originally passed on to Ruth Sharp from the estate of Alice Morgan Wright, were sent to President Thomas Mendenhall in 1965 by Ruth and Lauriston Sharp. In 1998 Ann Lee O'Connell Anderson '55 and Albert G. Anderson donated a watercolor painting of an unidentified young woman, done by Wright in 1916. Betsy Fahlman donated additional materials pertaining to Wright's artwork in 1998. Dorcas MacClintock gave biographical materials, including Betsy Fahlman's definitive work on Wright's sculpture, in 2003.

Related Material

Additional papers pertaining to Alice Morgan Wright are housed at the Albany Institute of History and Art (125 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York).

Sketches Wright made of classmates at Smith are present in the student files in the Smith College Archives. Artwork by Wright can be seen around the Smith College campus: sculpture in Alumnae Gym; Doleman plaque on College Hall; and Seelye plaque on John M. Greene porch. Materials regarding the National Humane Education Society can be found in the Miscellaneous Organizations Collection of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Bibliography

Additional biographical information can be found in Notable American women, 1607-1950; a biographical dictionary. Edward T. James, editor. Janet Wilson James, associate editor. Paul S. Boyer, assistant editor. (Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971- )

Processing Information

Processed by Indus Chadha, 2007.
Title
Alice Morgan Wright papers
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Indus Chadha
Date
2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:18-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063