Jill Ker Conway personal papers
Dates of Materials
- 1890 - 2018
- Majority of material found within 1960 - 2018
- Conway, Jill Ker (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Correspondence with 3rd party individuals are closed until the death of the correspondent.
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
Conway was only 39 years old when she accepted the Smith appointment in 1974. A native of New South Wales, Australia, she received her undergraduate education at the University of Sydney (1958). Two years after completing her B.A., she left Australia to pursue her Ph.D. at Harvard University. While at Harvard, she met and married John Conway, a Canadian historian and a native of Toronto. Together they moved to Canada where both obtained positions at the University of Toronto. Jill Conway remained at the University of Toronto for more than ten years, beginning in 1964. She began as a professor of U.S. social and intellectual history, then gradually rose through the administrative ranks to serve as the vice-president for internal affairs (1973-1975).
Conway assumed the Smith presidency in July 1975. Several administrative and curricular changes were enacted during her tenure. Administrative offices, such as the Career Development Office (previously the Vocational Office), Dean of the College, Dean of Students, and Public Relations, were reorganized. The Women's Studies, Comparative Literature, Peace and War Studies, and Engineering Dual Degree programs were added to the curriculum during this period, and academic minors were introduced. Lasting physical reminders of her presidency include the Ainsworth Gym, expanded outdoor athletic facilities, as well as renovation and additions to Neilson Library. The Alumnae Gymnasium was also renovated during this period, and became home to the Smith College Archives, the Sophia Smith Collection, and the Nonprint Resource Center.
Following her departure from the college in 1985, Conway has been a visiting professor in MIT's Program in Science, Technology, and Society. She has also authored and edited a number of books of fiction and nonfiction. Three volumes of her memoirs provide detailed biographical information about Conway. The third volume (released October 2001), chronicles her years at Smith. While this volume deals with Conway's personal as well as professional development, and is admittedly from a singular perspective, it can serve as a guide to the major developments of Smith College during her tenure.
36.792 linear feet (53 containers)
Language of Materials
- Biographical Information
- Teaching and Professional Affiliations
- Writings and Speeches
- Audiovisual and Digital Materials
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.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
In 2020, when the collection was reprocessed, several groups of materials were removed from the collection, including her doctoral hoods, honorary degrees and awards, financial materials and medical records, layout proofs and galleys of Conway's writings, and her recommendations and advising files for her students and colleagues. These materials were discarded.
In addition to these, 1 oversize box of material was moved to the John Conway papers and 1 oversize box was transferred to the Office of the President Jill Ker Conway Files.
In 2020, the collection was revisited by Madison White and Grace Hartley, a student assistant. They weeded duplicate and sensitive materials from the collection, and then processed the remaining unprocessed accessions in the same structure that the 2003 processors had used. Since most of the artifacts series was weeded, the remaining materials were moved to other series. Closed correspondence were moved to their own restricted box. The finding aid was updated to reflect the new structure, and the 2003 and the 2020 processed sections were intellectually integrated together.
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.
- Finding aid to Jill Ker Conway personal papers
- Enhanced Finding Aid (Completed)
- Madison White and Grace Hartley
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2020-01-27: Described new processed arrangement
- 2020-07-22: Description added for born-digital content.
Part of the Smith College Archives Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063