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Elsa Siipola papers

Identifier: CA-MS-01150

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the professional papers of Elsa Siipola, including professional photographs, correspondence with colleagues, news clippings about her career and death, and some of her publications and research.


  • 1935 - 1983


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

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 ( 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

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; 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 Smith College, 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

Elsa Siipola was born in 1908 in Fitchburg, MA. She graduated from Smith in 1929, and continued her education at Smith to receive her M.A. She received her doctorate from Yale University and returned to Smith as a Professor of Psychology in 1931, where she taught until her retirement in 1974. Siipola’s research centered around the study of personality. Although many psychologists thought that undergraduates were not yet mature and objective enough to study personality, Siipola pioneered several courses to teach her research to undergraduates. Siipola also took several administrative positions at Smith: as the Dean of her department, as a member of the Post-War planning committee, as chair of the Alumnae Association’s Education Committee, and as an organizer of the Smith College Medal Committee. For her work, she and her husband were honored by the Trustees in the naming of the Harold Edward and Elsa Siipola Israel Chair of Psychology. Outside of the college, Siipola lectured at many colleges, including Harvard University and UCLA, was a member of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Service to Youth, and served on the National committee for Undergraduate Science Instruction. After retirement, Siipola continued to write for psychology journals. She died in her Northampton home in 1983.


0.229 linear feet (1 container)


Elsa Siipola graduated from Smith College in 1929 and continued her education at Smith to receive her M.A. She returned in 1931 as a Professor of Psychology, where she taught until her retirement in 1974. Siipola’s research centered around the study of personality. Her papers contain correspondence, publications, photographs, Curriculum Vitae, and news clippings.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.
Finding aid to the Elsa Siipola papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Description rules

Revision Statements

  • 2019-07-17: Added legacy finding aid and published.

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063