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Smith College School for Social Work, Office of the Dean records

Identifier: CA-MS-01210

Scope and Contents

The Smith College School for Social Work, Office of the Dean records contains the administrative and program records of the Office of the Dean, including records related to the departments and committees overseen by the office. Particularly well documented are the office's work to define policies, their management of the faculty, correspondence of the deans, accreditation processes, and financial and budgetary planning.

Files include event planning records, budgets, meeting minutes, reports, publications and brochures, policy handbooks, speeches, faculty records, student grievances files, correspondence and memos, audio and video recordings, course files, surveys, project proposals, histories of the School, ledgers, files on other schools and granting agencies, and personal records of the Deans.

Dates of Materials

  • 1917 - 2019


Conditions Governing Access

Materials in the Smith College Archives are open for use, with the following exceptions: "Office Files," files of records created for the use of the administrative unit that created them, are closed to research for a period of 10 years following their creation. Faculty tenure and promotion files, as well as inactive faculty files are closed permanently. Student academic records, student disciplinary records, and all records containing FERPA-covered student information are closed during the lifetime of the student. Student records created 100 years or more ago are assumed to be about deceased students. In all cases, the College Archives will continue to provide public access to materials that were intended to be public at the time of their creation (press releases, publications, etc.)

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

The Office of the Dean provides administrative oversight and leadership for the School for Social Work. It oversees all academic, administrative, and social aspects of the school's departments, students, faculty, and staff. It includes the Dean of the School, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the Associate Dean for Graduate Enrollment and Student Services, as well as the administrative staff that supports the busy office.

Founded in 1918, the Smith College School for Social Work grew out of discussions among leading psychologists and mental health professionals over the needs of returning veterans of World War I. The training program was pioneering and experimental with its focus on the shell-shocked veteran. As the community of patients changed, the Smith program began to focus on the relationship between social workers, agencies that provide rehabilitation, and the patient. The training program combines coursework at Smith and fieldwork in agencies that work with individuals suffering from trauma of all kinds: abuse, injustice, poverty, war; individuals who are ‘at risk’; individuals for whom daily life is an oppressive experience.

In 1918, Smith College President William Allan Neilson, seeking a way for the college to contribute to the war effort, invited Mary Jarrett to implement an apprentice course to train social workers under the auspices of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene.

Jarrett had originally developed this social work course at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, where she served as Chief of Social Service. In collaboration with Dr. Elmer Ernest Southard, Director of the hospital, Jarrett defined the relevance of social work to psychiatry and originated “psychiatric social work”. At the same time that President Neilson was looking for a way for the college to “[do] an extra share in the war emergency,” Jarrett and Southard were working on plans for a training course for psychiatric social workers to work with “shell shocked” soldiers.

In 1918, sixty-three students completed the first summer’s 8-week course work and reported for 6 months of practical training. The students received certificates at the completion of the full course, which were granted by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene.

The program’s immediate success led the College Board of Trustees to make it a permanent program, the Smith College Psychiatric Training School, which later became the Smith College School for Social Work. The Training School was a pioneering effort enabling young women to learn psychiatry, when educating women in psychiatry was seen as too “radical.” The School earned its first accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education in 1919.

In 1919 Stuart Chapin, of the Smith College Sociology Department, was appointed Director. Jarrett was named Associate Director, and served in that capacity until 1923. While at Smith, Jarrett continued to conduct research and to write, notably The Mental Hygiene of Industry (1920) in which she articulated the relationship of mental health to productivity and the role of the social worker in maintaining the former. She also published The Kingdom of Evils (co-authored with Southard), a landmark book that helped establish psychiatric social work as a credible and useful adjunct to established medical practice.

In 1930 the School held its first “Supervisor's Conference,” demonstrating from its earliest years a commitment to maintaining close working relationships with those who supervise students in their internships. That same year, SSW first published the widely respected professional journal of clinical social work, Smith College Studies in Social Work. In 1939, the School offered its first multicultural course, “Culture as a Determinant of Behavior,” taught by the noted social anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski of the University of London.

In 1943, the demands of World War II led the School to adjust its curriculum from 24 months to just 15 months—though the 24-month curriculum was reinstated in 1946. Two years later, it initiated the Program of Advanced Study, which eventually developed into the SCSSW PhD program.

Throughout the 1950s, the School continued to take the lead in the social work community, expanding its program based on the shifting needs of a changing political climate. While the School maintained its commitment to Veterans, the 1950s was marked by an increasing interest in interdisciplinary collaboration, the expansion of research as an area of focus in social work education, expanded social welfare curriculum offerings, and increasing interest in international social work, including the admittance of students from abroad.

In concert with the Civil Rights Movement, SCSSW expanded its commitment to the issue of multicultural practice. Starting in the 1960s, coursework on socio-cultural, economic, and political environments was intensified. In addition, courses were added on group work, clinical social work and families, and issues of sexual orientation.

In 1994, the SCSSW faculty made a public and formal commitment to work continuously toward becoming an anti-racism institution.

Today, the School continues to be a leader in clinical social work education. In both the master’s and Ph.D. programs, students and instructional faculty come into residence on Smith’s campus for 10 weeks of coursework over three consecutive summers. Classroom learning, meals shared in the dining hall, attendance at lectures and student activities—on and off campus—all offer opportunities for rich interaction between approximately 400 students and faculty. The tight-knit nature of the community is also welcoming to alumni, a significant percentage of whom participate in School events throughout the year. Since 1931, the School has also offered a rich, active continuing education program for professionals around the country. The School offers two specialized certificate programs: Advanced Clinical Supervision and End-of-Life Care (co-sponsored with Baystate Health).

[The above history includes information from the Mary Jarrett Papers finding aid in the SSC written by Burd Schlessinger, and from various documents in the Jarrett Papers, including Florence Day’s report on the history of the SSW. More recent history is from]

Deans and Directors

Mary Jarrett, Director
F. Stuart Chapin, Acting Director and Director
Everett Kimball, Director
Florence Day, Director
Howard Parad, Dean
Helen Pinkus, Acting Dean
Kenneth McCartney, Dean
Katherine Gabel, Dean
1984-1986 (intermittent periods)
Dorcas Bowles, Acting Dean
Ann Hartman, Dean
Anita Lightburn, Dean
Carolyn Jacobs, Dean
2014-present (as of March 2021)
Marianne R. M. Yoshioka, Dean


117.917 linear feet (118 containers)

Language of Materials



The Office of the Dean provides administrative oversight and leadership for the School for Social Work. It oversees all academic, administrative, and social aspects of the school's departments, students, faculty, and staff. The Smith College School for Social Work, Office of the Dean records contains the administrative and programmatic records of the Office of the Dean, including records related to the departments and committees overseen by the office.


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time. Accessions are arranged alphabetically..

Materials within accessions have not been rearranged, and so they generally follow the filing system that was created by the office.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred by the Smith College School of Social Work, Office of the Dean, starting in 1991.


During processing in 2021, archivists removed materials related to donations by individual alumni, staff personnel records, receipts and travel expenses, and duplicates.

Related Materials

Several departments overseen by the Office of the Dean have their own collections, including the Smith College School for Social Work, Center for Innovative Practice and Social Work Education records, the Smith College School for Social Work, Office of Field Education records, the Smith College School for Social Work, Office of Alumni Affairs and Development records, the Smith College School for Social Work publications, and the Smith College School for Social Work, Office of the Registrar.

There are many related collections to the School for Social Work records, including the papers of administrators, professors, students, oral histories, and Smith College administrative materials. Directors, Associate Directors, and Deans’ papers include Mary C. Jarrett papers (founding director of the Smith College School for Social Work), Katherine Gabel papers (student and 1976-1985 Dean and Professor), and Bertha Capen Reynolds papers (associate director 1935-1942).

Many of the School’s students later became faculty, advisers, and administrators at the School. Individuals who studied or taught at the School for Social Work include: Florence Hollis and Rosemary Ross Reynolds papers (Hollis was a student and, from 1955 to 1962, she taught summers at the Smith College School for Social Work) Mary van Kleeck papers (student and professor in the 1920s) Yonata Feldman papers (faculty of the Smith College School for Social Work 1950-1974) Helen Leland Witmer papers (Director of Research 1929-1949) Martha Lavell papers (student) Lydia Rapoport papers (student, youngest graduate in the school’s history) Gladys V. Swackhamer papers (student) Jean Leach papers (Research Faculty and Instructor of Administration in the Program of Advanced Study 1957-1964) Louise Silbert Bandler papers (student and active in alumnae affairs) Monica McGoldrick papers (student and professor) Jean Sanville papers (student and faculty of the Program of Continuing Education 1984-2013) Nancy Staver papers (student and research advisor 1954-1965 and 1978-1983)

For additional student and faculty papers related to the SSW, see the Individual faculty papers and the Graduate Work records.

Many individuals involved with the School were interviewed as part of the Social Work Archives Oral History collection. For information on Smith College’s involvement in social work before the founding of the School, see the Settlements collection. Many of the Smith College presidents were involved in the funding, administration, and development of the SSW, and their files can be found in the Office of President William Allan Neilson Files, Herbert John Davis files, Benjamin Fletcher Wright papers, Thomas Corwin Mendenhall, Jill Ker Conway, Mary Maples Dunn, and Ruth J. Simmons.

Processing Information

In 2021, Madison White, the processing archivist, started to split the Smith College School of Social Work records into several smaller collections based on the offices or departments which had donated the materials. This collection was created as a result.

During the 2021 processing, all accessions were described and weeded of non-permanent and duplicate materials. Records were kept in the order that they had been received from the Office of the Dean.

Finding Aid to the Smith College School for Social Work, Office of the Dean records
Enhanced Finding Aid (Completed)
Madison White
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2021-03-10: Created new collection

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063