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Old Letters Club records

Identifier: CA-MS-00027

Scope and Contents

The Old Letters Club records, consisting of 5 linear inches, are a small collection of letters written between 1776 and 1871, with the bulk of the collection composed in the mid-eighteenth century. Extremely diverse with many of the letters written around the Revolutionary and Civil wars by both women and men, the letters collected by the club are not only of a personal nature, but encompass business and legal affairs as well. According to the club's purpose, many of the letters provide insight into the daily lives of people at different points in history; however, none of the series of letters are complete, some of the authors cannot be identified, and none of the signatures are well-known. The collection is not arranged chronologically; instead, the club's original method of arrangement by donor and then accession is maintained. As many of the letters were given on loan to the original club, there is a gap in the middle of the collection where thirteen letters are missing as well as another gap towards the end of the collection where an additional thirty-three letters are unaccounted for. Included in the files are both the club's original index cards documenting the letters and the index cards created by an archivist while processing the collection. Some of the information differs between the cards and the file folders because of new dates and names discovered upon a closer reading of the letters. Every letter has a corresponding index card except for letter # 147.

Dates of Materials

  • 1776 - 1937


Conditions Governing Access

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

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

Students in the History Department founded this club with the help of Professor John Spencer Bassett in 1926. The purpose of the club was to collect a diverse group of letters, not necessarily valuable, that documented the lives of women and men throughout history. Members of the club accumulated the material in the collection over several years from various sources and donors.


0.417 linear feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Club to collect historical letters. Contains letters written between 1776 and 1871.


The collection is not arranged chronologically; instead, the club's original method of arrangement by donor and then accession is maintained.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown

Processing Information

Processed by Noelle Giguere.

Processing Information

Please note that prior to 2018, folder inventories were not always updated when new material was added to the collection. As a result, folder inventories may not be complete and folder numbers may be incorrect.

Finding aid to the Old Letters Club records
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Noelle Giguere
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 (
  • 2005-09-23: manosca27 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2018-11-11: Updated to conform to DACS and added boxes

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063