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Elizabeth A. Nichols papers

 Collection
Identifier: CA-MS-00312

Scope and Contents

For her senior thesis "Paradise Lost and Regained: Experiences of Refugee Professors at Smith College" Elizabeth A. Nichols attempted to investigate the academic and personal experiences of seventeen European academics who taught at Smith College in the 1930s and 1940s. Her thesis was awarded high honors. Most of these individuals had fled Germany and other parts of Europe in order to escape oppression by the German National Socialist regime. The research materials in this collection include information culled from the Smith College Archives and other sources on several of the professors. It also includes Nichols's detailed notes on the papers of the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars located in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library. The heart of the collection consists of responses to a query letter sent by Nichols to more than fifty Smith alumnae whom she hoped would have recollections of the professors in question. She appears to have chosen her correspondents based (at least in part) on their membership in the German Club or residence in the German House while at Smith College. Those alumnae who were able to reply substantively provided thoughtful reflections about the personalities and teaching styles of (some of the) teachers in question. Certain letters also describe in some detail the tensions between Nazi sympathizers and opponents that developed at the German House, and on campus, in the 1930s.

A list of the professors in Nichols's query is below. The weight of alumnae recollections centers on three of these: the historian Hans Kohn (1891-1971), who taught at Smith from 1933 to 1949 and was immensely popular with students; German literature professor Martin Sommerfeld (1894-1939), who taught at Smith from 1936 to 1939; and Matthias Schmitz (1899-?), who was not a refugee at all but (apparently) a member of the Nazi Party. The flamboyant Schmitz taught at Smith from 1934-1939 and students had wildly differing opinions of him. This collection contains both published and unpublished material regarding Schmitz.

Lecturer/Professor Department
Anita Ascher German
Herbert Busemann Math
Alfred Einstein Music
Susanne Engelmann German
Mannfred Kridl Slavic Studies
Hans Kohn History
Lilly Lorentz Physics
George Michaelides Religion
Renato Poggioli Italian
George Poyla Math
Annelies Rose Psychology
Maja Schade Physical Education
Matthias Schmitz German
Oskar Seidlin German
Martin Sommerfeld German
Jean Wahl French
Edgard Wind Art History
The collection also contains published articles on the refugee scholar experience in the U.S. and one set of notes from an oral interview. There was presumably more evidence from oral interviews that did not survive.

The collection contains a copy of Nichols's query letter and two faculty evaluations of the thesis by Dan Horowitz and Hans Vaget, but does not contain the thesis itself. At this writing, the Smith College Library also did not possess a copy of the thesis.

Alumnae Correspondents

Jean Thompson (née Adie)
1940
Mary Saalfield (née Albrecht)
1935
Martha Stimson (née Allen)
1939
Clio Stearns (née Barnes)
1939
Louise Hogg (née Barry)
1939
Peggy Leavitt (née Berne/Bernstein)
1941
Elizabeth Boyden
1939
Martha Angel (née Brainerd)
1940
Ruth Greenman (née Cohen)
1936
Margaret Pingree (née Crossman)
1939
Ruth Pratt (née Crossman)
1939
Jeannette Denning (née Dearden)
1939
Muriel Kuhbach (née Dinger)
1939
Edith Erlenmeyer
1936
Rose Bethe (née Ewald)
1940
Jean Bloch (née Ewald)
1945
Julia Wise (née Gibian)
1937
Jane Denker (née Gurley)
1940
Phyllis Fineschriber (née Hagedorn)
1937
Ada Pailey (née Huber)
1938
Edith M. Jurka
1936
Kathleen McGowan (née Keer)
1940
Loretta Ingalls (née Kruszyna)
1939
Anna Dahl (née Kurko)
1937
Nancy Phillips (née Leask)
1938
Mary-Joe Crandall (née Lee)
1939
Eleanor Grose (née Leith)
1936
Alice Bennink (née Lyman)
1940
Mary MacFarquar
1936
Murdina Desmond (née MacFarquar)
1938
Ida Bucher (née Mahoney)
1939
Ruth Peck (née Mahoney)
1940
Nancy Gares (née Marsh)
1938
Jane Moore (née Maurer)
1940
Eudora Moore (née Morse)
1940
Emily Anderson (née Myers)
1935
Wilnor Weck (née Neebe)
1937
Caroline Steiner (née Neilson)
1938
Gisela Friedberg (née Newkirk)
1941
Ethel Orpen
1937
Elizabeth E. Reed
1938
Jeannette Ernst (née Reed)
1939
Rita Fraad (née Rich)
1937
Jeannette Ruderman (née Greenburgh)
1939
Nelly Hoyt (née Schargo)
1943
Helen Mock (née Schauffler)
1939
Kathleen Wright (née Shedd)
1939
Anastasia M. Dunau (née Thannhauser)
1941
Sarah Stevens (née Wallis)
1938
Joan Kaufman (née Wise)
1937
Lois A. Young
1939

Alumnae correspondents for whom complete information is lacking

Priscilla Graham (Mrs. Paul)
undated
Anita Vogel Sklarskly
undated

Non-alumnae correspondence

Daniel Horowitz
undated
Hans Vaget
undated
Elizabeth Vaulkenier
undated
Renel Wilson
undated
Elisabeth Koffka
undated
Helen Muchnic
undated

Dates

  • 1989-1990

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

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

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

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

Elizabeth A. Nichols was a member of the Class of 1990 and graduated cum laude. She resided in Oak House.

Extent

0.438 linear feet (1 container)

Overview

Elizabeth A. Nichols is a 1990 Smith alumna. This collection contains notes, articles, and correspondence she collected in the course of researching her senior thesis in history: "Paradise Lost and Regained: Experiences of Refugee Professors at Smith College."

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Elizabeth A. Nichols Papers were donated to the Smith College Archives by Ms. Nichols in February 2007.

Related Material

- RG 22. Buildings and Grounds, German House (8 Bedford Terrace)

- RG 42. Faculty

- RG 52. German Club

- RG 80. Class of 1990

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.
Title
Finding aid to the Elizabeth A. Nichols papers
Status
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Author
Eileen Crosby-Ballou
Date
© 2008
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

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)
  • 2019-03-08: Updated finding aid as part of the College Archive survey

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063