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Office of the Acting President Elizabeth Morrow files

Identifier: CA-MS-00012

Scope and Contents

The Office of the Acting President Elizabeth Morrow files document her official duties as acting president of Smith College. The collection includes correspondence, news clippings, photographs, presidential documents, speeches, and reports. An important aspect of the collection is the information concerning the Special Committee on Choosing a President and Trustee.

The collection documents Morrow's achievements and her involvement with Smith College. Among other things the collection highlights academic departments and Interdepartmental majors, the restoration of the President's Office, and documents events such as Rally Day and Commencement.

Correspondence consists of letters to and from Elizabeth Morrow concerning matters of the President, letters to and from the Neilson family, and letters to and from the Davis family.

Dates of Materials

  • 1939 - 1940


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use with the following restrictions on access:

Board of Trustees' records are closed permanently.

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 Reeve Cutter Morrow has been called Smith's most outstanding alumna. Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1873, Elizabeth Cutter was the daughter of Charles Long Cutter and Annie E. (Spencer) Cutter. Her father was Secretary General of L. and Wheeling Railroad. Having received her early education in Cleveland at Miss Mittleberger's School, she was later granted a B. L. degree from Smith College in the Class of 1896. She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, France from 1896 to 1897 as well as in Florence, Italy.

In 1903 Elizabeth Reeve Cutter married Dwight Whitney Morrow. Dwight Morrow, born in Huntington, W.V. in 1873, graduated from Amherst College in 1896. He served as the United States Ambassador to Mexico from 1927 - 1930, during the Hoover administration, and served in the United States Senate from 1930 until his death on October 5, 1931. They had four children: Elizabeth Reeve, Anne Spencer, Dwight Whitney, and Constance Cutter. All three daughters attended Smith College. Elizabeth Cutter Morrow was the grandmother of twelve, including the famous Lindbergh baby, son of Anne Spencer and her husband Col. Charles A. Lindbergh.

Elizabeth Cutter Morrow was the recipient of honorary degrees from six leading colleges and universities including: Amherst College, 1933; New Jersey College for Women, 1935; Smith College, 1937; New York University, 1940; Lafayette College,1940; and Princeton, 1940. Described by Dr. William Allen Neilson in conferring the degree of Doctor of Humane letters upon her in 1937, "President of the Alumnae Association, and for sixteen years Trustee of Smith College, author of distinction in prose and verse, the multitude of whose services to her college and her country - far greater than the world knows - makes it impossible to describe adequately the alumna who has earned in most abundant measure our love, our honor, and our gratitude.

Taking an active role in the life and well-being of her alma mater, Elizabeth Cutter Morrow was president of the Smith College Alumnae Association from 1917 - 1920. She was a member of the War Services Board which directed Smith College relief units overseas. Between 1920 - 1926 she was the Alumnae representative to the Board of Trustees, and later, in 1926, was elected a Trustee by the Board. Her largest contribution, however, was her role as acting president for the interim year, 1939 - 1940, after the resignation of William Neilson as president in 1939.

Elizabeth Cutter Morrow was not a professional woman whose "field" can be easily described. She certainly achieved eminence in education, philanthropy, finance, and literature. She was a teacher of English, History, and French in private schools before her marriage to Dwight Whitney Morrow in 1903. During her marriage she published prose and verse in many popular magazines, as well as publishing multiple children's books, including The Painted Pig, Quatrains for My Daughter, The Rabbit's Nest, Shannon, A Pint of Judgment and Casa Manana, which was chosen as one of 150 of the most beautiful books between 1931 and 1933.

Elizabeth Cutter Morrow was active in local as well as national and international affairs. She was chairman of the Community Chest when it was first organized in Englewood, New Jersey, the town she called home. She was also involved in her local church, Women's Club, Memorial House (civic center) and was even chairman of the Board of The Little School in Englewood, founded by her daughter Elizabeth. She was a member of the executive committee of the New York National War Fund Committee. She was one of the founders for Food for Freedom Inc. Morrow was the first woman to serve on the Board of the Union Theological Seminary and was a member of the National Board of the Y. W. C. A., where she took a leading role in its fund raising campaigns. Elizabeth Cutter Morrow played an important role in issues abroad. During her husband's time as ambassador to Mexico, 1927-31930, she supported him in his resolve to strengthen relations between Mexico and the United States. Morrow was also an honorary vice-president of the American Association for the United Nations, Inc.

On January 23, 1955 she died at the age of eighty-two. In an address at the Smith College memorial service Ada Comstock Notestein, former dean and trustee of Smith College, as well as former president of Radcliffe College, said: "...She was one of those rare beings for whose courage nothing is too great, and for whose imagination nothing is too small...She was a benefactor and philanthropist without any apparent consciousness of doing more than anyone would have done in her place."


1.125 linear feet (4 containers)

Language of Materials



Elizabeth Cutter Morrow served as Smith's acting president. She was also a Smith alumna, a teacher, author, volunteer, and trustee. This collection contains correspondence, news clippings, photographs, presidential documents, speeches, reports and other materials. Correspondents include the Neilson family and the Davis family.


The bulk of the material is arranged alphabetically by subject.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.

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 Office of the Acting President Elizabeth Morrow files
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Ellice Amanna
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: manosca12 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2018-11-08: Updated finding aid
  • 2018-12-13: Container added, finding aid updated with notes, dates, barcodes

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063