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Jere Abbott papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00370

Scope and Contents

The collection contains material from both Jere Abbott's time working at Smith, including photographs and announcements of lectures and museum acquisitions, and his time after retirement. A large portion of the collection is the sketches and cartoons that Abbott drew from 1944-1959. There is also a number of personal correspondence, largely holiday letters, written to Mary [B. Mace?] about his life in retirement.


  • 1932 - 1982


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 ( 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

Jere Abbott was born in 1897 to Arthur Abbott and Flora Parkman (Abbott) in Dexter, Maine. Abbott received his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College in science and went on to attend graduate school at Harvard University in physics. It was here that he met Alfred Hamilton Barr, who sparked his interest in Art History. Abbott studied in France and Russia, and returned to the US to receive a graduate degree in art history from Princeton. From 1929-1932, Abbott worked as the first associate director of the Museum of Modern Art, alongside its first director, Barr. In 1932, Abbott became director of the Smith College Museum of Art, where he also taught some classes in modern art. Abbott was instrumental in shifting the Museum's focus toward the collection of modern pieces, including Picasso's cubist Table, Guitar, and Bottle (1919). In 1946, Abbott retired from Smith to return to his family business, Amos Abbott Woolen Manufacturing Company in Dexter, Maine, as treasurer. He died in 1982, at the age of 84, leaving a $4.3-million acquisition fund to the Colby College Museum of Art.


0.229 linear feet (1 container)


This collection contains photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and drawings related to the professional and personal life of Jere Abbott, Director of the Smith College Museum of Art from 1932 until 1946.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.

Related Materials

RG 22. Building and Grounds: Museum of Art

Processing Information

Processed by Madison White, Class of 2016

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 for the Jere Abbott Papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Finding aid prepared by Madison White.
Description rules
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 (
  • 2019-03-08: Updated finding aid as part of the College Archive survey

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063