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Elizabeth Kemper Adams Papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00372

Scope and Contents

The collection contains material related to the professional life of Elizabeth Kemper Adams, including her syllabi for her popular History of Education course, several published works and her dissertation "The Aesthetic Experience: Its Meaning in a Functional Psychology". The file also contains several articles about Adams' importance to the field of education for women, critiques of her work on education history, and photographs.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1899 - 1915


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

Elizabeth Kemper Adams was born in Nashostah, Wisconsin. She attended Vassar College where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1893, going on to get her doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1904. Adams taught at Vassar College and Western Reserve University before becaming a Professor of Philosophy at Smith College in 1905. In 1911 she was named the first Director of the Education Department. Here she focused on the history of education and the place and needs of women in contemporary education. Adams wrote several books and articles, including: Open Marks versus Closed, The Vocational Movement and College Women and her doctoral thesis, The Aesthetic Experience: Its Meaning in a Functional Psychology. During her time at Smith, Professor Adams also sat on the Faculty Committee on Recommendations and the Association of Collegiate Alumnae Committee on Vocational Opportunities for Women. Adams retired from teaching in 1916 due to prolonged illness. She continued to write and to take interest in Smith College until her death in 1949 in Brattleboro, Vermont.


0.229 linear feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Contains photographs, newspaper clippings, syllabi and published articles related to the professional life of Elizabeth Kemper Adams.

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 the Elizabeth Kemper Adams Papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Finding aid prepared by Madison White (Class of 1916) and Daniel Michelson.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2018-10-30: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of College Archives survey

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063