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Dorothy May Anderson papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00374

Scope and Contents

The Dorothy May Anderson papers contain questionnaires, course material, photographs, newspaper clippings, drawings, plans, correspondence and other materials related to Anderson's professional life.

Dates of Materials

  • 1930 - 1993


Conditions Governing Access

The records are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

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

Dorothy May Anderson was born in 1903 in Colville, Washington. She was one of only two students to graduate from the landscape architecture program at the State College of Washington in 1926. After working in Seattle for several years under Fred Cole, an English landscape architect, in 1929 Anderson returned to school to study at the Cambridge School of Art and Landscape Architecture. At that time, the Cambridge School was the best landscape and architecture school for women in the country. Financial difficulty forced Anderson to intersperse terms with landscaping work with Ellen Shipman and Louise Payson in New York, but she graduated in 1933 with her thesis "A School of Horticulture for Women".

In 1933, she was hired as landscape design and planting design teacher at the Lowthorpe School in Groton Massachusetts and later became the co-director of the school. In 1935, Anderson was invited to teach and redesign the grounds of Smith College. In 1943, Anderson left Smith to help in the war effort, working for the OSS Cartography Division until the end of the war. With few opportunities available in the field of landscaping architecture after the war, Anderson continued to work for the OSS, State Department, and Foreign Services in Cairo and Paris. In 1954, she joined the CIA doing similar cartographic work in the United States.

In 1966, Anderson retired from her position in the CIA as editor-in-chief of geographic reports. In retirement, Anderson remained professionally active, doing freelance writing and editing. In 1980, she published Women, Design and the Cambridge School: A History of the Smith College Graduate School of Landscape Architecture and Architecture in Cambridge. She passed away in 1993 at the age of 90.


8.167 linear feet (9 containers)

Language of Materials



Dorothy May Anderson taught landscape design at Smith College and contributed to the redesign of the Smith campus prior to joining the war effort in 1943. Her papers contains questionnaires, course material, photographs, newspaper clippings, and correspondence related to Anderson's professional and personal life.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Dorothy May Anderson (1993), her niece Frances Eggar (1994), and Peter Kern (1993). Some material may be from other sources.

Related Materials

For additional information about the Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, see also RG 60. Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture Records, 1919-1986 and the HOLLIS catalog by Harvard University.

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 to Dorothy May Anderson papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Finding aid prepared by Madison White, Ellice Yasner Amanna, Scott Biddle
2018, 219
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 (
  • 2019-01-04: Finding aid updated to current standards and published
  • 2019-12-11: Boxes and barcodes, description added and finding aid updated
  • 2020-07-01: Added 6 flat file folders

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063