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Ely Chinoy papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00386

Scope and Contents

The collection contains materials from Chinoy's work in the Sociology and Anthropology departments at Smith College and includes course material, research, departmental correspondence and photographs. There are also a number of obituaries. The bulk of the collection is comprised of Chinoy's published works in English and in translation as well as .75 linear feet of research for "Coeducation at Smith College: A Report to the President and the College Planning Committee".

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1921 - 1977
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1953 - 1977


Language of Materials

Collection is primarily in English with some materials in Spanish and Japanese.

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

Ely Chinoy was born on September 5, 1921 in Newark, New Jersey to Sam and Bella Chinoy. He received his B.A. from the University of Newark (now Rutgers University) in 1942 summa cum laude. In the years following he held teaching positions at the Newark College of Engineering, Washington Square College of New York University and at the University of Toronto where he held the 1946 - 1947 Social Science Research Council Fellowship. In 1951 he became an instructor of Sociology at Smith College. Two years later he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Chinoy's first book, Automobile Workers and the American Dream, was published in 1955 and became a landmark study of the factory and, in particular, the description and analysis of behavioral psychology of assembly line workers. Other books produced by Chinoy include Sociological Perspective (1954), Society (1961) and The Urban Future (1973). His texts have been translated into various languages including Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Serbo-Croatian and Japanese.

Professionally, Chinoy was incredibly active. From 1959 to 1960 he served as an assistant editor of the American Sociological Review, becoming an associate editor from 1961 until 1964. In 1963 he travelled to England and served as a Fulbright professor at the University of Leicester in addition to lecturing at Oxford, the London School of Economics and at several research instituted associated with former Yugoslavic universities. He was a member of the American Sociological Association, the Eastern Sociological Association, the American Association of University Professors and the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1971 he resumed his Fulbright activities and travelled to the Philippines to lecture. Internally, Chinoy played an important role on several committees, including serving as the President of the Smith College chapter of the American Association of University Professors and the special committee on co-education in 1970 - 1971, which recommended that Smith College remain a women's college.

On April 21, 1975 Chinoy was killed returning home from a speaking engagement in Boston, Massachusetts. His car veered off the road, struck the guardrail and overturned several times. He was 53 years old.


13.021 linear feet (15 containers)


Faculty. Department of Sociology. Contains various documents relating to the career of Ely Chinoy at Smith College including correspondence, photographs, news clippings, published works, research, course materials, and programs.


This collection is organized into four series:

  1. Biographical
  2. Professional
  3. Publications
  4. Research

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Helen Chinoy in 1995 and Claire and Michael Chinoy in 2004. Some material may be from other sources.

Related Materials

The following materials are available via the Five College Digital Access Project:

The following materials are available in the Smith College Archives:

  1. Helen Krich Chinoy Papers, 1922 - 2010
  2. Smith College. Department of Anthropology
  3. Smith College. Department of Sociology

The following related materials are available at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University:

  1. Ely Chinoy Papers (bulk 1936 - 1983)

Processing Information

Processed by Madison White, Class of 2016; Elizabeth Carron, Archives Specialist

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 Ely Chinoy papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Finding aid prepared by Madison White; Elizabeth Carron.
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 (
  • 2018-11-02: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of College Archives survey
  • 2019-11-26: Added boxes 1-12; updated S&C note, extents and dates.

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063