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Katherine Gabel papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00391

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of Gabel's films, including from her time at Smith. It also contains a book as well as photographs and news releases relating to her career in general and her tenure at the Arizona Girl's School in detail.

Dates of Materials

  • 1957 - 1985


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

Born April 9, 1938 in Rochester, New York, Gabel graduated from Columbia School for Girls in 1955. She entered Smith College in 1955, during which time she lived in Wilder House. After graduating in 1959 with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology she went on to earn her M.S.W. from Simmons School of Social Work with a focus on psychiatric social work. In 1967 she earned her Ph.D. in Criminology from Syracuse University and her J.D. from Albany Law School in 1970.

From 1970 until 1976, she worked as the Superintendent of the Arizona Girls School, an institution for juvenile detention and rehabilitation. Because of her work there, she was appointed as Rally Day speaker in 1972. She later received the Smith College Medal in 1976.

Appointed the Dean of the Smith School for Social Work in 1976, she devoted her energy to enlarging and widening the curriculum, diversifying the applicant pool, and securing grants money for the school. In 1985 she was appointed president of the floundering Pacific Oaks College and Children's School, leading the school to meet accreditation standards and find financial security.

In 2000 she left the college to become the West Regional Director for the Casey Family Programs, a non-profit that works to reduce the need for foster care. In 2004 she became the West Regional Director of Lambda Legal, a firm that works for the protection of rights for the LGBTQ community. Although she retired in 2008 she remains active in the LGBTQ community. In 2013 she and longtime partner Dr. Eunice Shatz married in Fresno, California.


1.229 linear feet (2 containers)

Language of Materials



Alumna. dean of the School for Social Work. Collection contains news clippings, films, photographs and publications documenting the professional life of Katherine Gabel, Class of 1959.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.

Related Materials

The following related collections can be found at the Smith College Archives:

  1. Class of 1959 Records
  2. Smith College. School for Social Work.
  3. Class of 1972 Records
  4. Rally Day files, 1885 - ongoing
  5. Smith College Medal Committee records, 1962 - ongoing

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 Katherine Gabel papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Finding aid prepared by Madison White, Class of 2016; Elizabeth Carron, Archives Specialist, Ellice Amanna.
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 (
  • 2018-11-06: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of College Archives survey
  • 2019-12-10: Box added, barcode, finding aid updated

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063