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Office of the President Jill Ker Conway files

 Collection
Identifier: CA-MS-00071

Scope and Contents

Unrestricted records include incoming and outgoing correspondence, reports and working papers, newspaper clippings and photographs. For more specific information about the contents of the collection see the series descriptions and folder listing below. See the Subject Guide on pages 9-12 of this finding aid for a list of topics of a broad nature.

Additional material in the Smith College Archives about the Conway era may be found in the records of other departments and offices of the college, as well as in the personal papers of Jill Ker Conway. The central secondary literature on Smith's Conway era comes from Conway herself. She has authored a number of articles and full-length works on her professional and intellectual development, which amply describe her evolving perceptions on the intersections of women's education, history and feminism. Even a cursory internet search yields a wealth of biographical information about Conway, as well as details and commentary on her literary career and continuing involvement with women's education. See the list of publications in the finding aid for Conway's personal papers for a comprehensive list of publications.

Dates of Materials

  • 1973 - 2018

Creator

Language of Materials

English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use with following restrictions on access:

The bulk of the collection (165 document boxes) is open to researchers according to the regulations of the College Archives. Another 75 document boxes are currently open only to employees of the office of origin.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or quote from the documents must be obtained from the Smith College Archives.

Biographical / Historical

Jill Ker Conway was the first female president of the college. Her selection, a watershed in the history of Smith, was also a hallmark in an era of significant change in the perception of women and their role in society. In her inaugural address, she stressed the importance of not only supporting women through their undergraduate education, but furthering the college mission "...to foster research and the creation of new knowledge about matters of central importance in women's lives." Some of the most significant accomplishments of her tenure reflect this vision. She focused much of her energy on developing and funding women-centered projects such as the Smith Management Program, Ada Comstock Program, and Project on Women and Social Change.

Conway was only 39 years old when she accepted the Smith appointment in 1974. A native of New South Wales, Australia, she received her undergraduate education at the University of Sydney (1958). Two years after completing her B.A., she left Australia to pursue her Ph.D. at Harvard University. While at Harvard, she met and married John Conway, a Canadian historian and a native of Toronto. Together they moved to Canada where both obtained positions at the University of Toronto. Jill Conway remained at the University of Toronto for more than ten years, beginning in 1964. She began as a professor of U.S. social and intellectual history, then gradually rose through the administrative ranks to serve as the vice-president for internal affairs (1973-1975).

Conway assumed the Smith presidency in July 1975. Several administrative and curricular changes were enacted during her tenure. Administrative offices, such as the Career Development Office (previously the Vocational Office), Dean of the College, Dean of Students, and Public Relations, were reorganized. The Women's Studies, Comparative Literature, Peace and War Studies, and Engineering Dual Degree programs were added to the curriculum during this period, and academic minors were introduced.

Lasting physical reminders of her presidency include the Ainsworth Gym, expanded outdoor athletic facilities, as well as renovation and additions to Neilson Library. The Alumnae Gymnasium was also renovated during this period, and became home to the Smith College Archives, the Sophia Smith Collection, and the Nonprint Resource Center.

Following her departure from the college in 1985, Conway has been a visiting professor in MIT's Program in Science, Technology, and Society. She has also authored and edited a number of books of fiction and nonfiction. Three volumes of her memoirs provide detailed biographical information about Conway. The third volume (released October 2001), chronicles her years at Smith. While this volume deals with Conway's personal as well as professional development, and is admittedly from a singular perspective, it can serve as a guide to the major developments of Smith College during her tenure.

Extent

75.75 linear feet (240 containers)

Abstract

Author, professor, and the first female president of Smith College who pledged "...to foster research and the creation of new knowledge about matters of central importance in women's lives" by helping to develop and fund women-centered projects such as the Smith Management Program, Ada Comstock Program, and Project on Women and Social Change. Includes incoming and outgoing correspondence, reports and working papers, newspaper clippings and photographs.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into eighteen series:

  1. I. Biography
  2. II. Academic Departments
  3. III. Academic Programs
  4. IV. Administrative Issues
  5. V. Administrative Offices
  6. VI. Alumnae
  7. VII. Buildings and Grounds
  8. VIII. Colleges and Universities
  9. IX. Committees and Boards
  10. X. Engagements
  11. XI. Events
  12. XII. Faculty Staff
  13. XIII. Graduate Work
  14. XIV. Intercollegiate Associations
  15. XV. Non-Smith Organizations
  16. XVI. Speeches
  17. XVII. Students
  18. XVIII. Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The majority of the Conway records were transferred to the College Archives from the Office of the President in a number of accessions dating from the time of her tenure until the present. Some material, however, came from Conway herself after her departure in 1985. Additional biographical materials, such as newspaper clippings, press releases, and photographs, have been added by the College Archives staff.

Additions to the Collection

The Records of the Office of the President constitute a continuing collection, because certain materials remain in active use by the office for periods exceeding a president's actual tenure. The College Archives may receive accessions/additions long after the date of creation. Significant additions will be noted in an updated finding aid

Related Material

Additional material in the Smith College Archives about the Conway era may be found in the records of other departments and offices of the college, as well as in the personal papers of Jill Ker Conway. The central secondary literature on Smith's Conway era comes from Conway herself. She has authored a number of articles and full-length works on her professional and intellectual development, which amply describe her evolving perceptions on the intersections of women's education, history and feminism. Even a cursory internet search yields a wealth of biographical information about Conway, as well as details and commentary on her literary career and continuing involvement with women's education. See the list of publications in the finding aid for Conway's personal papers for a comprehensive list of publications.

Subject Guide

The Subject Guide is meant as a supplement to information provided in the Series Descriptions and Folder Listing, and is in no way intended as a comprehensive listing of significant subject matter in the collection.

Computers

  1. -General
  2. ___Series IV. Administrative Issues
  3. ______-Telecommunications
  4. ___Series V. Administrative Offices
  5. ______-Academic Computer Center
  6. ______-Administrative Information Systems
  7. ___Series IX. Committees & Boards
  8. ______-Academic Computing
  9. ______-Administrative Information Systems Policy Committee
  10. ______-Electronic Equipment Study Group
  11. ______-Word Processing Committee
  12. ___Series XV. Non-Smith Organizations
  13. ______-IBM
  14. ______-New England Regional Computer Program [NERCOMP]
  15. -E-mail
  16. ___Series XV. Non-Smith Organizations
  17. ______-COFHE (The first use of email in the president's office may have been in 1983, in a "receive-only" program via Stanford for COFHE.)

Gender

  1. -General
  2. ___Series VIII. Colleges & Universities
  3. ______-Mt. Holyoke-Smith-Mt. Holyoke Institute for Research on Women's Experience and Public Policy
  4. ___Series IX. Committees & Boards
  5. ______-Recruitment and Retention of Women Faculty, Ad-hoc Ctte
  6. ______-Research Program on Women, Ad-hoc Committee to Design a
  7. ______-Status of Women and Men, Committee on the
  8. ___Series XII. Faculty & Staff
  9. ______-Faculty Women-Equal Opportunity Employment
  10. ___Series XIV. Intercollegiate Associations
  11. ______-Seven Sisters-Seven College Research Project on Careers of Women Scholars
  12. -Special Projects Funding-Women & Social Change Project
  13. ___Series V. Administrative Offices-Development-Foundations
  14. ______-Ford Foundation
  15. ______-Mellon Foundation
  16. ______-Rockefeller Foundation
  17. -Special Projects Funding-Miscellaneous
  18. ___Series V. Administrative Offices
  19. ______-Development-Foundations-Ford Foundation, re: funding for research on the career of women scholars
  20. ______-Development-Foundations-Educational Foundation of America, re: the Kilbourne Sex Role Stereotypes Project
  21. ______-Development-Foundations-Educational Foundation of America and the Hewlett Foundation, re: Teen Sex and Pregnancy Research
  22. -Women's Education-General
  23. ___Series V. Administrative Offices
  24. ______-Admissions-Bassin Project to Improve Admissions
  25. ______-Development-Foundations-Rockefeller Fdn (1980-1983), re: research funding on single-sex colleges and equal protection laws
  26. ___Series VIII. Colleges & Universities
  27. ______-Amherst College
  28. ______-Brown University
  29. ___Series XIV. Intercollegiate Associations
  30. ______-Seven Sisters
  31. ______-Women's College Coalition
  32. -Women's Education-Special Projects Funding
  33. ___-Ada Comstock Scholars
  34. ______Series V. Administrative Offices-Development-Corporations
  35. _________-Carnegie Corporation
  36. _________-Chesebrough-Pond's
  37. _________-Connecticut Bank and Trust
  38. _________-Connecticut General Life
  39. _________-Connecticut Mutual Life
  40. _________-Conoco, Inc.
  41. _________-Continental Group
  42. _________-Covenant Life Insurance
  43. _________-Dart Industries, Inc.
  44. _________-Delaware North Companies, Inc.
  45. _________-Hublein, Inc.
  46. _________-IBM
  47. _________-Kollmorgen Corporation
  48. _________-Kraft, Inc.
  49. ______Series V. Administrative Offices-Development-Foundations
  50. _________-Educational Foundation of America
  51. _________-Ford Foundation
  52. _________-Mott Foundation
  53. ___-Smith Management Program
  54. ______Series V. Administrative Offices-Development-Corporations
  55. _________-Chemical Bank
  56. _________-Connecticut Bank and Trust
  57. _________-Dart Industries, Inc.
  58. _________-General Telephone and Electronics
  59. _________-Morgan Guaranty Trust Co.
  60. ______Series V. Administrative Offices-Development-Foundations
  61. _________-Donner Foundation
  62. _________-Exxon Education Foundation
  63. _________-Hewlett Foundation
  64. _________-Revlon Foundation, Inc.
  65. _________-Sloan Foundation

Iranian Hostage Crisis

  1. Series XI. Events
  2. ___-President's House Events, for a dinner invitation to Iranian students, 14 Nov 1979

Lesbianism

  1. Series II. Academic Departments
  2. ___-Sociology Anthropology, April 26, 1976 memo re student project
  3. Series III. Academic Programs
  4. ___-Junior Year Abroad-Geneva, September 8, 1983 memo and attached report
  5. Series V. Administrative Offices
  6. ___-Admissions-Bassin Project to Improve Admissions
  7. ___-Dean of the College-General, for correspondence regarding Sessions House, October 7, 1982
  8. ___-Dean of the College-Associate Dean for Student Affairs, for correspondence regarding Lamont House (28 Nov 1979), as well as Sessions, Parsons and other related incidents (Oct-Feb 1983).
  9. ___-Personnel-Unions, for 21 Jun 1983 memo re: non-discriminatory hiring policies
  10. ___-Public Relations, for response to May 1981 Boston Globe article
  11. Series VI. Alumnae
  12. ___-Alumnae Association-Alumnae Council (1982-1983)
  13. ___-Smith Alumnae for Alternatives
  14. Series IX. Committees & Boards
  15. ___-Student Affairs, Committee on, for minutes of 15 Feb 1977 meeting.
  16. Series XVI. Speeches
  17. ___-Smith Alumnae Council (14 Oct 1982)

Race

  1. -General
  2. ___Series VIII. Colleges & Universities
  3. ______-Amherst College (April 1979)
  4. ___Series IX. Committees & Boards
  5. ______-Afro-American Studies Advisory Committee
  6. ______-Recruitment and Retention of Minority Faculty, Ad-hoc Ctte to Study
  7. ___Series XII. Faculty & Staff
  8. ______-Black Faculty and Administrators
  9. ______-Fellowships-Mendenhall Fellowships
  10. ___Series XIV. Intercollegiate Associations
  11. ______-Five Colleges-Racism
  12. ______-Society Organized Against Racism
  13. ___Series XV. Non-Smith Organizations
  14. ______-Consortium on Financing Higher Education (1979-1980) for info re: 1979 conference on minorities on campus
  15. -South Africa and South African Students:
  16. ___Series IV. Administrative Issues
  17. ______-South Africa
  18. ___Series V. Administrative Offices
  19. ______-Development-Corporations-Carnegie Corporation (1979)
  20. ___Series XIV. Intercollegiate Associations
  21. ______-Five Colleges-South Africa
  22. ___Series XV. Non-Smith Organizations-Institute of International Education
  23. -Students of Color
  24. ___Series III. Academic Programs
  25. ______-Bridge Program
  26. ______-Intermediate School 201 (I.S. 201)
  27. ___Series V. Administrative Offices
  28. ______-Admissions-Minority Students
  29. ______-Dean of the College-Assistant to the Dean for Minority Affairs
  30. ______-Dean of Students-Assistant to the Dean for Minority Students
  31. ___Series XIV. Intercollegiate Associations
  32. ______-Seven Sisters-Seven College Study-"Racial Comparisons for All Women in the Classes of 1981 and 1984"
  33. ___Series XVII. Students
  34. ______-Asian Students Association
  35. ______-Black Students' Alliance
  36. ______-Organizations-Recreation Council, 1982

Rape

  1. Series V. Administrative Offices
  2. ___-Dean of the College, for information on rape awareness workshops and security measures

Records Management

  1. Series IV. Administrative Issues
  2. ___-Administrative Structure (1976)
  3. Series IX. Committees & Boards
  4. ___-Communications Record-Keeping Study Group

General

The Subject Guide is meant as a supplement to information provided in the Series Descriptions and Folder Listing, and is in no way intended as a comprehensive listing of significant subject matter in the collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Finkel, with the assistance of Sara Streett.

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.

Title
Finding aid to the Office of the President Jill Ker Conway files
Status
Minimum Finding Aid (Completed)
Author
Compiled by Laura Finkel Sara Streett
Date
2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2005-09-23: manosca71 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2020-10-30: Added 7 boxes and 1 oversize item (into already existing box), updated dates and extents and notes

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Contact:
Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063