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John Morton Greene papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00080

Scope and Contents

The John Morton Greene Papers contain materials including biographical information, personal and professional correspondence, journals, manuscripts, photographs, and published works. There are also articles and clippings pertaining to his life, Sophia Smith, and the early history and founding of Smith College.

Dates of Materials

  • 1833 - 1997


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

John Morton Greene, Sophia Smith's pastor, is generally regarded as the originator of the idea of founding Smith College as a college for women. Born in Hadley, Mass. on March 12, 1830, he was an 1853 graduate of Amherst College, which also granted him the A.M. in 1856 and D.D. in 1881. In 1857 he married Louisa Dickinson of North Amherst, an 1857 graduate of Mount Holyoke Seminary. In the same year, he was installed as the pastor at the Congregational church at Hatfield, where he remained for eleven years. In Hatfield he met Sophia Smith. In 1868 he was called to the pastorate at the Congregational Church at South Hadley, Mass. Two years later he went to the Eliot Congregational Church in Lowell, Mass., where he remained for thirty years. After retiring from regular pastoral duties in 1910, Greene assisted in the establishment of a mission in Maine. He died April 28, 1919.

John Morton Greene was a trustee of Smith College almost continuously from its founding in 1871 until his death. In addition, he served on the board of trustees of Mount Holyoke Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College), 1866-1875; and was president of the board of trustees at the French Protestant College in Springfield, 1885-1889. As advisor to Sophia Smith, he was also instrumental in the founding of Smith Academy in Hatfield, and acted in a similar capacity for Miss Rogers to found the Rogers Hall School in Lowell, where he acted as president of its board of trustees, 1892-1909. For over forty years he was one of the overseers of the charity fund at Amherst College.


3.625 linear feet (8 containers)

Language of Materials



Pastor of Sophia Smith, generally regarded as the originator of the idea of founding Smith College as a college for women. Papers contain biographical information, personal and professional correspondence, recollections, journals, manuscripts, photographs, and published works. There are also articles and clippings pertaining to his life, Sophia Smith, and the early history and founding of Smith College.


This collection is organized into five series:

  1. I. Biographical
  2. II. Correspondence
  3. III. Journals
  4. IV. Publications
  5. V. Scrapbooks

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials were donated over a period of time by John Morton Greene and his daughter, Helen French Greene.

Additional Formats

The following information is also available online as part of the Five College Archives Digital Access Project

  1. 1. General Correspondence, 1856-1917
  2. 2. Personal Journal (entries written 1861-1876 only)
  3. 3. "My Notes On Smith College," ca. 1910-1917 (A 129-page booklet of handwritten notes by John Morton Greene recording his recollections of the circumstances surrounding the founding of Smith College.)
  4. 4. Scrapbook, 1860-1918 (A 100-page scrapbook consisting predominantly of newspaper clippings related to women's education and academic affairs at Smith College, with particular reference to Greene's role in the College's founding; also, some published articles related to women's education at other U.S. institutions.)
  5. 5. Published Writings, 1875-1916 (Writings by JMG published in periodicals: Includes his "Early History of Smith College" [a 12-part series appearing in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, 1891-93], also correspondence related to it; a "Sketch of the Life and Character of Miss Sophia Smith"; "An Inside View of Smith College," published in a Lowell, Mass. newspaper in 1882; and other occasional pieces.)
  6. 6. Louisa Dickinson Greene Papers, 1854-1881 (6 letters and 2 other writings by the wife of John Morton Greene.)
  7. 7. Obituaries and Retrospectives on John Morton Greene, 1919-1930

Related Material

See also: 10.Founding of the College 10.Sophia Smith Papers

Processing Information

Processed by Valerie Love, '02

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 John Morton Greene papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Valerie Love, '02
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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 (
  • 2005-09-23: manosca80 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2018-11-21: Finding aid updated as part of the College Archives Survey

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063