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Department of History Records

Identifier: CA-MS-00135

Scope and Contents

The Department of History records contain correspondence, reading lists, lecture and student notes from classes, publications and other material documenting the history of the department.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1896 - 2017


Conditions Governing Access

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

"Office Files," files of records created for the use of the administrative unit that created them, are closed to research for a period of 10 years following their creation.

Academic department meeting minutes are closed for a period of 25 years following their creation.

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

Various lecturers taught history courses from the founding of Smith College in 1875 until 1894 when a Department of History was more formally established with Prof. Charles Downer Hazen as the resident head. Prof. Hazen remained in this position until 1914 when Prof. John Spencer Bassett became head of the department. Prof. Bassett was responsible for the establishment of the department's publication Smith College Studies in History, 1915-2003. By 1919-1920 the teaching staff included five full professors, two associate professors, two assistant professors and three instructors plus two readers.


16.726 linear feet (48 containers)

Language of Materials



The records contain some historical documents on the teaching of history at Smith College, general records of the History Department and reading lists and course lists for the department. There are documents related to the Mendenhall Prize in History and on the symposium "Faces of Tradition" in honor of Klemens von Klemperer held April 2-4, 1987.

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

The majority of the collection was transferred from the Department of History. The source of some items is unknown.


3 boxes (3.249 linear feet) of faculty personnel records (1961-2009) were destroyed in compliance with the Smith College Records Management Policy in 2023.

Related Material

Researchers should also view:

  1. RG 42. Faculty biographical files on the Department of History faculty
  2. RG 32. Office of the President for records on the Department of History
  3. Reports of the President
  4. Annual Circulars/Bulletins
  5. Fuller, Mary Breese, "Development of History and Government in Smith College, 1875-1920, with a List of Publications of the Faculty and Alumnae," Smith College Studies in History v.5, no. 3 (April 1920).

Processing Information

Processed by Melvin Carlson, Jr.

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 Department of History records
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Melvin Carlson, Jr.; Ellice Yasner Amanna
2006; 2020
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 (
  • 2018-11-19: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of College Archives survey
  • 2020-02-25: Containers, barcodes added and finding aid updated to current standards
  • 2022-03-04: Added Accession 2022-A-0008

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063