Skip to main content

Mary A. Jordan Papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00138

Scope and Contents

The Mary A. Jordan Papers contain biographical information, correspondence, writings photographs and memorabilia documenting her career at Smith as both student and professor of English Languages and Literature. Of particular interest is a history of the English Department written by Jordan in 1925.

Dates of Materials

  • 1885 - 1941


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

Mary Augusta Jordan was born on July 5, 1855 in Ironton, Ohio. She was the daughter of Edward Jordan, who was appointed Solicitor of the United States Treasury by President Lincoln, and Augusta Woodbury Ricker Jordan.

When her father retired from public office and the family moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey, Mary enrolled in Vassar College where she graduated in 1876, Phi Beta Kappa at the age of twenty-one. She continued with her education at Vassar and received her M.A. in 1878. She was first a librarian (1877-1880) and later an English instructor at Vassar until her departure in 1884.

Mary left Vassar in order to teach at the recently founded Smith College as an instructor in Rhetoric and English and ascended to be first the head and later the chairman of the English Department. Smith College awarded her the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, in 1910.

Mary Augusta Jordan retired from Smith in 1921, after thirty-seven years of service. She continued to remain active however, and concerned herself with the affairs of Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut, the area which she moved to after retirement. She died on April 14, 1941, at the age of sixty-five.


2.417 linear feet (5 containers)

Language of Materials



Professor of English. Contains biographical information, correspondence, writings photographs, and memorabilia.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Some material was donated by her nephew Edward Jordan Dimock in 1942. The source of the rest of the collection is unknown.

Related Material

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 Mary A. Jordan Papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Gayla Spaulding, Nanci Young
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 (
  • 2018-11-09: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of College Archives survey
  • 2022-03-04: Integrated description of oversized materials

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063