Smith College: Key Founding Documents

John M. Greene Papers, 1856-1917

Smith College Collections Online

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Series List

  1. General Correspondence, 1856-1917
  2. Personal Journal (entries written 1861-1876 only)
  3. "My Notes On Smith College," ca. 1910-1917

  4. A 129-page booklet of handwritten notes by John M. Greene recording his recollections of the circumstances surrounding the founding of Smith College.
  5. Scrapbook, 1860-1918

  6. 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.
  7. Published Writings, 1875-1916

  8. 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.
  9. Louisa Dickinson Greene Papers, 1854-1881

  10. 6 letters and 2 other writings by the wife of John M. Greene.
  11. Obituaries and Retrospectives on John M. Greene, 1919-1930

Biographical Note

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 M. 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.

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