The nearly $400,000 that Sophia Smith devised at her death in 1870 to establish a college for women was a history-making bequest: the first founding of a women's college by a woman. Since its inception, near the end of the nineteenth century, Smith College has hailed Sophia Smith as founder, yet the story of her vision remains shrouded in mystery. Parts of that story have been documented as fact; others are merely speculation. Sophia has been called far-sighted, wise and determined by many -- as well as lonely, timid, melancholy, and even odd. While some pieces of the puzzle have been lost, perhaps the Smith students of today -- and tomorrow -- can help complete the picture.
This exhibit documents what is known today about Sophia Smith -- her
life, her times and her continuing legacy -- based on contemporary sources
and original materials in the archival collections at Smith College. It
has been adapted from an exhibit prepared by College Archivist Margery
Sly and Jacque Bradley '97 on view in the Smith College
Archives from January to August 1996. It was adapted for the World-Wide
Web by Peter Nelson.
© 1997 Five Colleges, Inc. Last modified: 28 July
Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation