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The International Scope of the Sophia Smith Collection

By Karen Garner

State University of New York, Empire State College



   From its inception in 1942, the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's Archives (SSC), named for the founder of Smith College, laid claim to an 'international orientation'.[1] With an early donation from historian Mary Ritter Beard, including many international primary source materials amassed as part of Beard's World Center for Women's Archives (1935-40), the Sophia Smith Collection expanded under the guidance of its forward-thinking first archivist Margaret Storrs Grierson who defined its scope in the broadest of terms: "a special collection of women's materials, recording women's interests and activities in the course of human history and across the face of the earth."[2] Donors gave books as well as manuscripts, personal papers, records of organizations, photographs and ephemera to the archive, which has grown over the years to its current stature as a premier women's history repository with over 650 collections. International-scope subject strengths include peace activism, women's political and human rights, women's labor, and birth control and reproductive rights worldwide. The collections include the papers of many American women working abroad for the aforementioned causes and through international women's organizations, and as missionaries, war relief workers, and journalists, whose activities date from the mid-nineteenth through the twentieth centuries. There are important records of international women's associations that were active from the late nineteenth through the twentieth centuries as well. Women's voices and sense of their own historical importance come through loud and clear in these collections, bringing unique and gendered perspectives to bear on world affairs. The Sophia Smith Collection web page includes collection descriptions and links to finding aids, web exhibits with selected photographs and materials drawn from the collections, and a video "Creating Women's History."[3]

Women's international activism and agendas represented in the Sophia Smith Collection

   The original core of the SSC included the papers of Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958), consisting of correspondence, writings, photographs, and books, 1915-1958. These papers primarily document the organization and dissolution of the World Center for Women's Archives (WCWA), which Beard, an historian, founded in the early 1930s with Hungarian activist Rosika Schwimmer. A fierce believer in French historian Fustel de Coulanges's admonition: "No documents, no history," Mary Beard once wrote to Dorothy Porter, librarian at Howard University, "Papers. Records. These we must have. Without documents; no history. Without history; no memory. Without memory; no greatness. Without greatness; no development among women."[4] Beard collected historical documents from among her wide network of activist women and their voluntary organizations that promoted peace, labor reform, and women's suffrage. After the founding of the Sophia Smith Collection in 1942, Beard worked closely with Smith College Archivist Margaret Storrs Grierson and with Harvard University historians who established the Schlesinger Library and donated her WCWA documents to these two repositories. In addition to the WCWA and of special note, Beard's papers also include documentation regarding Japanese women's history and correspondence with Japanese feminist, birth control activist, and politician Shizue Kato (1897-2001).

   In related and important collections regarding early twentieth century international women's activism, are the papers of Rosika Schwimmer (1877-1948) and Lola Maverick Lloyd (1875-1944). The Schwimmer-Lloyd Papers include a wide array of printed materials and photographs, 1912-1950, and primarily document the peace activism of suffragist and women's rights advocate Rosika Schwimmer. The collection includes correspondence with and biographical materials about Lola Maverick Lloyd, Jane Addams, Carrie Chapman Catt, Henry Ford, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Eleanor Roosevelt, among others, covering topics including the International Woman's Suffrage Alliance, the 1915 International Congress of Women at The Hague, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the Campaign for World Government, and the United Nations. The Lola Maverick Lloyd Papers, a separate collection, are also held at the SSC and include more correspondence and published pamphlets, newsletters, and clippings, 1915-1920s. Lloyd, like Schwimmer, was a peace activist, suffragist and women's rights advocate. Together with Jane Addams, Lloyd co-founded the Woman's Peace Party, sailed on Henry Ford's Peace Ship, and was a delegate to the International Congress of Women in 1915, co-founded the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and co-chaired, with Schwimmer, the Campaign for World Government. Some of the documents in the Sophia Smith Collection are duplicates of the Schwimmer-Lloyd collection at the New York Public Library manuscripts and archives division.

   Jane Addams's life and work are also represented in the SSC. Jane Addams (1860-1935) was a leader in the US Settlement House Movement and the American Women's Suffrage Movement, as well as in the International Peace Movement during and after World War I. She was among the leaders who organized the 1915 International Congress of Women at The Hague and was one of the founders and was first president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF); she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her peace activism in 1931. This collection includes information on the history of WILPF and speeches and information on topics including: nationalism, peace, politics, labor, suffrage, women's rights, World War I, and social work. Some of the documents are duplicates of the Jane Addams Papers at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Madeleine Zabriskie Doty (1879-1966), began her career as a lawyer and prison reform advocate in the USA. During World War I, her interests expanded into international peace activism and she attended the 1915 International Congress of Women at The Hague with Jane Addams. She continued her international activism and became International Secretary for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in Geneva in the mid-1920s, edited WILPF's journal, Pax International, and organized study abroad opportunities for U.S. college students in Geneva during the 1930s. This collection includes correspondence with leaders who promoted peace, socialism, prison reform, women's suffrage, child welfare, conditions in the countries of Europe and the international education movement before and after the world wars.

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1957), joined Jane Addams and Madeleine Doty among the well-regarded American women who were international leaders in the first half of the twentieth century. Carrie Chapman Catt, suffragist and pacifist, succeeded Susan B. Anthony in 1900 as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1902 she founded and served as first president of the International Woman’s Suffrage Alliance; in 1925 she founded and presided over the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War to promote the dual causes of women's rights and peace and collaborated with national and international women's organizations throughout the 1930s. The SSC houses some of Catt's correspondence, speeches, pamphlets, reports, journal and newspaper articles, and political cartoons, 1880-1958. Catt's papers also contain a rich collection of photographs, including many of the Women's Land Army created during World War I to aid in the war effort (1917-1918). The papers of two of Catt's close colleagues, Josephine Schain and Vera Wadsworth Beggs, are also part of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Josephine Schain (1886-1972), was a Settlement House worker, suffragist, pacifist, and international relations specialist. Her papers include correspondence, speeches, photographs, and other miscellaneous papers, 1920-1950. These documents focus primarily on Schain's involvement with a host of women's organizations that promoted international peace through cooperative enterprise among nations. Notable correspondents include Margaret Corbett Ashby, Mary Ritter Beard, Carrie Chapman Catt (extensive), Newton Diehl Baker, Helen Gahagan Douglas, India Edwards, Helen Hayes, Lorena Hickok, Stanley Hornbeck, Cordell Hull, Rosa Manus, Alva Reimer Myrdal, Maud Wood Park, Frances Perkins, and Virginia Rishel. The photographs in this collection are also noteworthy and include images of Catt and Schain, as well as group pictures taken at various international peace conferences.

   Pacifist, suffragist, civic leader, and international relations specialist Vera Wadsworth Beggs (?- 1968), worked closely with Carrie Chapman Catt from 1933 to 1938 as chairman of the Marathon Round Tables, a study and discussion project concerned with US foreign policy carried on through the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War (NCCCW). Beggs chaired the NCCCW in the early 1940s and continued to be involved with its successor, the Women's Action Committee for Lasting Peace. She served as chairman of the Department of International Relations for the General Federation of Women's Clubs and in this capacity organized and conducted a Good Neighbor Tour of South America in 1940. This collection includes Beggs's correspondence with Carrie Chapman Catt describing women's rights work and activities for peace, printed materials relating to the General Federation of Women's Clubs, the International Woman's Suffrage Alliance (including 1935 conference held in Istanbul), the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War, the Foreign Policy Association, the New York Herald Tribune's Inter-American Conferences, and the Woman's Action Committee for Lasting Peace.

   Another important American woman, Dorothy Kenyon (1888–1972), was also active in global politics at mid twentieth century. Kenyon's extensive papers at the Sophia Smith Collection include personal papers and various records of organizations she affiliated with, dating from the 1930s to the 1960s. Born into a wealthy New York family, Kenyon was educated at Smith College and then went on to study law at New York University and to become a lawyer and a judge. Active in the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of University Women, and the League of Women Voters, Kenyon was appointed to the League of Nations Inquiry on the Status of Women (1938-39) Committee of Experts in 1937 that examined global women's status on a country-by-country basis. Kenyon also served as adviser to Virginia Gildersleeve, one of the US delegates to the 1945 San Francisco Conference to establish the United Nations Organization, and Kenyon was the first US delegate appointed to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), 1947-1950. Kenyon's government appointments ended when she was accused by Senator Joseph McCarthy of being a communist and was questioned by the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee that convened to investigate McCarthy's charges.

Mary van Kleeck (1883-1972), a contemporary of Dorothy Kenyon and a strong advocate of workers' rights and workplace legislation to support women, was involved in a wide array of progressive social, political and economic activities and organizations over the course of her lifetime, and she saved much of the personal and professional correspondence and records, research, and published materials related to her interests. The bulk of van Kleeck's papers date 1917-1960 and include information about fellow activists and organizations, especially radical/leftist groups, from the local to the international level. This collection includes extensive records and publications of the International Industrial Relations Institute (known as IRI) and the many conferences and congresses that the organization held during van Kleeck's tenure as associate director 1925-1947, when she worked with Mary Fleddérus. There is also material related to the Women’s International Democratic Federation and topics including international women's labor, Christian socialism, peace, women's employment during World Wars I and II, and the social and economic organization of the Soviet Union.

   Among the most extensive collections that document the international scope of American women's organizations at the SSC are the records of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of the USA, 1860-2002. The YWCA of the USA records consist of microfilm, artifacts, audiovisual materials, conference and convention records, correspondence, legal documents, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, photographs, posters, program and project files, publications, reports, speeches, and studies, with the bulk of the material dating 1906-2000. Founded in the United States in 1855 and incorporated in 1907, the YWCA of the USA became a founding member of the international association of national chapters of the Young Women's Christian Association when it formed in London in 1894. The World YWCA has played a leading role among long-established international women's organizations to address women's needs and to promote humanitarian values and women's empowerment throughout a wide array of international forums. The YWCA of the USA has been a leader among World YWCA members, initially sending American women as 'foreign secretaries' to serve in various overseas Protestant mission fields, and later providing leadership for women's nongovernmental organization (NGO) activism during the World Wars and at the League of Nations (1919-45), and in the postwar period at the United Nations (1945-present). The World YWCA and the YWCA of the USA have focused on defining global gender policy and elevating the status of women worldwide. Record Group 5 includes documentation of the international scope of the YWCA of the USA in regard to global women's leadership training and relationships with other international bodies, especially the World YWCA and the United Nations, as well as reports and correspondence of individual foreign secretaries who served overseas.

   The Sophia Smith Collection also holds the papers of many individual women who worked for the YWCA in an international capacity. First among these women is Ruth Frances Woodsmall (1883-1963). The Ruth Frances Woodsmall Papers include diaries, personal and professional correspondence, research notes and interviews, publications, speeches, reports, photographs, sound recordings, and memorabilia, dating 1920s-1963. Extensive correspondence with family and contacts around the world provide insight into Woodsmall's life and work and reflect the status of women in the Middle and Far East, as well as conditions in Europe during and after World Wars I and II. There is extensive source material on women in the Middle East and the Far East, gathered by Woodsmall in support of her publications: Eastern Women, Today and Tomorrow (1933), Moslem Women Enter a New World (1936), and Women and the New East (1960) and a substantial collection of photographs of women from around the world during the first half of the twentieth century. Beginning in 1917, Woodsmall worked with the YWCA of the USA and the World YWCA; she served as the World YWCA General Secretary based in Geneva, Switzerland, 1935-1948. Woodsmall's papers also document her work in post World War II Germany, when she served as Director of the Women's Affairs Branch for the US High Commissioner for Occupied Germany (HICOG), 1950-1953. In related collections, the Sophia Smith Collection also holds the US High Commissioner for Germany, Women's Affairs Branch Records, 1949-1985 and the papers of Helen Begley Nixon (1900-1990), who served as Cultural Officer for the Public Affairs Division of Women's Affairs for the U.S. High Commissioner in Germany, 1948-1953. Beginning in 1949, the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Occupied Germany sent a Women's Affairs Specialist to Germany to assist in organizing voluntary associations for German women. The records at the SSC document efforts to promote women's participation in the public sphere of postwar Germany and include official correspondence of the National Office, the Women's Affairs Branch, as well as the Council of Hessian Women's Organizations, and the Buero fuer Staatsbuergerliche Frauenarbeit of the Regional Branch in Hessen.

   Other individuals who worked for the YWCA of the USA and World YWCA overseas and whose papers are available at the Sophia Smith Collection include: Bessie Boies Cotton (1880-1959) and Kate Hillis Boyd (1885-1976), who served, respectively, in Russia and France during World War I; Elizabeth Dodge Huntington Clarke (1884-1976), who lived in Turkey and corresponded with US and World YWCA leaders, 1915-1981; Sarah Scudder Lyon (1895-1966), who served as Executive of the Foreign Division of the YWCA of the USA and whose papers document her travels all over the world for the YWCA and correspondence with YWCA secretaries in the field, 1923-1944; Ruth Dietrich Tuttle (1887-1984), who served in China, 1920-1923; Frances Drake (dates unknown), who served in Uruguay and Argentina, 1919-1925; Garnet J. Knights (1900-1985), who served in Uruguay, 1927-1931; Polly Babcock Feustal (dates unknown), who served in the Philippines and Brazil, 1933-1954 and worked with the USO during World War II; Virginia Heim George (1908-c. 2003), who served in South America and Czechoslovakia,1940-1948 and worked with the USO during World War II; Ina Ruth Hillis Lackey (1909-1999), who worked with the USO in Brazil, 1943-1946 and then served as a YWCA foreign secretary in Brazil, 1946-1958; Elisabeth Luce Moore (1903-2002), who was the sister of publisher Henry Luce and worked as a volunteer to support the YWCA of the USA and the World YWCA, 1928-1985, and served as chair of the YWCA of the USA foreign division in 1944; Frances Porter Ticknor (dates unknown), who served in post war Belgium, Lebanon, and Egypt, 1946-1948; Elmina Rose Lucke (1889-1987), who was a Professor of social work and social studies, founder and director of the Delhi School of Social Work, 1946-1949, consultant for social work education to the United Nations, and a YWCA official; Eldri Dieson (1905-1984), who served in Japan and Chile, 1948-1964; Ruth Lois Hill (1906-2005), who served in Liberia, 1952-1959; Ruth Van Meter (1911-1992), who helped to establish YWCA chapters in Turkey and in South America, 1954-1973; Carrie Eliza Meares (1899-1982), who worked for the World YWCA in South Africa, 1950-53, and for the YWCA of the USA in Ethiopia, 1960-61; Eleanora Davis Pim (1918- ), who served in Turkey, 1962-1968; and Edith M. Lerrigo (1910-1989), who worked with the National Board of the YWCA of the USA, 1937-1980, and whose papers include an interview conducted with Sarah Lyon, records from trips to China, and a report on Christianity in China, 1976-1981.

   An on line exhibit titled "An Ever-widening Circle of Friendship': YWCA Overseas Secretaries from China to Liberia, 1910s-1960s," includes selections from the papers of five American women who worked across the world for the Young Women's Christian Association from the 1910s to the 1960s: Bessie Boies Cotton, Virginia Heim George, Ruth Lois Hill, Elmina Rose Lucke, and Ruth Frances Woodsmall.[5]

   In addition to these YWCA women, the Sophia Smith Collection holds the papers of many women who served overseas as Christian missionaries. The papers of Annetta Thompson Mills (1853-1929), include biographical materials and history of the Yantai (Chefoo) School for the Deaf in Yantai, China, 1887-1927. Mabel Milham Roys (1878-1956), and her husband served as missionaries in Weihsien, Shantung Province, 1904-1916, and in Tsinan at the Cheloo Medical College, 1916-1920. Beatrice Farnsworth Powers (1880-1967), was a nurse and medical missionary with the Grenfell Mission in Labrador, 1912, and then served at the Yale-in-China Mission in Changsha, China, 1913-1915. Sarah Tinsley Rees (1882-1929), worked as a missionary in Japan, 1911-1918. The Pearce Family Papers 1880-1962, include the letters of missionary teachers Charlotte H. Brown and Rebecca Brown Pearce who taught at the Sidon Girls' Seminary in Syria, 1885-1898, and Rebecca Brown Pearce and Katherine Pearce who taught at Constantinople College, 1921-1931. Azalia Emma Peet (1887-1973), served as a missionary and teacher in Japan, 1916-1941, performed service in the Japanese American internment camps in the United States during World War II, and rural reconstruction work in Occupied Japan 1946-1953, for which she was honored by the Japanese government. Charlotte Burgis DeForest (1879-1973), was born to missionaries in Osaka, Japan, and began her own work as a missionary in Japan in 1903. She taught at Kobe Christian College in Nishinomya, and became College President in 1915. DeForest continued in that position throughout the 1920s and 1930s. She was also honored by Emperor Hirohito in 1940, when she returned to the United States just before the US entered World War II. Ruth Dietrich Tuttle (1887-1984), married a YMCA overseas secretary, Melsom Tuttle, and in 1920 they sailed for China. Ruth Tuttle taught English to Chinese boys in Beijing, 1920-1923. Ruth V. Hemenway (1894-1974), was a medical missionary in China, 1924-1941. Her diaries provide a detailed record of her eighteen years as medical missionary to China and include photographs, drawings and descriptions of medical and surgical cases, customs and rural culture, and the political upheaval of pre-war China. Hyla S. Watters (1893-1987), was a surgeon and medical missionary at Wuhu General Hospital in Anhwei Province, 1924-1948. Watters's letters also describe in detail medical experiences, the political situation, Chinese culture, and daily life, including the Lindberghs' stop in the fall of 1931, the Japanese invasion in the 1930s, and the Communist takeover in the 1940s. Following her service in China she was stationed in Ganta, Liberia, 1950-1956.

   Numerous women who worked with the Red Cross as war relief workers are also well represented in the Sophia Smith Collection. Sarah Tinsley Rees (1882-1929), a missionary in Japan, also worked for the Red Cross in Vladivostok, Russia during World War I, 1918-1919, and on a Red Cross transport ship. Charlotte Bannon (1895-1961), was a Red Cross relief worker in France during World War I, 1918-1921. Katharine Geddes's (dates unknown), correspondence and reports provide rich details of Red Cross work with wounded soldiers and prisoners of war in France and Germany, 1917-1919. Marie Brockway Pond (1862-1957), preserved an annotated scrapbook with photographs documenting her work with the American Red Cross in France, 1917-1919. Ruth Pierson Churchill (1896-1999), performed relief work for the Foreign Missions Board of the Methodist Church in France, 1919-1921. Alice Weld Tallant (1875-1958), was an obstetrician whose papers document her work in France during World War I, both as Director of Smith College Relief Unit, and later in a French Army Hospital. Grace Cleveland Porter Nobili (1870-1962), served in Italy, 1917-1919, as a volunteer nurse with the Red Cross in an Italian hospital, and as Director of Recreation Services in Italian War Hospitals in Rome under the auspices of the YMCA. Florence Billings (1879-1959), conducted relief work in France during World War I, and in Turkey and with Armenian refugees in the immediate post war years, 1920-1922. Billings was in Turkey during major social and political upheaval under the Nationalist leader Mustapha Kemal (Ataturk) who Billings knew personally and with whom she had some influence. She also corresponded with expatriate Turkish nationalist and feminist Halidé Edib Adivar, who ran an orphanage for 800 Armenian refugee children in Antoura. Rosalie Watson (no dates), was a Red Cross worker during World War I and World War II. Her papers consist of a small amount of materials related to this work. Dorothy Marsh (1899-1979), was a European travel specialist and tour guide who worked as a Red Cross teacher in Budapest in 1925. During World War II, Marsh volunteered at the American Hospital in Paris for the French Red Cross. She served as the regional director of Red Cross Service Clubs with the Overseas Task Force manager and was stationed in North Africa, France, and Germany. She later volunteered with the International Executive Service Corps (an "executive Peace Corps" to underdeveloped nations) in Bangkok in 1970 and East Malaysia in 1971. Mildred Louise Boie Saunders (1907-1997), was a professor and Red Cross relief worker during World War II in France, Italy, and Egypt. While overseas, Saunders wrote several articles and short stories about her experiences which were published in various journals, including Ladies Home Journal, Glamour, and Radcliffe Quarterly. Florence B. Wight (no dates), was a World War II nurse who served in France and England, 1943-1945. Helen Begley Nixon (1900-1990), was a Red Cross official and relief worker during World War II and a refugee relief organizer in the postwar period. She was Chief Advisor of the Women's Bureau of the American military government in Korea where she helped reestablish the Korean Red Cross, 1946-1948. She also served as Cultural Officer for the Public Affairs Division of the Office of the US High Commissioner in Germany, Women's Affairs Bureau, 1949-1953. Beginning circa 1955 to 1957, Nixon was the Refugee Settlement Advisor of the International Cooperation Administration Mission for the US, Great Britain, and France, and seven voluntary agencies (including CARE, Church World Service, Catholic Relief Services, International Research Council) that gave money, food, clothing, farm tools, and drugs to Vietnam. She also established the first International Women's Association in Vietnam and served as its first president. Jeanne Bokina Christie (no dates), served as a Red Cross volunteer in Vietnam, 1967-1971, and her papers include Red Cross newsletters and materials from the Vietnam War era.

American women who served in the US Armed Forces or worked abroad for the US Government are also represented in the Sophia Smith Collection. Ruth Tuthill Green (no dates), taught in the US government's Humacao High School in Puerto Rico, 1919-1920. Helen C. Bragdon (1911-1998), was an actor and playwright who joined the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in 1943. Her papers include letters to her family from her World War II overseas tours of duty in Australia, New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines. Lorena Estelle Hermance (1898-1995), served overseas as an Officer and communications worker with the Women's Army Corps during World War II. She kept a journal "As You Were", 1942-1945, as well as other short diary and biographical writings from the same period. Constance Ray Harvey (dates unknown), began diplomatic service in 1930 and held numerous diplomatic positions, serving as Vice Consul in Ottawa, Milan, and Basel, as Secretary of the Legation in Berne, as Vice Consul at Lyon, and as Consul in Zurich. She received the Medal of Freedom in 1947 for meritorious service with the French Underground, 1941-1942. Sally Hayes Plaut (1920-1994), served with the Women's Army Corps and worked as a cryptographer for the US Ambassador in Britain, France, and North Africa during World War II. Jane Sommer (no dates), taught in Silay City, the Philippines as a member of the Peace Corps, 1964-1966.

   Two related oral history projects, the Women Ambassadors Oral History Project and the Women at War Oral History Project, are also available at the Sophia Smith Collection. The Women Ambassadors Oral History Project documents the experiences of women ambassadors and state department employees from the 1950s onward, in interviews conducted by Ann Miller Morin in the 1980s and 1990s. These records include transcripts, audiotapes and videotapes of interviews with Anne Armstrong, Jane Coon, Ruth Farkas, Millicent Fenwick, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Betty Dillon, Mabel Smythe, Carol Laise, Margaret Tibbetts, Rozanne Ridgway, Anne Martindell, Constance Harvey, Nancy Ostrander, Mary Olmsted, Frances Willis, and Mari-Luci Jaramillo, among others. The Women at War Oral History Project includes DVDs and full transcripts of interviews conducted by sociologist and oral historian Revan Shendler in 2006 with with six women veterans from Western Massachusetts who served in the post-2001 Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

   Additionally, American women who had international careers as travel writers and journalists can be researched at the Sophia Smith Collection. The bulk of documents in those collections date from the mid twentieth century, however, writings dating from the mid nineteenth century can be found in the papers of Catherine May Edes (1782-?), that include correspondence and journals recording her travels in Europe, 1849-1852, and in the Upton Family Papers (1853-1937) that include writings of Cornelia Upton (1854-1941), who documented her extensive world travels, 1876-1905, and preserved her correspondence with missionaries in a variety of locations in Hawaii, Alaska, Africa, and the Far East, 1899-1927. Florence Guertin Tuttle (1869-1951), was a writer and peace activist whose papers document her involvement in organizations such as the American Association for International Cooperation, the American Union Against Militarism, the Woman's Peace Party, and the League of Nations, among others, circa 1910s-1940s. Genevieve Saint-Pierre (1872-?), was a French travel writer and hunter. Saint-Pierre's papers include travel notes and photographs from Ecuador and Mexico, 1899, the Western United States, 1907, and Australia, 1928; most writings are in French and Breton. Elisabeth Telling (1882-1979), was an artist, traveler, and ethnographer who traveled extensively in Europe, Central America, the Far East, Southeast Asia, Peru, and Haiti, 1902-1965. She specialized in portraits of children and people in their native costume. Her artwork was exhibited across the country and she published several articles about her travels. Margery Wells Steer (1899-1992), was a journalist and pacifist who corresponded with Mary Ritter Beard, 1950-1955, with editors of Soviet Woman journal, and with Soviet women professors, 1957-1985.

   The papers of journalists who distinguished themselves as World War II correspondents are also represented in the Sophia Smith Collection. Among them are Pauline Frederick (1908-1989), who covered World War II in Asia and Europe, the establishment and development of the United Nations, postwar Europe, Asia, the USSR, women and diplomacy, and world leaders. Journalist and war correspondent Dudley Harmon (1912-1966), went to work with the Free French movement in Brazzaville, French Equatorial Africa, in 1941, where she also served as a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor. She joined the United Press in 1943 as their first woman war correspondent during World War II. From 1943 to 1952, she was assigned to bureaus in London, Paris, and Washington. She covered the postwar Nuremburg Trials in 1946, and reported from the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, 1948-1952. Helen Paull Kirkpatrick (1909-1997), was a journalist and foreign correspondent in Europe before, during, and after World War II. Her papers cover topics such as the London air raids, Allied Headquarters in North Africa, military campaigns in Algiers, Italy, and Corsica, the armistice in Paris, postwar events in Germany and Europe, including the Nuremberg Trials and the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Moscow. Helen Hiett Waller (1913-1961), lived in Europe in the 1930s where she studied at the League of Nations in Geneva and edited a monthly review for the Graduate Institute of International Affairs. In 1937 she lived in a girls' labor camp in Germany, studying Nazi indoctrination methods. She was the first foreigner to broadcast from Spain during the Spanish Civil War and reported for NBC in France, Spain, and Gibraltar. She continued her career as a foreign correspondent for NBC after returning to the United States, 1941-1944, and returned to Europe as a war correspondent in Italy, Germany, and Austria, 1944-1945.

   The Sophia Smith Collection also holds extensive and important documentation focusing on women's reproductive rights. Foremost among these records are the papers of Margaret Sanger (1879-1966). Margaret Sanger was a pioneering birth control advocate, nurse, and sex reform activist, who fought for women's rights to use contraceptives and founded both the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and International Planned Parenthood Federations in 1942 and 1952. Sanger's papers include correspondence, writings, PPFA and IPPF records and conference materials illuminating Sanger's leadership of the American and international birth control movements, 1910-1966. There is also extensive documentation related to Sanger's personal life, travels, and family, including tributes, artwork, audio and video recordings, and photographs. The collection includes significant documentation for many international organizations and clinics particularly in Europe and Asia. The published 1995 microfilm edition of the Sanger Papers consists of nearly 45,000 documents drawn from the Margaret Sanger Papers and nineteen other collections located in the Sophia Smith Collection and Smith College Archives at Smith College. The unfilmed portion of the Sanger Papers consists of 73.25 linear feet of materials.

   Further documentation to support studies of the twentieth century movement for women's reproductive rights that are housed in the Sophia Smith Collection include the papers of Dorothy Hamilton Brush, the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau records, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America records, as well as smaller collections including the papers of Martha Voegeli and Una Elizabeth Jacobs and records of the Watumull Foundation.

   The papers of Dorothy Hamilton Brush (1894-1968), contain records, correspondence, and conference proceedings that focus on Brush's work with Margaret Sanger and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, 1936-1968. Dorothy Hamilton Brush began her life's work with Margaret Sanger in 1930, promoting birth control and family planning. Along with Margaret Storrs Grierson, Brush was instrumental in persuading Sanger to donate her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection and in leading the campaign to nominate Margaret Sanger for a Nobel Peace Prize. A writer of history, plays, and travel articles, Brush also worked with Sanger to establish the International Planned Parenthood Federation in 1952. This collection also includes Brush's unpublished manuscript on the history of Japanese women.

   The Margaret Sanger Research Bureau records consist of correspondence, printed material, clippings, books, glass slides, films, and a library of 59 books; the bulk date 1917-1969. Of particular interest are nineteenth and twentieth century pamphlets on birth control, religious views, sex education, methods and early commercial catalogs, writings by and about Margaret Sanger and other pioneers of the birth control movement, and printed material produced by various birth control leagues and clinics in the United States and England.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America Records (PPFA II), Series VIII Foreign includes correspondence, as well as conference, reference, and subject files related to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, 1952-1979.

   A birth control advocate, pacifist, animal welfare advocate, and physician, Martha Voegeli (dates unknown), owned a private hospital in India where she specialized in surgery. The papers of Martha Voegeli include letters to medical professionals and government officials, such as Dr. Clarence Gamble, Aldous Huxley, Dorothy Brush, LeRoy Collins, Dr. Mary Calderone, Albert Schweitzer, Dr. Harrison Brown, and Arnold Toynbee, 1946-1965, and outline her views on birth control, famine in India, world peace, race relations, and animal welfare.

   The papers of Una Elizabeth Jacobs (1917- ), birth control activist and Member of the Legislative Council of Jamaica, document her roles as President of the Child Welfare Association of Jamaica, 1958- 1960, President of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (Western Hemisphere Region), 1958- 1961, and as a Foundation member and Director of the Jamaica Family Planning Association, Ltd.

   Established in Honolulu, Hawaii by businessman G.S. Watumull in 1942, the Watumull Foundation is a philanthropic foundation founded to promote goodwill between the United States and India. Watumull's wife, Ellen Jensen Watumull (1875-1990), served as executive vice-president of the Foundation. The records of the Watumull Foundation consist primarily of Ellen Watumull's correspondence with Margaret Sanger, Shrimati Dhanvanthi Rama Rau, and others about birth control, particularly in India. There is also material concerning efforts to have Margaret Sanger nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1960, a 1969 Planned Parenthood meeting, the Planned Parenthood Center of Los Angeles, and miscellaneous clippings and other publications about Margaret Sanger and birth control, as well as an audiotape of Ellen Watumull discussing Margaret Sanger.

   Related to the topic of women's reproductive rights, the Sophia Smith Collection includes documentation from the Population and Reproductive Health (PRH) Oral History Project, 1965-2005. The PRH Oral History Project consists of interviews with forty-one advocates, communication specialists, lawyers, managers, physicians, researchers, social workers and other individuals throughout the world who have made important contributions to population studies and reproductive health initiatives. Resources that can be accessed through the Sophia Smith Collection website include brief biographical sketches of the oral history interviewees, and, in most cases, PDF format transcripts of the interviews. Audio recordings are available on CDs and researchers may purchase copies of audio recordings or transcripts.[6]

   The Sophia Smith Collection also holds a small selection of the papers of individual foreign-born women whose activism brought them international renown. These include the documents relating to Emma Goldman, Charlotte Whitton, and Helen Caldicott.

   The selected papers of Russian radical anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman (1869-1940), available at the SSC include letters, printed speeches and manuscripts; some of these documents are related to her prison memoirs.

   The papers of Canadian social welfare worker and politician Charlotte Whitton (1896-1975), date from 1920s-1960s. Throughout her professional career, Whitton served on various government commissions, and directed many social welfare studies. Whitton also worked as Assistant Secretary of the Social Service Council of Canada, and was Secretary to the Canadian Ministry of Trade and Commerce, 1923-1925. She directed the Canadian Welfare Council, 1926-1941. During the interwar era she served as the Canadian Government's Delegate to the first Committee on Traffic in Women and Children, and, later, as Delegate to the Social Questions Section of the League of Nations in Geneva, 1926-1939. Beginning in 1942, she was a lecturer, free lance writer, and consultant for welfare services administered by the Canadian Government. She was elected and the Mayor of Ottawa, 1951-1953.

   Australian Helen Caldicott Papers (b. 1938), a pediatrician and environmental and anti-nuclear activist, helped found the Medical Campaign Against Nuclear War and the Women's Party for Survival, which was later called the Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament and is now known as Women's Action for New Directions (WAND). Her papers include speeches, letters, and manuscripts of her books, and records of Physicians for Social Responsibility and WAND, 1961-1996, and ongoing.

   Among the long established and far-reaching women's international organizations represented in the Sophia Smith Collection are the International Council of Women, International Alliance of Women, Saint Joan’s International Alliance (SJIA), US Section, Inter-American Commission of Women, and Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women's Association (PPSEAWA), whose origins date from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries.

International Council of Women records at the SSC consist of an idiosyncratic selection of documents for this organization that was founded in 1888. These include correspondence, meeting minutes, committee reports, records of international conferences, constitutions, membership lists, and publications, as well as biographical information on Lady Ishbel Aberdeen, Rachel Foster Avery, May Wright Sewall, Frances Willard, and other ICW leaders, 1888-1959, and ICW activities in specific subject areas such as the fine arts, health, education, housing, suffrage, laws, social welfare, trades and professions, the United Nations, and peace. Correspondents include Vera W. Beggs and Alice M. Stetten. The Sophia Smith Collection also holds the papers of Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson (1872-1959), which include ICW files, minutes, agendas and reports, 1915-1926; and the papers of Alice Mayer Stetten (1887-1972), who worked with the International Relations and Peace section of the ICW, the American-Korean Foundation, the American Women's Association's Carrie Chapman Catt Memorial Fund, the Common Council for American Unity, the National Council of Women, the Overseas Education Fund of the League of Women Voters, and the Women's Action Commission, 1930-1972.

The International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) was founded in 1904 as an unconditionally pro-suffrage and explicitly feminist alternative to the International Council of Women. Beginning in 1913 the IWSA began to address issues beyond women's suffrage including prostitution, peace, equal pay, women's right to employment, the nationality of married women, and slavery. In 1915, individual members of IWSA from warring countries met in The Hague and were instrumental in setting up the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. After World War II the IWSA adopted a program of peace, democracy, women's rights, and support for the United Nations and changed its name to become the International Alliance of Women. The IWSA records at the Sophia Smith Collection include conference reports and documents such as agendas, publicity materials, position papers, newsletters, the bulk dating 1913-1973. Of particular interest are materials relating to the 12th Congress of the IWSA held in Istanbul, 1935.

   The selection of records of Saint Joan’s International Alliance (SJIA), US Section held at the Sophia Smith Collection date from 1965-2008, although the organization was founded in Great Britain in 1911. At that time, the SJIA was known as the Catholic Women's Suffrage Society. After voting rights for women were attained in Britain in 1918, the organization broadened its scope to address many social issues that affected women's lives including the abolition of child and forced marriage, human trafficking, and political, economic and educational rights for women in both the League of Nations and United Nations forums. Records of the SJIA include correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, conference and other printed materials, membership files, and audio recordings and document the work of the SJIA, US Section in promoting women's rights at the international level.

The Inter-American Commission of Women was established in 1928 and is also known by its Spanish title, the Comisión Interamericana de Mujeres (CIM). The CIM was a bureau within the intergovernmental agency the International Conference of American States (renamed the Organization of the American States after World War II), that studied the civil and political status of women in the Americas. The CIM gained consultative status at the League of Nations and was especially concerned with the question of the nationality of married women, the promotion of women's equal rights, and the League of Nations Inquiry into the Status of Women, 1937-1939. The records held at the SSC include bulletins and reports (many in Spanish) pertaining to conferences and assemblies, 1928-1976. Notably, these records include biographical sketches of Doris Stevens, first head of the CIM, a photograph album of the 11th Assembly of the League of Nations held in 1930, and reports of the 7th International Conference of American States held in Montevideo in 1933, and the 8th International Conference of American States held in Lima in 1938.

The Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women's Association (PPSEAWA) is an international women's organization founded in 1928, however, records at the SSC date 1938 to the present. The PPSEAWA promotes international understanding and friendship among the women of Asia and the Pacific regions and women of the United States through study and improvement of social, economic, and cultural conditions in Asian and Pacific regions. The PPSEAWA provides hospitality to temporary residents and visitors to the United States from Asian and Pacific countries, presents programs focusing on customs and cultures of Asian and Pacific countries, publishes a semi-annual international bulletin and a quarterly newsletter, and holds international conferences every three-to-five years. The papers of Gladys M. Bradley (1897-1983), held at the SSC include related materials. Bradley was active in the PPSEAWA 1958-1982, and her papers include Bradley's reports to and about this organization. Bradley also served as Vice-chair of the Committee on UNICEF 1963-1981, and was on the Steering Committee of the UN Commission on Status of Women 1980-1982, during the UN Decade for Women.

   The Sophia Smith Collection also holds records of women's international organizations dating from the World War II- and early Cold War- eras including the Canadian-American Women's Committee, Women's International Democratic Federation, and Committee of Correspondence.

The Canadian-American Women's Committee was founded by Vera Beggs and Cairine Wilson during World War II for the purpose of promoting cooperation between the two neighboring countries. With headquarters in Ottawa and New York, the Committee involved national women's organizations and others in joint conferences, educational exchanges, and lecture tours. Committee records at the SSC include correspondence, reports, publications, financial records, meeting minutes, and speeches, 1941-1969.

The Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) was founded in Paris in 1945 at the International Congress of Women by Eugenie Cotton and Marie-Claude Vaillant-Courturier and is an ongoing organization. WIDF materials at the Sophia Smith Collection date 1945-1979, and include records of conferences, a biography of Eugenie Cotton, and correspondence of the Congress of American Women (CAW), the American affiliate of the WIDF. The WIDF focused on four major concerns: anti-fascism, international peace, child welfare, and the status of women. During the early Cold War era the WIDF became associated with the Soviet Union and socialist state policies, as did the Congress of American Women that was founded in New York City in 1946. In response to the US House Un-American Activities Committee's charge that the WIDF was a tool of the Soviet Union, the CAW disaffiliated from the WIDF in December 1949 and voted to disband in 1950. The WIDF records at the Sophia Smith Collection include materials related to international congresses and most particularly anti-Vietnam War materials from the World Congress of Women held in Helsinki in 1969.

The Committee of Correspondence was founded in 1953 by women in the United States for the purpose of exchanging 'democratic' ideas, experiences, and information with women abroad. A product of the early Cold War era, the Committee of Correspondence provided information to international women's organizations and sponsored leadership training seminars for women from emerging independent nations. A major service of the Committee was the distribution of written material. Bulletins were sent monthly to each of the 5,000 correspondents which provided information on subjects such as child welfare, community development, education, social welfare, status of women and women in public life. The bulk of the records at the SSC date 1952-1969, but also include oral history transcripts, 1988-1989,with related biographical material and writings by individuals, and card files on individual participants, filed by country. In a related collection, the papers of Eleanor Gwinnell Coit (1894-1976), are held at the SSC. Coit was a YWCA secretary who worked on labor policy in the USA; her papers include Committee of Correspondence documents.

   Women's international organizations whose activities date from circa 1960 or later and whose records are deposited in the Sophia Smith Collection include the Women's Africa Committee of the African-American Institute, International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women (U.S. branch), Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund, International Women’s Tribune Centre, Women and Life on Earth, and Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual.

The Women's Africa Committee of the African-American Institute was an intercultural exchange organization. The small collection at the SSC contains records preserved by Zelia Ruebhausen, former chair of the Women's Africa Committee, and date 1958-1978. These records focus on the Women's Africa Committee Community Service Program, wherein African community leaders participated in African-American women's volunteer and educational efforts. The records illuminate African-American efforts at cultural exchange with the emerging independent African nations.

The International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women (IAPESGW) records deposited in the Sophia Smith Collection represent the US branch of the international organization and date 1967 to the present. These records include IAPESGW histories, including information about the association's first president, Dorothy Ainsworth, who also founded the US branch in 1961, documents pertaining to various IAPESGW congresses and conventions, and bulletins, newsletters, and reports. IAPESGW is a member of the International Women's Group and the International Council of Sport and Physical Education. The organization is ongoing, and as of 2005 membership included forty-five countries across all five continents.

The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF), formerly the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund for University Women, was founded in 1968 by a group of women affiliated with the International Federation of University Women. The Fund was named for Virginia Gildersleeve, dean of Barnard College 1911-1947, who believed that women college graduates could, given the resources, make significant contributions to the development of their countries and to the world at large. The VGIF is an ongoing international organization, and its purpose is to provide funding for projects which further the development of educational theory and practice, and advance the cause of mutual understanding and cooperation among university women throughout the world, particularly in developing nations. It has sponsored various projects of the International Federation of University Women and the Asian Women's Institute. Records held at the SSC date 1969-1999.

The International Women’s Tribune Centre (IWTC) was established by the International Women's Year NGO Forum Planning Committee to continue the work begun at the 1975 International Women's Year (IWY) Tribune convened by the United Nations in Mexico City. Following the model set at the 1975 IWY Tribune, the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (CONGO) created NGO Forum Planning Committees to prepare activities relating to future UN Decade for Women forums held in conjunction with UN World Women’s Conferences in Copenhagen in 1980, and in Nairobi in 1985, and with the United Nations Fourth World Women’s Conference held in Beijing in 1995, and with the Beijing + 5 Conference held in New York in 2000. In addition to these UN Women's Conference-related activities, the NGO Forum Planning Committees also created the International Women's Tribune Centre. The IWTC has evolved into an important global women's development resource that publishes a newsletter and provides information and liaison services, as well as technical assistance in the form of materials focusing on development for Third World women's groups. The IWTC records at the SSC date 1970-2000, and include administrative and development project files, correspondence with funding agencies and project participants, board minutes and agendas, and extensive records of the NGO Forum Planning Committees.

Women and Life on Earth (WLOE) was founded in August 1979, following the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania by women from the northeastern region of the United States who were active in anti-nuclear, alternative energy, peace, and women's organizations. WLOE's kick-off event, "Women and Life on Earth: A Conference on Eco-Feminism in the '80s," was held in March 1980 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Following the March 1980 conference, WLOE organized the Women's Pentagon Action, an anti-nuclear protest, held in November 1980 in Arlington, Virginia to demand "no more amazing inventions for death." WLOE continued activities in the United States and Britain. In 1999 the Women and Life on Earth Internet Project was launched to promote international information sharing in regard to peace activism. In 2001, the WLOE Internet Project moved to Berlin, Germany. WLOE records at the Sophia Smith Collection date 1979-2003.

Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) is an alliance of religious and feminist advocacy organizations that has conducted programs in Latin America and in the United States. The Alliance is committed to social justice activism through a feminist interpretation of theology, and is committed to promoting women's full inclusion and participation in ecclesiastical ritual and hierarchy. WATER records in the Sophia Smith Collection date 1983-2004.

The Miscellaneous Organizations Collection, circa 1824-2000, includes small amounts of material by and about women's organizations dating from the early nineteenth century to the present. The Miscellaneous Organizations Collection is arranged in two series: National and International Organizations. In addition to the United States that constitutes the largest section of documents other countries that are prominently represented include Canada, England, Germany, India, Japan, and South Africa. Records of women's professional, social, political, charitable, and patriotic associations, as well as women's rights groups and organizations for consumer advocacy, ethnic and racial equality, community service, civic improvement, social welfare, labor advocacy, war relief, and animal rights are included in this collection.

The Countries Collection at the SSC is comprised predominantly of printed materials such as reports, articles, newspaper clippings, biographical sketches, pamphlets, books, periodicals, and some photographs, letters, and manuscript materials that date 1540-1990s, with the bulk of materials dating 1920-1970. Contents focus on the status of women and feminist movements in over 140 countries, including information on sex roles, political rights, and educational opportunities for women. More prominently represented countries include Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, and the United States. Some records are arranged by global region. This collection includes some unique materials such as sixteenth-century marriage treaties written in archaic French; nineteenth-century photographs of North American Indians; nineteenth-century pamphlets on women's rights from various countries; letters written in German by a young Jewish woman telling of deplorable conditions in Germany in the 1920s; and a 1937 travel diary written by a woman in South Africa. Notable individuals such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Indira Ghandi, Eva Peron, and Joan of Arc are documented here. There are also over twenty books included in this collection.

Published scholarship on international women's history and social movements drawing on materials at the Sophia Smith Collection

   While the list of books mentioned here is by no means intended to be all-inclusive, these works focus on individual women or women's organizations whose activities were of international scope and significance, and who represent some of the international subject strengths of the SSC. These studies have drawn heavily on the aforementioned historical documents that are available to students and researchers at the Sophia Smith Collection.

   Among the many biographies of individual women whose papers are collected at the SSC, Nancy F. Cott has chronicled the life and intellectual journey of Mary Ritter Beard, who's World Center for Women Archives provided the founding core of the Sophia Smith Collection in A woman making history: Mary Ritter Beard through her letters.[7] Louise W. Knight has written two volumes focusing on the life of Jane Addams, founder of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and 1931 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Citizen: Jane Addams and the struggle for democracy and Jane Addams: spirit in action.[8] Jacqueline Van Voris has examined Carrie Chapman Catt's national and international activism and acclaim in Carrie Chapman Catt: a public life.[9] Ellen Chesler has provided a comprehensive account of Sanger's public and private life in Woman of valor: Margaret Sanger and the birth control movement in America[10] and, more recently, Patricia Walsh Coates has analyzed further the feminist elements of Sanger's advocacy for women's reproductive rights in Margaret Sanger and the origin of the birth control movement, 1910-1930: the concept of women's sexual autonomy.[11]

   Various collective biographies based in part on women's papers held at the SSC include two works that focus on World War II era war correspondents by Lilya Wagner, Women war correspondents of World War II,[12]and Nancy Caldwell Sorel, The women who wrote the war.[13] Ann Miller Morin donated to the Sophia Smith Collection the oral history interview transcripts that resulted in her 1994 book Her Excellency: an oral history of American women ambassadors.[14]

   The records of the YWCA of the USA and the papers of various YWCA foreign secretaries and World YWCA executives provided significant primary source documentation for Nancy Boyd's survey titled Emissaries, the overseas work of the American YWCA, 1895-1970,[15] and for Karen Garner's biography of YWCA foreign secretary Maud Russell, Precious fire: Maud Russell and the Chinese revolution.[16]

   Several studies synthesize the history of the modern global women's movement through the lens of multiple international women's organizations whose records are held at the SSC. These include: Karen Garner, Shaping a global women's agenda: women's NGOs and global governance, 1925-1985,[17] Helen Laville, Cold War women: the international activities of American women's organizations,[18] Sheila Rowbotham, A century of women: the history of women in Britain and the United States and Dreamers of a new day: women who invented the twentieth century,[19]and Leila Rupp, Worlds of women: the making of an international women's movement.[20]

Works-in-progress by Sophia Smith Collection research grant recipients

   The following list includes several ongoing projects that have been awarded grants since 2009 and that draw on the international scope of the Sophia Smith Collection. Carol Linskey, a 2009-2010 Caroline D. Bain Scholar, conducted research for her project on "American women's internationalism and the work of Dorothy Kenyon, 1933-1954". Erica Whittington, researching "From the campus to the globe: internationalism and American postwar student activism, 1945-1962" received a 2009-2010 travel-to-collections grant. Erica Cornelius Smith, researching "American foreign work division of the YWCA and the missions of its members to Eastern and Central Europe following World War I", received a 2010-2011 travel-to-collections grant. And Jacie Leigh Eisenberg, who is researching "American women and international Geneva, 1919-1939," and Xia Shi, who will investigate "Republican ladies: gender, philanthropy and social networks in early twentieth century China," are among the 2011-2012 Margaret Storrs Grierson Scholars.

Future directions for research on international women's history and social movements

   As indicated here, the international scope of the materials available to researchers at the Sophia Smith Collection is remarkable, and many of its riches are as yet undiscovered or under-utilized. Future scholarship will ask new questions of these records to highlight the voices and experiences of women who have been in the background of much of the published work on international women's history that still focuses to a great degree on Euro-American, First World, middle class, heterosexual, and politically mainstream women. Moreover, the Sophia Smith Collection continues to expand its holdings as more international and transnational women's networks form. These far reaching networks connect women's groups and individual activists, who may have begun their work with a local or national focus, but have since expanded their horizons to address women's global concerns. These expanding women's transnational and international networks, well documented since the 1970s, are certainly a part of the various phenomena known as the 'global women's movement'. Many of these women's records with transnational or international scope and significance are offered to the SSC and will also provide the raw materials for future investigations. However, as the SSC Director Sherrill Redmon has indicated, space to maintain these newly-created records and staff to process them for research use are both limiting factors. Redmon also asserts that there is a "compelling need for a truly international women's archives" to provide a repository for the records of groups and individuals whose politics and identities challenge nation-state or religious authorities, or whose international contributions do not fit well within the primarily national collecting missions of many existing public and private archives. Redmon envisions such an international women's archives located in a self-consciously 'neutral' international city, such as Geneva, Switzerland, which could be friendly to global donors and accessible to international researchers. May her vision be realized!



[1] The author wishes to thank Sophia Smith Collection Director Sherrill Redmon and Curator of Manuscripts Amy Hague for providing valuable information regarding the international scope of records held at the SSC and wise advice regarding this essay.

[2] Margaret Storrs Grierson quoted in "Imposing Evidence," Smith Alumnae Quarterly, 75:2 (Winter 1984): 3.

[3] Sophia Smith Collection Women's History Archives at Smith College,

[4] Mary Beard to Dorothy Porter, quoted in Nancy Cott, A Woman Making History: Mary Ritter Beard through Her Letters (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991), 48.

[5] Sophia Smith Collection Women's History Archives at Smith College, Digital Collections On-Line Exhibits, .

[6] Sophia Smith Collection Women's History Archives at Smith College, Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project, .

[7] Cott, A Woman Making History.

[8] Louise W. Knight, Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 2005) and Louise W. Knight, Jane Addams: Spirit in Action (New York: W. W. Norton, 2010).

[9] Jacqueline Van Voris, Carrie Chapman Catt: A Public Life (New York: The Feminist Press, 1987).

[10] Ellen Chesler, Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992).

[11] Patricia Walsh Coates, Margaret Sanger and the Origin of the Birth Control Movement, 1910-1930: The Concept of Women's Sexual Autonomy (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2008).

[12] Lilya Wagner, Women War Correspondents of World War II (New York: Greenwood Press, 1989).

[13] Nancy Caldwell Sorel, The Women Who Wrote the War (New York: Arcade, 1999).

[14] Ann Miller Morin. Her Excellency: An Oral History of American Women Ambassadors (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1994).

[15] Nancy Boyd, Emissaries: The Overseas Work of the American YWCA, 1895-1970 (New York: The Woman's Press, 1976).

[16] Karen Garner, Precious Fire: Maud Russell and the Chinese Revolution (Amherst, Mass. University of Massachusetts Press, 2003).

[17] Karen Garner, Shaping a Global Women's Agenda: Women's NGOs and Global Governance, 1925-1985 (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2010).

[18] Helen Laville, Cold War Women: The International Activities of American Women's Organizations (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2002).

[19] Sheila Rowbotham, A Century of Women:The History of Women in Britain and the United States (New York: Viking, 1997) and Sheila Rowbotham, Dreamers of a New Day: Women who Invented the Twentieth Century (London: Verso, 2010).

[20] Leila J. Rupp, Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women's Movement (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997).