New Smith College Online Archive Documents the History of Social Work Education

The special collections unit of Smith College Libraries in conjunction with the college’s School of Social Work has created a new website documenting the 100-year history of the nation’s first training school for social workers.

The Social Work Archive at Smith College, the highly rated liberal arts educational institution for women in Northampton, Massachusetts, was originally established in 1980. The founders wrote that the archive “was organized for the specific purpose of preserving for historical research the papers and interviews of leaders in social work education and practice. The aim is to document the building blocks of our theory of practice. The collection will encompass the pivotal figures, both men and women, who through their writings, teaching or clinical work, advanced the basic concepts of social work practice. The individuals selected will not be limited to Smith graduates, but since the School’s history is closely linked with leaders in social work education, a number of Smith alumni and faculty members will be represented.”

The founders conducted oral history interviews with social work educators, some of which are now available online at the new website. The new online archive project is under the direction of Lauren L. Anderson, a former assistant professor at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She holds a Ph.D. in African American history from Michigan State University and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Kentucky.

Filed Under: Women's Colleges


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