You Can Find It in the Archives: Madeleine L’Engle’s College Writing

February 21, 2012

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

This is the 50th anniversary year of that opening sentence; the 50th anniversary of the publication of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. But before she published her Newbery Award-winning science fantasy book, L’Engle wrote for and edited the Smith College Monthly. She was a member of the Class of 1941, graduating cum laude with a degree in English.

Madeleine L'Engle Camp, Class of 1941, yearbook picture.

Madeleine L’Engle Camp was the first Editor-in-Chief of the new Smith College Monthly, a publication which made its debut on campus in October 1940. The magazine had had an earlier life at Smith from 1893 to 1930 before fading away. L’Engle brought it back with a full editorial, business, and circulation staff.

First issue of the Smith College Monthly, October 1940.

The magazine featured political essays and opinion pieces, book reviews, fiction, and poetry by students and, occasionally, by faculty members. The managing editor at that time was Bettye Naomi Goldstein, Class of 1942 — better known today by her married name, Betty Friedan. We imagine it would have been interesting to hear the conversations at those editorial meetings!

Bettye Naomi Goldstein, Class of 1942, yearbook picture.

Along with editorials, L’Engle published two short stories and a long poem in the pages of the Monthly.

Madeleine L'Engle Camp, "Night at the Fair," Smith College Monthly, December 1940.

Madeleine L'Engle Camp, "From A City Boarding House," Smith College Monthly, February 1941.

Madeleine L'Engle Camp, "The Birthday," Smith College Monthly, April 1941.

Smith awarded L’Engle an honorary degree in 1986. According to the Smith Alumnae Quarterly, L’Engle told students in a discussion on campus in 1997 that honesty is the most important quality to successful storytelling. “If my readers don’t believe it, then it’s not true,” she said.

Here’s the book trailer for Wrinkle in Time‘s 50th anniversary edition to inspire you to read our alumna’s story again or for the very first time.


You Can Find It in the Archives: Valentines (and candy!)

February 14, 2012

Smithies have long celebrated February 14th by exchanging cards and gifts. Some of these cards were lovingly tucked into scrapbooks to be remembered and admired later; some of the candies were too, as you’ll see below! Here’s a sampler of Valentine’s Day cards preserved in Smith College student scrapbook albums from the late 1870s to the 1950s.

Esther "Daisy" Brooks, Class of 1882, valentine from scrapbook, ca.1878.

Esther "Daisy" Brooks, Class of 1882, valentine from scrapbook, ca.1878.

Elizabeth Learoyd, Class of 1892, candy heart from scrapbook.

Eleanor Upton, Class of 1909, valentine from scrapbook.

Eleanor Upton, Class of 1909, musical romance valentine from scrapbook.

Eva Simpson, Class of 1926, match valentine from scrapbook.

Eva Simpson, Class of 1926, lollipop valentine from scrapbook, 1925.

Joan Janderson, Class of 1947, valentine from scrapbook.

Joan Janderson, Class of 1947, valentine from scrapbook.

Mary Chrisman, Class of 1959, valentine from scrapbook.

Mary Chrisman, Class of 1959, valentine from scrapbook.


You Can Find It in the Archives: Advertising

February 6, 2012

Corset advertisement, 26 October 1921, in the Smith College Weekly.

Advertising may not be the first subject that comes to mind when you think of the collections in the Smith College Archives. But open up to the back of a yearbook or skim through the pages of the student newspaper and suddenly you’ll learn how both national and local companies chose to advertise to Smith students. Advertisements helped to sustain these student publications and gave companies access to a population of potential consumers.

Here’s a sampling of print advertising through the decades. Come in to the reading room and explore more of these for yourself!

Jello advertisement from the 1915 Smith College yearbook.

Cigarette advertisement, 5 February 1936, in the Smith College Weekly.

Nail polish advertisement, 13 October 1944, in the Smith College Weekly.

Frozen foods advertisement in the 1966 Smith College yearbook.

Health care advertisement, 16 March 1978, in the Sophian.