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!┬áHere’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.


Holiday Greetings from the Smith College Archives

December 21, 2009
1965 College Archives Christmas Card

Christmas card created by College Archivist Margaret Grierson in 1965 with an undated photo of College Hall in the snow.

In 1940 Margaret Grierson became the second archivist in Smith College history. Grierson was an all-around Smithie: receiving her A.B. from Smith in 1922; joining the Department of Philosophy from 1930 to 1936; and finally, holding down three positions simultaneously in the Library (College Archivist, Executive Director of the Friends of the Smith College Library, and Director of the Sophia Smith Collection) until her retirement in 1965.

Margaret Grierson, 1946 portrait, by Eric Stahlberg, Northampton, MA.

Margaret Grierson in 1946. Portrait by Eric Stahlberg, Northampton, MA.

Grierson, who died in 1997, is remembered for many things at the College, but especially for her wonderful gift for letter writing. Folders and folders of her correspondence can be found in her papers here in the Archives. And Christmas-time was no exception. Each December Grierson sent out a photo card or postcard from the College Archives to alumnae, friends, and donors. Read the rest of this entry »


Valentine’s Day Deliveries at Smith

February 12, 2009

valentines-delivery-card

This Saturday Smith students may use their Facebook pages to send virtual flowers or water balloons or glasses of wine to one another in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Similar gifts were sent to and from Smith students in the late 1930s, but it was the Northampton post office and local telegraph employees who were responsible for those real deliveries.

In fact there were so many deliveries on February 14th that Valentine’s Day in Northampton was the busiest day of the year for local telegraph office employees. The Northampton post office was also overrun. Typically its canceling machine handled 10,000 letters on a single day; just before Valentine’s Day in 1937 the post office was canceling 19,000 letters per day! The local Hampshire Gazette newspaper reported that “the number of special deliveries increased from the average of 75 for daily business to 332 on Saturday and 16 on Sunday [Valentine’s Day itself].”

What were Smith students receiving and sending? Unusual deliveries were noted in press releases sent out by the Smith College Press Board detailing various types of valentines. In 1938 the gifts included ducks, goldfish, a ham sandwich, and even a few flowers and boxes of chocolates. Read the rest of this entry »


Holiday Vesper Services at Smith

December 5, 2008

This weekend the College will hold its annual Christmas Vespers service in John M. Green Hall (Dec 7, 2008 4:00pm and 7:30pm). Did you know that the Vesper services were held from early in the College’s history?

An entry in the diary of Lydia Kendall, Class of 1895 for December 1892 describes then-president, L. Clark Seelye “His face fairly shown with the joy that he felt…He spoke to us very tenderly and very sweetly and left us with many lovely thoughts.” The musical portion of the service had a soloist, organ music, a violinist, and the choir.

Christmas Vesper Service 1892

Christmas Vesper Service 1892

Antiphonal singing between the choir and congregation began in the early 1900s. This program documents the songs and verse used in the 1906 service:

Christmas Vesper Service program 1906

Christmas Vesper Service program 1906

Once John M. Greene Hall was completed in 1909, the service was opened up to members of the Northampton and surrounding communities. If you attend this weekend’s services, you may see scenes similar to these from 1947:

Smith-Amherst Glee Club performance, 1947

Smith-Amherst Glee Club performance, 1947

Audience at Christmas Vespers in John M. Greene Hall, n.d.

Audience at Christmas Vespers in John M. Greene Hall, n.d.