A Short History of the Hartford Smith College Club
By Anne Guernsey
The Hartford Smith College Club, one of Smith’s first alumnae clubs, has had a long and varied past. Bertha Smith Taylor, then Bertha Smith ex. 1895, started the club in 1896. While she had only attended Smith College for one year, Taylor was eager to join together former students and graduates in the Hartford area. Early meetings were often held at people’s homes. Besides attending to club business, members partook in conversation and enjoyed music, play readings, and educational lectures. Distinguished guests included Smith presidents and faculty, as well as notable Hartford residents. The organization’s primary goals were to provide an opportunity to socialize, be involved in the community, and increase interest in the college. These purposes continue today.
Club contributions—abroad and at home—have been numerous over the past one hundred years. During World War I and II, the club played an active role. Some women were involved in the Smith Relief unit in France or worked with the American Red Cross, while others at home met regularly to add to projects run by the Relief Work Committee. The club organized clothing shipments overseas during the Korean War. We have a tradition of giving back to our local community as well. The club helped establish a settlement house in Hartford and, for over a century, has raised money for charities and scholarship funds. Money has been generated from dues, various drives, auctions, musical events, lecture series, and even from our own business, a club-run store in the 1920s known as the Muffin Shop. The club’s dedication continues with a successful Diaper Drive organized in 2008.
Source: Smith College Archives, Smith College of Hartford Records, Boxes 1-4.
For more information on the club’s history, please visit Smith College Archives in Northampton, MA. If you have something to contribute to the history of the club, please contact Nanci Young, Smith College’s Archivist, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 413-585-2976.