Queer Places:
Bradstreet Cemetery, corner of Depot Road and Main St. in North Hatfield, 01038 MA, USA

Image result for Sophia Smith 1870Sophia Smith (August 27, 1796 – June 12, 1870) founded Smith College in 1870 with the substantial estate she inherited from her father, who was a wealthy farmer, and six siblings.[1]

An avid reader, Smith attended schools in Hatfield, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut. She later attended Hopkins Academy in Hadley, Massachusetts.[2]

Born as the first daughter into a family of three boys, Sophia Smith soon became the caretaker for the following three children (all girls). A resident of Hatfield, Massachusetts, the 1800 census states that the town had 153 homes, 11 of which were owned by her relatives both on her father's (Smith) side and her mother's (White) side.[3] After the death of her mother, the care of the household became the sole responsibility of her sister Harriet. After Harriet's death she relied on her eldest brother Austin who managed to acquire a sizable fortune; his death in 1861 the fortune that would soon found Smith College was accrued by Sophia Smith.[4]

Deaf since age 40 and unmarried,[2] Smith initially considered endowing her fortune to an institute for the deaf, but changed her mind when the Clarke School for the Deaf opened in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1868.[5] Encouraged by the Reverend John Morton Greene, she decided to endow a women's college instead. Upon her death on June 12, 1870, her fortune of $387,468 was willed to endow Smith College,[2] which was chartered in 1871[6] and opened its doors in 1875 with 14 students. [1] She also left money for the establishment of coeducational high school in her hometown of Hatfield, Massachusetts.[3]

In 1942, the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College was established as a repository of manuscripts, archives, photographs, periodicals, and other primary sources in women's history. Its first director was Margaret Storrs Grierson.[7]

In 2000, Smith was inducted posthumously to the National Women's Hall of Fame.[1]


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/queerplaces/images/Sophia_Smith