Skip to main content
Smith Libraries Exhibits

The Art Library

Alfred Churchill, copy of typed letter signed, dated 23 January 1918 to Josephine Clark.


In 1918, Alfred V. Churchill, professor of art, wrote to the Smith College Librarian asking that the art books of the library be housed in the Hillyer Gallery. He stated the need for students to be able to access works of art and art publications in the one location. The librarian, Josephine A. Clark, readily assented, and the art books in the possession of Neilson Library were moved to the “photograph corridor” in Hillyer, the art library’s first home.


Hillyer Art Library, Smith College, November 1933.


Like today’s Hillyer Art Library, the first art library was characterized by open study spaces and natural light.

Students studying in Hillyer Art Library, c1950.


Space was at a premium during times of heavy usage. The art library had its own card catalog, which was used until the first online Five Colleges Library Catalog was implemented in the mid-1980s.