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Smith Libraries Exhibits

Sophia’s Choice: An Annotated Bibliography of Books Owned and/or Read by Sophia Smith

"My reading has not amounted to much the last week. Nothing new. We are about establishing a library here. I hope it may prove useful and successful, and that I may profit." 

--Sophia Smith's journal entry 26 December 1864


Religious works (#1-20)

A large portion of Sophia Smith's library consisted of religious books. The following are the titles of the religious books that were discovered in the basement of College Hall in 1944. Those rediscovered in the Alumnae House in 1996 are marked recovered.

 1. The Holy Bible. New York: American Bible Society, 1854. [recovered]

On 23 December 1864, John M. Greene recorded in his journal Sophia Smith's gift of $500 to start the Smith Literary Society in Hatfield. He also mentioned his own gift of The Holy Bible, because "Whatever is begun with the Bible is begun well." Therefore, this bibliography begins with Sophia's own copy of the Bible.

The American Bible Society was the largest publisher of Bibles in America during Sophia's lifetime. This edition is a popular edition, bound simply, which is in remarkably good condition after having been stored for so many years.

Separating the Old Testament and the New Testament is a bookmark embroidered with the words God Is With Us. It is on these pages that Sophia Smith entered the names and dates of her parents' marriage, the birth dates of her siblings, and finally on a third page, the names and dates of death for each of her brothers and sisters. The name and date of death for her Uncle Oliver appears at the bottom of the page

One of the several entries in Sophia Smith's journal that refer to the Bible is her entry of 9 October 1864 which reads, "I have spent the time in reading the Second Book of Samuel: the latter part of David's reign; Absalom's conspiracy which is exceedingly interesting...." When her Bible was rediscovered, a small ribbon still marked this passage.


"I have read a good deal this week, but not to much profit. I do resolve to read and study the Bible more."

--Sophia's journal entry, 16 September 1864


2. AUSTIN PHELPS and EDWARD PARKS, editors. The Sabbath Hymn Book. New York: Mason Brothers, 1858. [recovered]

This book bears the inscription "Sophia Smith." The book contains no musical scores, but appears to be well used, and, because she was almost completely deaf by her forties, it is probable that Sophia Smith read these hymns for inspiration.

3. J. NEWTON BROWN, editor. Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Brattleboro: Joseph Steen & Co., 1850. [recovered]

4. [EDWARD KIMPTON, 1765- 1813], editor. The New and Complete History of the Bible. Norwich: H. Bill, 1869. [missing]

"An illustrated history of the Holy Bible: being a connected account of the remarkable events and distinguished characters contained in the Old and New Testaments...." According to the National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints, John Kitto, 1804-1854, although credited in the book, was not the actual author. Kimpton also edited The Whole Genuine and Complete Works of Flavius Josephus.

5. JACOB CATLIN, 1758-1826. A Compendium of the System of Divine Truth. Contained in a series of essays in which principal subjects are carefully arranged, briefly discussed, and improved. Middletown: Printed by E. & H. Clark, 1824. [recovered]

Catlin also published numerous individual copies of several of his sermons and religious essays.

6. ZACHARY EDDY, 1815-1891. Immanuel, or the Life of Christ, Our Lord, from His Incarnation to His Ascension. Springfield: W. J. Holland & Co., 1868. [missing]

7. AUSTIN PHELPS, 1820-1890. The Still Hour. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Publication Committee, 1859. [recovered]

Austin Phelps was Professor of Sacred Rhetoric at the Andover Theological Seminary, a Congregational clergyman, author, and husband of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, an author in her own right. Other works by Phelps include English Style in Public Discourse with Special Reference to the Usages of the PulpitMan's RenewalMen and BooksMy NotebookMy Portfolio, The New BirthThe Old TestamentA Living Book for All AgesRhetoric: Its Theory and PracticeSabbath HoursStudies of the Old TestamentThe Theory of Preaching; and The Work of the Holy Spirit. Phelps also served as co-editor with Edward Amasa Parks of The Sabbath Hymn Book.

There is no entry in Sophia Smith's journal referring to Austin Phelps' work, although The Still Hour was part of her personal library.


"I have read nothing this winter."
--Sophia's journal entry, 16 June 1867
"How vast are my responsibilities. I have just bought a book of prayers of Mr. Meecher which are very good. May I profit by them..."
--Sophia's journal entry, 23 February 1868

8. REV. WILLIAM THEODORE WYLIE. Worship in the Family and School-Room; A Manual of Devotion. Springfield: W. J. Holland & Co., 1866. [missing]

Wylie also edited Hymns for Daily Use.

9. ALBERT BARNES, 1798-1870. Prayers for the Use of Families. Philadelphia: Charles D. Silva, 1863. [recovered]

Other works by Barnes include: The Apostolic ChurchAtonement in Its Relationship to Law and Moral GovernmentThe Church and Slavery: How Shall Man Be just with God?An Inquiry into the Scriptural Views of Slavery; Inquiries and Suggestions in Regard to the Foundation of Faith in the Word of GodAn Inquiry into the Organization and Government of the Apostolic Church; Life at Three-ScoreLife at Three-Score and TenPractical SermonsQuestions on the Epistle to the RomansScenes and Incidents in the Life of the Apostle PaulThe Theory and Desirableness of Revivals; and The Way of Salvation.

10. CALEB KIMBALL, 1798-1879. The Happy Choice. Boston: Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, 1846. [recovered]

11. CALEB KIMBALL, 1798-1879. The Young Christian Directed. Boston: B. Perkins & Co., 1854. [recovered]

Other works by Caleb Kimball include The Awakened Sinner DirectedA Child Assisted in Giving the Heart to GodGems for the Sabbath SchoolHoly Spirit Revisited; and A View of Christ.

12. REV. SAMUEL STANHOPE SMITH, 1750-1819. A Comprehensive View of the Leading and Most Important Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion: Digested in Such Order as to Present to the Pious and Reflecting Mind. 1815. [missing]

Other works by Smith include An Essay on the Causes of the Variety of Complexion and Figure in the Human SpeciesThe Lectures Corrected and Improved, Which Have Been Delivered for a Series of Years in the College of New Jersey: On the Subject of Moral and Political Philosophy; and Sermons, by Samuel Stanhope Smith, D.D., President of the College of New Jersey. Smith also co-authored a book, The History of the United States.

13. REV JOHN FLAVEL. The Fountain of Life; or, A Display of Christ in His Essential and Meditorial Glory. Revised and somewhat abridged. New York: American Tract Society, [n.d.] [missing]

Other works by Flavel include The Balm of the Covenant, Applied to the Bleeding Wounds of the Afflicted SaintsThe Blow at the Root of AntinomianismChrist Knocking at the Door of the Sinner's Heart; Divine Conduct: or, the Mystery of Providence; England's Duty Under the Present Gospel Liberty; An Exposition of the Assemblies Catechism, with Practical Inferences from Each Question; A Gift for Mourners; Golden Gems for the Christian; Husbandry Spiritualized: or, the Heavenly Use of Spiritual Things; Jesus Christ's Alluring Love; Keeping the Heart; The Method of Grace; Navigation Spiritualized: or, A New Compass for Seamen; Pneumatologia, A Treatise of the Soul of Man; Sacramental Meditations; A Saint Indeed; or, The Great Works of a Christian; The Touchstone of Sincerity; A Treatise on Divine Comedy: or, The Mystery of Providence; and several editions of Flavel's complete works.


"I have not so many pursuits on my mind as to engage [me] sufficiently." 

--Sophia's journal entry, 16 June [1867]

"I have stopped at home this afternoon on account of the rain; but I had a good book handed me at noon which I have enjoyed and which I hope shall make it profitable. It is upon Christ the believer's refuge...."

--Sophia's journal entry, 11 September 1864


14. REV. B. B. EDWARDS, editor. The Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Illustrated with maps and engravings. Brattleboro: Fessenden and Co., 1836. [missing]

15. WILLIAM JAY. Morning Exercises for the Closet for Every Day in the Year. New York: American Tract Society, 1828. Volume 1. [missing]

16. REV. S. PHILLIPS. The Christian Home. Springfield: Gurdon Bill & Co., 1868. [recovered]

See below gallery for images.

17. FREDERICA ROWAN, translator, 1814-1882. Meditations on Death and Eternity. Originally written by Heinrich Zschokke, 1771-1848. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863. [missing]

Other works by Rowan include History of the French Revolution; History of Scotland; and History of England. Rowan also compiled a reader in French.


"I have not read much the past winter. I now resolve to read more, to make greater efforts for improvements; to watch over my heart; to watch over my conversation; to watch over my manners; to strive for greater purity of manners, and greater love for my fellow beings, and for more spirit, and more self control, less impulse. And may I have the wisdom to dispose of this property aright."
--Sophia's journal entry, 7 March 1868
"Have read one of Spurgeon's sermons on Faith. Without Faith it is impossible to please God." 
--Sophia's journal entry, 19 September 1863

18. REV. C. H. SPURGEON, 1834-1892. Sermons of the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon of London. New York: Sheldon, 1859. [missing]

Sophia made several references to sermons she had read by Spurgeon, Bushnell, and other ministers. Spurgeon published individual sermons, annual editions of sermons by year and topic, and later a ten- and a twenty-volume collection of his sermons. Spurgeon is the author of many other religious works.

19. ELIZABETH CHARLES RUNDLE. The Early Dawn; or Sketches of a Christian Life in England in the Olden Times. New York: M. W. Dodd, 1864. [missing]

20. ELIZABETH CHARLES RUNDLE. Chronicles of the Schoenberg-Cotta Family by Two of Themselves. New York: M. W. Dodd, 1864. [missing]


"I have read the past week the Early Dawn of the Christian Life in England in Olden Time. I do not like it as well as The Chronicles of the Cotta Family. It shows her knowledge of ancient history."
--Sophia's journal entry, 8 October 1864

Books originally owned by siblings and friends (#21-27)

Five of the books that comprised Sophia Smith's personal library originally belonged to siblings of Sophia.

21. GEORGE SUMNER. A Compendium of Systematic Botany. Hartford: O.D. Cooke, 1820. [recovered]

This book contains the inscription "Miranda Smith," a younger sister of Sophia's who died in 1831.

22. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, 1564-1614. The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare, Accurately Printed from the Text of the Corrected Copy Left by the Late George Steevens, Esq. Philadelphia: McCarty & Davis, 1828. Stereotyped in two volumes. [recovered]

The binding is an unusual marbled sheepskin. The inscription on the flyleaf of each volume reads: 'Austin Smiths Book.' Austin Smith, Sophia's brother, was born in 1790 and died in 1861. It was from Austin that Sophia inherited the bulk of the fortune which eventually founded Smith College. Volume one of this set has a string marking pages fifty-six and fifty-seven. This is Act Two, Scene Three and Act Three, Scene One of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

23. LOWELL MASON. Church Psalmody. Boston: Perkins & Marvin, 1831. [recovered]

This hymn book is inscribed with the name of Harriet Smith, Sophia's sister. Harriet lived in the Smith homestead with Sophia and their brother Austin until her death in 1859.


"The New York Tract Society was founded in 1825. It is doing a vast amount of good. It is sending tracts all over the world. It has sent a great many to southern states during the war and since."
--Sophia's journal entry, August 1865

24. JACOB ABBOTT, 1803-1879. The Corner Stone. New York: Harper & Bros., ca. 1852. [recovered]

The name Harriet Smith is inscribed on the flyleaf of this book. There are four separate places marked in the book. The corner is turned down on page eleven in the contents section. There is a string marking pages 164 and 165 in chapter six, which is titled "Pardon." This marks an anecdote about a father's plan to demonstrate the consequences of truancy to his sons. Page 313 of chapter ten, "The Parting Promise," has the corner turned down, marking a section which describes a New England college. Finally, there is a small paper bookmark between pages 344 and 345, part of chapter eleven, "The Conclusion."

Abbott was an educator in New England. According to A Dictionary of American Authors, he was a prolific writer whose works for young people were extremely popular. His most popular books for youth were The August Stories, The Franconia Stories; Marco Paul's Adventures; The Rollo Books; Harper's Storybooks; The Young Christian Series; and Histories of Celebrated Sovereigns.

Abbott wrote an eight-volume history of America and a three-volume history for Harper's. He also wrote a series of biographies which he eventually compiled into a twenty- volume set titled Makers of History.

Other works by Abbott include Conversations on the BibleCongoThe EngineerFamous Characters of HistoryThe FreshetThe Gibralter Gallery; and Teacher: or, Moral Influences Employed in the Instruction of the Young, Intended Chiefly to Assist Young Teachers in Organizing and Conducting Their Schools.


"I am left alone of all my father's house. This once large and prosperous family have all passed away." 

--Sophia's journal entry, 20 October 1861


25. [JANE MARCET], 1769-1858. Conversations on Chemistry. In which the elements of that science are familiarly explained and illustrated by experiments. From the fifth and latest English edition, revised, corrected, and considerably enlarged. To which are added the notes and observations of an American Gentleman. Second [American] edition. Greenfield, Massachusetts: Denio & Phelps, 1820. [recovered]

This is another book that belonged to someone else before Sophia Smith. It is a textbook, and there is the possibility that Sophia used it during her study in Hartford or at the academy in Hadley. There is no definitive evidence about the identity of the person, 'EPS,' whose initials appear on the flyleaf of the book.

According to The Continuum Dictionary of Women's Biography, this was Marcet's first book, but its original subtitle was intended more specially for the female sex. It was designed to provide background information for women who went to the Royal Society lectures. The Continuum Dictionary of Women's Biography explains that "[Marcet's] determination to make science, history and economics accessible to women was linked to her belief in the importance of mothers in the education of their family." Although her original intent was to make topics accessible to women through her 'conversation' books, her books were popular with men as well.

The series of 'conversation' books included the topics of botany, land and water, mineralogy, natural philosophy, nature and art, political economy and vegetable physiology. Marcet's other works include Bertha's Journal During A Visit to Her Uncle in England; The Evidence of Christianity in which the Leading Arguments of the Best Authors are Arranged, Developed, and Connected with Each Other; The Heiress in Her Minority, or, The Progress of Character; and The History of Africa. She also wrote several children's books.

26. JAMES WILLIAM KIMBALL, 1812-1885. Friendly Words with Fellow Pilgrims. Boston: American Tract Society, 1867. This copy is inscribed to Mrs. Smith. [recovered]

It is not clear whether this copy was borrowed from Sophia's sister-in-law or whether the author made a mistake in the inscription.

Other books by James William Kimball include The Christian Ministry; Encouragements to Faith; Heaven; and How to See Jesus. Kimball published at least a dozen religious pamphlets, most with the American Tract Society

27. WILLIAM A. STEARNS, 1805-1876. Adjutant Stearns. Boston: Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, 1862. Inscription on flyleaf, "Miss Sophia Smith, with the sincere regards of W.A. Stearns, Amherst College. 1 Jan. 1863." [recovered]

William A. Steams was a Congregational clergyman, educator, and author. He was serving as president of Amherst College at the time of this book's publication.

Many of W. A. Stearns' speeches and sermons were published individually. Books by Stearns include: Infant Church Membership; The Life and Character of Rev. Samuel H. Stearns; and New England Bird Life: Being a Manual of New England Ornithology.

See below gallery for images.


"I have just read the Life of Augustus Stearns who was killed in the battle of Newburn. He was the son of President Stearns of Amherst College. He volunteered in the early part of the war. He left home to devote himself to the service of his country. He received two wounds at Roanoke, but he fell in battle in Newburn, while leading his men."

--Sophia's journal entry, 3 February 1863


Books concerning the lives and struggles of women (#28-33)

The topic of several of the books in Sophia's library involved the lives and struggles of women.

28. HARRIET BRITTAN, 1823-1897. Kardoo, the Hindoo Girl. New York: W. B. Bodge, 1869. [recovered]

This book relates the experiences of a missionary stationed in India in the early nineteenth century. Other works by Brittan include Missionary Experiences in India; Scenes and Incidents of Every-day Life in Africa; and Shoshie, the Hindoo Zenana Teacher.

29. EDWARD HITCHCOCK, 1793-1864. The Power of Christian Benevolence; Illustrated in the Life and Labors of Mary Lyon. Compiled by Edward Hitchcock with the assistance of others. Second edition. Northampton: Hopkins, Bridgman, & Co.; Philadelphia: Thomas Cowperthwait, & Co., 1851. [missing]

Sophia Smith's journal entry for 3 February 1864 reads, "I am reading [Recollections of Mary Lyon]; a new edition by Fidelia Fiske; so far very interesting." Sophia Smith's journal makes no mention of reading Hitchcock's biography of Mary Lyon, but it was that work that was listed as one of those found among Sophia's books in College Hall in 1944.

Hitchcock was a Congregational clergyman, a professor of chemistry, and natural history at Amherst, and from 1833-1844, State Geologist of Massachusetts. He then served as President of Amherst from 1845 to 1854. Other works by Hitchcock include Religion of Geology and Its Connected Sciences; Illustrations of Surface Geology, Fossil Footprints in the United States; The History of a Zoological Temperance Convention; The Ichnology of New England, Dyspepsia Forestalled and Resisted; Religious Truth Illustrated from Science; Reminiscences of Amherst; and several textbooks.


"I have read the Life of Daniel Safford this week. He was a friend of Mary Lyon. It was to his house she used to retire in Boston from the cares of her school and rest and refresh herself. He aided and assisted her in building up the institution. I have read also a late edition of the Life of Nelson, a great hero, his country's pride and boast. He had one stain upon his character -- his being entangled with Lady Emma Hamilton and his separation from his wife on her account. I am also reading Bushnell's Sermons. I have read more than I should because I am alone. 0 how solitary I seem to be!"

--Sophia's journal entry, 7 January 1865


30. SUSAN HELEN ALDRICH DEKROYFT, 1818-1915. A Place in Thy Memory. New York: J. F. Trow, 1851. [recovered]

The author wrote in the preface of this book, "these letters are simply copies of my own thoughts and feelings written with no expectation of their ever being read by others than the persons to whom they were addressed."

This book is a collection of letters that DeKroyft wrote after going blind. The book was published in more than sixty- seven editions. DeKroyft paid for the first few editions and sold most of the copies herself. Although her adult life was filled with sorrow -- she was wed and widowed on the same day and then went blind within a month -- DeKroyft's letters are filled with a cheerful 'Pollyanna' outlook on life and mankind.

Other works by DeKroyft include The Foreshadowed Way; Mortara; and a children's story, The Story of Jakey.


"I have read but little the past week. Have not made any advances, any improvement. I must make greater efforts, give greater diligence to making my calling and election sure." 
--Sophia's journal entry, 24 September [1865]


"May I strive for improvement of character. Character is more than wealth or position. The goodness of Washington's character outweighs the talents of a Napoleon. Goodness has more weight than talents. Love is the basis of all true characters. Giving without love is nothing -- so many dollars counted and given out, measured and without a corresponding feeling. Charity proceeds from the heart."

--Sophia's journal entry, 28 May [1866]


31. WILLIAM ROBERTS, 1767-1849. Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Mrs. Hannah More. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835. [missing]

This work was issued in two volumes, though only volume two was listed among those found in 1944. Other works by Roberts include History of Letter Writing, from the Earliest Period to the Fifth Century; The Portraiture of a Gentleman; The Story of Eugenia and Amelia: or, The Vicissitudes of Life; A Treatise on the Act for the Amendment of Wills; A Treatise on the Law of Wills and Codicils; and A Treatise on the Statute Of Fraud. Using the pseudonym of Reverend Simon Olive-Branch, Roberts also served as editor of a periodical paper, "The Looker-on."

32. LOUISA MAY ALCOTT. Little Women; or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1870. In two volumes. [recovered]

These two volumes were listed among those books found in 1944. Since this edition was published in 1870 and Sophia Smith died in June of 1870, it is doubtful that she had the opportunity to read them.

Alcott also wrote Little Men; An Old-Fashioned Girl; Eight Cousins; Under the Lilacs; Moods; Hospital Sketches; and A Modern Mephistopheles.

See below gallery for images.



"I have to record the preservation of my life another week, and all the blessings of health, enjoyment of social intercourse, the pleasant interviews with friends who are stopping near me, the privilege of books, and the richer blessings of spiritual things."

--Sophia's journal entry, 19 February 1865


Books reflecting Sophia Smith's varied interests (#34-42)

33. Eminent Women of the Age; Being the Narratives of the Lives and Deeds of the Most Prominent Women of the Present Generation. Hartford: S. M. Betts & Company, 1868. [missing]

This book contains fourteen engravings. Listed under the heading of "Pioneers in Education" are the biographical sketches of Emma Willard, Marianne P. Dascomb, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Elizabeth Stanton. Surely, if the book had been published ten years later, Sophia Smith's name would appear in this category.

Other books in Sophia's personal library further demonstrate her varied interests.

34. ELIZABETH STUART PHELPS, 1815-1852. The Gates Ajar. Boston: Fields, Osgood, 1869. [missing]

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps was married to a minister, Austin Phelps (see entry #7), and her books dealt either with religious topics or intimate looks at ministers' families. The titles of her other books include Kitty Brown and Her City Cousins; A Peep at "Number Five," or, A Chapter in the Life of a City Pastor; The Tell-Tale; and The Sunny-Side, or, The Country Minister's Wife. Her husband, Austin, published her book The Last Leaf from Sunnyside after her death under her pen name, H. Trusta.


"I have just read Miss Phelp's work The Gates Ajar which is very fine. She brings heaven nearer."
--Sophia's journal entry, 22 February 1869


35. RUFUS WILMOT GRISWOLD, 1815-1851. Gems from American Poets. Philadelphia: Sorin & Ball, 1848. [recovered]

This book contains two volumes in one pocket edition. There is no mention of this work in Sophia Smith's journal.

36. JANE PORTER, 1776-1850. Thaddeus of Warsaw. New York: S. Marks, 1817. Four volumes in two. [recovered]

Other works by this author include Bannockburn; Coming Out; and The Field of Forty Steps; Duke Christian of Luneburg; Life of Sir William Wallace: or The Scottish Chiefs; The Pastor's Fireside; Tales Around a Winter's Hearth; and The Two Princes of Persia. Porter also wrote numerous short stories and edited Sir Edward Seaward's Narrative of a Shipwreck.


"I have read a good deal last week."
--Sophia's journal entry, 25 September 1864

37. JOSIAH GILBERT HOLLAND, 1819-1891. Kathrina: Her Life and Mine in a Poem. New York: Scribner & Co., 1867. [missing]

According to A Dictionary of American Authors, Holland's work was often criticized as lacking in literary style, but that did not affect his popularity. He served as editor of The Springfield Republican, 1849 to 1866, and co-founded Scribner's Monthly in 1870, which he edited until his death in 1881. Sophia would have been familiar with his work in The Springfield Republican, since she subscribed to it.

Other works by Holland include Arthur Bonnicastle: An American Novel; The Bay-Path: A Tale of New England Colonial Life; Bitter-sweet; The Garnered Sheaves: Complete Poetical Works of J. G. Holland; Everyday Topics: A Book of Briefs; Goldfoil, Hammered from Popular Proverbs; History of Western Massachusetts; Lessons in Life: A Series of Familiar Essays; Miss Gilbert's Career: An American Story; Nicholas Minturn: A Study in a Story; Plain Talks on Familiar Subjects; The Puritan's Guest, and Other Poems; and Sevenoaks: A Story of To-day. Under the pseudonym Timothy Titcomb he wrote Concerning the Jones Family; Letters to the Joneses; and Titcomb's Letters to Young People, Single and Married.

38. MARTIN FARQUHAR TUPPER, 1810-1899. The Twins; a Domestic Novel. New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1846. [missing]

Other works by Tupper include Autobiography: My Life as an Author; Cithara, a Selection from the Lyrics of Martin Farquhar Tupper; The Crock of Gold, a Rural Novel; Geraldine, a Sequel to Coleridge's Cristabel; Hactenus: More Droppings from the Pen That Wrote One-Thousand Lines; Heart, a Social Novel; Proverbial Philosophy; Stephen Langton: or the Days of King John, Rides and Reveries of the late Mr. Aesop Smith; and Winter Flowers. Tupper also wrote several plays and edited numerous collections of his poetry and stories.


"Professor Stowe says [of] the Bible question [about woman] Paul treats upon woman upon two planes, one of which is the natural and physical one in which she is made dependent and subordinate; the second plane is the intellectual and moral one where she is placed in exact equality with man, and that here the woman is neither without the man nor the man without the woman. I have had no reading this summer. I feel the need of one to advise me. I feel the want of self control. I feel that if I am left to myself I shall be wholly lost, ruined, as it relates to temporal and spiritual things. I feel the weakness of mind as well as body of advancing years."

--Sophia's journal entry, 3 October 1869


39. SUSAN WARNER, 1818-1885. The Old Helmet. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1864. [missing]

Other works by Warner include: Bread and Oranges, Carl Krinken; Daisy, A Trilogy; Diana; Ellen Montgomery's Bookshelf, The End of a Coil; The Flag of Truce; Gertrude and Her Bible; The Gold of Chickaree; The Golden Ladder; The Hills of the Shatemuc; The House in Town; The House of Israel; The Kingdom of Judah; The Law and the Testimony; Lessons on the Standard Bearers of the Old Testament; The Letter of Credit; Melbourne House; My Desire; Nobody; Opportunities; Pine Needles; Queechy; The Rapids of Niagara; A Red Wallflower; Sceptors and Crowns; Stephens, M.D.; Trading; Walks for Eden; "What She Could"; and Wych Hazel.


"I have read little the past week. I have not been very happy, have thought too much of self, of my own weakness, my own ignorance, my own meanness, my own littleness in the sight of God and man, my own vileness. My responsibilities are great, this great wealth placed in my hands. How hardly shall they who have riches enter into the kingdom of heaven." 

--Sophia's journal entry, 24 February 1867


40. LYDIA HOWARD (HUNTLEY) SIGOURNEY, 1791- 1865. Examples of Life and Death. New York: Charles Scribner, 1852. [recovered]

The Dictionary of American Authors calls Sigourney "one of the most popular of earlier American authors" whose "prose and verse were adapted to an uncritical audience." Her work was widely published in periodicals.

Other books by Sigourney include Biographies of the Great and Good; Biography of Pious Persons; A Book for Boys; The Book for Girls; The Child's Book; The Christian Keepsake; The Coronal; The Daily Counselor; Examples from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century; The Faded Hope; Gleanings; Great and Good Women, Biographies for Girls; Illustrated Poems, by Mrs. L. H. Sigourney; Letters of Life; Letters to Mothers; Letters to Pupils; Letters to Young Ladies; The Lovely Sisters; Lucy Howard's journal; The Man of Uz, and Other Poems; Moral Pieces; Myrtis, with Other Sketchings and Etchings; Olive Leaves; Past Meridian; Pleasant Memories of Pleasant Lands; Pocahontas, and Other Poems; Scenes of My Native Land; Sketches, by Mrs. Sigourney; The Voice of Flowers; The Voice of Home, or Poems for the Sea; and Water-drops.

41. ALFRED TENNYSON, baron, 1809-1892. Enoch Arden, &c. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1864. [missing]

See below gallery for images.

"I have just read Tennyson's Enoch Arden. It is a very interesting story, and handsomely written, in a sweet and easy style. I have read criticisms upon Mrs. Barrett Browning as an authoress of great power, while I have never seen any of her writings. Tennyson is considered foremost among the British poets living. He is the poet laureate of the Queen." 
--Sophia's journal entry, 25 September 1864

[Author's note: While it is unknown whether Tennyson's "The Princess: A Medley" (which was included in her edition of Enoch Arden) had any influence on Sophia Smith -- nor whether she even read the poem -- it is interesting to speculate what she may have thought!]

Sophia and her family went on annual trips to Saratoga Springs. After the deaths of her siblings, Sophia wanted to continue the trips, but the etiquette of the day did not allow for women-even one of her advanced age to travel unescorted. Sophia resolved the problem by asking her pastor and adviser, John M. Greene, to accompany her and her female companion. This was not an uncommon practice in the mid-nineteenth century. Sophia paid Greene's expenses including his replacement in the pulpit while he was absent. Eventually, Greene also accompanied Sophia on trips to Rhode Island, New York, and Washington, D.C.

42. W.H. and O.H. MORRISON. Morrisons' Stranger's Guide and Etiquette to Washington City. Washington: W.H. and O.H. Morrison, 1864. [recovered]

See below gallery for images.

This travel guide to the nation's capital contains twenty-six engravings of historic buildings and landmarks, three of which are pull-out plates. There are also three fold-out maps showing the floor plan of the capitol building. The etiquette portion of the guide instructs the traveler on cleanliness, dress, and deportment while visiting offices in Washington. It is believed that Sophia Smith obtained this book while on a visit to Washington with her minister and traveling companion, the Reverend John M. Greene.

"I have had a trip to Washington escorted by Mr. Greene. It was a pleasant excursion; stopped at Willard's Hotel, very near the President's House. The public buildings are very fine. The Capitol is a very grand building a mile east of the President's House. On Pennsylvania Avenue you pass by the Post Office, Patent Office, National Hotel; the Smithsonian Institution is a very fine building, built seventeen years ago of fine red sandstone. It is situated in an open space between the Washington Monument and the Capitol and is surrounded by an enclosure extending from seventh to twelfth street." 
--Sophia's journal entry, March 1866


Several of Sophia's journal entries addressed her concerns regarding the disposition of her money.

"I feel exceedingly weak, powerless to do good. No one to go to for counsel. Every one coming to me for selfish ends. The greater the flattery the more the selfish ends." 
--23 March 1862

"I see selfishness all around me, --all seeking their own ends, clutching for themselves." 

--19 April 1862

"May I learn my duty and do it." 

--August 1865

Light reading for a dark mood (#43-46)

43. A Memorial of the Semi-Annual Centennial Celebration of the Founding of the Theological Seminary of Andover. Andover: Warren E. Draper, 1859. [missing]

John M. Greene's journal outlines the negotiations between Sophia and Mr. Parks of the Andover Theological Seminary in his entry of 30 January 1867. On 12 February 1867, he proclaims that "to-day the matter of a donation to the Andover Theological Seminary has been settled."

It is not until her journal entry of 25 May 1867 that Sophia mentions her donation of $30,000 to the seminary:

"I have just read a memorial of the fiftieth anniversary of the Theological Seminary at Andover, to which I gave thirty thousand dollars for the endowment of a professorship of Theology and Homiletics, a short course of study for indigent young men who are desirous to enter the gospel ministry and to preach to the destitute in the western parts of our country where there are so many destitute colleges. Thus what I gave was to be kept by itself to all future time for this express purpose. May it do good. May I try to do all the good I can. May I be led by my Father in Heaven. I hope now to rise up and try to make more of myself and see that it is so."
-- Sophia's journal entry, 25 May 1867
"I have read too much light reading for the past, too many of Mary Braddon's novels. Although interesting and well written, they take up too much time, and are too absorbing. They induce a disrelish for more substantial reading. And they also have a tendency to dissipate the mind and take it off from more solemn things." 
--Sophia's journal entry, 7 November 1863


44. MARY E. BRADDON, 1835-1915. Lady Audley's Secret (1862), Garibaldi and Other Poems (1861), and Three Times Dead (1860) are the titles which were published in the United States at the time of Sophia's journal entry.

It is not possible to determine which of Mary E. Braddon's novels Sophia Smith actually read, but she did read more than one prior to November 1863. By the time of Sophia's journal entry, Mary E. Braddon had published what critics called "sensational novels, filled with murder, bigamy and madness." She appears to have been the Danielle Steele of her day. It is unclear where Sophia obtained the copies of Braddon's novels, since there is no record of any of her works in Sophia's library.

45. GAIL HAMILTON, 1833-1896. Stumbling Blocks. By Mary Abigail Dodge. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1865.

Gail Hamilton was the pseudonym used by Mary Abigail Dodge, a popular author of tracts, articles for periodicals and novels. Sophia's journal entry of 29 January 1865 indicates she enjoyed reading Gail Hamilton. None of Hamilton's books are listed in Sophia's personal library.


"I have read light reading for the last week too much, which is not profitable. I feel placed in critical circumstances. A great responsibility rests on me." 

--Sophia's journal entry 14, February 1864



46. WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY, 1811-1863. The History of Pendennis. [New York]: Derby & Jackson, 1857.


"I read through Pendennis last week, by Thackeray. I do not admire it; too much light and frivolous reading in it."
--Sophia's journal entry, 21 March 1868

Apparently, most nineteenth-century readers did not agree with Sophia Smith's assessment of Thackeray's work. His works continue to be published in large multi-volume sets. Thackeray also wrote a series of ballad books and numerous poems and short stories.


Despite her concerns about the disposition of her money, plans for Smith College were eventually developed and included in her final will. Sophia Smith died on 12 June 1870. How unfortunate that her most enduring success came as a result of her death.

The Hampshire Gazette and Northampton Courier of 14 June 1870 reported Sophia's death: "Miss Sophia Smith died on Sunday, at the advanced age of 74 years. She was well known in all this section as a lady of great wealth, of benevolent disposition and blameless and irreproachable life."

"How little conscious are we that any small acts we do will be commented upon, published to the world as forming our character, and perhaps influencing thousands for good or evil, while we are unconscious of their consequences to ourselves or others." 
--Sophia's journal entry, June [1865]
"I have not read anything this winter. I am placed in circumstances which require a great deal of wisdom. I feel the responsibility of this great property. My desire is to do right, but I fail in all things." 
--Sophia's journal entry, 13 December 1867


Scanned documents from Sophia Smith's annotated bibliography.

Who Was Sophia Smith?
Sophia’s Choice: An Annotated Bibliography of Books Owned and/or Read by Sophia Smith