Sophia Smith (August 27, 1796 – June 12, 1870) founded Smith College in 1870 with the substantial estate she inherited from her father and siblings.
Deaf since age 40, 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. 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 was willed to endow Smith College, which opened its doors in 1875. She also left money for the establishment of coeducational high school in her hometown of Hatfield, Massachusetts.
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.
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