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Hilda Worthington Smith papers


Held at: Bryn Mawr College [Contact Us]Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr 19010

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Bryn Mawr College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Hilda Worthington Smith, a pioneering force in labor education, was born in 1888. She attended Bryn Mawr College with the class of 1910, and later earned her M.A. in Ethics and Psychology in 1911 from the same institution. She then earned a degree in social work from the New York School of Philanthropy.

Worthington Smith was hired as a warden at Bryn Mawr College in 1913, and then began working as the Acting Dean of the College. From 1921-1933, she served as the director of the Bryn Mawr School for Women Workers in Industry, Bryn Mawr College's summer school for working women, one of the first labor colleges in the country.

After her career at Bryn Mawr, she worked for the government as a Specialist in Workers Education for the Federal Relief Administration, from 1933-1943. From 1945-50, she was the registered lobbyist for the National Committee for the Extension of Labor Education. From 1952-1954, she was a writer for the Fund for Adult Education (Ford Foundation). She then served as a staff member on the Adult Education Bureau in the New York State Department of Education from 1957-1959. She was a consultant for the Connecticut State Commission on Services to the Elderly from 1959-1961, and part of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Training and Technical Assistance Division from 1965-1972. She retired at the age of 1972.

Worthington Smith passed away in March of 1984.

Bibliographic note:

The Hilda Worthington Smith papers contain the personal papers of Hilda Smith, a worker's rights and education activist (Bryn Mawr College class of 1910). The collection, which contains materials from 1930s-1980s, contains poetry, autobiographical materials, and correspondence.

The collection is housed in one box.

The box contains six folders. Folder 1 contains poems and letters concerning laborers, civil rights, politics, nature, and religion. Folder 2 contains letters from the later years of Smith's life (1970s-80s), many of which are New Year's letters. Folder 3 contains obituaries written on the occasion of Smith's death. Folder 4 contains a chapter from Smith's autobiography. Folder 5 contains miscellaneous autobiographical materials, while folder 6 contains the entirety of Smith's 1978 autobiography. The remaining materials in the box consist of a report of resident schools and camps for unemployed women from the summer of 1934; an FBI file concerning an incident of extortion in which Smith was the victim; and interviews with members of the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry at Bryn Mawr.

Smith was an instrumental figure in the Bryn Mawr community, as well as a long-term employee for the federal government. This collection provides an intimate view into her long history in fighting for worker's rights. It would be of use to anyone interested in Smith, the SSWWI, or the history of worker's rights in the United States.

Bryn Mawr College
Finding Aid Author
Cassidy Gruber Baruth
Finding Aid Date
2018 May 16
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17)

Collection Inventory

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