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Smith, Alice Kimball. Alice Kimball Smith oral history transcript, 1987: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: RA.A/S642
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Smith, Alice Kimball
Title: Alice Kimball Smith oral history transcript, 1987
Date(s): 1987
Quantity: 3 folders
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Oral history interview with Alice Kimball Smith, Director of the Radcliffe Seminars, Assistant to the Dean of the Bunting Institute, and Dean of the Bunting Institute.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: R87-36
This oral history interview of Alice Kimball Smith was recorded from November 1986 to May 1987 by Helen Homans Gilbert, and given to the Radcliffe College Archives by Alice Kimball Smith in December 1987.

Processing Information:

Processed: December 1987
By: Jane S. Knowles

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the Alice Kimball Smith oral history may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Alice Kimball Smith Oral history, 1987; item description, dates. RA.A/S642, folder #. Radcliffe College Archives, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Alice Kimball Smith, historian, educator, and college administrator was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1907. She received her A.B. from Mount Holyoke College (1928) and Ph.D. from Yale University (1936). She was married to Cyril Stanley Smith, metallurgist and historian of technology, in 1931 and they had two children Stuart and Anne. In 1942 the Smiths moved to Los Alamos where Cyril Stanley Smith worked on the development of the atomic bomb and Alice Kimball Smith taught at Los Alamos High School ( 1943-1945). After their move to Chicago, she was Assistant Editor of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 1946-1948 and lecturer in history at Roosevelt College, 1948-1960. When her husband was appointed professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Smiths moved to, and settled in, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Smith was appointed a scholar at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College (1962-1964) and served as Director of the Radcliffe Seminars and Assistant to the Dean of the Institute, 1963-1970, and Dean of the Institute, 1970-1973. She has written articles on atomic scientists and the atomic bomb. Her book, A Peril and a Hope: the Scientists' movement in America, 1945-1947 was published in 1965 and Robert Oppenheimer: Letters and recollections edited by Smith and Charles Weiner was published by Harvard University Press in 1980.


This oral history records the life and experience of one of a transitional generation of American women who grew up between the world wars and between periods of militant feminism. Alice Kimball Smith recalls her family background, education, and career. She describes her life as "a story of adaptation, not of pioneering innovation."


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Oral histories
Bohr, Niels, 1885-1962
Bunting-Smith, Mary Ingraham, 1910-1998
Charity Organization Society
Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961
Mayer, Maria Goeppart, 1900-1972
Mount Holyoke College
Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute
Notestein, Wallace, 1878-1969
Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967
Radcliffe College--History
Radcliffe Seminars
Smith, Constance Elizabeth, 1922-1970
Smith, Cyril Stanley, 1903-1992