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COLLECTION Identifier: RA.A/S642

Alice Kimball Smith oral history transcript, 1987


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.


  • 1987

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

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.


3 folders
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."


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.

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.


  1. "Atoms for Peace" conference, 86-87
  2. Bohr, Niels Henrik David, 90
  3. Bryant, Renee
  4. Bunting Institute, 95-106, 113-124
  5. Bunting, Mary (Ingraham), 104-105
  6. Cambridge University, 69
  7. Charity Organization Society, 28-29, 32-33
  8. Chicago University, 69
  9. Childbirth, 45
  10. Hemingway, Ernest, 18-19
  11. Japan, 110
  12. London, 41
  13. Los Alamos, 54-68
  14. Mayer, Maria (Goeppart), 71-72, 78
  15. McGuire, Diana Kostial, 101
  16. Mount Holyoke College, 26-31
  17. Notestein, Wallace, 45, 49
  18. Oral history techniques, 88
  19. Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 53, 57, 66-67, 132
  20. Radcliffe Seminars, 100-103
  21. Roosevelt College, 71, 74
  22. Smith, Constance Elizabeth, 95-96, 103-107
  23. Smith, Cyril Stanley, 34-35, and passim
  24. Soviet Union--description and travel, 43-44
  25. Women's Educational and Industrial Union, 115-116
  26. Works Progress Administration, 47
  27. Yale University, 38-40, 44

Processing Information

Processed: December 1987

By: Jane S. Knowles
Link to catalog
Smith, Alice Kimball. Alice Kimball Smith oral history transcript, 1987: A Finding Aid
Radcliffe College Archives, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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