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A hallmark of the Smith College School for Social Work curriculum, the block plan consisted of three and a half months studying in Northampton, MA in the summer and eight to ten months (depending on the year) at a “fieldwork placement” or “internship” at one of several collaborating institutions around the country.

Because of the dispersed nature of these internships, there are fewer photos than of the summer months students studied on campus. These photos were taken by students and alumnae themselves (rather than a campus photographer) and then sent later to SSW or to the archives.

If you would like to contribute your own photos, please contact Special Collections!

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Note: Transcripts of the handwritten letters are available below the gallery.

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Alumnae shared about some of the challenges they faced on their field internships at a 75th Anniversary gathering in 1993.

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“Storytelling in the Archives” 1993, School for Social Work Records, RG 60, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

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Transcripts of the hand-written letters pictured above from Dorothy Cunningham to her former student, Shirley Ilgovsky Goldstein, M. S. S. 1953.

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Wednesday Oct 22, 1952,

Dear Miss I[lgovsky],

It has been grand to receive your most informative and entertaining notes. I’m so glad that you like your placement and am expecting to hear all sorts of good things about you. We have no students this year and the second [illegible] year is rather lonesome and quiet. Kate [illegible] is on [illegible] so her office is empty. I haven’t met the [illegible] Clinic students as yet. They are the only ones in Cincy.

Cases: Mrs. [illegible] calls Schneiderman her boyfriend and is apparently doing well. The [illegible] older lady left town–nothing [illegible.] I’m very active with [illegible]. Mrs. J is still worrying about her sisters children and is pregnant. I feel it is a rather discouraging case and seriously question what can be done. Not so with Miss M–as we predicted you won’t see the results but did lay a grand foundation for the many nice things¬†she’s doing.

Family Sciences staff is doing its duty, which future a [illegible] – the Palmiere’s and Chrits are additioning – Schneiderman’s daughter is almost ready to enter graduate school. 11 new engagements etc. but from Elly [illegible name]’s appearance I can’t see how men with [illegible] how to stay single. Kuell is also effeuscing all over. The rest of us are setting down to the rule of spinsterhood etc but not willingly or gracefully.

Isn’t the election stuff a mess. I hope that your [illegible] is more calm thanks to F. S. I expect a murder now any day. Lunch hours are far from dull and quiet in fact I might say they are too hectic for silent me.

No agency party as yet and we do miss the students. Let me know how you get along.

Best of everything,

Dorothy M. C.

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