Overview

The Margaret Chase Smith Library is a congressional research library open to qualified scholars.

The collection is arranged into ten categories: articles, audio, books, cartoons, Front Office Notes, photographs, reference, scrapbooks, Statements and Speeches, and "Washington and You." The bulk of the collection, approximately 300,000 documents, is contained in more than 90 fireproof file cabinets.

These unique primary sources include correspondence between Senator Smith and leading government officials, as well as constituent correspondence and government reports. Another important resource is the over 500 bound scrapbooks that thoroughly document her career as recorded in newspaper accounts and periodical literature. The scrapbooks also contain the newspaper column, "Washington and You," written by Senator Smith between 1941 and 1954 and syndicated nationally from 1949 to 1954.

Other highlights of the collection are 43 bound volumes of Senator Smith's speeches, press releases, and general statements; over 5400 historical photographs of state, national, and world leaders; and over 400 audio and video recordings of interviews, debates, and speeches. Information about the collection is available through an extensive searchable database.

Researchers wishing to study at the Margaret Chase Smith Library may apply for an Ada E. Leeke Research Fellowship. Awards range from $300 to $1000. Applications outlining the nature of the project and need for funding should be sent to the attention of the director. The fellowship was established by Captain Evelyn H. Shaw, USCG, Ret., to honor a woman who possessed a wide range of talents and training. Captain Shaw was a close associate and lifelong friend of Miss Leeke and both were longtime personal friends of Senator Margaret Chase Smith. As members of the Library's Advisory Committee, they contributed substantially to the growth of the facility.

To view a guide to the collections, click here.

To view our most popular research subjects, click here.

Policies

  1. Except for holidays, the Library will be open to researchers and groups Monday through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Upon approval of the Director, earlier entry may be obtained.

  2. A Library staff member will direct researchers to a work area.

  3. The Library reserves the right to inspect any personal belongings that are brought into the research area.

  4. Researchers are required to complete an application prior to using Library materials.

  5. Pencils, pens, typewriters, tape recorders, and personal computers may be used for taking notes provided they will not harm archival materials or disrupt Library activities. The Library reserves the right to restrict the use of other electronic equipment.

  6. Staff members will bring archival materials to researchers. Researchers may not remove materials directly from file cabinets. Video and audio tapes must be used under the supervision of a staff member. Researchers may use all other library sources independently. All materials must be returned in the original order and condition.

  7. Photocopying is available for researchers. In an effort to support scholarly research, the Library provides all reasonable requests for photocopied material at no charge. Persons using the archives for other purposes will be charged for photocopy material at the usual and customary rate. When on-site time is an issue, arrangements can be made for a staff person to photocopy designated material as time allows for mailing to the researcher.

  8. Copying of photographs, audio tapes and video tapes is at the discretion of the Library. Requests may be addressed to the Director.

  9. Smoking is strictly prohibited in the Library.

  10. The Library reserves the right to deny access to researchers who violate these policies.

Museum

The Library uses the collection to interpret the life and career of Senator Margaret Chase Smith (1897-1995) and place her within the context of her times. By illuminating artifacts as they relate to one person's devoted career in public service, the collection is an invaluable resource for anyone studying the political, social, cultural, educational, and architectural history of twentieth-century America.

In addition to over 300,000 primary source documents in the archives, the museum collection consists of over 5,000 artifacts including but not limited to Senator Smith's residence and its furniture, ceramics, textiles, household items, clothing, and other personal belongings; memorabilia related to her congressional career and subsequent political campaigns; souvenirs and gifts from around the world, reflecting her activities with state, national, and world leaders; her awards and honorary degrees; and paintings and photographs.

The collection is on display throughout Senator Smith's home, which is available for view by guided tour, in a permanent timeline exhibit illustrating her life and career from 1897 to 1995, and in changing exhibits prepared by Library staff each year.