Ousted for her beliefs? Bertha Capen Reynolds and Everett Kimball

In January 1938, Bertha Capen Reynolds resigned from her position as Associate Director and founder/leader of the Plan D training for supervisors program, feeling forced by Everett Kimball to do so. What do the letters in Reynolds’s Manuscript collection reveal about what happened?

See for yourself! Consider these questions as you read:

  • How does Reynolds’s tone in her early letters to Kimball change when she writes Florence Hollis?
  • What does that tone suggest about Reynolds’s and Kimball’s working relationship?
  • How does Reynolds describe her teaching, particularly in the letters dated June 7, 1929 and November 11, 1934? What might be happening under the surface to explain this?
  • Reynolds’s tone in her letters to Kimball grows more confident during her years developing and leading Plan D. Why might that be?
  • The central conflicts between Reynolds and Kimball are about gender, politics, and the proper role of social workers in society. Do you recognize any of their conflicts in your own life and work?
Headshot

Bertha Capen Reynolds, 1939, Bertha Capen Reynolds Collection #128, Box 14, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

Black and white photo of two people having a picnic

Bertha Capen Reynolds and friend, July 1939, Bertha Capen Reynolds Papers, MS 128 Box 14, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

Black and white headshot

Bertha Capen Reynolds, “45th St.” Photographer: Mildred Clark Tate, 1933, RG 60 Box 1315, College Archives, Smith College, Northampton, MA.