Mary Jarrett

Mary C. Jarrett gave the first session of the School for Social Work in 1918 its shape and its content. Previously at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, she had developed a curriculum to train “psychiatric social workers” (a term she invented). When her program met Smith College administrators and alumnae looking to create something to support the World War I war effort, the school was born.

However, when Smith president William Neilson decided to make the war time experiment a long term reality, he demoted her to Associate Director. Then a few years later, the new director Everett Kimball forced her out of even that position and tried to erase her contributions to the founding.

Mary Jarrett lived from 1919 to her death in 1961 with Katrine Collins. Her papers are in the Social Work Archive, part of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.