The daughter of a Scottish immigrant and a 1923 graduate of Smith College, Phebe Hazel Ferris returned to her alma mater to pursue graduate work degree in Geology, but in 1928 she married her instructor, Robert Frank Collins. Settling in Williamsburg, Mass., the couple raised a family of three boys, Frank, Robert, and James. Robert, Sr., remained as a Professor of Geology and Geography at Smith, while Phebe eventually returned to graduate work, though in Physics, and thereafter worked for many years at Smith as a laboratory instructor. Phebe died in 1983, less than two months before her husband.
The Collins collection consists primarily of meticulously maintained scrapbooks assembled by Phebe Collins between the 1920s and the 1960s. The range of materials in these scrapbooks is remarkable, including not only photographs, postcards, and letters received, but children’s drawings, report cards, and the occasional surprise like a quarantine sign hung on the family door for a sick child. In aggregate, they are a rich record of the growth of an intellectually-inclined family across four decades. The collection also includes seventeen photograph albums and hundreds of Collins and Ferris family photographs, along with images taken by Robert during his geological work.
- Ferris family
- Williamsburg (Mass.)--History
Types of material