Jennie Merrilees Smith


A. B. Colby, Class of 1881.

Jennie Merrilees Smith was born in Waterville, Maine. After graduating from Colby in 1881 along with Sophia Hanson and Kate Norcross, Smith became preceptress at Derby Academy in Vermont, from 1883-85; she was then in charge of Ladies’ Hall, Colby College, from 1891-93; and she was also a librarian at Waterville Public Library, Waterville, Maine, in 1907. In 1890, during the debate about coeducation, Smith wrote back to Mary Low stating that she was “in sympathy with our undertaking but thought it not advisable to sign [the petition] under the circumstance.” See letter from Mary Low to Louise Coburn, September 12, 1890.

In a letter written in 1900 to Louise Coburn, Smith voices her dismay at the administration’s efforts to limit the number of women attending Colby at any one time – “it seems to me hardly just and fair…I don’t see why a distinction should be made between the girls and the boys.” See her letter to Louise Helen Coburn, November 7, 1900.