Document Type

Finding Aid

Publication Date

Winter 2018


Annie Smith Peck (1850-1935), scholar, lecturer, and mountaineer, was born in Providence, R. I. After graduating in 1868 from the Rhode Island Normal School she became a school teacher but sought to continue her education as her brothers had done. In 1874 she enrolled at the University of Michigan, which began to admit women students only a few years before. She graduated in 1878 majoring in Greek and classical languages and went on to receive a master's degree in 1881. Still wishing to deepen her studies, Peck left for Greece and became the first woman to attend the American School of Classical Studies (1885-1886). Upon her return, she accepted a teaching position at Smith College which she kept until 1892. Peck then decided to support herself on the lecture circuit, first speaking on Greek and Latin archeology, and later attracting large audiences eager to hear about her mountain climbing adventures.

After climbing the Matterhorn in 1895, Peck traveled throughout North and South America on mountaineering expeditions. In 1908, at the age of fifty-eight, she ascended the north peak of Peru's 22,205-foot Mount Huascaran. When Peck reached the top of Peru's Mount Coropuna (21,083 feet) in 1909, she planted a "Votes for Women" pennant on its summit. She continued traveling and mountain-climbing until the end of her life; her last ascent was of New Hampshire's Mount Madison (5,636 feet) at the age of eighty-two.



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