In the early 1900s, a man named Joseph Brummer donated art (specifically modern art) to the SCMA. This cutting-edge new work, such as Juan Gris's Fruit Dish, Glass, and Newspaper (1916), helped the SCMA start to fill a gap and strengthen the collection.
Dwight Tryon was one of the earliest art instructors hired by Smith College.Tryon quickly became an adviser to President Laurenus Clark Seelye on what artworks to purchase for the college's growing art collection. Along with overseeing the purchase of paintings by many of Tryon's contemporaries—including Abbott Handerson Thayer and Thomas Wilmer Dewing—Tryon also donated many of his own artworks to the SCMA's collection.
 Michael Goodison, “Founding a Museum: Laurenus Clark Seelye, Dwight William Tryon and Alfred Vance Churchill, 1870-1932,” in Image and Word: Art and Art History at Smith College (Northampton, MA: Smith College, 2003): 116-117.