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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1038

Papers of Patricia Anne Cavanaugh, 1975-2019


Letters and autobiographical writings of family therapist and United Church of Christ lay minister Patricia Anne Cavanaugh.


  • Creation: 1975-2019

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. As specified in the agreement between Patricia Anne Cavanaugh and the Schlesinger Library, researchers must sign a permission form stating that they will not divulge in any fashion (published, unpublished, or spoken) names of any individuals mentioned in the papers (with the exception of Patricia Anne Cavanaugh).

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Patricia Anne Cavanaugh is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.42 linear feet (1 file box)

The papers of Patricia Anne Cavanaugh consist of autobiographical information and (nearly) monthly letters to family and friends, detailing Cavanaugh's personal and professional activities, her feelings of loss after the death of her second husband, her health, and the behavior of her pets. Many letters include scanned photographs. The collection is arranged with Cavanaugh's autobiographical essay appearing first, followed by a chronological run of letters. Some folders also include essays and other writings by Cavanaugh. The bulk of the folder titles were created by the archivist; those created by Cavanaugh appear in quotation marks.


Family therapist and United Church of Christ lay minister, Patricia Anne Cavanaugh was born in Bloomington, Illinois, in 1931 and worked as a nurse in Evanston, Illinois, before marrying. She was engaged to a young man who died of leukemia when they were both twenty and a year later she married one of his friends, then a graduate student in mathematics at Princeton University. She worked as director of the YWCA in Princeton, New Jersey, before the couple and their twin sons relocated to Hanover, New Hampshire, where her husband joined the mathematics department at Dartmouth College. The couple had a third child, a daughter, before divorcing. Cavanaugh worked as a counselor with teenagers on probation and graduated from Goddard College with a degree in psychology. Her second marriage was to a United Church of Christ minister and together they served a number of churches in New York State and Massachusetts. During those years she trained to become a Recognized Lay Minister. They moved to a retirement complex in Tennessee where Cavanaugh was active in membership and administrative activities. Her second husband died in 2018. Cavanaugh died in 2019.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2012-M18, 2014-M99, 2016-M143, 2018-M25, 2019-M206

The papers of Patricia Anne Cavanaugh were given to the Schlesinger Library by Patricia Anne Cavanaugh between February 2012 and December 2019.

Processing Information

Processed: September 2020

By: Susan Earle.

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Class of 1955 Archival Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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