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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1063

Papers of Judith Stein, 1973-1997


Writings and correspondence from Jewish feminist, lesbian, and fat liberation activist Judith Stein.


  • 1973-1997


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research, with the exception of #1.38, which is closed until January 1, 2040.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Judith Stein 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.


1.04 linear feet (2+1/2 file boxes)

The Judith Stein papers include statements, letters, workshop materials, essays, articles, a radio script, and other feminist writings from feminist lesbian Judith Stein. Materials concern Stein's activism with fat liberation; and proceedings prepared by Stein following the First Feminist Fat Activists' Working Meeting in 1980. Also included are publications from the Bobbeh Meisehs Press based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, concerning Judaism, lesbianism, and feminism.

Series I, JEWISH FEMINISM, 1973-1994 (#1.1-1.34), includes unpublished writings as well as publications from the Bobbeh Meisehs Press and other publishers concerning Judaism, lesbianism, and feminism. Series includes feminist Passover Haggadot, as well as Jewish poetry and writings on Jewish rituals and holidays. Series is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, FAT LIBERATION, 1973-1997 (#1.35-3.27), includes writings, such as articles and essays; presentations; statements; correspondence; a radio script; workshop and meeting materials; publicity; etc., concerning activities of the fat liberation movement. Throughout the series are materials related to fat acceptance and liberation at the New Haven Women's Health Conference, April 20, 1980, including panel presentations, song lyrics, statement of purpose, correspondence regarding logistics, schedule, etc. Articles and essays in this series are by Judith Stein as well as other activists, including Vivian Mayer (Aldebaran), a founder of The Fat Underground and Fat Liberator Publications, and Judy Freespirit, a lesbian feminist activist and member of the fat liberation movement in Oakland, California. Series is arranged alphabetically.


Jewish lesbian feminist Judith Stein was born in 1952 and grew up in South Bend, Indiana. She graduated from Boston University (M.Ed.). In the late 1970s, while living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she became active in the feminist fat liberation movement. Stein was a co-founder of the Boston Area Fat Liberation, a coalition of feminist activists working against fat oppression, and she co-coordinated the First Feminist Fat Activists' Working Meeting in New Haven, Connecticut, in April 1980, among many other activities.

Stein has written numerous articles for the feminist press advocating for fat liberation and acceptance; she also provided editorial assistance on this topic for Our Bodies, Ourselves. In an "effort to create a culture which includes a Jewish lesbian sensibility," Stein founded Bobbeh Meisehs Press. The Press published works on Jewish lesbian rituals and feminist Haggadot, including Stein's Jewish Lesbian Chanukah, A New Haggadah: A Jewish Lesbian Seder, and Purim Megillah: A Feminist Retelling. Stein worked as an organization development consultant in the Human Resources Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for many years while living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her wife Meridith Lawrence who passed away in 2020. Stein currently lives in Oakland, California.


The collection is arranged in two series:

  1. Series I. Jewish Feminism, 1973-1994 (#1.1-1.34)
  2. Series II. Fat Liberation, 1973-1997 (#1.35-3.27)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2005-M158

The papers of Judith Stein were given to the Schlesinger Library by Judith Stein in November 2005.

Processing Information

Processed: December 2020

By: Laura Peimer and Johanna Carll with assistance from Amber Moore.

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 Radcliffe Class of 1956 and the Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript 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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