Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1111

Dorothy Johnson and Doris Abramson letters from Adrienne Rich and Michelle Cliff, 1979-2008


Letters from Adrienne Rich and Michelle Cliff to friends Doris Abramson and Dorothy Johnson


  • 1979-2008

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Adrienne Rich is held by the Adrienne Rich Literary Trust. 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)

Collection includes letters to Dorothy Johnson and Doris Abramson from poet Adrienne Rich and writer Michelle Cliff. Most letters are addressed to both Johnson and Abramson and signed by Rich and Cliff, no matter in whose hand they are written. Some letters were written and signed by Cliff only, these have been foldered separately. Rich and Cliff write from and of their travels, about their health and that of mutual friends, books read, television, films, and cats.

Also included are a few flyers of Rich events, and poems that were probably originally enclosed with letters, but had been separated before transfer to the Schlesinger Library. Several letters to Doris Johnson from writer Tillie Olsen are also included.


Dorothy Johnson owned and operated a bookstore, Common Reader Bookshop, in New Salem, Massachusetts, between 1977 and 2000. She and her partner, Doris Abramson (1926-2008), became friends with poet Adrienne Rich and writer Michelle Cliff when Rich and Cliff lived nearby in Western Massachusetts in the early 1980s. When Rich and Cliff moved to California, they corresponded regularly. Abramson and Johnson were partners for 40 years and married in 2004.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2020-M138

These letters of Dorothy Johnson and Doris Abramson were given to the Schlesinger Library by Dorothy Johnson in November 2020.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Adrienne Rich papers, 1927-1999 (84-M141--99-M136).

Processing Information

Processed: December 2020

By: Jenny Gotwals

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 Alice Jeanette Ward 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.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA