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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1118; Vt-335

Papers of Jacquelyn Moore Alexander, 1981-2018

Overview

Correspondence, notes, and printed materials of needleworker Jacquelyn Moore Alexander who worked with Judy Chicago on the Birth Project and Resolutions.

Dates

  • 1981-2018

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Jacquelyn Moore Alexander 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.

Extent

3.96 linear feet ((9 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder, 1 videotape)
The Jacquelyn Moore Alexander papers document the collaboration between Judy Chicago and needleworkers (stitchers) that resulted in the creation of Judy Chicago's Birth Project and Resolutions, as well as the post-creative stages of installation and publicity. Included are correspondence; notes and other writings; clippings; photographs of installations and needleworkers; and printed materials, including publicity and newsletters. There is also extensive correspondence between needleworkers and Judy Chicago regarding the creative process and logistics, as well as Through The Flower newsletters, invoices, notices, and letters regarding administrative issues, including from Chicago's partner and professional photographer Donald Woodman. Series I and II also include some materials, such as clippings and correspondence, which relate to other topics and works by Judy Chicago. Folder titles were created by Alexander; titles created by the archivist are in square brackets.

Two published catalogs, Judy Chicago's Birth Project Born Again at the Pasadena Museum of California Art and Judy Chicago History in the Making Preparatory Materials for The Dinner Party at LewAllen Contemporary, have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection and cataloged separately.

Series I, BIRTH PROJECT, 1981-2014 (#1.1-3.2, F+D.1, OD.1), includes correspondence, notes, printed materials, and clippings regarding the creative development and post-installation work for the Birth Project. Included are progressive or round robin letters which contain work updates from needleworkers, as well as impressions, ideas, critiques of stitching work, and personal anecdotes. Also includes printed materials, correspondence, and notes related to exhibitions, tours, and gallery talks for the Birth Project.

Series II, RESOLUTIONS, 1992-2018 (#3.3-10.3, Vt-335.1), includes correspondence, notes, printed materials, clippings, financial materials, etc. Of note are progressive or round robin letters with updates from needleworkers; reviews which consist of notes from meetings of needleworkers and Judy Chicago; personal letters from needleworkers; proposal and drafts of a book on Resolutions; notes for presentations; and printed materials related to exhibitions, tours, and gallery talks. Also included are professional and biographical information on Alexander (#9.8).

Series III. RELATED WORK, 1985-2016 (#10.4-10.7), contains a few folders of correspondence, notes, etc., related to other projects, specifically Alexander's work with Ann Stewart Anderson on Hot Flash Fan for the Menopause Project; Alexander and Christine D'Arcangeli's work on a sewing project for Judy Chicago; notes from family members and printed materials related to the installation of The Dinner Party at the Brooklyn Museum; and two postcards from Judy Chicago.

BIOGRAPHY

Jacquelyn Moore Alexander was born April 27, 1938, in Natick, Massachusetts, the second of five daughters. She attended Framingham State (1956-1958), Old Dominion University (1977-1980), and Wellesley College (1986-1988). In June 1958, she married Jimmie R. Moore, a United States Navy captain. They had three children, David, Jennifer, and Jessica. When Alexander was six years old her mother started teaching her needlework and by the mid-1970s Alexander had taught herself quilting. Her skills include designing original quilts, incorporating Celtic design, and hand applique. In the early 1990s, Alexander taught quilting classes, including through the New England Quilt Museum (Lowell, Massachusetts) and the New England Quilters Guild (Boxborough, Massachusetts). She maintained memberships in quilting organizations, such as the New England Quilters Guild (Massachusetts) and American Quilters Society (Kentucky).

In 1980 Judy Chicago hired Alexander along with other needleworkers to collaborate on the Birth Project (1980-1985), Chicago's work that depicts and celebrates various aspects of the birth process and which combines painting and needlework. For this piece, Alexander quilted The Crowning #5 and Earth Birth. She also worked on Birth Trinity, Myth Quilt 1, and Mother India. Along with other needleworkers, Alexander participated in gallery talks for the Birth Project, including at Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut) and Franklin County Arts Center (Greenfield, Massachusetts). Judy Chicago contacted Alexander again in 1994 to collaborate with her on a new work, Resolutions: A Stitch in Time (1994-2000). This piece also incorporated painting and needleworked images envisioned by Chicago and executed by Alexander and other needleworkers. For this piece, Alexander completed Do A Good Turn and We're All In The Same Boat. Alexander has described quilting as imbued with spiritual aspects and sewing as a creative sanctuary. Of her relationship with Chicago, Alexander wrote that "Judy has influenced my artistic vision and my quilting... Working with her has been an intellectual and creative challenge. She believes needlework is an art, comparable to painting and sculpture. She has singlehandedly promoted this belief with the help of needleworkers who share that belief."

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in three series:
  1. Series I. Birth Project, 1981-2014 (#1.1-3.2, F+D.1, OD.1)
  2. Series II. Resolutions, 1992-2018 (#3.3-10.3, Vt-335.1)
  3. Series III. Related work, 1985-2016 (#10.4-10.7)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2020-M154

The papers of Jacquelyn Moore Alexander were given to the Schlesinger Library by Jacquelyn Moore Alexander, December 2020.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Judy Chicago, 1947-2004 (MC 502) and Additional Papers of Judy Chicago, 1963-2016 (MC 909).

Processing Information

Processed: May 2021

By: Laura Peimer

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. Books (when not heavily annotated) by and about the collection's creator and on subjects which fall within the Library's collecting area are removed and cataloged separately with information about their provenance; other books and serials are not retained.
Link to catalog
Author
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Sponsor
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library, Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund, and Class of 1956 Schlesinger Library Fund
EAD ID
sch02058

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.

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