Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1096; T-352; Vt-160

Papers of Florence Rush, 1941-2008 (inclusive), 1971-1996 (bulk)

Overview

Collection includes Florence Rush's master's thesis, correspondence, speeches, reviews, clippings, promotional material, drafts, published articles, notes on her son's illness, audiotapes and one videotape. Also included are testimonies by incest survivors and responses to her work, and records of various support groups for mothers and families with AIDS.

Dates

  • 1941-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1971-1996

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Interviews with identified victims of sexual abuse and testimony waivers for The Best Kept Secret are closed until January 1, 2025.

Access. Letters from sexual abuse survivors are closed until January 1, 2033.

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 Florence Rush 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

2.25 linear feet (5 file boxes, 5 audiotapes, and 1 videotape)
Collection includes Florence Rush's master's thesis, correspondence, speeches, reviews, clippings, promotional material, drafts, published articles, notes on her son's illness, audiotapes and one videotape. Also included are testimonies by incest survivors and responses to her work, and records of various support groups for mothers and families with AIDS.

BIOGRAPHY

Feminist and social worker Florence Kortchmar Rush (1918-2008) created a sensation in her talk, "The Sexual Abuse of Children: A Feminist Point of View," presented at the April 1971 conference of New York Radical Feminists. Arguing against prevailing Freudian theories which saw children as the seducers of adults, Rush based her paper on her observations as a psychiatric social worker at a facility for delinquent girls and at the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She subsequently published "Freud and the Sexual Abuse of Children" in Chrysalis and The Best Kept Secret: The Sexual Abuse of Children (1980) which pointed to the sexual abuse of children as a political and patriarchal issue.

A co-founder of Older Women's Liberation (OWL) in 1970, Rush was a founder and speaker for Women Against Pornography (1979-1987), chair of the Media Reform Committee of the National Organization for Women (1980-1985), and a member of the board of directors of New York Women Against Rape. Rush was married to Bernard Rush; they had three children. When her younger son was diagnosed with AIDS in the mid-1980s, she formed one of the first mothers' support groups, and was involved with the People With AIDS Coalition of New York. In 2005 she was honored with the New York City NOW chapter's Susan B. Anthony Award to grassroots feminists. Florence Rush died on December 9, 2008.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2009-M96

The papers of Florence Rush were given to the Schlesinger Library by Eleanor Rush and Amy Elman in May 2009.

Processing Information

Processed: May 2021

By: Johanna Carll and Amber L. 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.
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 Patricia M. King/Schlesinger Library Director’s Fund, Barbara N. Kravitz Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, and Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library.
EAD ID
sch02062

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.

Contact:
3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-8647