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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1121

Papers of Dorothy I. Height, 1950-2004


Collection includes correspondence (some regarding Dorothy Height's trip to East Africa in 1960), speeches, notes on a workshop, printed material, photographs, and color slides, mostly from her work for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the National Council of Negro Women, and the Young Women's Christian Association. The photographs document a Delta Sigma Theta event in New York City in 1951; the color slides are mostly from her travels to West Africa and India, where she was visiting professor at the Delhi School of Social Work in 1952.


  • 1950-2004


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 Dorothy I. Height, as well as 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.


.63 linear feet ((1/2 file box) plus 1 folio+ folder, 5 photograph folders, and 534 slides)

The papers of Dorothy I. Height contain correspondence, photographs and other material related to Height's work with Delta Sigma Theta, the National Council of Negro Women, and the Young Women's Christian Association. The collection includes administrative correspondence and invitations from Height's tenure as Grand President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; an agenda for the National Council of Negro Women's Board of Directors meeting; a speech draft regarding Eleanor Roosevelt; and logistics correspondence regarding Height's trip to Republic of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria in 1960. Of note is a thank-you letter form president Jimmy Carter sent to Height in 1981. Photographs primarily detail Dorothy Height's travels to India and West Africa. Many of the images depict Dorothy Height's time in India where she served as a visiting professor at the Delhi School of Social Work in 1952. Also included are images of students, professors and groups of women. Other images depict Height's goodwill tour of West Africa in the 1960s including local populations, markets, streets and homes, and school children. The series is arranged in chronological order, slides and photographs are listed at the end of the inventory. The folder titles were created by the archivist.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Civil rights and women's rights activist, Dorothy I. Height graduated from New York University (BA and MA in educational psychology, 1932, 1933). She began her career as a case worker with the New York City Welfare Department and at the age of 25 joined the National Council of Negro Women, an organization that she led for 40 years (1957-1997). Under its auspices she founded Wednesdays in Mississippi, during which Northern women of different races and faiths would travel to Mississippi to foster understanding across regional, racial, and class lines. Height also was a member of the national staff of the Young Women's Christian Association, and an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, where she served as national president (1947-1956). She was a founding member of the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership, and a regular adviser to American leaders, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Height was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. Dorothy I. Height died at the age of 98 on April 20, 2010.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2018-M73

The papers of Dorothy I. Height were acquired by the Schlesinger Library from a dealer, Max Rambod, in May 2018.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Dorothy I. Height 1894-1999 (MC 1149).


Donor: Max Rambod

Accession number: 2018-M73

Processed by: Amber L. Moore

The following items have been removed from the collection:

  1. Bus Ride to Justice
  2. California and the West
  3. The Delta
  4. The Negro History Bulletin
  5. Social Welfare Bulletin
  6. The YWCA Magazine

Processing Information

Processed: April 2021

By: Amber L. Moore

Height, Dorothy I. (Dorothy Irene), 1912-2010. Papers of Dorothy I. Height, 1950-2004: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by Patricia M. King/Schlesinger Library Director's 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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