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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 469; T-281; Vt-96

Papers of Vanda Sendzimir, 1967-1997


Journals, correspondence, memoirs, etc., of writer and social activist Vanda Sendzimir.


  • 1967-1997


Language of Materials

Materials in English and Polish.


Access. Unrestricted except for one essay (#30) which is closed to research until January 1, 2048. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Vanda Sendzimir 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) plus 5 audiotapes, 5 videotapes)
The papers of Vanda Sendzimir contain biographical information, including a curriculum vitae, grade transcripts, obituaries and eulogies; diaries and notebooks, 1985-1996; family correspondence and letters to friends, 1967-1996; a commonplace book (1967-1973); writings and published articles; and a memoir by her father, interview notes with her brother and aunt, photographs, correspondence, etc., pertaining to her book, Steel Will: The Life of Tad Sendzimir. Also included is an essay on Sendzimir's years in a small Marxist-Leninist group in the San Francisco area. Videotapes include a celebration of Tad Sendzimir's 95th birthday (mostly in Polish); a memorial tribute to Tad Sendzimir; the consecration of the banner for Tad Sendzimir Steel Works, Krakow (entirely in Polish); an interview with Vanda Sendzimir regarding the publication of her book, Steel Will: The Life of Tad Sendzimir; and the wedding of Sendzimir and David Ludlow, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Audiotapes include recordings of tributes and memorials for Sendzimir as well as her burial service. Accession number 2021-M106 (#41) was added to the collection in July 2021. All other folders remain in their original order.


Writer and social activist Vanda Sendzimir (1952-1996) was born and raised in Waterbury, Connecticut, the daughter of Berthe Bernoda and Tadeusz Sendzimir. She had two brothers, Stanley and Jan Peter, and a half brother, Michael, from her father's previous marriage. She attended Reed College (1971-1973) and graduated from McGill University (1976), where she was one of the founders of the first college women's newspaper in Canada, and active in the anti-war and feminist movements. Sendzimir came from a wealthy family and struggled for all of her life with the issues surrounding money and privilege. As a student at McGill, she was influenced by feminist revolutionary Marlene Dixon and eventually moved to San Francisco where, from 1977 to 1986, she worked as a graphic designer and for social change as a member of a small Marxist-Leninist group led by Dixon. Eventually disillusioned, Sendzimir moved to Boston in 1986, where she worked as a freelance journalist and published Steel Will: The Life of Tad Sendzimir (1994), a biography of her father, an inventor and entrepreneur. She married photographer and social activist David Ludlow in August 1995, and the couple began the process of adopting a child from China. Sendzimir was active in the Boston chapter of the National Writers Union and in organizations working for social justice and civil rights, giving generously of her time and money. As a journalist she covered a wide range of topics, from flight data records to macrobiotic diets to Polish history to traveling in China. Her articles appeared in The Boston Globe, American Heritage of Invention & Technology, and Sojourner, among others. She won a 1995 Lowell Thomas Award for her essay, "Dog Days in China," published in The North American Review. An avid photographer, traveler, and mountaineer, Sendzimir fell to her death while climbing in Siberia with her husband in August 1996.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 98-M95, 98-M109, 98-M130, 99-M163, 2001-M38

Accession number: 2021-M106 was added to the collection in July 2021.

The papers of Vanda Sendzimir were given to the Schlesinger Library by her widower, David Ludlow, between June 1998 and March 2001. An additional folder of material was given to the Schlesinger Library by Guy Kelley in June 2021.

Videotapes of Vanda Sendzimir were loaned to the Schlesinger Library by David Ludlow and duplicated at Eclipse Video in December 1998.


  1. Box 1: 1, 7, 9-17
  2. Box 2: 18-29
  3. Box 3: 31-33, 35-36, 41

Processing Information

Videotapes processed: May 1999

By: Joanne Donovan

Processed: August 2001

By: Anne Engelhart
Link to catalog
Sendzimir, Vanda. Papers of Vanda Sendzimir, 1967-1997: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Carl & Lily Pforzheimer Fund, Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library, and Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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