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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1136

Records of Nucleus, 1921-2021


Plays, meeting minutes, financial records, and membership directories of the Nucleus, a women's group founded in 1921 to write and perform plays.


  • 1921-2021


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by Nucleus 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.


4 linear feet ((4 cartons) plus 1 folio folder)

The collection includes minutes (beginning with the organization's first meeting in 1921); membership lists and directories; correspondence; financial records (including membership dues); scripts; and photographs of Nucleus performances. In 1947 and 1948, in honor of Princess Elizabeth's marriage to Prince Philip, members of Nucleus sent care packages to England, for Elizabeth to distribute to people in need. The collection includes thank you notes from recipients of the care packages, as well as two copies of a letter of acknowledgment from Elizabeth. Most folder headings were created by members of Nucleus; those created by the archivist appear in square brackets. Electronic records will be added at a future date.


Nucleus was founded in 1921 in Boston, Massachusetts. The initial idea for the club came from Katherine Crowell Cushing, the wife of pioneering neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing; she proposed founding a women's club modeled on the Cosmopolitan Club of New York. The club's object, as defined in its constitution and bylaws, was to provide "amusement and relaxation." Other early members included Ellen White Cabot (wife of Massachusetts Supreme Court justice Charles Codman Cabot) and Alice James (wife of psychologist William James). The group met regularly to perform short plays and skits, some written by members, for each other, and remains active as of 2021.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2001-M75, 2004-M31, 2011-M232, 2021-M113

The records of Nucleus were given to the Schlesinger Library by members of Nucleus between March 1993 and July 2021.

Processing Information

Processed: August 2021

By: Susan Earle

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.

General processing procedures in place at the Library include the following:  materials not normally retained include: financial documents such as checkbooks, cancelled checks, bank statements, etc. (when there is financial documentation at a higher level); invoices, receipts, orders, etc.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
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

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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