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COLLECTION Identifier: A/D993

Letters from Andrea Dworkin to Hugh Gilmore, 1964-1965, 2020


Letters, poetry, and writings sent from Andrea Dworkin to Hugh Gilmore and his fiancé, Perry Raefsky, while Dworkin was a freshman student at Bennington College.


  • Creation: 1964-1965
  • Creation: 2020


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Hugh Gilmore is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in papers created by Andrea Dworkin is held by John Stoltenberg. 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 folder

Collection includes postcards and letters from Andrea Dworkin to Hugh Gilmore and his fiancé, Perry Raefsky, while she was a freshman student at Bennington College. Dworkin describes her teachers and classes, writing assignments, and taking cello lessons. She also mentions her therapist and counseling sessions. Dworkin reflects upon what she is reading, such as Dante's Inferno, and includes her poetry and writings. She mentions her plans to move to Greece the following summer; a letter from Greece includes her reflections on the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. Some letters include notes from Gilmore. The collection also includes a letter from Gilmore describing his background and relationship with Dworkin (2020).


Author, critic, lesbian, and radical feminist, Andrea Dworkin (1946-2005) was born in Camden, New Jersey, the daughter of Sylvia (Spiegel) and Harry Dworkin. A 1968 graduate of Bennington College, Dworkin was arrested in 1965 in New York City for protesting against the Vietnam war, and spent four days in the Women's House of Detention. She later made headlines, publicizing her brutal treatment at the hands of staff, which led to a grand jury investigation of the prison. Married in 1969 to Cornelius (Iwan) Dirk de Bruin, a Dutch political activist, Dworkin lived in Amsterdam before fleeing her abusive husband in 1971, and publishing Woman Hating (1974), and Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics (1976). Her 1981 book, Pornography: Men Possessing Women, argued that "male power is the raison d'être of pornography; the degradation of the female is the means of achieving this power." In 1983, with lawyer Catharine MacKinnon, Dworkin drafted a controversial civil rights ordinance defining pornography as sex discrimination, which was later overruled in 1986 as a violation of the First Amendment. Other analyses of sexual politics include Right-wing Women (1983), Intercourse (1987), Letters from a War Zone (1988), and Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation (2000). The author of short stories and novels (Ice and Fire, 1987 and Mercy, 1991), Dworkin lectured widely and contributed to numerous periodicals and anthologies. Dworkin worked on behalf of many causes, including abortion rights, rape, battery, pornography, and incest in the United States and abroad. Since 1974 she made her home with author, activist, and feminist John Stoltenberg. Dworkin died April 9, 2005, in Washington, DC.


Hugh Gilmore was a teacher at Cherry Hill High School in New Jersey from 1963 to 1965. Andrea Dworkin was a senior during his first year at the school, although he did not have Dworkin in his class.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2021-M55

The letters from Andrea Dworkin to Hugh Gilmore were given to the Schlesinger Library by Hugh Gilmore in 2021.

Processing Information

Processed: December 2021

By: Paula Aloisio

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.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library and Class of 1957 Schlesinger Library 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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