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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1230

Papers of Ruth Boschwitz Benedict, 1913-1987


Diaries, correspondence, writings, and educational materials documenting Ruth Boschwitz Benedict's personal life and career as a physician.


  • Creation: 1913-1987


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Ruth Boschwitz Benedict 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.


1.25 linear feet (3 file boxes)

The papers of Ruth Boschwitz Benedict contain diaries, correspondence, writings, and educational materials documenting Benedict's personal life and career as a physician. Diaries in the collection were written when Benedict was 16 years old and when she was 44 years old. The teenage diary documents her daily life including descriptions of school, horseback riding, and fights with her parents. The mid-life diary documents her career, marriage, sex life, and views on current events including the civil rights movement. The bulk of the letters in the collection are from high school friends detailing college life at Vassar College and Radcliffe College, their dating and social lives, marriages, child rearing, and careers. Letters also contain commentary on current events and express leftist ideology and involvement in communist activities in the 1930s. Folders were created by Philip Benedict and frequently contain contextualizing notes by him. Folders were arranged alphabetically by the archivist.


Ruth Boschwitz Benedict, daughter of Sophie Philipp and Carl Boschwitz, was born July 15, 1913, in Berlin, Germany. She immigrated to the United States in 1920, settling in New York City. She received a BA from Wellesley College in 1935 and an MD from New York University Medical School in 1939. In 1936, she married William S. Benedict (1909-1979), a physicist; they had one child, Philip (born 1949). In 1942, they moved to Washington, DC, where Benedict joined the Group Health Association and was appointed clinical instructor at George Washington Medical School. In 1953, she established a part-time private practice while continuing to work part-time at the Group Health Association. Benedict was an avid art collector and was a charter member of the Washington Print Club. Following her retirement from medicine, Benedict became a resident in the prints and drawings department at the National Gallery of Art, where she curated the 1983 "Night Prints" exhibit. She died December 2, 1993, in Providence, Rhode Island.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2022-M154

The papers of Ruth Boschwitz Benedict were given to the Schlesinger Library by Philip Benedict in August and October 2022.

Processing Information

Processed: April 2023

By: Johanna Carll

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.

Benedict, Ruth Boschwitz, 1913-1993. Papers of Ruth Boschwitz Benedict, 1913-1987: 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 the Alice Jeannette Ward 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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