Papers of Karen Nussbaum, 1972-2017
Speeches, correspondence, printed material, videotapes, and other materials documenting Karen Nussbaum's career as a labor activist, focusing on her work advocating for women workers.
- Nussbaum, Karen (Person)
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
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 Karen Nussbaum 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.
Extent4.17 linear feet ((10 file boxes) plus 1 oversize folder, 1 supersize folder, 1 photograph folder, 5 videotapes, archived web site content)
The papers of Karen Nussbaum contain speeches, correspondence, printed material, videotapes, and other materials documenting Nussbaum's career as a labor activist, focusing on her work advocating for women workers. Materials relate to her work with 9 to 5, the Women's Bureau of the United States Department of Labor, and the Working Women's Department of the AFL-CIO. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online. Nussbaum's web site is being captured periodically as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program. Files are arranged alphabetically.
Labor activist Karen Nussbaum was born in Chicago, Illinois, and attended the University of Chicago before dropping out and moving to Boston, Massachusetts, where she worked as a clerk-typist at Harvard University. While at Harvard, she formed an organization with other similarly employed women to discuss issues related to their low wages, lack of benefits and vacation time, and a lack of respect shown to clerical workers. The organization expanded to women in the Boston-area and eventually became the national organization 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women. In addition to being a co-founder, Nussbaum served as the organization's executive director from 1973 to 1993. In 1975, she received a BA from Goddard College. In 1981, 9 to 5 formed a local branch of the Service Employees International Union, District 925, to organize secretarial and clerical workers in the United States. Nussbaum served as District 925 president from 1981 to 1993. From 1993 to 1996, she served as director of the Women's Bureau of the United States Department of Labor. From 1996 to 2001, she was director of the Working Women's Department at the AFL-CIO. In 2003, she became the founding director of Working America, a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO. She has written numerous articles and is the co-author of 9 to 5: The Working Women's Guide to Office Survival (1983) and Solutions for the New Workforce (1989).
Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession number: 2023-M34
The papers of Karen Nussbaum were given to the Schlesinger Library by Karen Nussbaum in March 2023.
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.
- Nussbaum, Karen. Papers of Karen Nussbaum, 1972-2017: 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.
- EAD ID
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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