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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1251

Papers of Raya S. Dreben, 1949-2021


Professional correspondence, resumes, speeches, legal documents, and other materials documenting Raya S. Dreben's career as a lawyer and judge.


  • 1949-2021


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Raya S. Dreben 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.


2.5 linear feet ((6 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder)

The papers of Raya S. Dreben contain professional correspondence, resumes, speeches, legal documents, and other materials documenting Dreben's career as a lawyer and judge. Much of the correspondence consists of congratulatory messages Dreben received on reaching professional milestones including being made partner at Palmer & Dodge and her appointment to the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Most speeches relate to changes to the copyright law under the Copyright Act of 1976. Also documented are Dreben's education at Radcliffe College and Harvard Law School and her involvement in Radcliffe alumnae activities, particularly with the Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Folder titles were created by Raya S. Dreben. Files are arranged alphabetically.


Raya S. Dreben was born in Vienna, Austria, and emigrated to the United States when she was nine months old. She received an AB from Radcliffe College in 1949 and an LLB from Harvard Law School in 1954. She served as a law clerk to Bailey Aldrich of the United States District Court for Massachusetts (1954-1955) and a Bigelow Fellow and instructor at the University of Chicago Law School (1955-1956) before joining Palmer & Dodge in 1964. In 1971, she was made partner in the firm. While with Palmer & Dodge, she taught copyright law at Harvard Law School. In 1979, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis appointed Dreben to the Appeals Court, a position she held until her retirement in 2011.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2022-M74

The papers of Raya S. Dreben were given to the Schlesinger Library by Raya S. Dreben in April 2022.

Processing Information

Processed: September 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.

Dreben, Raya S. Papers of Raya S. Dreben, 1949-2021: 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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