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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1257

Papers of Rachel Henrietta Palmer, 1992-2021


Diaries, writings, and photographs of Rachel Henrietta Palmer documenting her struggles with substance abuse and depression, as well as reflections on her childhood, motherhood, relationships with men, and Christian faith.


  • 1992-2021


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Researchers must sign a special form to access this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Rachel Henrietta Palmer 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 without restriction for personal use, but may not be digitized for electronic consumption until 2075.


.42 linear feet ((1 file box) plus 1 photograph folder)

The papers of Rachel Henrietta Palmer consist mainly of diary writings begun at the suggestion of her addiction counselor. They document the ups and downs of her life, including her feelings about her childhood; her two abortions; her children and their health, including her son Jesse's disabilities due to his struggle with Hodgkin's disease; her grief over Domanic's death in 2002 and Jesse's in 2020; her romantic relationships; her difficulties with substance abuse; her struggles with depression; her Christian faith; her work as a daycare provider and teacher's assistant; and her participation in job training programs. Also included are autobiographical writings, writings reflecting on her children, and photographs of Palmer and her family. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online. Folder were created by the archivist and are arranged alphabetically.


Rachel Henrietta Palmer was born in Baltimore, Maryland, attending the public schools before dropping out of high school. By 1992 she had three children by three different fathers: Domanic, Jesse, and Adrienne. She struggled with drug and alcohol abuse and was in and out of addiction therapy. Palmer worked with pre-school children at churches and day care centers, and was employed as a classroom teacher's assistant in the Baltimore public school system.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2018-M177, 2019-M54, 2023-M43, 2023-M130

The papers of Rachel Henrietta Palmer were given to the Schlesinger Library by Rachel Henrietta Palmer between October 2018 and October 2023.

Processing Information

Processed: October 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.

Palmer, Rachel Henrietta. Papers of Rachel Henrietta Palmer, 1992-2021: 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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