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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 546: T-182: M-104

Papers of Doris Stevens, 1884-1983 (inclusive), 1920-1960 (bulk)


Personal and professional papers of Doris Stevens, suffragist and international women's rights advocate.


  • Creation: 1884-1983
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1920-1960


Language of Materials

Materials in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Series IV and Series V, as well as folders 128FB.2, 129FB.7, F+D.7-F+D.8, and OD.1 are closed, use digital images. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material. The remainder of the collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Doris Stevens and Jonathan Mitchell 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. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the director of the Schlesinger Library before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


65.69 linear feet ((116 file boxes, 2 folio boxes, 5 folio+ boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 4 card file boxes) plus 9 folio+ folders, 3 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 1 supersize box, 56 photograph folders, 37 folio photograph folders, 3 folio+ photograph folders, 1 supersize photograph folder, 13 audiotapes, 16 memorabilia objects, 1 reel of microfilm)

The papers of Doris Stevens include correspondence, clippings, diaries, financial records, legal records, organizational records, research material, manuscripts, original scores, photographs, paintings, audiotapes, printed material, and memorabilia. Much of the material pertains to her work, primarily conducted under the aegis of the National Woman's Party and the Inter-American Commission of Women, for suffrage and women's equality in the United States, Latin America, and worldwide. The papers include correspondence with European and Latin American feminists, research on women's rights and international law, and documentation of numerous international conferences held during the 1920s and 1930s. Stevens's personal life is also richly documented; extensive correspondence with a lover and her two husbands illustrate changing social mores of heterosexual relationships in the first decades of the twentieth century. Stevens's personal correspondence includes artist friends from Greenwich Village bohemian circles, as well as several prominent conservative political figures. Personal papers of her two husbands, Dudley Field Malone and Jonathan Mitchell, are also included.

The collection was donated to the Schlesinger Library in multiple accessions. The first three of these to arrive at the Library were combined, processed, and assigned collection number A-104, which has now been combined with all subsequent accessions and assigned collection number MC 546; A-104 no longer exists as a separate entity. Folder titles have been taken from previously existing folders where possible. The large number of accessions and the partial rehousing and processing of parts of the collection since its arrival at the Library made it difficult to determine the origins of folder titles. Folder titles clearly written in Doris Stevens's or Jonathan Mitchell's hand have been retained in quotation marks, with additional comments by the processor added in square brackets. Most folder titles were assigned by the processor or were transferred from previously rehoused folders; the folders in Series V, Subseries A, are those of the IACW. The collection (primarily Series V) contains some documents in French, Spanish, or Portuguese.

While correspondence has been arranged in series that seem to divide along "personal" and "professional" lines, this can be misleading. Stevens was close to many of the women and men she worked with at the National Woman's Party and the IACW; in addition, the IACW main correspondence file (Series V, Subseries A) includes much personal (and National Woman's Party-related) correspondence that Stevens received during her tenure as IACW chair. Researchers looking for specific correspondents are encouraged to check correspondence files in Series II, IV, and V; notable correspondents have been listed in folder titles where appropriate.

As Stevens prepared her papers for deposit at the Schlesinger Library (then the Women's Archives), she was also writing a history of her tenure at the IACW. Her notes from that time period (1950s - early 1960s) can often be found on or attached to individual documents; she re-organized many IACW files at that time as well. Other files in the collection were clearly gathered together when preparing for lawsuits: regarding the disposal of her childhood home (Series I, Subseries E), Stevens's challenge to Alva Belmont's estate, and the National Woman's Party internal lawsuit (both in Series IV).

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].

SEARCH NOTE: Numerous correspondents with Spanish surnames appear in the collection. Names are alphabetized under the main surname when apparent. In those cases where the processor could not determine the main part of the surname, names are alphabetized using the last name recorded. Diacritics (accents, etc.) have also been used where they are part of the correspondent's name, although in some cases, IACW correspondence was not always consistent; researchers should search the correct form of names.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1897-1983 (#1.1-27.6, T-182.1-T-182.3, Mem.3), contains biographical information about Doris Stevens, her family, and her two husbands, Dudley Field Malone and Jonathan Emery Mitchell. Included are Stevens's diaries; personal financial records; correspondence with family; material relating to Stevens's education; personal papers of Malone and Mitchell; and Stevens's extensive correspondence with those two men, as well as an earlier lover, Frank P. Walsh. It is arranged in eight subseries.

Subseries A, Biographical, 1912-1968 (#1.1-2.12, T-182.1-T-182.3), includes clippings and articles about Stevens, personal documents, and transcripts of recordings made in the early 1960s containing reminiscences about her life. Job recommendations, manuscripts of dreams, resumes, and genealogical notes are also found in this subseries. It is arranged chronologically, with subject-based files of clippings at the end.

Subseries B, Diaries, appointment books, and address books, 1905-1955 (#2.13-#9.7), includes diaries, appointment books, and other manuscript volumes kept by Stevens. Appointment books list meetings, meals, or conversations with friends and business associates; some also include more lengthy descriptions. A diary from the years 1920-1921, and appointment books from 1944 and 1950, contain detailed entries; a long narrative in a 1938 volume seems to be a dream. Other volumes contain brief and/or scattered records of daily events and appointments. Some volumes from 1928-1939 include records of Stevens's meetings and audiences at IACW conferences, as well as notes from IACW staff on daily activities. Diaries and appointment books are arranged chronologically, followed by address books.

Subseries C, Education, 1904-1961 (#9.8-12.6), includes material from Stevens's high school, college, and graduate studies. Much of the high school and college material relates to alumni gatherings. Graduate material consists primarily of Stevens's notes from classes on international law and foreign policy at American University and Columbia University between 1929 and 1931. These studies did not result in a degree, but were partially undertaken as a way to focus and assist her legal research for the Inter-American Commission of Women. It is arranged chronologically.

Subseries D, Financial, 1906-1966 (#12.7.-19.1), contains cashbooks, house account books, check registers, financial correspondence, receipts, bills, and information on stock performance. It is arranged chronologically.

Subseries E, Stevens family correspondence, 1899-1973 (#19.2-21.5), includes correspondence between Doris Stevens, her immediate family, her niece and nephews (Alice Stevens Burns's children Olive Burns Riordan and Russell Burns, and Ralph G. Stevens's son Ralph D. Stevens), and extended family. Most of the letters are written to Doris Stevens; copies of her outgoing correspondence are sometimes included. One letter from Doris Stevens to her family is written from England in 1921; all other letters written by Doris Stevens date from 1930 and later. Most letters are quotidian; topics include news of family members and their health, politics, financial advice. A 1926 letter from Alice Stevens Burns tells of the death of her son John in infancy; several letters from Russell and Clee Burns describe the death of their teenage daughter Diann. Some folders contain letters from other family members to people other than Doris Stevens; these were later forwarded to Stevens. Because Ralph G. Stevens and Ralph D. Stevens worked together, some letters, mainly those after the late 1940s, include notes from both men. The father and son owned a beverage bottling plant and many of their letters are on letterhead printed with soft drink slogans, primarily 7-Up. Envelopes from 1947 (#19.9) and 1933 and 1936 (#20.2-20.3) have printed advertisements for soft drinks. Incoming letters from family members to Jonathan Mitchell after Doris Stevens's death can be found in most folders of those family members who survived Doris Stevens.

The subseries is arranged by correspondent, but correspondence between Stevens and all of her siblings related to their mother's estate and the disposal of their family home is foldered together (#20.2-20.5), as it was originally found. Covering 1932 to 1942, it overlaps significantly with letters in folders #19.5-19.9. Some of it details a lawsuit brought against the family by a real estate agent engaged to rent and sell the home. Notes on some letters in this file suggest that Stevens may have originally kept some of this correspondence arranged by correspondent, but may have rearranged it while involved in the lawsuit.

Subseries F, Frank P. Walsh, 1915-1916 (#21.6-22.2), contains letters from Walsh to Doris Stevens. Walsh was a liberal lawyer and newspaperman; he and Stevens met in San Francisco in 1915 while Stevens was organizing the Convention of Women Voters at the Pan-Pacific Exposition. This subseries, covering a little more than a year, is substantial; Walsh often wrote more than one letter a day. Most letters tell of his love and longing for her. Others discuss his interaction with other suffrage workers, notably Vivian Pierce, Mabel Vernon, and Sara Bard Field, and his thoughts on Doris's work with the movement. Addresses on the envelopes give an idea of Stevens's peripatetic life, as the courtship took place while she was traveling constantly, organizing suffrage campaigns for the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. Also included is a postcard from Ella Reeve "Mother" Bloor. The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Subseries G, Dudley Field Malone, 1897-1951 (#22.3-23.3, Mem.3), contains Stevens's files about Malone as well as some of his personal papers. Malone worked as a lawyer, most prominently as an international divorce lawyer, and as an assistant to Clarence Darrow in the 1925 Scopes trial. He also had his hand in some importing ventures, served as collector of the Port of New York, and ran for governor of New York in 1918. The bulk of the subseries is correspondence between Stevens and Malone, and material (clippings, notes, financial papers) relating to their divorce. The correspondence mainly consists of letters from Malone to Stevens, beginning in 1916 with love letters; letters between 1928 and 1945 primarily concern financial transactions. Material from Malone's school years includes composition notebooks. Malone's own correspondence includes inquiries related to an import-export business, and a letter from Ella Reeve "Mother" Bloor. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries H, Jonathan Mitchell, 1919-1983 (#23.4-27.6), contains extensive correspondence between Mitchell and Stevens, as well as Mitchell's personal and business-related correspondence, diaries, and other personal papers. Correspondence between Mitchell and Stevens is most frequent in the 1920s and 1930s, when they were often living apart. Letters from the 1920s often used code or pet names (Stevens was "Dreka," "Dina," "Dinsche," or "Julia"; Mitchell was "Hans"; Malone was "Tebrick"). On several occasions when Stevens was overseas or at an IACW conference, Mitchell wrote her a letter or more per day. Many of these comment on United States press coverage of her overseas activities. Mitchell was a journalist and anti-communist who published a political analysis of American foreign policy, Goose Steps to Peace, in 1931. He also worked with economists at Princeton's Institute of Advanced Study (1941-1950), and then the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security. Some of his correspondence, particularly that with Jay Lovestone, focuses on anti-communism. Mitchell's general correspondence includes letters with editors, readers (including prominent New Deal figures Harold Ickes and Bernard Baruch) commenting on his pieces in the New Republic (where he worked from 1933 to 1941, and again in the 1950s), and economist Walter W. Stewart. Incoming personal correspondence to Mitchell can also be found in Series I, Subseries E, and in Series II, generally in any folder with an end date after 1963. Mitchell's correspondence with Fanny Bunand-Sévastos Chipman relates primarily to the role he played in shepherding her daughter Claudette through an American boarding school. In the early 1960s, Mitchell acquired access to the U.S. State Department's files on the IACW. His notes on those files, and typed comments on their validity, can be found in this subseries. Other material includes Mitchell's files relating to his mother's health and death, notes for articles, typed reminisces of his relationship with Stevens, and diaries from the end of his life. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Series II, CORRESPONDENCE AND SUBJECT FILES, 1884-1978 (inclusive), 1930-1960(bulk) (#27.7-38.4), is primarily Stevens's general correspondence, both incoming and outgoing (many folders contain carbons or copies of replies or inquiries sent). Many of Stevens's personal correspondents were also involved in her suffrage and international work. Correspondents also include friends from Omaha, Croton (New York) neighbors, and friends met during Stevens's involvement with the Republican Party. The series also includes files that function as "subject files," sometimes containing little correspondence. Other files collect letters from multiple correspondents under a subject heading. These include: "re: Archives," correspondence with a variety of people at Radcliffe College and the Women's Archives; and "Birth control," mainly about Stevens's speech at the Sixth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference in March 1925. Some correspondence in reply to Stevens's article "On Learning to Play the 'Cello" in the American Mercury (see #40.11), is filed under "C" for cello, some under "M" for music. The "Susan B. Anthony" file includes three instances of Anthony's writing (a copy of a letter, an autograph, and a book inscription) that were a gift to Stevens from an admirer.

General alphabetical folders include personal correspondence, as well as correspondence with department stores, organizations, lawyers, fan mail in response to Jailed for Freedom, etc. Stevens sometimes filed letters from editors under the editor's name (e.g., Norman Hapgood and Frida Kirchwey), and sometimes under the publication name (e.g., the Forum.) Similarly, correspondence with some organizations is filed under names of officers (e.g., correspondence with the National Federation of Business and Professional Women is filed under "P" for Lena Madesin Phillips). Notable correspondents in these alphabetical files are listed in the folder headings.

The majority of the correspondence dates from after 1929. Pre-1920 correspondence is slim; what exists from that period are mainly letters from Oberlin friends, or from people Stevens met around the country during suffrage work, such as poet Sara Bard Field. Letters between 1920 and 1929 are evidence of her friendships made in bohemian Greenwich Village circles, European literary circles, and contacts made through Dudley Field Malone. Some personal correspondence from 1928-1939, when Stevens was working as chair of the IACW, can also be found in Series V, Subseries A. Because Stevens formed deep friendships with women she knew from her work with the National Woman's Party and IACW, the lines between personal and political or business aspects of many of these relationships and correspondence are blurred. Correspondence relating to Stevens's music, and some responses to her writings, are in Series III. Stevens sent most of her correspondence with Rebecca West to the Beinecke Library at Yale; a few letters remain here. After Stevens's death, Jonathan Mitchell continued to file material, particularly correspondence, into her existing files. Folders with end dates past Doris Stevens's death date (1963) include Jonathan Mitchell's correspondence. The series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent; Stevens's or Mitchell's folder headings appear in quotations.

Series III, WRITINGS AND RELATED, ca.1918-1976 (#38.5-45.4, 128FB.5, 128FB.8-128FB.11), includes handwritten, typescript, and printed versions of Stevens's published books and articles, speeches, unpublished manuscripts, original scores, and song lyrics. The series is arranged in five subseries.

Subseries A, Books, 1920-1960 (#38.5-40.2), includes material pertaining to Stevens's published volumes Jailed for Freedom (Boni & Liveright, 1920) and Paintings and Drawings of Jeanette Scott (Walpole Printing Office, 1940). Jailed for Freedom material includes both handwritten and typescript partial drafts, with substantial corrections, and partial typescripts of Spanish and Portugese translations. The latter were undertaken by the American Institute of International Law in or around 1932; they were not officially published. More material related to these translations can be found in Series V, Subseries A (#73.4-73.7).More correspondence with Boni & Liveright, as well as general fan mail, can be found in Series II. Material pertaining to the Jeanette Scott biography includes letters from Scott to her brother James B. Scott, and letters of commendation for Scott from her students and colleagues, some of which are printed in the volume. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Articles, 1919-1937 (#40.3-40.14, 128FB.5), includes both drafts and published versions of almost all Stevens's published articles. She wrote a few articles for the New York World, the New York Herald-Tribune's Paris edition and McCall's in the 1920s; these are not represented in the collection. Most pieces are political reporting or opinion; topics range from suffrage to divorce to biography. Her short story "Ebenezer Toby's Billiard Table" is fiction, although the character is closely based on her father; for unpublished stories about this character, see Subseries D, below. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Speeches, ca.1918-1952 (#40.15-41.13), includes texts of addresses given by Stevens in handwritten, typescript, and published formats. Published copies of the speeches, related correspondence, and printed material have been foldered together with notes and drafts. In these cases, the date of the speech is listed in the inventory, but the material in the folder may vary by a few months. Speeches clearly identified are foldered individually and arranged chronologically, while those with minimal information are foldered by topic. Some requests for Stevens to speak (including events for which the speech appears here) can be found in Series II under the organization's name. See also Series V for more speeches made during Stevens's IACW tenure.

Subseries D, Unpublished writings, ca.1919-1954 (#41.14-43.15), includes book reviews, travel pieces, fiction, and larger book or research projects. "Women in Industry" was Stevens's major writing project in the mid-1920s, and is a subject of discussion in her correspondence with Mitchell from those years (see Series I, Subseries H). "Primus" is a thinly, if at all, veiled account of Stevens's marriage to Malone. One of the plays is a dramatization of an episode in which Victor Maurtua, the Peruvian diplomat, propositioned Stevens about having his child. The pieces about the Toby family draw on Stevens's family and Nebraska childhood. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries E, Music, 1950-1976 (#43.16-45.4, 128FB.8-128FB.11), contains original scores and lyrics for songs written by Doris Stevens, mainly in the 1950s. Most of the lyrics relate to her childhood experiences in Nebraska. She started to compose around 1950, and when others began to have an interest in the songs, she tried to sell them. Radio personality Paul Arnold recorded three of the songs, and sang several others on his radio shows and at other venues. The subseries also includes correspondence with producers, performers, fans and friends, as well as publicity. For more correspondence with Paul Arnold, see Series II. For tapes of Arnold singing the songs, see T-182.5 - T-182.13. Songs are arranged alphabetically by title, followed by supporting material.

Series IV, NATIONAL WOMAN'S PARTY, 1916-1958 (#45.5-58.13, Mem.1-Mem.2, OD.3m), contains material relating to Stevens's affiliation with the National Woman's Party, including her paid work as a suffrage organizer and campaign manager, her international work as chair of the Committee on International Action, and her various other domestic actions on behalf of the Party. Correspondence with National Woman's Party founder Alice Paul and others in official National Woman's Party roles, as well as clippings, printed matter, minutes, financial records, and reports, can be found here. The series also includes legal documents and detailed correspondence and information about two lawsuits in which Stevens was a party: one involved the will of National Woman's Party benefactor and president Alva Belmont, the other resulted from an internal dispute about the focus of the National Woman's Party in 1946 and 1947. This series is arranged in five subseries.

Most of Stevens's international work before 1928 was done under the auspices of the National Woman's Party. Stevens's presence and actions at the Sixth International Conference of American States (Havana, Cuba, 1928) at which the Inter-American Commission of Women was formed, also occurred under the auspices of the National Woman's Party. However, specific information about that and later international conferences may be found in Series V.

Subseries A, Correspondence, 1919-1957 (#45.5-45.10), is Stevens's correspondence with the headquarters of the National Woman's Party, in Washington, DC, and her correspondence with National Woman's Party founder Alice Paul. Some of this correspondence was written or received in her official capacity as vice-president of the National Woman's Party and as chair of the Committee on International Action. Much of the early correspondence relates to projects Stevens undertook for the National Woman's Party, including the 1924 Women for Congress campaign and the 1926 Advisory Committee to the U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau. Minutes, financial documents, and reports are also included. Later official and personal correspondence between National Woman's Party members can be found in Subseries E. Seven folders of correspondence with National Woman's Party officers about international affairs are in Series V, Subseries A, the IACW correspondence files (#82.9-83.4).

Correspondence with Alice Paul details financial issues, travel arrangements, and schedules, and includes detailed descriptions of international conferences attended by Paul and Stevens. The 1926 International Woman Suffrage Alliance conference at the Sorbonne, Stevens's work in France and Geneva in 1930, and Paul's work in Geneva from 1930 to 1932 are extensively discussed in these letters. Some of the later letters include information pertaining to the IACW, particularly to the issue of nationality; Paul was chair of the IACW Nationality Committee and began her work in Geneva with the League of Nations from this position. Other topics include Helen Archdale's organization Equal Rights International (1930) and the World Court (1932). These files also include copies of letters from Paul to others (including Alva Belmont and British feminists), and original letters from others to Paul. Correspondence with Paul herself stops in 1934; later material consists of clippings, reports, etc. Other correspondence with Paul can be found in Series V, Subseries A (#84.17-85.1).

Subseries B, General, 1916-1946 (#46.1-46.15, Mem.1-Mem.2, OD.3m), includes printed material, fliers, pamphlets, clippings, minutes, copies of government reports, etc. Some of the early, suffrage-era documents (particularly about Congressional votes and state votes on ratification) may have been sent to Stevens from National Woman's Party headquarters while she was writing Jailed for Freedom. Some articles from Equal Rights that are specifically about the prison episodes are separated and marked. Fliers from the 1924 Women for Congress Campaign that Stevens managed out of Philadelphia are also included in this suberies, as is material related to some of her lobbying efforts against protective labor legislation for women. It is arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, International work, 1924-1946 (#46.16-46.20), includes material related to work for women's rights that Stevens did in Europe in the 1920s under the auspices of the National Woman's Party. (The files in Subseries D dealing with Alva Belmont's death contain background information about Stevens's international work in the years 1923 to 1932.) It is arranged chronologically.

Subseries D, Alva Belmont, 1919-1934 (#46.21-50.1), includes correspondence, index cards, notes, press releases, clippings, and legal and financial records related to Stevens's relationship with Alva Belmont and a lawsuit Stevens filed in an attempt to reverse a codicil that cut her out of Belmont's will. Most of the material was drawn together in 1933 by Stevens in preparation for the lawsuit. Stevens worked directly under Belmont for much of the 1910s and 1920s, with the understanding that she would later be compensated from Belmont's estate. For the lawsuit, Stevens sought to prove that she had never been a paid employee of the National Woman's Party after 1919; Party financial records, and Stevens's accounting of them, can be found here. She also wished to give an accurate record of her entire history with Belmont; thus she compiled index cards with dates and events in the suffrage movement to detail their interactions. A copy of her deposition narrates this history. The entirety of Stevens's correspondence with Belmont is in this subseries, as are her notes re: Belmont's intentions and directions for international activities, her alliances with different feminist groups, and her changing relationships with other National Woman's Party leaders. Many letters (or copies of letters) have Stevens's 1933 notes on them explaining how they prove that she was working under Belmont's direction, and not that of any other National Woman's Party official. The subseries also includes information about Stevens's and Alice Paul's European work for women's rights from 1926 to 1932.

Subseries E, Internal dispute, 1930-1958 (inclusive), 1946-1947 (bulk) (#50.2-58.13), relates to a lawsuit (National Woman's Party v. Anita Pollitzer, et al.) brought in 1947 by one faction of the National Woman's Party against the elected leadership. The dispute involved differing opinions as to the Party's resources and focus, as well as its organizational structure. Doris Stevens was enlisted in the fight by several women trying to challenge the leadership, and became one of the named plaintiffs in the suit. The case was eventually decided in favor of the defendants. Interestingly, the faction with which Stevens was associated advocated a greater focus on national, as opposed to international, action. For more specific information about the dispute and lawsuit, see Survival in the Doldrums, by Leila J. Rupp and Verta Taylor (Oxford University Press, 1987).

Major correspondents include most of the group of women who were involved in challenging the leadership of Alice Paul and Anita Pollitzer: Caroline Lexow Babcock, Olive Hurlburt, Laura Berrien, Anna Kelton Wiley, Gertrude Crocker, Dorothy Granger, and Alma Lutz. This group backed a different candidate for Party president, Sara A. Whitehurst. Charles Horsky served as lawyer for the plaintiffs, and many letters and notes are addressed to him. Jeanette Marks, then president of the New York State chapter, is another major correspondent. Numerous copies of letters and documents were collected, copied, and circulated. Stevens accumulated voluminous telephone and background notes. The subseries includes notes and plans for the "alternative convention" held in January 1947; background correspondence from members of the New York State chapter, whose interest in more autonomy for local chapters was one of the causes of the dispute; communication with lawyers, plans for peace talks; legal papers (depositions, complaints, etc.); National Woman's Party financial records (Berrien served as Party treasurer, and dispute over use of funds became an issue in the lawsuit); clippings, and printed material. While some material has been classified as "correspondence," and some as "notes," there is an overlap between the two. This subseries also includes several folders of Laura Berrien's correspondence, which were left to Stevens on Berrien's 1962 death. Other folders seem to have originated from Caroline Lexow Babcock and Anna Kelton Wiley. Some later notes about the case were compiled by Stevens and Berrien in the late 1950s. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Series V, INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION OF WOMEN, 1919-1962 (inclusive), 1928-1939 (bulk) (#59CB-127.11, 128FB.4, 128FB.7, M-104, Mem.5, Mem.10-Mem.12, Mem.15), contains the early institutional records of this non-governmental organization from its inception in 1928 to the end of Stevens's tenure as chair in 1939. Included are correspondence and subject files, press releases, publicity clippings, research material, financial records, published reports, and minutes. The majority of the files were removed by Stevens from the IACW office after she was replaced as chair in 1939. Correspondence relating to the move of the files can be found in Subseries G, below, and in #62.10. The series also includes Stevens's correspondence files on her removal as chair, and her extensive notes and drafts for a book about her experiences at the IACW. Some of Stevens's personal correspondence can also be found here. See also Series III, Subseries C, for typescripts and printed pamphlets of Stevens's speeches in international contexts. See Series I, Subseries B and Subseries H, for narrative and other detailed records of Stevens's actions at conferences and other overseas activities. Most of Stevens's European activities during her chairmanship, such as work on nationality laws, are also detailed in Series IV, Subseries D, in Stevens's narrative on her work with Alva Belmont. The series is arranged in eight subseries.

Subseries A, Correspondence and office files, 1924-1960 (inclusive), 1928-1939 (bulk) (#59CB-93.18, 128FB.7, M-104) corresponds to an alphabetical index card file kept by Stevens of all IACW files. An index card exists for each folder; some have an extensive listing of what kinds of letters or documents are in each folder. Both the index file and the folders have cross-references to other folders that contain related correspondence; researchers looking for a specific correspondent should check both folder and card file for cross-references. Correspondence with Latin American women is sometimes filed under country of origin, and sometimes under individual names; names of prominent correspondents have been pointed out in the inventory. Pan American and other conferences attended by Stevens or other members of the IACW are generally alphabetized by the host city. Thus, the Sixth International Conference of American States, held in Havana, Cuba, in 1928, is here under the heading of "Havana Conference." Files listed under the heading "Buenos Aires conference" include material on both the People's Conference for the Peace of America (November 1936) and the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace (December 1936).

Folders in this subseries may contain correspondence, press releases, documents, clippings, printed material, and notes. Folders for countries in the Americas generally contain information on the work of the IACW commissioners, correspondence with government officials about status of laws, reports on women's equality work, printed material (e.g., fliers, handbills, brochures, propaganda for suffrage or equal rights), as well as communication from women beginning new organizations or working for equality in other ways. Many of these folders also contain lists of women affiliated with those organizations or their work. Most of the other (non-American) country files contain responses to a 1929 IACW questionnaire on nationality laws. A few of the general country folders contain material about immigration issues of specific women. Correspondents include IACW commissioners, foreign government and embassy officials, and IACW staff: primarily Muna Lee, Fanny Bunand-Sévastos, and Elsie Shields. The folders on Cuba include material on that country's political tensions and upheavals in the 1930s. Files on the League of Nations's Women's Consultative Committee on Nationality are voluminous and contain copies of Alice Paul's correspondence with others working in Geneva. Many folders include documents in Spanish, a good number include French, and a smaller number include Portuguese. Much of the non-English correspondence also exists in English translation. Other languages have been noted.

The correspondence files also include some of Stevens's personal correspondence during her years on the commission. Notes and correspondence about Stevens's removal from the IACW in 1939 can be found in many general files, as well as in Subseries G. In the case of some correspondents, primarily other commissioners, Stevens filed their later correspondence with letters from her time as chairman. Folder headings in this subseries are those of the IACW; other information has been added in square brackets by the processor.

Subseries B, Conferences and foreign trips, 1919-1940 (#93.19-97.12, 128.FB.4, Mem.5, Mem.10-Mem.12, Mem.15), includes more material on Pan American and other international gatherings during Stevens's tenure at IACW. These files are arranged chronologically, and generally contain printed material, reports, press releases, and clippings that supplement material found in Subseries A. See Subseries D for scrapbooks of clippings that were compiled especially for a few conferences, and see Series VI, Subseries A for photograph albums created for each conference. The Schlesinger Library holds, separately cataloged, some printed conference material for a few of these conferences, as does the Harvard Law School Library. This subseries is arranged chronologically by conference.

Subseries C, Financial, 1928-1940 (#98.1-99.6), includes correspondence, receipts, check registers and yearly statements from Stevens's tenure as chair of IACW. See also Series IV, Subseries A, for correspondence between Alice Paul and Stevens regarding the financial connections between the National Woman's Party and the IACW, and Series IV, Subseries D, for Belmont's contributions to the IACW. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries D, Press and publicity, 1928-1939 (#99.7-109.3), includes scrapbooks of clippings, press releases, and an index file of press contacts. The card file (#107CB) of press names contains the names and addresses of United States and international publications, organized by country and also by language. Press releases are arranged chronologically by language. Large scrapbooks detail international coverage of the IACW and Stevens. Loose clippings are from newspapers and magazines.

Subseries E, Printed material and reports, 1929-1957 (#109.4-109.9), contains IACW publications, including some from after Stevens's tenure, and drafts and completed reports of IACW work. Several contain detailed, monthly descriptions of work done. An analysis of "The Repercussions of Montevideo," by Helena Hill Weed, is in the general reports (#109.8).

Subseries F, Research, 1920-1938 (#109.10-124.4), includes material gathered and analyzed by IACW staff. Most is related to the legal status of women in the Americas and the world. Included is an index card file (#110CB) with lists of contacts, "feminists, groups, foreign ministers, presidents, commissioners" of Latin America. Many of these cards have biographical information as well. Others index United States citizens.

During Stevens's tenure, the IACW conducted two main research campaigns. Beginning in 1929, it undertook an international survey of laws regarding marriage and nationality, specifically, whether a woman would retain her own citizenship upon marriage, or automatically acquire that of her husband. This issue became the first question the IACW and its Nationality Committee undertook on an international level: all the work done at the Hague Codification Conference and at the League of Nations in Geneva in the early 1930s was in an attempt to codify freedom of nationality into international law. Correspondence related to the nationality campaign can be found in Subseries A as well. Alice Paul chaired the nationality committee, and more material related to that issue can be found in her papers at the Schlesinger Library. The second major research campaign of the IACW involved only the countries in the Pan American Union. For distribution at the 1933 Montevideo conference, the IACW compiled the laws regarding women and equality in each country in the Americas. This research, known as the "country codes," required a great deal of legal research and translation. The end result was a binder, or "black book," for each country, with detailed legal descriptions of the rights of women (or lack thereof), in both English and Spanish or Portuguese. Charts that aimed to show the issues as they differed between countries were also created. Some of this country code research material was previously microfilmed with correspondence in Subseries A. Other research conducted or gathered by the IACW includes material on suffrage rights in the Americas, international treaties, and historical overviews of specific legal questions. The subseries is arranged by topic.

Subseries G, Stevens's removal from the IACW, 1934-1961 (#124.5-126.4), contains correspondence, clippings, financial records, and notes relating to the 1939 decision by the U.S. government to appoint Mary Winslow as the official U.S. representative on the IACW. The Roosevelt administration asserted that Stevens had been appointed chair by the Pan American Union, and had never been the official U.S. delegate. Stevens viewed this as a political attack, based on differing views of how to work for women's rights. Stevens and her supporters, under the direction of Gaeta Wold Boyer, mounted a large letter-writing campaign to Congress and the White House and, when this was not successful, subsequently managed to remove most of the IACW records from the office at the Pan American Union building in Washington. Much of the correspondence in this subseries is to Boyer about her fund-raising and letter-writing appeals, and copies of responses sent to individuals by Congresspersons and government officials. Additional letters about Stevens's removal from the IACW can be found in Series V, Subseries A, identifiable by their dates (1939-1940). The Committee to Preserve the Early Records of the IACW was founded by Stevens, Fanny Bunand-Sévastos Chipman, and Laura Berrien in 1957; Stevens had been meticulously keeping track of her IACW-related expenses since 1939 (she created a bank account called "Doris Stevens special" to track these), and part of the committee's purpose was to raise money to reimburse her. The other goal of the group was to ensure that the "correct" IACW history was saved and put forward. This entailed an attempt to account for all relevant IACW records, the compiling of photograph albums of IACW commissioners and conferences, and was possibly the spur for Stevens to begin working in earnest on her memoirs of her time chairing the organization.

Subseries H, Stevens's manuscript about the IACW, 1945-1962 (#126.5-127.11), includes notes, timelines, manuscripts, transcripts of taped recollections, and correspondence. As early as the mid-1940s, Stevens announced her intention to write a memoir of her time at the IACW. She continued to work on this project until her death. Jonathan Mitchell contributed as well; he gained access to the State Department's files on the IACW, and took copious notes. He recorded Stevens's accounts of events when she was too ill to do so, and he narrated her stories into a tape recorder to be transcribed. Many documents in this series are in his hand; nevertheless, Stevens provided the impetus and voice behind the project. She used her personal and IACW records to assist her memory in telling stories of her triumphs and failures on the international scene. Many of her recollections involve political maneuvers by U.S. State Department officials, such as Cordull Hull and Sumner Welles. Much is written on the 1938 International Conference of American States in Lima, after which Stevens's removal from the chairmanship was made public. Stevens's belief that Eleanor Roosevelt caused her removal is discussed in great detail. The transcription of the taped narrative included here is from a tape not in the collection.

Series VI, PHOTOGRAPHS, AUDIO-VISUAL, OVERSIZED, AND MEMORABILIA, ca.1890-1978 (#PD.1-PD.98, T-182.1-T-182.13, 128FB-129FB, F+D.1-F+D.9, OD.1-OD.3m, SD.1, 130SB.1m-132F+B.1m, Mem.1-Mem.4, Mem.5-Mem.17, Mem.19), includes photographs of Stevens, her friends and family, IACW conferences and commissioners; audiotapes of Stevens's reminiscences and Paul Arnold singing Stevens's songs; oil paintings of Stevens; oversized clippings and documents; and memorabilia from IACW and the suffrage campaign. Material is organized by format into four subseries.

Subseries A, Photographs, ca.1890-1967 (#PD.1-PD.98), documents Stevens in both her personal and professional life. Five albums of photographs, primarily personal, were compiled by Jonathan Mitchell in the 1970s, mainly from copies of Stevens's original photographs. A small percentage of the originals of these photographs exist elsewhere in the subseries. The photographs in the albums and other loose personal photographs show Stevens with family and friends, in Europe, at the beach, and at home in Croton, New York. Snapshots of student theatricals at Oberlin College are included. A few photographs from the National Woman's Party's suffrage campaign can also be found. The majority of the photographs are from Stevens's IACW years, and primarily show events at conferences and in Washington, DC, at the Pan American Union. Others are publicity shots of commissioners and other women working with or for the IACW. In the late 1950s, Stevens and Fanny Chipman created photograph albums of IACW events, as part of the work for the Committee to Preserve Early Records of the IACW. In addition to the albums and loose photographs documenting the major conferences and events, there are loose photographs that show IACW-affiliated women on missions to Latin America. A series of snapshots of Guatemala was taken by Mary Winsor in 1935. Photographs are arranged with those of Stevens, family, and friends first, followed by those from the IACW.

Subseries B, Audio-visual, 1955-1963 (#T-182.1-T-182.13), includes reel-to-reel and cassette audiotapes of Doris Stevens's, Laura Berrien's, and Jonathan Mitchell's recollections of earlier events, Doris Stevens and Paul Arnold singing her songs, and a tribute to Norris Chipman by Paul Arnold. #T-182.1-T-182.3 are copies of earlier reel-to-reel tapes (not in the collection). Jonathan Mitchell is the speaker; either Stevens is telling the story and he is repeating it into the tape recorder, or she has written it in the first-person and he is reading it. "Bend in the River" is a series of stories regarding the community of "bohemians" who resided in Croton, New York, specifically in the 1920s and 1930s. Stevens recalls stories involving, among others, Floyd Dell, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Boardman Robinson, Lydia Gibson Minor, and Florence Deshon. Some of these involve gossip as to who was a member of the Communist Party. A comment by Jonathan Mitchell at the end of #T-182.3 gives his account of Stevens and Dudley Field Malone's divorce. #T-182.13 records a tribute to diplomat Norris B. Chipman, the husband of Fanny Bunand-Sévastos Chipman, broadcast over the radio by Paul Arnold after Chipman's death. All other tapes are Paul Arnold singing Doris Stevens's songs.

Subseries C, Oversized, 1905-1957 (#128FB-129FB, F+D.1-F+D.9, OD.1-OD.3.m, SD.1), includes artwork, diplomas, and oversized items removed from other series. Most of the artwork were gifts to Stevens. A suffrage cartoon by Boardman Robinson, inscribed to Stevens, has printer's marks on it. Two paintings by Jeanette Scott belonged to Stevens before she wrote about Scott's life and career. Several tribute certificates were given to Stevens on her travels by groups of Latin American women. Framed artwork is in Subseries D, Memorabilia. Many oversize items removed from other series are Latin American suffrage posters and propaganda that were sent to Stevens while she was chair of the IACW. Arranged by size, and chronologically thereunder.

Subseries D, Memorabilia, ca.1914-1978 (#130SB.1m-132F+B.1m, Mem.1-Mem.4, Mem.5-Mem.17, Mem.19, OD.3m, SD.1), primarily includes objects related to the IACW. These include pens used to sign treaties, stamps of Stevens's signature used for correspondence, and Stevens's official nameplate. Other material includes pins from Stevens's suffrage days, a pin from Dudley Field Malone's 1918 gubernatorial run in New York, and several unidentified pins. A tribute to Stevens presented by Bolivian women in 1938 is drawn by Antonio Quiroga y Torrico. Several paintings are also included. The portrait of Stevens painted by Eliena Krylensko is discussed in Stevens and Mitchell's 1927 correspondence. A posthumous portrait is by Fanny Bunand-Sévastos Chipman.


Doris Stevens was born Dora Caroline Stevens on October 26, 1888, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Henry Henderbourck Stevens (1859-1930) and Caroline D. Koopman Stevens (1863-1932). Doris had an older sister, Alice Stevens Burns (1885-1954), and two younger brothers, Harry E. Stevens (ca.1892-1943) and Ralph G. Stevens (1895-1968). In December 1921, she married lawyer Dudley Field Malone (1882-1950), keeping her name. She filed for divorce in 1927; it was granted in 1929. In 1935, Stevens married journalist Jonathan Mitchell (1899-1983), with whom she had been involved since 1923.

Stevens graduated from Omaha High School in 1905 and from Oberlin College in 1911. A talented piano and cello player, she taught music lessons to finance her college education. After graduation, she worked as a teacher. She became active in the suffrage movement; in 1913, the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, which became the National Woman's Party, hired her. Stevens was a paid organizer for the National Woman's Party through 1920, at which time she published her book, Jailed for Freedom, which described the imprisonment of women activists in 1917 during the National Woman's Party's radical campaign for suffrage. Stevens continued to be a member of the National Woman's Party for the next thirty years and served the party in various capacities: as a vice president, as chair of the Committee on International Action, and as a member of the National Council. From the mid-1920s until her death, Stevens's main residence was in Croton, New York, among a bohemian colony of artists and activists. From 1928 to 1939, Stevens served as chair of the Inter-American Commission of Women (IACW), an advisory group created by the Pan American Union (later the Organization of American States). After 1939, Stevens turned to lecturing, composing songs about her Nebraska childhood, and organizing her archives and writing about her work with the IACW. She remained active in the Lucy Stone League, another women's rights organization, until her death of a stroke in New York City, on March 22, 1963.

  • 1888: October 26: Dora Caroline Stevens born in Omaha, Nebraska
  • 1911-1913: Organizes pro-suffrage rallies and events in Midwestern states
  • 1913-1916: Works as paid organizer for Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage
  • 1914: Meets Alva Belmont, future benefactor of National Woman's Party, begins to work under her direction
  • 1915: Organizer, first Convention of Women Voters in San Francisco, California
  • 1915: Meets lawyer Frank P. Walsh in San Francisco and begins a love affair
  • 1916: Helps found the Woman's Party (in 1917 becomes the National Woman's Party)
  • 1916-1920: Works as paid organizer for Woman's Party/National Woman's Party
  • 1917: Arrested while picketing the White House for women's suffrage, sentenced to 60 days in Occoquan Workhouse, pardoned by President Wilson after three days
  • 1920: October: Jailed for Freedom published
  • 1920: December: travels to Europe with Alva Belmont
  • 1921: December: marries lawyer Dudley Field Malone and travels to Europe with him
  • 1923: Meets journalist Jonathan Mitchell in England
  • 1924: September-November: runs National Woman's Party's "Women for Congress" campaign out of Philadelphia
  • 1925: Works on National Woman's Party's industrial equality campaigns, in New York State and nationally
  • 1926: Serves on United States Department of Labor Women's Bureau Advisory Committee
  • 1926: May-June: attends the International Suffrage Alliance conference at the Sorbonne in Paris France; chairs its Committee on Equal Rights
  • 1927-1930: Chairs National Woman's Party's Committee on International Action
  • 1927: Files for divorce from Dudley Field Malone
  • 1928: January-February: attends Sixth International Conference of American States, in Havana, Cuba
  • 1928:April: appointed chair, Inter-American Commission of Women (created at above conference)
  • 1928: August: arrested while protesting outside Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact Conference, Rambouillet, France
  • 1928: September: attends League of Nations meeting in Geneva to propose the appointment of women plenipotentiaries to international conferences
  • 1929-1931: Takes classes on international law and foreign policy at American University and Columbia University
  • 1929: June: attends first International Session of the Open Door Council in Berlin
  • 1929: October: addresses the Institut du Droit at Briarcliff Manor, New York; first woman to do so
  • 1929: October: divorce from Dudley Field Malone is finalized
  • 1930: February: attends and chairs first meeting of Inter-American Commission of Women in Havana
  • 1930: March: attends Conference for the Codification of International Law in the Hague
  • 1931: Named first woman member of American Institute of International Law
  • 1931: June-July: attends meeting of League of Nations' Women's Consultative Committee on Nationality in Geneva
  • 1933: January: Alva Belmont dies, Stevens files a suit against her estate when it is revealed she has been written out of Belmont's will
  • 1933: December: attends Seventh International Conference of American States, Montevideo, Uruguay
  • 1935: Marries Jonathan Mitchell
  • 1936: November: attends People's Conference for the Peace of America in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 1936: December: attends Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace in Buenos Aires
  • 1938: August: travels to the Dominican Republic to advise President Rafael Trujillo on women's legal equality
  • 1938: December: attends Eighth International Conference of American States in Lima, Peru
  • 1939: Replaced as United States commissioner on IACW, engages in battle to keep her seat
  • 1940: Publishes Paintings and Drawings of Jeanette Scott
  • 1940: Elected to National Council of National Woman's Party
  • 1946-1947: Joins lawsuit against leadership of National Woman's Party in dispute over leadership style and focus of the group
  • 1951-1963: Serves as vice-president of Lucy Stone League
  • 1963: March 22: Dies of a stroke in New York City


The collection is arranged in six series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, 1897-1983 (#1.1-27.6, T-182.1-T-182.3, Mem.3)
  2. Series II. Correspondence and subject files, 1884-1978 (inclusive), 1930-1960 (bulk) (#27.7-38.4)
  3. Series III. Writings and related, ca.1918-1976 (#38.5-45.4, 128FB.5, 128FB.8-128FB.11)
  4. Series IV. National Woman's Party, 1916-1957 (#45.5-58.13, Mem.1-Mem.2, OD.3m)
  5. Series V. Inter-American Commission of Women, 1919-1962 (inclusive), 1928-1939 (bulk) (#59CB-127.11, 128FB.4, 128FB.7, M-104, Mem.5, Mem.10-Mem.12, Mem.15)
  6. Series VI. Photographs, Oversized, Audio-Visual, and Memorabilia, ca.1890-1978 (#PD.1-PD.98, T-182.1-T-182.13, 128FB-129FB, F+D.1-F+D.9, OD.1-OD.3m, SD.1, Mem.1-Mem.19)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 244, 290, 328, 412, 484, 682, 76-246, 76-347, 77-M101, 78-M37, 78-M196, 79-M147, 83-M93, 83-M106, 83-M117, 86-M29, 86-M168

The papers of Doris Stevens were given to the Schlesinger Library by Doris Stevens, the estate of Doris Stevens, Jonathan Mitchell, Fanny Chipman, and the Doris Stevens Foundation between January 1961 and September 1986.


Donors: Doris Stevens, the estate of Doris Stevens, Jonathan Mitchell, the Doris Stevens Foundation

Accession numbers: 244, 290, 328, 412, 484, 682, 76-246, 76-347, 77-M101, 78-M37, 78-M196, 83-M93, 83-M106, 83-M117, 86-M29, 86-M168

Processed by: Jenny Gotwals

Many books and printed material were removed from the collection as it came to the Schlesinger Library, beginning in the 1960s. These are now separately cataloged in the Library's catalog, or else were transferred to the Harvard Law Library and are cataloged there.

Processing Information

Processed: September 2007

By: Jenny Gotwals

Stevens, Doris, 1888-1963. Papers of Doris Stevens, 1884-1983 (inclusive), 1920-1960 (bulk): 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 gifts from the Radcliffe College Class of 1950 and the Radcliffe College Class of 1956.

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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