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COLLECTION Identifier: 79-M252

Papers of Margaret Cussler, 1957-1977


Legal documents, research papers, course material, correspondence, etc., of Margaret Thekla Cussler, sociologist.


  • Creation: 1957-1977

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

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 Margaret Cussler 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.


10 linear feet (10 cartons)

The collection consists principally of documents relating to the sex discrimination case of Cussler v. University of Maryland; included are plaintiff's and defendant's documents; court forms (motions, interrogatories); settlement negotiations; correspondence between attorneys, attorneys and court, and attorney and plaintiff; review committee material, witnesses' depositions and supplementary materials. Additionally, the collection contains Cussler's files of research papers, correspondence with the University of Maryland and the Department of Sociology, publishers and professional organizations. There is also some material on sex discrimination from Women's Equity Action League, American Sociological Association and the American Association of University Professors.

Duplicate sets of plaintiff's documents, depositions by witnesses, their résumés and articles have been removed; also duplicates of court forms.


Margaret Thekla Cussler, sociologist, Radcliffe AM 1941, Ph.D 1943, joined the University of Maryland as an Instructor in 1947 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1962. In 1972, Cussler filed suit against the University of Maryland for alleged sex discrimination on the grounds of inequitable treatment as to salary, promotion, teaching assignments and support for outside research. Although suit was filed in April, 1972, the trial was not ordered until November 1976. Numerous motions filed by the defendants, 1972-1976, delayed the case. Terms offered in November 1976 were not accepted by the plaintiff and the trial was ordered and jury empanelled in November 1976 and concluded in February 1977. After appeal, this seven-year unsuccessful sex discrimination case (the first to go to jury trial), was concluded in 1979.

Following a seven month field study of the Hopi, Cussler produced the documentary, Hopi Horizons. She was the author of four books: Not By a Long Shot: Adventures of a Documentary Film Producer (1951), 'Twixt the Cup and the Lip: Psychological and Socio-cultural Factors Affecting Food Habits (1952), The Woman Executive (1958), and Dentists, Patients, and Auxiliaries (1968).

Cussler died of cancer in 1987.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 79-M252

This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Margaret Cussler in October 1979.


  1. Carton 1: 1-16
  2. Carton 2: 17-28
  3. Carton 3: 29-36
  4. Carton 4: 37-59
  5. Carton 5: 60-106
  6. Carton 6: 107-143
  7. Carton 7: 144-162
  8. Carton 8: 163-188
  9. Carton 9: 189-215
  10. Carton 10: 216-253

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: April, 1980

By: Susanne Tongue LLB, Barrister, and Jane S. Knowles

Cussler, Margaret. Papers of Margaret Cussler, 1957-1977: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

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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