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COLLECTION Identifier: A-114: M-82

Papers of Dorothy Dignam, 1876-1960


Correspondence, diaries, travel journal, etc., of Dorothy Dignam, active member and historian of Advertising Women of New York.


  • Creation: 1876-1960

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research, with the exception of folders 8-9 and volume 30, which are closed and can only be accessed via microfilm (M-82)

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Dorothy Dignam 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.


1.46 linear feet (3+1/2 file boxes)

Correspondence, diaries, travel journal, school notebooks, histories, and articles. She spent the 1920s in Europe promoting consumer relations and home appliances, then worked in Philadelphia during the 1930s and in New York City during World War II. Her letters, which contain correspondence with Christine Frederick, and her diaries reflect changing economic and social conditions; her war diaries describe World War II activities on the home front. Material on Advertising Women of New York and women in advertising is included.


Dorothy Dignam, 1896-1988, early advertising writer, grew up in the Middle West. She worked in Europe in the 1920s on consumer relations and in the field of home appliances. Back in the United States she lived in Philadelphia during the depression of the 1930's, and worked in New York City during World War II. Her letters and diaries reflect the changing economic and social conditions, especially during the period 1920-1946. Her war diaries, 1941-1945, show action on the home front.

All her life she worked in advertising, especially in the fields of fashion, beauty, and homemaking. She is an active member of the Advertising Women of New York, and is its biographer. Her compilations of Advertising Women of New York histories, papers related to women in advertising, and the collections of her own work illustrate the history of women's involvement in advertising.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 354, 698

The papers of Dorothy Dignam were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in January 1962, and January 1964, by Dorothy Dignam.


  1. Box 1: Folders 1-7, 10-16
  2. Box 2: Volumes 1-30
  3. Box 3: Folders 17-28
  4. Box 4: Folders 8-9, Volume 30

Processing Information

Processed: January 1962 and November 1970

Dignam, Dorothy. Papers of Dorothy Dignam, 1876-1960: 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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