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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 582: T-347

Papers of Sally Hacker, 1951-1991


Papers of Sally Hacker, sociologist, professor, and feminist.


  • Creation: 1951-1991

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, except an appointment is necessary to use the audiotapes.

As of November 2015, written permission of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is no longer required for access to #18.7-18.8, 18.10-18.14, 19.1-19.3, 19.6-19.9.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Sally Hacker 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.


11.68 linear feet ((28 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 photograph folder, 39 audiotapes)

The collection contains correspondence, drafts, audiotapes, photographs, clippings, printed material, etc., documenting Sally Hacker's work as a sociologist and professor as well as her involvement in feminist and other political causes. Materials arrived at the library mainly unfoldered and in no discernable order. The arrangement and folder titles were created by the archivist.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1951-1989, n.d. (#1.1-2.6, PD.1, T-347.1 - T-347.3), includes curriculum vitae, clippings about Hacker, diplomas, photographs, etc. Also included are materials relating to Hacker's battle with lung cancer and her subsequent death, including medical bills, lists of medications, and hospice caregiver logs, detailing Hacker's physical care, daily activities, and her state of mind. Files are arranged with the curriculum vitae and clippings about Hacker first, followed by the remaining files in alphabetical order.

Series II, CORRESPONDENCE, 1966-1991, n.d. (#2.7-6.7, T-347.4), contains personal and professional correspondence. Letters from friends contain accounts of their lives and work, as well as of other friends and their involvement in social and political groups. Hacker's letters describe the challenges she faced raising her son, Mark, and include details of her unconventional marriage to Barton Hacker, during which the couple lived mostly apart from each other. Also included are Hacker's observations on communities she lived in, including local reactions to her feminist and political activities. Correspondence from 1988 to 1991 contains sympathy notes to Barton following Sally's death, and discussions of memorials and projects involving her work. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Series III, WRITINGS, 1967-1988, n.d. (#6.8-14.13, FD.1, T-347.5 -T-347.6), includes drafts, published copies of papers and articles, correspondence, notes, etc. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Series IV, TEACHING, 1970-1988, n.d. (#14.14-17.13), includes lecture notes, evaluations, syllabi, etc., relating to courses Hacker taught at Tufts University, Rhode Island College, Drake University, and Oregon State University; and correspondence, notes, speeches, etc., relating to committee work and other activities at various colleges and universities. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Series V, FEMINIST ACTIVITIES, 1966-1979, 1988, n.d. (#17.17-19.10), includes correspondence, flyers, songs, mailings, etc., relating to Hacker's involvement in several feminist organizations, actions, conferences, etc. A majority of the material documents Hacker's work as head of NOW's AT&T Task Force. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Series VI, RESEARCH FILES, 1967-1986, n.d. (#19.11-25.12, T-347.7 - T-347.10), contains notes, printed material, correspondence, legal documents, etc. Included are Hacker's files relating to sex discrimination at AT&T and the ensuing Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation into AT&T's violations of fair employment laws. These files were used by Hacker in her writings, teaching, and work on behalf of NOW's AT&T Task Force. Other files include written notes and recorded field notes documenting Hacker's experience as an executive secretary at an engineering firm as part of an ethnographic study she conducted on aerospace and related industries in the Los Angeles area. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Series VII, OTHER PROFESSIONAL, 1973-1987, n.d. (#25.13-28.25, T-347.11 - T-347.39), includes correspondence, notes, conference programs, interviews, etc. Files document Hacker's involvement in professional committees and organizations, as well as professional conferences and seminars. The papers about her Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Humanities and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she studied how technological change interacts with sex and race, include her series of interview questions for individuals employed in engineering and humanities fields at MIT, as well as her notes, correspondence, interview transcripts, interview recordings, and preliminary results. Files are arranged alphabetically.

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 [*].


Sara "Sally" Lynn Hacker, daughter of Frank and Ruth (Felkel) Swank, was born September 25, 1936, in Litchfield, Illinois. She was expelled from school in the eleventh grade when she got pregnant with her son, Richard Mark Teresi (later known as Mark Hacker). She married the child's father, Richard Teresi, a printer, in 1953; they later divorced. A second marriage to Bruce Frisbie, a graduate student in sociology, also ended in divorce. In 1966, she married Barton C. Hacker, a historian of technology.

After her expulsion from high school, Hacker took classes at A.A. Wright Junior College in Chicago, Illinois, and won a scholarship to the University of Chicago, where she received her B.A. (1962), M.A. (1965), and Ph.D. (1969). Alice Rossi supervised her dissertation, entitled Patterns of Work and Leisure: An Investigation of the Relationships between Childhood and Current Styles of Leisure and Current Work Behavior among Young Women Graduates in the Field of Public Education.

From 1962 to 1966, Hacker was a research assistant to sociologists Alice Rossi, Phil Stone, and Fred Stodtbeck at the University of Chicago and Harvard University. From 1966 to 1970, she lived in Houston, where she was a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Baylor University College of Medicine and a staff sociologist at the Texas Research Institute of Mental Sciences. She was an assistant professor of sociology at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, from 1971 to 1976. Between 1976 and 1977, she was a lecturer in formal organizations at Tufts University and an assistant professor of medical sociology and sociology of technology at Rhode Island College. From 1977 to the time of her death, she was a professor of sociology at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

In 1973, Hacker received a Ford Faculty Research Fellowship at Drake University to study technological change, particularly as it affected women's work, in telecommunications, agribusiness, printing and publishing, and insurance. In 1975, she received a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Humanities and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she studied how technological change interacts with sex and race.

Much of Hacker's work focused on technological change and its effect on gender stratification. To better understand the topic, she took classes in engineering at MIT and in architecture at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon. In 1982, she worked as an executive secretary in an engineering firm to perform an ethnographic study of aerospace and related industries in the Los Angeles area. In 1985, she spent a sabbatical year in the Basque Country of Northern Spain studying the worker-owned production cooperatives of Mondragon.

A self-described "radical feminist anarchist," Hacker and her husband, Barton Hacker, helped found the Des Moines and Ames chapters of the National Organization for Women (NOW). She headed up NOW's AT&T Task Force, which studied sex discrimination and presented evidence in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) hearings on the country's largest private employer. In 1973, a U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania approved a consent decree among AT&T and its subsidiaries (the Bell System), the EEOC and others, which included back pay for affected workers, as well as affirmative action and compliance programs. Hacker was also an active member of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, Iowa Women's Political Caucus, Women's Equity Action League, and other groups. In addition she helped organize a union drive at the Central National Bank (ca.1970-1973).

Hacker published and spoke extensively on the effects of engineering education and changing technology, particularly in the fields of telecommunications and agribusiness. She was the author of Pleasure, Power & Technology: Some Tales of Gender, Engineering, and the Cooperative Workplace, which was published posthumously in 1989. "Doing It the Hard Way": Investigations of Gender and Technology, a collection of her essays containing her comments on how she came to write each was edited by Dorothy E. Smith and Susan M. Turner and published in 1990.

Sally Hacker died of lung cancer July 24, 1988, in Corvallis, Oregon.


The collection is arranged in seven series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, 1951-1989, n.d. (#1.1-2.6, PD.1, T-347.1 - T-347.3)
  2. Series II. Correspondence, 1966-1991, n.d. (#2.7-6.7, T-347.4)
  3. Series III. Writings, 1967-1988, n.d. (#6.8-14.13, FD.1, T-347.5 -T-347.6)
  4. Series IV. Teaching, 1970-1988, n.d. (#14.14-17.13)
  5. Series V. Feminist activities, 1966-1979, 1988, n.d. (#17.17-19.10)
  6. Series VI. Research files, 1967-1986, n.d. (#19.11-25.12, T-347.7 - T-347.10)
  7. Series VII. Other professional, 1973-1987, n.d. (#25.13-28.25, T-347.11 - T-347.39)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 88-M13, 92-M88

The papers of Sally Hacker were given to the library by Sally Hacker in January 1988; additional papers were given by her widower, Barton C. Hacker, in June 1992.


Donors: Sally Hacker, Barton C. Hacker

Accession number: 88-M13, 82-M88

Processed by: Johanna Carll

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection (pending review by curator):

  1. The Erotization of Male Dominance Female Submission: The Sexist Turn-on That Castrates Self, Love, and Sex, by Ellen Morgan, 1975
  2. How Harvard Rules Women, New University Conference, 1970
  3. Network: News from the English Collective of Prostitutes, Numbers 1-5, July 1983 - June 1985
  4. Oregon Women at Work, State of Oregon Employment Division, Department of Human Services, Fall 1977
  5. A Revolution within a Revolution: Women in Guinea-Bissau, by Stephanie Urdang, ca.1971
  6. Teaching Technology Assessment to Women, by Margaret Bruce, Gill Kirkup, Chris Thomas, September 1984
  7. Women and International Development: Research, Politics and Policy, by Sue Ellen M. Charlton, 1982
  8. Women Studies: A Beginner's Guide, Volume 1, by Jeanne Dost, 1984
  9. Working Women: Our Stories and Struggles, published by Women of the Center for United Labor Action, Volume II, July 1973

The following items have been transferred to the Women's Newsletter and Periodical Collection (Pr-4):

  1. FFIN News: A Newsletter of the Feminist Futures International Network, Volume II, Number 1, Winter 1988
  2. Mahjubah: The Magazine for Muslim Women, Volume 1, Number 7, October 1981
  3. Women & Struggle in Iran, publication of the Women's Commission of the Iranian Students Association in the U.S., Number 1 (2nd edition celebrating International Women's Day), March 1982
  4. Women & Struggle in Iran, publication of the Women's Commission of the Iranian Students Association in the U.S., Number 2, September 1981
  5. Women in the Struggle for Liberation, World Student Christian Federation, V. 3, No. 2/3, serial number 8/9

Processing Information

Processed: March 2009

By: Johanna Carll

Hacker, Sally, 1936-1988. Papers of Sally Hacker, 1951-1991: 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 a gift from the Radcliffe College Class of 1955.

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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