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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 365

Records of the Massachusetts History Workshop, 1980-1984


Correspondence, conference proceedings, interview transcripts, etc., of the Massachusetts History Workshop, an organization that brought together "worker-historians and university-based historians" to document and honor the history of working people.


  • Creation: 1980-1984

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. Portions of the collections were restricted until January 1, 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Massachusetts History Workshop 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. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.42 linear feet (1 file box)

The collection contains correspondence with funding agencies; transcripts of the April 1982 conference proceedings; transcripts of 14 interviews and several summaries of workers' lives; research material for and drafts of the booklet; clippings; and publicity. The interview transcripts form the bulk of the material and provide insight into working conditions and employment opportunities for clerical workers in a number of different work environments, including industry, insurance, hospitals, and universities.

Until 1 January 2015, readers wishing to read to #3-7 must first sign a special permission form. The material in these folders may not be photocopied while this restriction is in effect.


The Massachusetts History Workshop was founded in 1978 by James Green, Susan Reverby, and Martin Blatt, three Boston-area labor historians, to bring together "worker-historians and university-based explore common historical and political concerns, and to work toward democratizing people's history." After sponsoring history workshops with shoe workers in Lynn (1976), and with textile workers in Lawrence (1981), the Massachusetts History Workshop turned its attention to clerical workers, and on April 24, 1982, presented a one-day conference on the past and future of clerical work. Held at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, the conference attracted more than 150 people, including a number of retired office workers. The Massachusetts History Workshop intended to use this workshop and the preparation for it as a means of involving clerical workers in writing their own history; interviews with more than fifty workers were conducted and in 1985 the Massachusetts History Workshop published a booklet entitled "They Can't Run the Office Without Us: Women Look at 60 Years of Clerical Work" (Cambridge, Mass.: Red Sun Press). This booklet is available in the book division of the Schlesinger Library.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 84-M190

These records of the Massachusetts History Workshop were given to the Schlesinger Library in October 1984 by James R. Green of the Massachusetts History Workshop.

Processing Information

Processed: October 1989

By: Anne Engelhart and Elizabeth Wang

Massachusetts History Workshop. Records of the Massachusetts History Workshop, 1980-1984: 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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