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COLLECTION Identifier: 96-M142--97-M90; T-274; Vt-86

Papers of Margaret Moseley, 1943-1997


Correspondence, speeches, clippings, etc., of Margaret Moseley, community, peace, and civil rights activist.


  • 1943-1997

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 Moseley 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.


.63 linear feet ((1+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 3 folders of photographs, 7 audiotapes, 1 videotape)

This collection is divided into four sections. The first, Margaret Moseley's personal papers, contains correspondence, awards, speeches, clippings, and invitations regarding civil and human rights, honorary events, and Moseley's memoirs. Also included are taped interviews by Berry Shea, which formed the basis of Margaret Moseley's published memoir, Moving Mountains One Stone at a Time.

The second section contains clippings, reports, and letters documenting Moseley's work with various Cape Cod organizations, such as Community Action Committee of Cape Cod and Fair Housing Committee on Cape Cod. It also includes letters and artwork from third grade students of the Centerville School on Cape Cod in appreciation of Moseley's talk on Martin Luther King, Jr., and a videotape about the reverse freedom riders, which aired as part of the "Tales of Cape Cod" series on C3TV.

The third section, Moseley's work with the Cape Cod branch of WILPF, contains pamphlets, flyers, clippings, letters, photographs, newsletters, guest books, and invitations. The fourth section concerns Fellowship of Reconciliation's recognition of Moseley's lifetime achievement and contains flyers, articles, a press release, clippings, order of service, guest books, letters, photographs, and an audiotape of the Martin Luther King award presentation.


A community, peace, and civil rights activist, Margaret Lee Moseley, daughter of Nellie Elizabeth (Hall) and Thomas Buxton Smith, was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1901, and graduated from high school in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1919. Moseley found that she was unable to pursue a career in nursing or business because of racial discrimination. She married Frederick Douglass Lee (ca. 1922); they had three children: Frederick Douglass, Jr., Alice Louise Marie, and Thomas George.

Moseley was a founding member of Cooperative Way, a consumers' cooperative in Boston in the 1940s, and served on the board of the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. She was one of the founding members of Freedom House in Roxbury, president of the Community Church in Boston, and Massachusetts legislative chair for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), which established the Margaret Moseley Memorial Peace Education fund in her honor in 1989.

After moving to Cape Cod in 1961, Moseley helped form local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and WILPF. She became a founding member of the Community Action Committee of Cape Cod (CAC) and the Fair Housing Committee on Cape Cod (FHC) and was active in the Cape Cod branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). She was also active in the Unitarian Church of Barnstable, becoming a founding member of the Social Responsibility Committee and the first woman to chair the Prudential Committee, the governing body of the church. She also served on the board of the Cape Cod Section, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the board of Elder Services of the Cape and Islands. She and her second husband, Emerson Moseley, worked on a committee that succeeded in getting an affirmative action contract for the Town of Barnstable.

In 1962, Moseley was part of a committee formed to meet the "reverse freedom riders" as they arrived on the Cape. Reverse freedom riders were African Americans from Arkansas sent on a free one-way trip to Hyannis by the White Citizens Council to embarrass John F. Kennedy by stirring up racial problems in the town where his family spent their summer vacations. In 1965, Moseley traveled to Selma, Alabama, with six other women from WILPF to work on the voting rights campaign.

Moseley holds life memberships in the NAACP, WILPF, and Fellowship of Reconciliation, and has been honored by the Cape Cod branches of the NAACP and WILPF, Cape Cod Community College, Town of Barnstable, Cape Cod Council of Doers, the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the United States House of Representatives. In 1995, she received Fellowship of Reconciliation's Martin Luther King award for lifetime achievement.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 96-M142, 97-M90

These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library in October 1996 by Margaret Moseley.


The following item has been removed from the collection and discarded (copy in Schlesinger Library), May 1997:

  1. Jacobs, Ruth Harriet. Button Button Who has the Button? Durham, N.C.: Crone's Own Press, 1988.

The following item has been discarded, May 1997:

  1. Audiotape of Margaret Moseley accepting Martin Luther Kind award as aired on WQRC, 1995. 22 minutes. (Excerpts from award presentation, see T-274, reel 7.)


  1. Box 1: 1-4, 6-8, 15-20, 22-24, 26-27
  2. Box 2: 28v, 30-32, 34v-36

Processing Information

Processed: July 1997

By: Glynn Edwards

Moseley, Margaret, 1901-1997. Papers, 1943-1997: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
The collection was processed with funds provided by Clara Goldberg Schiffer.

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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