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COLLECTION Identifier: 85-M159--85-M175

Papers of Gail Rotegard, 1967-1984


Memoranda, reports, notes, etc., of Gail Rotegard, Boston city official.


  • Creation: 1967-1984

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted. Folders #35 and #37 have been redacted. Original documents are closed until January 1, 2042.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Gail Rotegard 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.


1.63 linear feet (1 carton, 1+1/2 file boxes)

This collection consists primarily of professional papers: memoranda, reports, notes, budgets, research material, and correspondence documenting Gail Rotegard's career as an administrator in the City of Boston, in Region I of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and at the Judge Baker Guidance Center. Many drafts and reports on which Rotegard worked appeared without her name; Elliot Friedman helped identify this material and his comments are attached to some specific items.

Among the personal papers are poems, prose, and a journal Rotegard wrote during her college years, notes about child care and the development of her twin boys, and drafts of a book on working mothers. Also included is a journal kept by Friedman, describing the family's life during Rotegard's battle with cancer.


The eldest of four children of June and Richard A. Rotegard, Gail Pamela Rotegard was born on January 25, 1947, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where her mother was a teacher and her father a manager of an equipment leasing firm. She graduated from Radcliffe College magna cum laude in 1968. A government major, Rotegard wrote an honors thesis entitled "The Rhetoric of the Urban Crisis: The Crisis of the American City, 1964-1968." She earned an M.B.A. with high honors from Boston University Graduate School of Management in 1982.

Beginning soon after graduation from Radcliffe, Rotegard was employed by the City of Boston in various capacities for ten years. She began as executive assistant to the director of the Office of Public Service, helping to establish sixteen "little city halls" in Boston's neighborhoods, and setting up management and public information systems. Rotegard went on to become special assistant (1971-1972) to Mayor Kevin White, and visitor services administrator for Boston 200/Office of the Boston Bicentennial (1972-1975), establishing the service network used by downtown visitors and supervising physical improvement projects. From 1975 to 1978 she served as executive assistant in the office of Deputy Mayor Katharine D. Kane, where, as chief of staff, she oversaw $20 million in federal and state aid, and twenty-one city agencies, boards, and commissions. As project leader for the Boston Plan-a proposal for investment in the city-she identified opportunities for joint public-private investment and helped seek financing.

Rotegard left city government in November 1978, taking a post as program analyst and intergovernmental specialist in the director's office of Region I, United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. There she evaluated HEW programs, focusing on user and provider experiences in hospitals, schools, and social service agencies. She had sole responsibility for a hospital cost control study that was presented at Vermont legislative hearings and resulted in Medicaid fee changes in that state. In September 1980 she became development director at the Judge Baker Guidance Center, a children's mental health facility; she established the development office, initiated a capital drive for a major construction project, and was responsible for some aspects of financial planning and all public relations and communications.

While employed in these various positions, Rotegard served as a consultant to a number of organizations, doing studies of Boston's Model Cities Program and of the Job Corps, and a plan for a national park and investment program for Lowell, Massachusetts. Honored in 1974 for her "Outstanding Contribution to City of Boston" by the Mayor's Committee on the Status of Women, she was also appointed to the Advisory Committee on Tourism and Recreation of the Federal Energy Administration (1974-1975), and to the executive committee of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (1976-1978).

Rotegard married Elliot Friedman, a government administrator, in September 1974. Twin boys, Benjamin and Daniel, were born in July 1978. Rotegard died of cancer in May 1984.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 85-M159, 85-M175

The papers of Gail Rotegard were given to the Schlesinger Library by her husband, Elliot Friedman, in August 1985.


The following items have been removed from the collection and discarded, December 1986:

  1. Clippings, articles re: child care, household management, 1978-1982


  1. Carton 1: 1-33
  2. Box 2: 34-44
  3. Box 3: 45-51

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: December 1986

By: Anne Engelhart

Rotegard, Gail, 1947-1984. Papers of Gail Rotegard, 1967-1984: 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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