Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: 82-M33--84-M82

Papers of Barbara Seaman, 1920-1983


Correspondence, letters from readers, minutes, etc., of Barbara Seaman, feminist and author.


  • Creation: 1920-1983


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Readers must sign a special permission form to use the collection. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Barbara Seaman is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in the material created by Sylvia Sybil Bernstein Seaman (#T-468.32) is held by Elana, Shira, and Noah Seaman, represented by literary agents Valerie Borchardt and/or Georges Borchardt, Inc. Upon the deaths of Elana, Shira, and Noah Seaman, copyright will transfer to Barbara Seaman's heirs, represented by her granddaughter Sophia Bamert. 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.


4 linear feet ((4 cartons) plus 6 photograph folders, 1 folio folder, 3 folio folders, 1 oversize volume, 2 oversize folders, 34 audiotapes, 3 videotapes, 1 motion picture film)

The collection contains photographs; personal and professional correspondence and letters from readers; articles by and about Barbara Seaman; minutes, reports, and printed material of organizations in which Seaman played an active role; and interviews (both on tape and transcribed), reports, and articles providing background material on issues of interest to Seaman. Drafts of published works have not been retained, nor have routine inquiries about purchasing her books.

Letters containing detailed information about anindividual's health problem have been photocopied with identifying information removed (see #81-82, 109-113, 151-152, 163, 169, 183, 187, 200), as have letters containing other sensitive information (see #39, 43, 142).

Folder titles in quotation marks are the donor's. Other information has been supplied by the processor.

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Barbara Seaman Additional papers, 1933-2008 (MC 695).


The eldest of three sisters, Barbara Ann Rosner Seaman was born in New York City on September 11, 1935. Her father, Henry Jerome Rosner, was assistant commissioner of the city's Department of Social Services, and her mother, Sophie Blanche (Kimels) Rosner, was a high school English teacher. After attending public schools in New York, Seaman entered Oberlin College as a Ford Foundation Early Admissions Scholar. At age nineteen she was married for six months to Peter Marks. Seaman graduated from Oberlin in 1956.

The following year saw her marriage to Gideon Seaman, a psychiatrist, and the birth of their first child, Noah Samuel. Elana Felicia was born in 1960 and Shira Jean in 1962. Seaman was also the "foster mother of record" for Joey Nemecek, a boy who had dated Elana, and who had been on his own since the age of thirteen; Nemecek died under mysterious circumstances in 1977. In 1982 the Seamans were divorced, and Seaman married Milton Forman, president of Toltec Fabrics, Inc.

During the early 1960s, Seaman and Gideon Seaman wrote a column on marriage for Bride's Magazine ; a later column entitled "Your Mind, Your Heart" was syndicated through the Bell-McClure newspaper network (1970-1971). Seaman was a columnist and contributing editor at Ladies' Home Journal (1965-1969), child care and education editor at Family Circle (1970-1973), contributing editor at Omni (1978), and author of articles and reviews in numerous newspapers and magazines, including Ms. , The New York Times , the Village Voice , and the Washington Post .

Her books include The Doctors' Case Against the Pill (New York: Peter H. Wyden, 1969), and, with Gideon Seaman, Free and Female (New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1972), and Women and the Crisis in Sex Hormones (New York: Rawson, 1977). For a more complete list of her writings, see Who's Who in America, 1984-1985 .

In 1975 Seaman taught at the College of New Rochelle (New York) and at Sagaris Institute (Plainfield, Vermont). She has appeared frequently on television, and has lectured widely on health care at a number of institutions, including the City University of New York, Columbia University, University of Michigan, New York University, and Oberlin College. She testified on a variety of health care issues before Congressional committees (1970-1983), and in 1970 was recognized by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare for her part in seeing that appropriate written warnings to patients accompanied each prescription. In 1973 Seaman was honored by the Library of Congress for being the first to raise worldwide the problem of sexism in health care, and in 1978 she received the Matrix award given by New York Women in Communications, Inc.

A co-founder of the National Women's Health Network, Seaman has served on the boards and advisory committees of a number of organizations, including the New York Women's Forum (1974), Feminist Press (1975- ), DES Action (1977- ), Older Women's Health Project of New York University's Medical Center (1980), Abortion Rights Mobilization (1981- ), and Women's Health Newsletter (1983- ). She is also a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Association of Science Writers, PEN, and Women's Ink.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 82-M33, 82-M76, 82-M121, 82-M151, 82-M166, 82-M213, 82-M214, 83-M36, 83-M40, 83-M41, 84-M82

The papers of Barbara (Rosner) Seaman were given to the Schlesinger Library by Barbara Seaman in March, April, June, July, August, October, and November 1982, in February 1983, and in May 1984.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Barbara Seaman Additional papers, 1933-2008 (MC 695).


  1. Carton 1: 7-59
  2. Carton 2: 60-107
  3. Carton 3: 109-152
  4. Carton 4: 153-203v

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: December 1985

By: Anne Engelhart



Seaman, Barbara. Papers of Barbara Seaman, 1920-1983: 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.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA