Papers of Susan Schechter, 1961-2005 (inclusive), 1986-2004 (bulk)
Collection includes correspondence, speeches, drafts, grant materials, conference proceedings, subject files, clippings, photographs, audiotapes, and videotapes of Susan Schechter, domestic violence activist and social worker.
- Majority of material found within 1986-2004
Language of Materials
Most materials in English; some in Spanish.
Access requires the written permission of the donor until his death. Following Allen Steinberg's death, access is unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual materials.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Susan Schechter 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.
Extent38.49 linear feet ((89 file boxes, 1 folio+ box) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 supersize folder, 4 photograph folders, 101 audiotapes, 8 videotapes, 1 CD)
Series I, PERSONAL, 1961-2002 (#1.1-3.7), includes a small amount of personal material consisting of poetry, clippings, awards, Rolodex address cards, resumes and short biographies used for conference presentations and a folder of material relating to Schechter's seemingly short-term relationship with the Chutzpah Collective, a radical Jewish collective in Chicago that put out a journal called Chutzpah. Also included are course descriptions, syllabi, papers, etc., from Schechter's time at the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she completed her master's degree. Financial material consisting of tax documents, investment statements, and medical receipts are also included.
Series II, PROFESSIONAL, 1970-2004 (#3.8-89.7), includes correspondence; speeches and presentations; conference agendas and proceedings; draft writings, research, and interviews; meeting minutes and consulting contracts; grant proposals and reports; and subject files.
Subseries A, Early professional files, 1972-1992 (#3.8-5.1, 90F+B.1m), includes notes, employee lists, program descriptions, etc., for the Day Care Training Program at Christopher House, a non-profit, social service provider based in Chicago, formerly associated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. Also included are course outlines, notes, clippings, meeting minutes, speeches, correspondence (see also Subseries B, Correspondence), etc., related to Schechter's work as development coordinator and director of women's services at the Loop Center YWCA in Chicago and as coordinator of children and youth development services at the Park Slopes Safe Homes Project in Brooklyn, New York. Also included are project descriptions, clippings, client data, reports, a training manual, etc., related to her work at Advocacy for Women and Kids in Emergencies (AWAKE), operating out of Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. One folder contains a syllabus for a course taught by Schechter at Hunter College entitled "Family and Sexual Violence." Files are arranged chronologically by employer. Folder titles were created by the processor.
Subseries B, Correspondence, 1971-2004 (#5.2-9.6), includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence between Schechter and her personal and professional acquaintances. Much of this correspondence documents her early activism with organizations such as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and a number of state-wide and local coalitions against domestic violence, as well as national and state departments of health and human services. Also included is correspondence with various universities, battered women's shelters, women's groups, health organizations, and governmental agencies regarding scheduling, topics, and reimbursement for appearances at conferences, meetings, etc., to speak on the subjects of domestic violence and the relationship between domestic violence and poverty and child abuse. Correspondents of note include Barbara Hart (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence), Ellen Pence (Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project), Edward Gondolf (Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute), Jill Davies (Greater Hartford Legal Aid), David Adams (Emerge), and historian Linda Gordon. Additional correspondence related to Schechter's professional work can be found in Series II, Subseries A (Early professional files), Subseries C (Engagements and speeches), Subseries D (Writing and research), Subseries E (Consultations), and Subseries F (Grant projects). The original chronological arrangement was maintained. Additional digital material will be reformatted at some future date for possible inclusion in this subseries.
Subseries C, Speeches and engagements, 1975-2003 (#9.7-21.14, 90F+B.2m), includes handwritten drafts and typescripts of speeches, conference publicity, programs, brochures and related ephemera, slides, training modules, notes, etc., related to conferences, trainings, meetings, events, etc., at which Schechter either appeared as a featured speaker or guest, or attended as a participant. Most folders also contain related correspondence (see also Subseries B, Correspondence). Conferences, events, etc., were generally sponsored by universities, various coalitions against domestic violence, women's groups, health organizations, and governmental agencies. Generally, the topics of these engagements revolve around domestic violence and child abuse, as well as the relationship between domestic violence and poverty and child abuse. One notable exception are two folders of material (#9.8-9.9) related to the National Socialist Feminist Conference at Antioch College (1975), which include material on the Jewish Caucus. Schechter's arrangement of the series by event and thence chronologically was retained. Folder titles were created by the processor. Additional digital material will be reformatted at some future date for possible inclusion in this subseries.
Subseries D, Writing and research, 1976-2000 (#21.15-29.13), consists of handwritten and typescript drafts, outlines, project descriptions, grant proposals, research notes, interview notes and transcriptions (see also Subseries F, Grant projects), consent and payment forms, royalty statements, correspondence (see also Subseries B, Correspondence), critiques, etc., related to articles, training and policy papers and manuals (see also Subseries E, Consultations and Subseries F, Grant projects), reviews, books, etc., both published and unpublished, and either authored or co-authored by Schechter. The bulk of the materials are related to Schechter's work on her two books, Women and Male Violence: The Visions and Struggles of the Battered Women's Movement and When Love Goes Wrong: What to Do When You Can't Do Anything Right, the latter co-authored with Ann Jones. In writing When Love Goes Wrong: What to Do When You Can't Do Anything Right, Schechter interviewed battered women and women active in the battered women's movement, and this subseries contains typed transcripts of many of the interviews. There are interviews that have audiotapes and no accompanying typed transcripts. Audiotapes are located in Series III, Subseries B. The subseries is arranged chronologically by project. Folder titles were created by the processor. Additional digital material will be reformatted at some future date for possible inclusion in this subseries.
Subseries E, Consultations, 1981-2004 (#30.1-51.8, 90F+B.3m), includes meeting agendas and minutes, questionnaires, presentation and training materials, correspondence (see also Subseries B, Correspondence), draft and final reports, project proposals and outlines, notes, time sheets, contracts, contact lists, etc., for projects in which Schechter served as a consultant, advisor, or reviewer, or in instances where she served as a committee, council, or board member. Organizations for which Schechter consulted include the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its subsidiary, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Health and Human Services and their subsidiary agencies, among others. Topics generally consist of domestic violence and child abuse, as well as the relationship between domestic violence and poverty or child abuse. The subseries is arranged chronologically by project. Folder titles were created by the processor. Curriculum, training materials, overheads, etc., not identified with any specific consultation, and likely used for a number of different trainings, have been filed chronologically at the end of the series. Additional digital material will be reformatted at some future date for possible inclusion in this subseries.
Subseries F, Grant projects, 1986-2005 (#51.9-69.7), consists of grant proposals and outlines, correspondence (see also Subseries B, Correspondence), consent and payment forms, notes, interviews, clippings, draft and final reports, contracts, meeting minutes and agendas, survey questionnaires, etc., for grant projects for which Schechter served as project director. The aim of many of these grant projects was to assess domestic violence service needs, to identify the relationship between domestic violence and child abuse, poverty, and/or substance abuse, or to establish national policy or training standards in the area of domestic violence services. Most financial documents, reports, and published articles were discarded. Publications by Schechter were transferred to the Schlesinger Library book division. The subseries is arranged chronologically (by final reporting date) by project. Folder titles were created by the processor. Additional digital material will be reformatted at some future date for possible inclusion in this subseries.
Subseries G, Subject files, 1970-2003 (#70.1-89.7), includes unpublished conference papers, clippings, copies of newsletters, training manuals, state and federal child protective services and domestic violence protocols, copies of state and federal legislation regarding domestic violence, notes, reports, etc., that served as Schechter's reference files. Published articles and book excerpts and chapters have been discarded. Schechter's original folder titles have been maintained. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Series III, PHOTOGRAPHS, AUDIOVISUAL, OVERSIZED, and MEMORABILIA, 1979-2002 (#PD.1sl, T-344.1 - T-344.101, Vt-156.1 - Vt-156.9, CD-034.1, F+D.1, SD.1, 90F+B.1m - 90F+B.6m ), consists of color slides of Schechter, audiotapes, videotapes, oversized materials, and t-shirts. They are arranged by format in four subseries.
Subseries A, Photographs, undated (#PD.1sl), consists of 18 color slides of Schechter, which appear to have been taken by a professional photographer for publicity purposes. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database.
Subseries B, Audiovisual, 1986-2002 (#T-344.1 - T-344.101, Vt-156.1 - Vt-156.8, CD-34.1, 90F+B.1m - 90F+B.6m), consists of audiotapes, videotapes, and one compact disc. Audiotapes include recordings of interviews with battered women for Schechter's book When Love Goes Wrong (T-344.1 - T-344.47) as well as two radio interviews with Schechter during her publicity tour for the book (T-344.48 - T-344.49). Additional recordings of interviews with battered women, as well as domestic violence service workers and professionals were completed for a grant project entitled Developing Protocols for Intervention in Cases Where Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Coexist (T-344.86 - T-344.95). Also included are recordings of several meetings and interviews related to additional grant projects. These include: In the Best Interest of Women and Children: Building National Links Between Domestic Violence Constituencies and its related meeting, "Domestic Violence and Child Welfare: Integrating Policy and Practice for Families" (T-344.55 - T344.59) and Creating a National Domestic Violence Training Program and its related meetings: "Innovative Local and State Responses" (T-344.60 - T-344.63), "Urban Needs Assessment" (T-344.64 - T-344.68), and "Rural Needs Assessment" (T-344.69 - T-344.72), as well as related interviews with domestic violence service workers assisting the Asian community (T-344.73 - T-344.79) and the Latina community (T-344.80 - T-344.85). Remaining audiotapes consist of recordings of various meetings and general training material. Most videotapes contain recordings used for general training purposes. The exception to this is a video recording of Schechter interviewing an unidentified battered woman (Vt-156.9). One compact disc contains recordings of interviews with African American battered women (CD-34.1).
Subseries C, Oversized, 1986, undated (#F+D.1, SD.1), consists of oversized material transferred from other series. The majority of these are posters from conferences or events Schechter either attended or where she appeared as a speaker.
Subseries D, Memorabilia, 1979-ca.1995 (#90F+B.1m - 90F+B.6m), includes six t-shirts from various domestic violence conferences and projects. Several of these correspond to conferences that Schechter attended (#90.2m) or projects that she worked on (#90.1m, 90.3m) and for which corresponding records can be found in the collection. It is assumed that remainder were related to projects that she worked on as well.
Susan Schechter was born May 1, 1946, in St. Louis, Missouri. She received a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1975 and a master's degree in social work from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was married to Allen Steinberg. The couple had a son, Zachary Schechter-Steinberg. While in graduate school Schechter worked as development coordinator for Christopher House and the Loop Center YWCA in Chicago, finally becoming the director of women's services of the latter in 1976. It was during this time that she became involved in the battered women's movement and helped to organize the first battered women's shelter in Chicago. In 1978 Schechter left Chicago and moved to New York City. For a short while, she worked for the Family Abuse Project at the Henry Street Settlement, leaving this position to become coordinator of children and youth development services at the Park Slope Safe Homes Project in Brooklyn, New York.
Following her work at the Park Slope Safe Homes Project, Schechter sought funding in order to complete her first book, Women and Male Violence: The Visions and Struggles of the Battered Women's Movement, which was published in 1982. In that same year, she became a program associate and later director of the Women's Education Institute in New York City. By 1986, she had moved to Brookline, Massachusetts, and became involved in the development of Advocacy for Women and Children (AWAKE) at Children's Hospital, Boston. AWAKE was the first program in the United States situated in a pediatric hospital that served battered women and their abused children.
In 1991, Schechter took a position as clinical professor at the University of Iowa, School of Social Work. While she supervised several graduate students completing independent studies and practicum requirements, and also lectured for various courses taught at the School of Social Work, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the College of Law, and the Injury Prevention Center, she mainly served as a project director for a number of grant projects. Many of these grants explored domestic violence service needs and the relationship between domestic violence and child abuse, and had an impact on national public policy and training procedures. Funding sources included private foundations, such as the Ford Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and federal and state agencies, such as the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control, among others.
In 1992, Schechter completed her second book, When Love Goes Wrong: What to Do When You Can't Do Anything Right, co-authored with Ann Jones, although throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she continued to publish various articles, book chapters, and training curricula and manuals on the subjects of domestic violence and child abuse. There was a great demand for Schechter's expertise and as a result, she was featured as a speaker, trainer, etc., at numerous conferences and engaged as a consultant by many organizations, including, but not limited to: the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its subsidiary, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence; the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, as well as their subsidiary agencies; and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. In addition, she also served on a number of committees, councils, or boards, including the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women, the Advisory Board for the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, and the Board of Governors for Violence Update, Sage Publications. Schechter died on February 4, 2004, of endometrial cancer.
The collection is arranged in three series:
- Series I. Personal, 1961-2002 (#1.1-3.7)
- Series II. Professional, 1970-2005 (#3.8-89.7, 90F+B.1m - 90F+B.3m)
- Series III. Photographs, audiovisual, oversized, and memorabilia, 1979-2002 (#PD.1sl, T-344.1 - T-344.101, Vt-156.1 - Vt-156.9, CD-34.1, F+D.1, SD.1, 90F+B.1m - 90F+B.6m)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession numbers: 2005-M90, 2005-M103, 2006-M111
The papers of Susan Schechter were given to the Schlesinger Library by her widower, Allen Steinberg, between 2005 and 2006.
Donor: Allen Steinberg
Accession numbers: 2005-M90, 2005-M103, 2006-M111
Processed by: Mark Vassar
The following items have been removed from the collection:
- 62 publications, three videotapes, and one compact disc have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library book collection.
- 2 cartons of published material on domestic violence has been transferred to the University of Iowa, School of Social Work.
Processed: May 2009
By: Mark Vassar
- Abused wives--United States
- Abused women--United States
- Child abuse--United States
- Children of abused wives--United States
- Family violence--United States
- Feminism--United States
- Financial records
- Government policy--United States
- Iowa--Social conditions--20th century
- Jewish women--United States
- Manuscripts for publication
- Poverty--United States
- Social workers--United States
- Wife abuse--United States
- Women--Crimes against
- Women--United States--Social conditions
- Schechter, Susan, 1946-2004. Papers of Susan Schechter, 1961-2005 (inclusive), 1986-2004 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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