Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MC 562

Papers of Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, 1877-1988 (inclusive), 1915-1970 (bulk)

Papers of Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, author, lecturer, suffragist, and traveler.

Dates

  • 1877-1988
  • Majority of material found within 1915-1970

Language of Materials

Materials in English, Russian, French, and Yiddish.

Access Restrictions:

Access. The collection is open to research except for #14.3, 14.10, and 15.8, which are closed until January 1, 2015; #132.9, which is closed until January 1, 2032; #21.6 and 133.1, which are closed until January 1, 2045; and individual items throughout the collection, which are closed as specified to protect personal privacy. Material in folders #1.10, 8.1-8.12, 10.9, 12.8, 12.11-12.12, 13.2-13.3, 13.6, 14.8, 15.1, 15.9, 17.5, 17.7, 17.11, 18.1, 20.4, 20.7, 20.9, 21.1, 21.3, 21.5, 21.7, 22.1, 22.3, 22.6, 22.9-22.10, 25.2-25.7, 26.1, 26.9-26.16, 26.18-26.21, 26.28-26.33, 27.6-27.8, 70.8-70.20, 71.1-71.6, 71.9-71.18, 72.1-72.15, 73.1-73.13, 75.1-75.19, 76.1-76.19, and 119.13 were opened in January 2013 following the death of the donor.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Rebecca Hourwich Reyher will be transferred to the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library upon the death of Faith Jackson. 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.

Extent

68.97 linear feet ((144 file boxes) plus 4 folio+ boxes, 2 oversized boxes, 4 folio folders, 4 folio+ folders, 1 supersize folder, 142 photograph folders, 1 folio photograph folder, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 3 slides)

This collection documents the personal and professional life of Rebecca Reyher, including her frequent travel to Africa, lecturing and teaching career, involvement with the People's Mandate Committee, work as a suffragist and member of the National Woman's Party, and experiences as a divorced woman and mother. In addition to her career as an author, Reyher worked a wide variety of jobs, and many of them are documented here. Some material related to the life of her father, Isaac Hourwich, is also included. The collection includes drafts of published and unpublished books and articles, diaries (many documenting her travel to Africa), appointment books, correspondence (including letters from family members and from other suffragists and feminists), and scripts for Reyher's 1940s radio show. The bulk of the folder titles were created by the processors; Reyher's titles, when used, appear in quotation marks. Reyher kept a large number of folders full of clippings dealing with a variety of subjects, perhaps with the goal of writing books or articles on these topics; those clippings not annotated by her have been discarded.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1877-1987 (scattered), n.d. (#1.1-22.11, 144.10-144.15), is arranged in two subseries described below: biographical and personal, and diaries, journals, and appointment calendars.

Subseries A, Biographical and personal, 1877-1987 (scattered), n.d. (#1.1-10.7, 144.13-144.15), includes biographical information on Reyher; autobiographical writings; a photostat of Reyher's birth certificate and drafts of her will; some course work and related documents; correspondence related to her frequent search for steady employment; financial and medical records; documents pertaining to her homes in Robinhood, Maine, and New York City, and passports. The financial records include credit disputes, receipts, bank statements, bills, insurance documents, payment for articles published, mortgages on Robinhood, Maine, house, property taxes, complaints to stores, summary of financial position, and expense accounts for trips. Biographical and autobiographical material is followed by an alphabetical arrangement of folders.

Subseries B, Diaries, journals, and appointment calendars, 1921-1984 (#10.8-22.11, 144.10-144.12), includes diaries Reyher kept on many of her trips abroad, including a trip to Russia and Palestine, her first trip to South Africa, and a trip to Africa with her daughter in 1934. Most of these diaries describe the culture, customs, politics, and climates of the various countries visited; descriptions of people encountered (including authors Olive Schreiner and Alan Paton); and Reyher's daily experiences, including her health and monetary concerns, and her writings; and often also include notes and drafts for books or articles. The subseries also includes journals describing lecture tours, and engagement calendars, some of which are very detailed. Diaries and calendars after 1965 often address Reyher's own declining health, and the medical ailments of her sister Olga ("Dicky".) The last few engagement books also address family relations and aging. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Series II, FAMILY, 1882-1978 (#23.1-27.10, 104.6-104.7), is arranged in five subseries, described below, and mostly contains correspondence of other family members, as well as articles in Russian and Yiddish, passports, business letters, financial records, wedding announcements, and birth announcements. For Reyher's correspondence with these and other family members, see Series V.

Subseries A, Isaac Hourwich, 1882-1960 (#23.1-25.17), contains family and business correspondence, articles in Russian and Yiddish, certificates, and business records.

Subseries B, Louise Elizabeth "Lisa" Joffe Hourwich, 1886-1947 (#25.18-26.5, 104.6), contains family correspondence, high school diploma, and sympathy cards to the family after her death.

Subseries C, Faith Reyher Jackson, 1919-1974, n.d. (#26.6-26.21), contains letters from family and friends, wedding and birth announcements, and letters regarding her education.

Subseries D, Olga Hourwich, 1906-1978, n.d. (#26.22-27.4, 104.7), contains letters from family and friends, business letters, and a passport.

Subseries E, Other siblings and family members, 1911-1968 (#27.5-27.10), contains family correspondence, and articles written by family members.

Series III, BOOKS, 1923-1983 (#27.11-59.1, 70.3-70.7, 145F+B.1-146F+B.14), consists of the ten subseries described below. Materials on Reyher's three best known books, Zulu Woman, The Fon and His Hundred Wives, and My Mother Is The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, appear first, followed by the rest of the subseries listed alphabetically.

Subseries A, Zulu Woman, 1930-1975 (#27.11-34.8), includes several drafts of Reyher's book about Christina Sibiya, the first wife of Solomon ka Dinuzulu, King of the Zulus, and mother of Cyprian, Solomon's heir. The subseries also contains a copy of Solomon's letter acknowledging Cyprian as his heir; correspondence (including rejection letters and correspondence regarding a possible film version); a condensed version published in Life magazine; copyright agreements; reviews; and publicity materials. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, The Fon and His Hundred Wives, 1947-1971, n.d. (#34.9-38.10), includes drafts of Reyher's book about the Fon of Bikom; also included are correspondence; royalty statements; a serialized version; a version titled The Fon of Laikom; notes; clippings and reviews; and publicity materials. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, 1944-1982 (#38.12-40.6), includes contracts for various editions; correspondence and clippings, including a column by Eleanor Roosevelt in which she mentions the book; royalty statements; and correspondence and legal documents related to Reyher's lawsuit against the Children's Television Workshop, which had featured a story very similar to My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World in its magazine and on an episode of Sesame Street. (Reyher lost and appealed this case; her lawyer submitted a petition for a Writ of Certiorari, which was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.) The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries D, Babies and Puppies Are Fun, 1939-1949, n.d. (#40.7-40.9), includes royalty statements, correspondence (including rejection letters for an earlier version of this children's book), and a story by Reyher which appeared in Congratulations magazine.

Subseries E, Babies Keep Coming, 1941-1950, n.d. (#40.10-41.7, 70.3-70.7, 145F+B.1-146F+B.14), contains correspondence related to this book of essays, stories, poems, and book excerpts, which was edited by Reyher. The book was organized into sections with headings like "Birth" and "Expert Advice"; the section introductions, written by Reyher, and the essay she contributed, are included, as are royalty statements.

Subseries F, Book projects re: African women, 1939-1967, n.d. (#41.8-45.2), consists of drafts of several unpublished books by Reyher, as well as a segment she contributed to Dr. George Kimble's book Tropical Africa, and correspondence. The subseries is arranged alphabetically. For additional writings on African women, see Subseries J.

Subseries G, Several Simultaneous Husbands, 1957-1964, 1971, 1982 (#45.3-50.5), includes several drafts of an unpublished book on polyandry in Ceylon. Correspondence and notes are also included. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries H, The Stork Run, 1942-1950, n.d. (#50.6-51.5), includes correspondence and clippings related to the book of baby cartoons edited by Reyher. The subseries also includes contracts; royalty statements; an account of the royalties due to the cartoonists; publicity materials for a publication party; and a mock-up of a proposed sequel. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries I, Other books, 1932-1983, (scattered), n.d. (#51.6-53.4), consists of book proposals and outlines; drafts; correspondence; recipes collected for potential cookbooks; and dummies of several proposed children's books. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries J, Other writings, notes, and drafts 1923-1972, n.d. (#53.5-59.1), includes drafts on a wide variety of topics including African women, feminism, women's work, Reyher's grandsons, and many more. Some notes and ideas for articles and books are also included, as is some background material. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Series IV, ARTICLES AND BOOK REVIEWS, 1920-1979 (#59.2-70.2), consists primarily of published and unpublished articles by Reyher. Article topics include family life (Who Gets the Child,Are You a Good Father?); biographical sketches (Agnes Powers: The Only Woman Lay Preacher in Maine,Gandhi's Granddaughter,At Home with the Patons); life in Africa (A Day with a Zulu Doctor,To Market, To Market for a Profit of Sixpence); and a wide variety of other topics. Articles by Reyher appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers, ranging from the Nation and Mademoiselle to more obscure or specialized publications such as Milady magazine and Downeast; several of her articles were published in South African papers, such as the Cape Times, for which she wrote the series of biographical sketches These I Shall Remember and the infant care series Babies Keep Coming. Also included is the newspaper column Reyher wrote for Joseph McKee. The series also includes a scrapbook of clippings. With the exception of the articles What Do You Do With Your Time? and Portrait of a South Africa Home Executive, all of the articles in the scrapbook also appear elsewhere in the series. The scrapbook also includes book jackets for Zulu Woman, The Stork Run, Babies and Puppies Are Fun, and Babies Keep Coming. The series is arranged with correspondence, article lists, book reviews, the scrapbook, and letters to the editor appearing first, followed by an alphabetical list of articles. In some cases, Reyher grouped articles together under such titles as "African articles" or "Articles and correspondence re: Nigeria"; she also often grouped articles published in a particular magazine together. In these cases, the folders have been placed in the alphabetical list under the title assigned by Reyher. When the magazine in which an article appeared could be determined, the magazine title is included in the folder heading. (In some cases, articles were accepted or purchased, but apparently never published.) For articles Reyher wrote for the National Woman's Party's magazine, Equal Rights, see Series VI, Subseries E.

Series V, CORRESPONDENCE, 1903-1988, n.d. (#70.8-122.7, 128.1), consists of the three subseries described below, all of which include documentation of Reyher's personal life, including marriage, raising a child, suffrage, traveling, and renovating her house in Robinhood, Maine. The subseries were created by the archivist.

Subseries A, Family, 1906-1986, n.d. (#70.8-76.19, 104.5), contains Reyher's correspondence with her family, arranged alphabetically. See also #114.14, 116.6-116.10, 120.5-120.13 for letters from family members to Reyher while she was lecturing. For other correspondence and papers of various family members, see Series II.

Subseries B, Friends and others, arranged alphabetically,1906-1986, n.d. (#77.1-88.13, 122.6-122.7), consists of letters from Reyher's friends and acquaintances. Many of the women were involved with the women's rights movement in the United States, and around the world. Of note are Sudharma Dharmadasa (one of the first female judges in Sri Lanka), Mabel Vernon, Anne Carter, Vivian Pierce, and Sister Marie-Andre du Sacre Coeur. Many of the correspondents were friends with Reyher throughout her life, and their letters can also be found in Series VI, Subseries B. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries C, Friends and others, arranged chronologically, 1903-1987, n.d. (#89.1-104.4), consists of correspondence from Reyher's various friends and acquaintances not included in Subseries B. Incoming and outgoing correspondence are in #89.1-89.5; letters received by Reyher are in #89.6-95.1. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries D, Business, 1911-1985 (#104.8-122.5, 128.1), consists of correspondence that touches on almost all aspects of Reyher's professional career, including writing, advertising, teaching, suffrage, department store promotions and public relations, travel, and the Works Progress Administration; with the exception of folders #104.8-109.9, most folders contain incoming and outgoing correspondence. See also Series VI for lecture correspondence. Part of the subseries is arranged chronologically ( #104.8-112.12), while the remainder is alphabetical (#113.1-122.5, 128.1).

Series VI, PROFESSIONAL, 1911-1985, n.d. (#122.8-144.9, 147F+B.1-147F+B.8), consists of the five subseries described below, arranged chronologically.

Subseries A, People's Mandate Committee and Dominican Republic Settlement Association, 1911-1970 (scattered), n.d. (#122.8-124.8, 147F+B.1-147F+B.8), consists primarily of material on the People's Mandate Committee. This organization (previously known as People's Mandate to Governments to End War, Committee for the Western Hemisphere, and People's Mandate for Inter-American Peace and Cooperation) was an offshoot of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and was headed by Mabel Vernon. Reyher was in charge of press relations and was part of the organization's 1937 six-week "flying caravan," a semi-official mission which supported ratification of the Buenos Aires Peace Treaties and hoped to establish contacts with feminists and pacifists in Latin America. The organization was also involved in a 1939 goodwill tour of the United States by prominent Latin American women. The bulk of the subseries concerns the "flying caravan" trip and includes correspondence, clippings, publicity materials, a pamphlet edited by Reyher, and a photocopy of a scrapbook documenting the trip. Some material related to the Dominican Republic Settlement Association is also included here; Reyher served as executive secretary.

Subseries B, Suffrage and women's rights, 1913-1985, n.d. (#124.9-127.20), consists mainly of letters from members of the National Woman's Party, as well as other suffragists from around the United States; also included are speeches, articles, and newsletters. Many of the correspondents were friends with Reyher throughout her life, and their letters can also be found in Series V, Subseries B and C.

Subseries C, Adult education: New School for Social Research and other, 1925-1926, 1939, 1951-1971, n.d. (#128.2-135.4), consists of material related to the classes Reyher taught at the New School and at other adult education establishments in the 1960s. The majority of her classes focused on Africa, but some covered other countries, or focused on women. The subseries, which includes course descriptions, lecture materials, reading lists, and correspondence, is arranged with a New School brochure and course descriptions appearing first, with the remaining folders arranged alphabetically.

Subseries D, Radio programs, 1939-1952, n.d. (#135.5-140.3), contains scripts for Reyher's weekly radio program City Fun with Children, highlighting the many activities available to mothers and children in New York City. The program ran from 1945 to 1949. Each week's show featured a guest from a local museum, zoo, or other attraction, who gave details of the activities available at their institution. Among the many institutions highlighted were the Brooklyn Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of the Jewish Theological Seminary. In addition to the radio scripts, the subseries also includes background material on the various guests and organizations, letters in response to the program, brochures and newspaper listings for the program, and scripts for a radio program on food and some earlier radio shows, including Behind the Scenes with the UN. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries E, Lectures, 1930-1978, n.d. (#140.4-144.9), consists primarily of correspondence, contracts, and publicity materials regarding speeches by Reyher. The bulk of the subseries covers the 1950s, when she traveled widely throughout the United States, giving lectures. Her wide variety of topics included "Adventures in Africa," the Fon and his hundred wives, South Africa, "Women the World Over," and "African Women: Key to the Continent." See also Series V for lecture correspondence and Series I, Subseries B for journals describing lecture tours. Relatively few speeches are included in the subseries, which is arranged chronologically.

Series VII, PHOTOGRAPHS, OVERSIZED, AND MEMORABILIA, 1910-1965, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.93, FD.1-FD.4, F+D.1-F+D.4, SD.1, 145F+B.1-147F+B.8, 148F+B.1m-148F+B.2m, 149OB.1m-150OB.4m), includes the three subseries listed below.

Subseries A, Photographs, ca.1920-1965, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.93, contains photographs taken by Reyher and others during her many trips to Africa, Russia, Greece, Syria, Pakistan, India, Ceylon, and Palestine. The majority of images are from Africa, especially southern Africa; of note are the photographs taken of the kraals. Also included are early twentieth century photographs taken in Zululand and given to Reyher. The photographs are arranged alphabetically, with folders of negatives and slides appearing last.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].

Subseries B, Oversized, 1910-1951, n.d. (#FD.1-FD.4, F+D.1-F+D.4, SD.1, 145F+B.1-147F+B.8), includes scrapbooks and items from throughout in the collection.

Subseries C, Memorabilia, 1936, 1960, n.d. (148F+B.1m-148F+B.2m, 149OB.1m-150OB.4m), consists of objects found among the papers. The suffrage items were mailed to Reyher from Fern Ingersoll, who worked with Reyher for the University of California oral history project.

BIOGRAPHY

Rebecca Hourwich Reyher was born on January 21, 1897, in New York City, the second child of Isaac Hourwich (1860-1924) and his second wife Louise Elizabeth "Lisa" (Joffe) Hourwich (1866-1947). They had four other children together: Iskander "Sasha" Hourwich (1895-1968), Olga "Dicky" Hourwich (1902-1977), George Kennan Hourwich (1904-1978), and Ena (Hourwich) Kunzer (1906-1989). Isaac had fled Russia around 1890, leaving his first wife Yelena (Kushelevsky) Hourwich (whom he later divorced), and four children, Nicholas Hourwich (1882-1934), Maria (Hourwich) Kravitz (1883-), Rosa Hourwich (ca.1884-) , and Vera (Hourwich) Semmens (1890-1976), behind. Isaac was a practicing lawyer in Russia and the United States, as well as a Yiddish newspaper writer. Louise taught school in Russia, and, after immigrating to the United States with her family, attended law school. In 1900, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Isaac had a job with the U.S. Census. In 1906, he returned to Russia and ran for election to the Duma in Minsk. By 1915, the family had moved back to New York. Rebecca enrolled at Columbia University's extension school in 1915 and took classes at the University of Chicago in the early 1920s; she received her bachelor's degree in 1954, after taking summer school classes at the University of Chicago.

While living in Washington, D.C., Rebecca became interested in the women's movement, and in March 1913, she began her life's work for women's rights by participating in the first national suffrage parade in the United States. She carried her new-found passion to New York City and beyond, organizing street meetings and opening offices for the National Woman's Party. In 1917, she married fellow writer Ferdinand Reyher. Their daughter Faith was born in 1919. The marriage was unconventional from the beginning, with Reyher continuing to travel for the National Woman's Party; by the late 1920s she was raising Faith by herself. Because she traveled extensively, Reyher often left her daughter in the care of others, occasionally at her cherished house in Robinhood, Maine. The couple divorced in 1934, with Ferdinand continuing to provide financial support for Faith. Reyher had many admirers, but remained single for the rest of her life.

In 1924, Reyher took her first trip to South Africa as a journalist; it opened her eyes to the plight of women in other countries, and inspired at least four more trips to the African continent. She wrote many books and articles (some unpublished) regarding women's rights throughout Africa, India, and Sri Lanka. Back in the United States, Reyher continued her work with the National Woman's Party, maintaining close friendships with many of the women and men who fought for equal rights for women.

Reyher worked a wide variety of jobs in the 1930s. In the early part of the decade, she was a public relations assistant to the president of the board of aldermen of New York City, Joseph V. McKee; she wrote a column, Your City and Mine, for the New York Evening World under his signature and also helped prepare speeches and articles for him. She and John Huston co-wrote a screenplay titled Rhodes, based on the life of Cecil Rhodes; Huston's father Walter subsequently starred in a film called Rhodes of Africa, but neither Reyher nor the younger Huston were credited for their work. She also worked for both the Federal Works Progress Administration and the People's Mandate Committee, serving as part of the latter's "Flying Caravan" mission, which traveled through South and Central America supporting ratification of the Buenos Aires Peace Treaties. In 1934, she again traveled to Africa, this time with her daughter. They spent six months in Zululand, where Reyher met Christina Sibiya. Sibiya had been brought up in a Christian compound but left it at the age of fifteen to become the first wife of Solomon ka Dinuzulu, King of the Zulus. Reyher and Sibiya had many conversations (via a translator), leading to Reyher's book Zulu Woman (1948), the story of Sibiya's first meeting with Solomon, her experiences as one of his sixty-five wives, and his increasingly violent behavior, which finally caused her to leave him. The book also addressed the increasing Westernization of Africa and the ensuing conflict with traditional customs and practices.

In the 1940s, Reyher wrote two children's books (Babies and Puppies Are Fun, 1944, and My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, 1945), edited a book of baby cartoons (The Stork Run, 1944) and an anthology of writings on children and childcare (Babies Keep Coming, 1947), as well as writing Zulu Woman. (She had begun writing Zulu Woman in the 1930s, but as with many of her books, it was a number of years before the book was accepted for publication. Although Reyher was a widely published author of both books and magazine articles, many of her ideas for both books and articles never found approval with publishers.)

She also hosted a weekly half-hour radio program, City Fun with Children, which featured guests from museums, zoos, and parks in New York City and aired from 1945 to 1949. In 1949 she traveled to West Africa, to visit the Fon of Bikom, a tribal chieftain who had gained worldwide notoriety due to reports that he had over one hundred wives. Her book, The Fon and His Hundred Wives, was published in 1952. She traveled to South Africa again in 1950 and during this trip wrote columns for several Cape Town newspapers. Both these trips provided material for several additional articles. In 1957, she traveled to Uganda and the Belgian Congo; she was also active on the United States lecture circuit in the 1950s and 1960s. She took classes at the New School for Social Research in the 1960s and began teaching there, primarily on Africa. In 1965, she traveled to Africa for the last time, and interviewed many influential African women, continuing work she had begun in the 1950s. She planned two books based on this research: Africa's First Ladies, and African Women: The Key to the Continent, but neither was ever published.

Reyher spent a considerable portion of her time in the late 1960s and early 1970s caring for her sister Olga ("Dicky"), whose health was deteriorating. Reyher herself suffered from increasing ailments during this time, but continued to live in her New York City apartment, despite failing eyesight, until 1984, when she moved to Maryland to live with her daughter. Reyher died of pneumonia on January 9, 1987.

  • 1913-1914Friendship Settlement House, Washington, D.C.: trained girls to play basketball National Woman's Party Parade, Washington, D.C.: participated in parade
  • 1915 Columbia University's extension division, New York: attended as a special studentWomen's Political Union, Newark, New Jersey: organized street meetings National Woman Suffrage Association, Brockton, Massachusetts: organized members
  • 1916University of Chicago, Illinois: president of University Women's Peace Society and attended classesWoman's City Club, Chicago: mentored working class women at Hull House Settlement
  • 1917New York: Married Ferdinand ReyherNational Woman's Party, Washington, D.C.: worked at headquarters
  • 1918-1919National Woman's Party, Boston, Massachusetts: founded officeNational Woman's Party, New York: managed office and organized demonstrations
  • 1919New York: daughter Faith born
  • 1920New York School of Social Work, New York: attended classes
  • 1921National Woman's Party, Washington, D.C.: worked at headquarters
  • 1921-1978New York; Robinhood, Maine; Illinois, Washington, D.C.: wrote articles for and letters to the editor of various newspapers.
  • 1922-1924National Woman's Party, New York: organized commemoration of first Woman's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls National Woman's Party, Chicago, Illinois: founded Chicago officeFeature writer for Hearst's International magazine: traveled to South Africa
  • 1927-1929 National Woman's Party, New York: associate editor of Equal Rights and active organizer J. Walter Thompson and Company, New York: wrote advertising copy and edited the company's newsletterTravel companion to Letty Kuhn in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Greece, and Russia
  • 1930 Public relations assistant to New York Alderman Joseph McKee
  • 1931-1933Sears Roebuck and Company: staff consultant for merchandising and community trends as applied to women
  • 1934-1935 Wrote articles while obtaining divorce in Reno, NevadaGathered material for Zulu Woman and articles in South AfricaWorked on screen play of Rhodes of Africa with John Huston
  • 1935-1939Works Progress Administration, New York, and New England: regional director and assistant to director for Information and Motion Pictures Service
  • 1937 People's Mandate Committee for Inter-American Peace and Cooperation: member of Flying Caravan delegation to South America
  • 1939-1943Dominican Republic Settlement Association, New York: helped create World War II refugee settlement in the Dominican Republic
  • 1944Babies and Puppies Are Fun publishedThe Stork Run published
  • 1945My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World: A Russian Folktale published
  • 1945-1949City Fun with Children (radio series) WNYC, New York City
  • 1946Behind the Scenes with the UN (radio series), WNYC, New York City
  • 1947Babies Keep Coming published
  • 1948Zulu Woman published; condensed version appeared in Life magazineNew York University: gave lectures on her travels and suffrage work
  • 1949-1950 Gathered material for The Fon and His Hundred Wives and wrote articles for various African newspapers and magazines while in Nigeria and British Cameroons
  • 1951-1952 Travel for writing and lecture material in Belgian Congo, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya Gathered material for Several Simultaneous Husbands (unpublished) in Pakistan, India, and CeylonThe Fon and His Hundred Wives published
  • 1951-1970Traveled widely throughout United States, lecturing on travel, African customs, and suffrage work
  • 1954Attended University of Chicago summer session classes to finish bachelor's degree (Class of 1918)
  • 1957 Travel in Western Africa and South Africa
  • 1963-1970New School for Social Research: lecturer (also audited classes)
  • 1965Gathered material in Africa and France for unpublished books Africa's First Ladies and African Women: The Key to the Continent
  • 1971Sued Children's Television Workshop for copyright infringement of My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World
  • 1973Recorded oral history as part of University of California's Oral History Project
  • 1978Gave commencement address at Bryn Mawr College
  • 1987Died of pneumonia January 9
1913-1914
Friendship Settlement House, Washington, D.C.: trained girls to play basketball
National Woman's Party Parade, Washington, D.C.: participated in parade
1915
Columbia University's extension division, New York: attended as a special student
Women's Political Union, Newark, New Jersey: organized street meetings
National Woman Suffrage Association, Brockton, Massachusetts: organized members
1916
University of Chicago, Illinois: president of University Women's Peace Society and attended classes
Woman's City Club, Chicago: mentored working class women at Hull House Settlement
1917
New York: Married Ferdinand Reyher
National Woman's Party, Washington, D.C.: worked at headquarters
1918-1919
National Woman's Party, Boston, Massachusetts: founded office
National Woman's Party, New York: managed office and organized demonstrations
1919
New York: daughter Faith born
1920
New York School of Social Work, New York: attended classes
1921
National Woman's Party, Washington, D.C.: worked at headquarters
1921-1978
New York; Robinhood, Maine; Illinois, Washington, D.C.: wrote articles for and letters to the editor of various newspapers.
1922-1924
National Woman's Party, New York: organized commemoration of first Woman's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls
National Woman's Party, Chicago, Illinois: founded Chicago office
Feature writer for Hearst's International magazine: traveled to South Africa
1927-1929
National Woman's Party, New York: associate editor of Equal Rights and active organizer
J. Walter Thompson and Company, New York: wrote advertising copy and edited the company's newsletter
Travel companion to Letty Kuhn in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Greece, and Russia
1930
Public relations assistant to New York Alderman Joseph McKee
1931-1933
Sears Roebuck and Company: staff consultant for merchandising and community trends as applied to women
1934-1935
Wrote articles while obtaining divorce in Reno, Nevada
Gathered material for Zulu Woman and articles in South Africa
Worked on screen play of Rhodes of Africa with John Huston
1935-1939
Works Progress Administration, New York, and New England: regional director and assistant to director for Information and Motion Pictures Service
1937
People's Mandate Committee for Inter-American Peace and Cooperation: member of Flying Caravan delegation to South America
1939-1943
Dominican Republic Settlement Association, New York: helped create World War II refugee settlement in the Dominican Republic
1944
Babies and Puppies Are Fun published
The Stork Run published
1945
My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World: A Russian Folktale published
1945-1949
City Fun with Children (radio series) WNYC, New York City
1946
Behind the Scenes with the UN (radio series), WNYC, New York City
1947
Babies Keep Coming published
1948
Zulu Woman published; condensed version appeared in Life magazine
New York University: gave lectures on her travels and suffrage work
1949-1950
Gathered material for The Fon and His Hundred Wives and wrote articles for various African newspapers and magazines while in Nigeria and British Cameroons
1951-1952
Travel for writing and lecture material in Belgian Congo, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya
Gathered material for Several Simultaneous Husbands (unpublished) in Pakistan, India, and Ceylon
The Fon and His Hundred Wives published
1951-1970
Traveled widely throughout United States, lecturing on travel, African customs, and suffrage work
1954
Attended University of Chicago summer session classes to finish bachelor's degree (Class of 1918)
1957
Travel in Western Africa and South Africa
1963-1970
New School for Social Research: lecturer (also audited classes)
1965
Gathered material in Africa and France for unpublished books Africa's First Ladies and African Women: The Key to the Continent
1971
Sued Children's Television Workshop for copyright infringement of My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World
1973
Recorded oral history as part of University of California's Oral History Project
1978
Gave commencement address at Bryn Mawr College
1987
Died of pneumonia January 9

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in seven series:
  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, 1877-1987 (scattered), n.d. (#1.1-22.11, 144.10-144.15)
  2. ___Subseries A. Biographical and personal, 1877-1987 (scattered), n.d. (#1.1-10.7, 144.13-144.15)
  3. ___Subseries B. Diaries, journals, and engagement calendars, 1921-1984 (#10.8-22.11, 144.10-144.12)
  4. Series II. Family, 1882-1978, n.d. (#23.1-27.10, 104.6-104.7)
  5. ___Subseries A. Isaac Hourwich, 1882-1960 (#23.1-25.17)
  6. ___Subseries B. Louise Elizabeth "Lisa" Joffe Hourwich, 1886-1947 (#25.18-26.5, 104.6)
  7. ___Subseries C. Faith Reyher Jackson, 1919-1974, n.d. (#26.6-26.22)
  8. ___Subseries D. Olga Hourwich, 1906-1978, n.d. (#26.23-27.4, 104.7)
  9. ___Subseries E. Other siblings and family members, 1911-1968 (#27.5-27.10)
  10. Series III. Books, 1923-1983 (#27.11-59.1, 70.3-70.7, 145F+B.1-146F+B.14)
  11. ___Subseries A. Zulu Woman, 1930-1975 (#27.11-34.8)
  12. ___Subseries B. The Fon and His Hundred Wives, 1947-1971, n.d. (#34.9-38.10)
  13. ___ Subseries C. My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, 1944-1982 (#38.11-40.6)
  14. ___ Subseries D. Babies and Puppies Are Fun, 1939-1949, n.d. (#40.7-40.9)
  15. ___ Subseries E. Babies Keep Coming, 1941-1950, n.d. (#40.10-41.7, 70.3-70.7, 145F+B.1-146F+B.14)
  16. ___Subseries F. Book projects re: African women, 1939-1967, n.d. (#41.8-45.2)
  17. ___Subseries G. Several Simultaneous Husbands, 1957-1964, 1971, 1982 (#45.3-50.5)
  18. ___ Subseries H. The Stork Run, 1942-1950, n.d. (#50.6-51.5)
  19. ___Subseries I. Other books, 1932-1983 (scattered), n.d. (#51.6-53.4)
  20. ___Subseries J. Other writings, notes, and drafts, 1923-1972, n.d. (#53.5-59.1)
  21. Series IV. Articles and book reviews, 1920-1979, n.d. (#59.2-70.2)
  22. Series V. Correspondence, 1903-1988, n.d. (#70.8-122.7, 128.1)
  23. ___Subseries A. Family, 1903-1988, n.d. (#70.8-76.19, 104.5)
  24. ___Subseries B. Friends and others, arranged alphabetically, 1906-1986, n.d. (#77.1-88.13, 122.6-122.7)
  25. ___Subseries C. Friends and others, arranged chronologically, 1903-1987, n.d. (#89.1-104.4)
  26. ___Subseries D. Business, 1911-1985 (#104.8-122.5, 128.1)
  27. Series VI. Professional, 1911-1985, n.d. (#122.8-144.9, 147F+B.1-147F+B.8)
  28. ___Subseries A. People's Mandate Committee and Dominican Republic Settlement Association, 1911-1970 (scattered), n.d. (#122.8-124.8, 147F+B.1-147F+B.8)
  29. ___Subseries B. Suffrage and women's rights, 1913-1985, n.d. (#124.9-127.20)
  30. ___Subseries C. Adult education: New School for Social Research and other, 1925-1926, 1939, 1951-1971, n.d. (#128.2-135.4)
  31. ___Subseries D. Radio programs, 1939-1952, n.d. (#135.5-140.3)
  32. ___Subseries E. Lectures, 1930-1978, n.d. (#140.4-144.9)
  33. Series VII. Photographs, oversized, and memorabilia, 1910-1965, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.93, FD.1-FD.4, F+D.1-F+D.4, SD.1, 145F+B.1-147F+B.8, 148F+B.1m-148F+B.2m, 149OB.1m-150OB.4m)
  34. ___Subseries A. Photographs, ca.1920-1965, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.93)
  35. ___Subseries B. Oversized, 1910-1951, n.d. (FD.1-FD.4, F+D.1-F+D.4, SD.1, 145F+B.1-147F+B.8)
  36. ___Subseries C. Memorabilia, 1936, 1960, n.d. (148F+B.1m-148F+B.2m, 149OB.1m-150OB.4m)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 87-M75, 97-M30, 98-M74

The papers of Rebecca Hourwich Reyher were given to the Schlesinger Library by Faith Reyher Jackson between February 1987 and May 1998.

SEPARATION RECORD

Donor: Faith Jackson

Accession number: 87-M75

Processed by: Susan Earle and Cat Holbrook

The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger Library Book Division:
  1. Babies Keep Coming: An Anthology Edited by Becky Reyher. New York: McGraw Hill Book Company, 1947
  2. Reyher, Becky. Babies and Puppies Are Fun! New York: M. Barrows & Co., 1944
  3. Reyher, Becky. My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. Howell, Soskin, Publishers, 1945
  4. Reyher, Becky. My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.1945
  5. The Stork Run: A Collection of Baby Cartoons. Becky Reyher, ed. New York: Hastings House, 1944

Processing Information

Processed: July 2009

By: Susan Earle and Cat Lea Holbrook
Link to catalog
Title
Reyher, Rebecca Hourwich, 1897-1987. Papers of Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, 1877-1988 (inclusive), 1915-1970 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Author
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Sponsor
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Edward, Frances, and Shirley B. Daniels Fund and the Radcliffe College Class of 1956.
EAD ID
sch01244

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.

Contact:
3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-8647