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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 627: MP-21

She's Nobody's Baby collection, 1980-1987


Correspondence, scripts, budgets, photographs, materials relating to a companion book, and a 16 mm film associated with the production She's Nobody's Baby, a 1981 Peabody Award-winning documentary by the Ms. Foundation for Education and Communication in association with the Home Box Office cable network.


  • 1980-1987

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Ms. Foundation for Education and Communication for She's Nobody's Baby was unknown at the time the collection was processed. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


2.92 linear feet ((7 file boxes) plus 2 folio boxes, 2 photograph folders, and 1 motion picture)

The collection documents the original production of the film, its subsequent video sales and distribution, and editing of a companion book. The records include correspondence, scripts, budgets, photographs, galleys, clippings, and a 16 mm motion picture. The film is available for viewing on VHS at the Schlesinger Library.

Series I, FILM PRODUCTION, 1980-1987 (#1.1-5.13, PD.1-PD.2), contains records associated with the production of the television film, She's Nobody's Baby (1981), including awards, budget, contracts, correspondence, publicity and press, permissions, scripts, and video distribution. Folders are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Series II, RELATED PROJECTS, 1982-1983 (#5.14-6.12), contains records associated with the publication of the book, She's Nobody's Baby (1983), including contract, correspondence, design, Suzanne Levine's publicity tour, and edited galleys. The series also includes records associated with the curation of a small traveling mall exhibit. Folders are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Series III, PHOTOGRAPHS (UNCATALOGED), 1980-1983 (#6.13-7.15, 8FB-9FB), contains a constructed collection of copy prints from various sources gathered specifically for use in She's Nobody's Baby (both film and book), and the publication, The Decade of Women: A Ms. History of the Seventies in Words and Pictures (1980). Although the images in the film and book are organized by decade, the copy prints were found loose in the collection; the archivist arranged them by subject. The date ranges in the folder descriptions refer to dates of original images, or in the case of fictional scenes, to the time period portrayed, and not the dates the photographs were taken or reproduced. The majority of copy prints are in black and white. Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.

A few 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 [*].


First airing on November 9, 1981, She's Nobody's Baby: A History of American Women in the Twentieth Century was produced by Ms. magazine for the Home Box Office (HBO) cable network. The idea to produce a made-for-TV documentary highlighting the evolution of women's rights and women's images portrayed by the media grew out of positive feedback Ms. received for their publication, The Decade of Women: A Ms. History of the Seventies in Words and Pictures (1980).

In 1982, Ms. and HBO jointly received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award for She's Nobody's Baby, the first cable production to be so honored. A year later Suzanne Braun Levine edited a companion book based on Susan Dworkin's script for the documentary.

The production staff of the film included writer Susan Dworkin; executive producer Suzanne Braun Levine; producer/director Ana Carrigan; editor Mili Bonsignori; associate producers Liesel Friedrich and Karin Lippert; narrators Alan Alda and Marlo Thomas; and historical consultants Barbara Ehrenreich and Alice Kessler-Harris.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Series I. Film production, 1980-1987 (#1.1-5.13, PD.1-PD.2)
  2. Series II. Related projects, 1982-1983 (#5.14-6.12)
  3. Series III. Photographs (uncataloged), 1980-1983 (#6.13-7.15, 8FB-9FB)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 87-M203, 88-M4, 88-M12, 88-M45

The records associated with the television film She's Nobody's Baby and its companion book were given to the Schlesinger Library by the Ms. Foundation for Education and Communication in 1987 and 1988.

Processing Information

Processed: March 2010

By: Jessica Tanny

She's Nobody's Baby collection, 1980-1987: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the Radcliffe College Class of 1968.

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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