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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 683

Records of the Mautner Project, 1989-2010


The records of the Mautner Project contain organizational records and project files of the Mautner Project, an organization committed to improving the health of women who partner with women including lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, through direct and support service, education and advocacy.


  • 1989-2010

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, although some files are closed as noted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Mautner Project 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. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


10.63 linear feet ((25 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 2 folio folders, 2 folio+ folders, 3 photograph folders, 12 objects, and electronic records)

The records of the Mautner Project document the organization's board of directors, the gneral operations of the office, the outreach and client services programs, the Removing the Barriers program, and development work to secure funding for the organization. The papers have been arranged into five series. Original folder titles are in quotation marks. Videotapes have been cataloged separately; see Mautner Project Video collection, 1990-2006 (Vt-227 or DVD-74). Audiotapes (T-440) will also be described separately.

Series I, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, 1990-2007 (#1.1-6.10), includes articles of incorporation; client services monthly reports addressed to the board (some reports are located in the meeting files); committee meeting files; financial material provided to the board; meeting files with minutes and supplemental material; and board manuals, applications, and member lists. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by topic and chronologically within.

Series II, OPERATIONS, 1989-2007 (#6.11-8.17, F+D.1, E.1), includes correspondence and memos; files of Executive Directors Susan Hester (founder), Bev Baker, and Kathleen DeBold; intern manual and work reports; staff meeting notes and agendas; volunteer manuals, training, and policies; and files on the establishment and maintenance of the organization's web site. The Mautner Project's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site will be available through this finding aid in 2011. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by topic and chronologically within.

Series III, OUTREACH, CLIENT SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, 1990-2010 (#9.1-19.2, FD.1-FD.2, F+D.2, PD.1-PD.3, Mem.1-Mem.9), includes advertisements; annual reports; "Delicious Lesbian Kiss" anti-smoking campaign material; general and program brochures; educational events the Mautner Project either planned or participated in; files on the planning and execution of the Healing Works: National Conference on Lesbians and Cancer which was started by the Mautner Project; partnership files on various related organizations; speeches and speakers' bureau files; and memorabilia. The chronological scrapbooks and files were assembled by the founder and staff members, as an historical documentation of the organization. Contents include articles; advertisements; promotional material for events and yearly gala; brochures on programs; and volunteer information. Items in these chronological files often overlap with material found in other series. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by topic and chronologically within.

Series IV, REMOVING THE BARRIERS PROGRAM, 1995-2006 (#19.3-24.4), includes funding applications, handbooks and manuals, and training material related to the Removing the Barriers program which was established by the Mautner Project in 1996. Removing the Barriers is designed to assist medical providers in providing more culturally competent care by identifying potential barriers to care faced by sexual minorities, particularly women who partner with women. Developed by the Mautner Project, in cooperation with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), Removing the Barriers is an experiential training program that encourages participants to explore many aspects of culture including personal privilege, the cultural interplay of individuals and the medical system, and the impact of institutional heterosexism. Removing the Barriers provides a specific focus on cultural distinctions of women who partner with women and how those may impact their access to preventive health screenings as well as on risk factors that may be significant for this specific population. Removing the Barriers explores the use of culturally appropriate language, family recognition and legal issues, as well as clinical concerns specific to women who partner with women, in an effort to aid providers in reaching their goal of serving underserved women. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by topic and chronologically within.

Series V, DEVELOPMENT, 1990-2007 (#24.5-26.9, Mem.10-Mem.12), includes appeal letter samples, donor files, files on fundraising events and benefits such as golf tournaments and the annual gala (which include invitations, programs, auction catalogs and correspondence), and grant files. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by topic and chronologically within.

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 [*].


Mary-Helen Mautner was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1982, and in 1989 died from the disease at the age of forty-four. Three weeks before her death, she envisioned an organization that could extend to other lesbians the support and assistance she had received from her partner and friends. In January 1990, a few months after her death, her partner Susan Hester and a group of friends and supporters founded the Mary-Helen Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer. The Mautner Project is a nonprofit organization located in Washington, DC, whose mission is to provide direct services to lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals with cancer, as well as to their partners and caregivers; to inform the community about cancer; to educate the health care community about the special concerns of these individuals with cancer and their families; and to advocate on lesbian, bisexual, and transgender health issues in national and local arenas. The organization provides support groups and education in the DC area and within a thirty-mile radius and the majority of the work is carried out by volunteers. Some of the major accomplishments of the Mautner Project are: founded/organized Healing Works: the National Conference on Lesbians and Cancer; co-founded the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), a breast cancer advocacy organization; created, evaluated and disseminated "Removing the Barriers," a groundbreaking national training program targeted at providers and designed to remove barriers to health care for all women who partner with women; coordinated and funded National Coalition of Feminist and Lesbian Cancer Projects for grassroots lesbian health groups; and produced an award-winning anthology Coming Out of Cancer: Writings from the Lesbian Cancer Epidemic.


The collection is arranged in five series:

  1. Series I. Board of directors, 1990-2007 (#1.1-6.10)
  2. Series II. Operations, 1989-2007 (#6.11-8.17, F+D.1, E.1)
  3. Series III. Outreach, client services, and education, 1990-2010 (#9.1-19.2, FD.1-FD.2, F+D.2, PD.1-PD.3, Mem.1-Mem.9)
  4. Series IV. Removing the Barriers program, 1995-2006 (#19.3-24.4)
  5. Series V. Development, 1990-2007 (#24.5-26.9, Mem.10-Mem.12)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2008-M92; 2008-M204; 2011-M86

The records of the Mautner Project were given to the Schlesinger Library by the organization in 2008 and 2011.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Mautner Project Video collection, 1990-2006 (Vt-227 or DVD-74).


Donors: Mautner Project

Accession number: 2008-M92; 2008-M204

Processed by:

The following items have been removed from the collection:

  1. 21 betacam, 56 VHS, 28 audiocassettes, 2 DVD

Processing Information

Processed: June 2011

By: Stacey Flatt, with assistance from Camille Torres.

Mautner Project. Records of the Mautner Project, 1989-2010: 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 1945.

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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