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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 760

Papers of Rosemary Matson, 1971-2011


Personal papers, correspondence, writings, and professional papers of Rosemary Matson, feminist and lay leader of the Unitarian Universalist Association.


  • 1971-2011

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the unpublished papers created by Rosemary Matson is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library.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.


5.21 linear feet (12 + 1/2 file boxes)
The collection includes biographical information, writings and research materials, and professional records. The bulk of the collection documents Matson's involvement with the Women and Religion Continental Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association, created by resolution in 1977, and her involvement with other feminist theological groups within the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Series I, PERSONAL AND WRITINGS, 1974-2011 (#1.1-1.23), includes Matson's correspondence and materials related to her honorary doctorate from the Starr King School for the Ministry as well as writings and research materials. Writings by Matson include newsletter and magazine articles as well as speeches, and focus on gender and Unitarian Universalist history. The series also includes research materials collected by Matson on sexist language, women's history, and women-oriented worship services. Series is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, PROFESSIONAL RECORDS, 1971-2009 (#2.1-13.14), includes records produced as part of Matson's professional activities in several Unitarian Universalist organizations, in particular the Women and Religion Continental Committee. Also included are the Ministerial Sisterhood Unitarian Universalist, National Assembly of Women Religious, Unitarian Universalist Association, Unitarian Universalist Heritage Project, Unitarian Universalist Historical Society, Unitarian Universalist Peace Network, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation. These records include correspondence; administrative documents; event packets from women-focused religious meetings and activist leader conferences; research materials for sexism audits (organizational reviews of sexism in policies and practices); organizational publications; and uncatalogued photographs. Series is arranged alphabetically, then chronologically.


Humanist, feminist, and long-time lay leader in the Unitarian Universalist Association, Rosemary Matson (b.1917) was a co-founder of the First Unitarian Fellowship (now Church) of Honolulu in the early 1950s. Moving to California to work for the Pacific Coast Unitarian Council, she met Rev. Howard Matson whom she married in 1957. In 1962 he became associate minister at the San Francisco Unitarian Universalist Society while she worked at the Starr King School for the Ministry, fund raising and advocating for women in the ministry.

In 1977 she was instrumental in seeking the passage of the Women and Religion Resolution at the Unitarian Universalist Association's General Assembly. As chair of the Continental Committee on Women and Religion (1977-1980), Matson was part of the movement to rid the denomination of sexist practices, including rethinking theology, correcting sexist language in hymns and readings, and exposing and transforming sexist attitudes regarding leadership capabilities. She was co-author, in 2004, of curriculum entitled Unraveling the Gender Knot: Challenging the System That Binds Us. Matson was active with the United Nations (attending a number of international conferences on women), the Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation, and Humanists of America, among many others. In 2011, she was awarded an L.H.D. from the Starr King School for the Ministry.


The collection is arranged in two series:
  1. Series I. Personal and Writings, 1974-2011 (#1.1-1.23)
  2. Series II. Professional Records, 1971-2009 (#2.1-13.14)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2011-M211

The papers of Rosemary Matson were given to the Schlesinger Library by Rosemary Matson in November 2011.


Donors: Rosemary Matson

Accession number: 2011-M211

Processed by: Genna Duplisea

The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to Schlesinger Library's printed materials division (pending review by curator):
  1. A Brief History of the Work of Universalist Women, 1869 to 1855, 1993 edition
  2. An Androgynous Fairy Tale Revisited! (Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion), June 2002
  3. Cakes for the Queen of Heaven workshop kit
  4. Cakes for the Queen of Heaven: An Exploration of Women's Power Past, Present, and Future by Shirley Ann Ranck
  5. Cakes for the Queen of Heaven: In Ancient Times workbook and CD
  6. Cakes for the Queen of Heaven: On the Threshold workbook and CD
  7. Collegium Occasional Papers: Edge of the Wave: Great Goddess -- Fact, Working Hypothesis, or Feminist Myth? (Unitarian Universalist Collegium Association for Liberal Religious Studies)
  8. Collegium Occasional Papers: Edge of the Wave: Feminist Thought on Sexual Ethics (Unitarian Universalist Collegium Association for Liberal Religious Studies)
  9. The Communicator (Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation), January/February 1988-April 1989 (6 issues), March/April 1991-Fall 1997 (24 issues), January 1998-January 2005 (45 issues)
  10. Demeter: Women's News of the Monterey Bay Area, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Summer 1984)
  11. Federation Communicator (Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation), Vol. 1, No. 1 (October 1982); Vol. 2, No. 2 (March 1983); Vol. 4, No. 3 (September 1986); Vol. 5, No. 1-2 (January-March 1987)
  12. Federation Newsletter, (Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation:), Vol. 6, No. 3-4 (May-September 1982); Vol.7, No. 1, 4 (January 1983, September 1983); Vol. 8, No. 2-4 (March-November 1984)
  13. The Flame (Unitarian Universalist Women's Heritage Society), Vol. 7, No. 2 (April 1998); Vol. 8, No. 1 (October 1998); Vol. 9, No. 1 (Fall 1999); Vol. 10, No. 1 (Fall 2000); Vol. 12, No. 2 (Summer 2003); Summer 2004
  14. Finding Our Way: Responding to Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Volume III in the Transforming Thought Series by Mary Moore
  15. Gender Justice: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
  16. Gleanings (Ministerial Sisterhood Unitarian Universalist Publications), Vol. 13, No. 3 (Spring 1987); Winter 1987; Vol., 14, No. 2 (Winter 1988); Vol. 16, No. 3 (Spring 1990); Vol. 17, No. 1-3 (Fall 1990-Spring 1991); Vol. 18, No. 1-3 (Fall 1991-Spring 1992); Vol 19, No. 1-3 (Fall 1992-Spring 1993); Vol. 20, No. 1-3 (Fall 1993-Spring 1994); Vol. 21, No. 3-4 (Spring/Summer 1995-Fall/Winter 1996); Vol. 23, No. 2 (Winter 1997); Vol, 24, No. 1-2 (Fall 1997-Spring 1998); Vol. 25, No. 1-2 (Fall 1998-Spring 1999); Vol, 26, No. 1-2 (Fall 1999-Spring 2000); Vol. 27, No. 1-2 (Fall 2000-Spring 2001); Vol. 28, No. 1-2 (Fall 2001-Spring 2002); Vol. 30, No. 1-2 (Fall 2003-Spring 2004); Vol. 31, No. 1-2 (Fall 2004-Spring 2005)
  17. The Human Race, Part 3: The Gods of Our Fathers (VHS and DVD)
  18. Kyriokos (Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation) Vol. 3, No. 3-5 (March-September 1982)
  19. Matrix (Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion) Vol.1, No. 1-5 (August 1982-October 1984); November 1986; Summer 1987; Winter 1987-1988
  20. Reaching Sideways (Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion Committee, Joseph Priestley District), Vol.1, No.1-4 (October 1981-October 1982; Vol. 2, No. 1-2 (January-May 1983); Vol. 3, No. 1-4 (October 1983-October 1984); Vol. 4, No. 1-3 (January-October 1985; Vol. 5, No. 1-3 (Winter 1985/1986-Autumn 1986); Vol. 6, No. 1-3 (Winter 1986/1987-Fall 1987); Vol. 7, No. 1-3 (Winter 1988-Fall/Winter 1988/1989); Vol. 8, No. 1-3 (Spring 1989-Fall/Winter 1989/1990); Vol. 9, No. 1 (Spring 1990)
  21. Rise Up & Call Her Name (resource book, DVDs, and CDs)
  22. Toward a New Psychology of Women by Jean Baker Miller
  23. Transforming Thought: Position Papers on Feminist Theology, Vol. 1
  24. Transforming Thought: Position Papers on Feminist Theology, Vol. 2
  25. Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies, & Global Economics (VHS and DVD)
  26. Women and Religion Task Force Newsletter (Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion Committee, Pacific Central District), Vol. 1, No. 1-6 (September 1987-May 1988); Vol. 2, No. 1-4 (September 1988-February 1989); Vol. 3, No. 1, 3 (October 1989, Spring 1990); Vol. 4, No. 1 (Fall 1990); Fall 1991; March 1992; June 1992; September 1992; December 1992; March 1993; June 1993; September 1993; December 1993; March 1994; June 1994; September 1994; January 1995; August 1995; November 1995; March 1996; April 1996; August 1996; December 1996; August 1997; December 1997; June 1998; June 1999; Fall 1999; Spring 2000; Winter Solstice 2000
  27. Women and Religion Update (Women and Religion Resolution), June 26-30, 1979 (5 issues)

Processing Information

Processed: March 2014

By: Genna Duplisea, with assistance of Emily Underwood.
Link to catalog
Matson, Rosemary. Papers of Rosemary Matson, 1971-2011: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from Elizabeth Leutner.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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