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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 796: RA.T-129

Records of the Oral History of Radcliffe College during the Horner Years, 1998-2014


Edited and final transcripts of oral history interviews, audiotapes of interviews, and legal agreements and correspondence related to the Oral History of Radcliffe College during the Horner Years.


  • 1998-2014

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. The bulk of the collection is open for research. Publication, broadcast, or public programming of #2.15, 3.10, 4.7, 5.2, and RA.T-129.24 - RA.T-129.25, RA.T-129.42 - RA.T-129.43, and RA.T-129.47 - RA.T-129.48 requires the interviewee's written permission. Extensive use of interviews of Eva Moseley requires prior notification. Public programming or broadcast of #RA.T-129.2 - RA.T-129.3, RA.T-129.5 - RA.T-129.6, RA.T-129.8, RA.T-129.14, RA.T-129.20 - RA.T-129.23, RA.T-129.26 - RA.T-129.27, RA.T-129. 33 - RA.T-35, RA.T-129.41, RA.T-129.44, and RA.T-129.46 requires the interviewee's written permission. Access to #4.7 requires the written permission of Charlotte McGhee. #2.10 and RA.T-129.17 are closed until the death of Nancy Downey. #4.1 and RA.T-129.37 - RA.T-129.38 are closed until the death of Renee Landers. #5.4 is closed until January 1, 2040. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material. Digital transcripts of restricted or closed transcripts will be made available when the restrictions expire.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Oral History of Radcliffe College during the Horner Years is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library.

Copyright. Copyright in the records in #4.1 and RA.T-129.37 - RA.T-129.38 may be held by Renee Landers or her heirs or assigns.

Copying. The bulk of the collection may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures. #2.1, 2.15, and 3.10 may not be photocopied, nor may copies of #2.1 be deposited at other colleges or universities.


2.71 linear feet ((6 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 63 audiotapes and electronic records)

The collection consists primarily of audiotapes and transcripts of interviews with forty-three individuals involved in the development of Radcliffe College during the years of Matina Horner's presidency. These interviews contain information regarding institutional and structural changes at Radcliffe College, decision-making processes that resulted in the expansion of intellectual and research opportunities, as well as the reactions of students and alumnae to Radcliffe's evolving relationship with Harvard. Interviewers also sought biographical information about participants to clarify their relationships with Radcliffe College and their specific roles in its development. Transcripts of these audio interviews were generated off-site and subsequently edited in-house by the Schlesinger Library's Oral History Coordinator and her assistants, after which drafts were sent to participants for corrections. If drafts were returned, corrections were made and a final draft of the transcript was saved electronically. All electronic transcripts are the most complete, edited versions available, but some transcripts were more heavily edited and are more fully complete than others.

Also included in the collection are administrative records which document the development of the oral history project itself. These materials consist of planning documents, lists of potential participants, memos and updates on project progress, drafts of transcripts, correspondence, and more. Administrative records were primarily generated by project coordinators Cecily O. Morse and Aida Kabatznick Press, as well as project consultants, Ruth Hill and Jane Knowles, in the course of their work.

Series I, Audiotapes, transcripts, and correspondence, etc., 1998-2014 (#1.1-6.6, RA.T-129.1 - RA.T-129.64, E.1-E.38), contains audiotapes of participant interviews, as well as draft transcripts of those interviews, and final drafts in electronic form. Most of the electronic transcripts include a description of the project, a brief biography of the interviewee, and an index. Also included are legal agreements for the interviews and related correspondence. Some folders also include photographs of the interviewees. The series is arranged alphabetically by interviewee.

Series II, Administrative records, 1998-2010 (#6.7-7.5), includes correspondence, memos, contact lists, and progress reports related to the administration of the oral history project. The series is arranged alphabetically.


Matina S. Horner served as the sixth president of Radcliffe College from 1972 to 1989. Before her arrival, a tenuous merger with Harvard had begun, leaving Radcliffe College in a state of flux. Many responsibilities regarding students and administration had been delegated to Harvard, while Radcliffe still operated its own College admissions department, as well as its own educational affairs, alumnae relations, and research endeavors. One of President Horner's major efforts during her tenure was the creation, with Harvard President Derek Bok, of a committee designed to address the complicated issues of admission at the two institutions. By 1975 the committee had decided to merge Harvard and Radcliffe admissions into a single office, and to abolish gender quotas for admission at Harvard. By 1977, President Horner had significantly stepped back from the merger with Harvard, regaining Radcliffe's control of its own administration and finances. This increased independence led to ambitious projects like the expansion of both the Radcliffe Institute, renamed the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute in 1978, and the Schlesinger Library, as well as the creation of the Radcliffe Research and Data Center, later renamed the Murray Research Center. These initiatives contributed to a period of intellectual growth and expanded research efforts that continued through the rest of Horner's time as president.

Efforts to develop an oral history project documenting the history of Radcliffe College during the Horner years began in the 1990s. Several Radcliffe Institute employees were responsible for its creation, including Cecily O. Morse, Director of Development and Alumnae Affairs, and Aida Kabatznick Press, Director of Public Information. The Schlesinger Library played a role in this project and both Ruth Hill, the Oral History Coordinator of the Schlesinger Library, and Jane Knowles, Radcliffe College Archivist, served as consultants. The stated mission of the project was to accurately record a specific period in Radcliffe history during which many foundational changes took place, and to combat the perception that those changes had been inevitable or required little effort. Project coordinators sought to collect information in three key areas--participants' biographical information, stories about decision-making structures at Radcliffe, and specific examples of growth and development at the college. Interviews commenced in 1998, and forty-three participants were interviewed over the next several years. Participants were primarily Radcliffe or Harvard employees who had contributed to decision-making processes that affected the structure and development of the college during Horner's presidency. The project was never fully completed.


The collection is arranged in two series:

  1. Series I. Audiotapes, transcripts, and correspondence, etc., 1998-2014 (#1.1-6.6, RA.T-129.1 - RA.T-129.64, E.1-E.38)
  2. Series II. Administrative records, 1998-2010 (#6.7-7.5)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2014-M57

The records of the Oral History of Radcliffe College during the Horner Years were transferred to the Schlesinger Library from the Schlesinger Library Oral History Office in April 2014.

Processing Information

Processed: June 2014

By: Susan Earle and Jaimie Fritz, with assistance from Dan Bullman.

Records of the Oral History of Radcliffe College during the Horner Years, 1998-2014: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

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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