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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 864

Papers of Ruth Rosen, 1965-2015


Photography, teaching materials, writings, and class notes of Ruth Rosen, historian, professor, and journalist.


  • Creation: 1965-2015

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Ruth Rosen is held by Ruth Rosen during her lifetime. 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.


6.7 linear feet ((16 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 24 photograph folders, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 1 object, electronic records)

This collection documents the professional life of historian and journalist Ruth Rosen. These papers do not contain material related to Rosen's personal life. The documents include photographs and negatives, lecture notes, editorials, articles, professional correspondence, printed material, contracts, notebooks, court documents, grant applications, conference papers, and Rosen's graduate school class notes. These papers follow Rosen's path from graduate student to noted historian and journalist. Rosen's writings throughout her career have explored women's issues, past and present, as well as issues related to gender and society on a broader scale. These papers also include images, which encompass subjects from protests to women's liberation conferences, from Rosen's work as a photojournalist in graduate school. Rosen's original folder headings were maintained; titles in brackets were created by the archivist.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND EDUCATION, 1965-2015, n.d. (#1.1-4.6, FD.1, E.1), includes notes, syllabi, correspondence, and an oral history transcript. Folders marked "class notes" contain handwritten and typed notes, syllabi, and papers from Rosen's years in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. Rosen switched her graduate school concentration from art history to history, and these class notes document her burgeoning scholarship in American and international history. While Rosen focused much of her work on the comparative history of women and family in early modern Europe, Russia, and the United States, she was also encouraged by her advisors to study the context of what was happening in general American history at the same time. Material related to Rosen's high school reunion includes flyers, address lists, correspondence, and photocopied photographs. In 2001, Rosen was interviewed for the "Living U. S. Women's History: Voices from the Field, 1960-2000" oral history project. The edited transcript is included here (#4.6). This series also includes a Women's Center poster, possibly from the University of California, Berkeley, featuring Rosen's photography. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, PROFESSIONAL, 1974-2012, n.d. (#4.7-11.5), includes grant applications, contracts, correspondence, syllabi and lecture notes, teaching slides index, project proposals, and conference papers and notes. The majority of this series consists of lecture notes from Rosen's varied classes. These files include typed and handwritten notes outlining the subject matter; occasionally the material also contains syllabi. Topics of correspondence include book and project proposals, research projects, teaching assignments, and research for articles. Rosen's Gender Matters Project conducted at the Longview Institute examined women's issues, such as health care, child care, and affordable housing, in order to reframe these issues around a new progressive movement in the United States (#8.27). This series also contains material related to Rosen's fellowships at the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. Also found in this series are papers Rosen presented at conferences, including the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women (#8.29-9.1). Rosen identified files as "papers" and "talks"; this distinction has been retained.

Rosen often used slides in her classes to illustrate the topic being discussed. The slides themselves were not kept with the collection, but the subjects illustrated are documented in her teaching slides index (#9.22-11.4). Examples of Rosen's teaching slides include images of pre-industrial working women, women and colonial life, immigrant women, women in utopian communities, images of the National Woman's Party, suffrage, and Native American women. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series III, WRITINGS, 1969-2012, n.d. (#11.6-16.13), include articles, correspondence, op-ed columns, reviews, papers, and speeches by Rosen. Rosen used a variety of materials when conducting research for her books and newspaper columns: primary sources, papers of other scholars, journal and magazine articles, pamphlets and other ephemera, and her own notes. Some of these materials were removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger Library Printed Materials Department. See the separation record for an itemized list. This series is arranged in two subseries.

Series IV, PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEMORABILIA, 1969-1976, 1985, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.25, Mem.1), includes photographs taken by Rosen during the 1960s and 1970s. Rosen was a photojournalist for the Daily Californian and the Daily Californian's Every Other Weekly. Rosen captured images of the unrest on the University of California, Berkeley's campus during this time, including the 1969 People's Park protest, the National Moratorium Anti-Vietnam protest, and the burning of diplomas after the 1969 graduation. Other images include a Black Panther convention, the 1970 International Women's Day celebration, and Women's Liberation Conferences held at University of California, Berkeley. This series also contains a portrait of Rosen, and images of the poet Susan Griffin, and Florynce "Flo" Kennedy. Also found within this series is a banner from the United Nations Decade for Women Conference held in Kenya in 1985. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Ruth Rosen was born in 1945 to Ida (Ginsberg) and Herman Rosen in New York City. Shortly after her birth, the Rosen family moved to Lake Secor, New York. In 1963, after graduating from New Rochelle High School, Rosen spent the summer in Mexico through the Experiment in International Living program. In the fall of 1963, she entered the University of Rochester (B.A. History, 1967). In April 1965, Rosen joined the March against the Vietnam War in Washington, DC. Later that year, she went to Florence, Italy, through Syracuse University's Junior Year Abroad program. After Rosen's return to the University of Rochester, she was encouraged by her professors to study art history in graduate school because, in their opinion, art history was more of a woman's field than history. In 1967, Rosen received a Career Prize Fellowship to study art history at the University of California, Berkeley (M.A. Art History, 1969, Ph.D History, 1976).

While attending graduate school, Rosen worked as an editor and photojournalist for the Every Other Weekly, a free insert of the Daily Californian, the University of California's student newspaper. A group of graduate students, including Rosen, took control of the Every Other Weekly and turned it into a political and literary magazine, which published poetry, feminist short stories, and articles on the Vietnam War. During her first semester at the University of California, Berkeley, Rosen attended the first meeting of a women's group that was forming at on campus. Rosen went to the meeting as photojournalist for the Every Other Weekly, and was inspired by the other women in the group to become a member. The group continued to meet for the next year and a half, and the members, which included Susan Griffin and Alta Gerrey, encouraged Rosen in her decision to focus on women's history, not art history. In 1969, Rosen switched her concentration from art history to the comparative history of women and the family, with the intention of studying women's issues within multiple fields and themes of history. In 1971, Rosen taught one of the first women's history research seminars for undergraduates in the history degree program at the University of California, Berkeley, and in 1972, she was asked to teach a women's history night class at Sonoma State College.

In 1973, Rosen received a pre-dissertation fellowship from the Social Science Research Council, which she used to do research at the Schlesinger Library on prostitution and white slavery. During the course of her research, Rosen came across the un-edited letters of a prostitute, which were later published through the Feminist Press, with a grant from the National Endowment to the Humanities, as The Maimie Papers: Letters from an Ex-Prostitute, in 1977. In the summer of 1973, Rosen attended the first Berkshire Conference of Women Historians at Douglass College, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

In the fall of 1974, Rosen was hired by the University of California, Davis, as an Acting Assistant Professor of Women's History. The first class she taught was a survey of women's history in the United States, which covered the range of women's issues throughout American history. Rosen's course-load during her first semesters at the University of California, Davis, also included a graduate seminar in comparative women's history, and an undergraduate seminar on the literature and historical experiences of utopian communities. During her career at University of California, Davis, Rosen lectured on colonial women and the family, African-American migration, cross-cultural women's history, the Equal Rights Amendment, war and peace issues, gender and public policy, and immigration and gender. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1980. In 1982, Rosen's dissertation was published as The Lost Sisterhood: Prostitution in America, 1900-1918. The University of California, Davis, presented Rosen with its Distinguished Teaching Award in 1983, and she was promoted to Full Professor in 1989.

In 1988, Rosen was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 1991, Rosen began writing for the Los Angeles Times, as well as for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Dissent, the Women's Review of Books and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. In 1995, Ruth Rosen married Wendel Brunner; she has two stepchildren and five grandchildren.

Rosen has been a visiting professor for the European University of Peace twice; first on the Stadtschlaining, Austria, campus in 1993, and second on the Dromahair, Ireland, campus in 1996. In 1999 and 2000, Rosen was awarded Faculty Research Fellowships with the Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California. Her project, which hoped to detail the developments in women's rights that followed the numerous United Nations world women's conferences, was titled "Through the Eyes of Women: Global Security, Sustainability, Development, and Human Rights."

After Rosen's third book, The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America, was published in 2000, she left the University of California, Davis, as a professor emerita of history to become an editorial writer and a political columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Rosen wrote about the deceptions that led to the Iraq war; wrote extensively about the George W. Bush administration's use of the Freedom Of Information Act, the Presidential Records Act, and its creation and use of the Patriot Act; described the arms race in space; penned editorials about the homeless mentally ill; detailed the politicization of science; and promoted the rights of under-represented groups. Rosen also wrote comprehensively about the founder of Curves International, Gary Heavins, and his donations to anti-choice clinics.

For her distinguished journalism, Rosen received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists; the East Bay Press Club; the National Association for the Mentally Ill; the California Public Health Association; the National Federation of Women Legislators; and the Hearst Corporation. Rosen has appeared in many films, including the 1990 documentary Berkeley in the Sixties by Mark Kitchell; the 2008 documentary What's Your Point, Honey? by Amy Sewell; and the 2014 documentary She's Beautiful When She's Angry by Mary Dore.

In 2004, Rosen became a senior fellow at the Longview Institute, a progressive think tank, in Berkeley, California, and in 2005, she returned to the University of California, Berkeley, as a visiting professor of history. Since 2011, Rosen has been both a scholar in residence and a visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, and its Center for the Study for the Right-Wing Movements, at the University of California, Berkeley.


The collection is arranged in four series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and education, 1965-2015, n.d. (#1.1-4.6, FD.1, E.1)
  2. Series II. Professional, 1974-2012, n.d. (#4.7-11.5)
  3. Series III. Writings, 1969-2012, n.d. (#11.6-16.13)
  4. Series IV. Photographs and memorabilia, 1969-1976, 1985, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.25, Mem.1)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2014-M120, 2015-M93

The papers of Ruth Rosen were given to the Schlesinger Library by Ruth Rosen between July 2014 and June 2015.

Addenda Note:

There is additional Ruth Rosen material at the Schlesinger Library. It is currently unprocessed and unavailable for research.


Donors: Ruth Rosen

Accession numbers: 2014-M120, 2015-M93

Processed by: Cat Lea Holbrook

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library printed materials collection:

  1. A Call For Women's Liberation, by Sue Munaker, n.d.
  2. Dangerous Brew: Exposing the Tea Party's Agenda to Take Over America, edited by Don Hazen and Adele M. Stan, 2010
  3. Dear Sky, by Susan Griffin, 1971
  4. Fourth World Manifesto, by Barbara Burris, 1971
  5. How to Feed the Baby, by the Lydia Pinkham Medicine Company, n.d.
  6. An Introduction to Women's Liberation, by Peggy White, n.d.
  7. Ourstory Herstory: a Working Paper on the DC Women's Liberation Movement, 1968-1970
  8. People's Park, n.d.
  9. Primers for Prudery: Sexual Advice to Victorian America, edited by Ronald Walters, 1974
  10. Remember Our Fire: Poetry by Women, n.d.
  11. Song of the Wife, Song of the Mistress, n.d. Poems by Alta. Drawings by Martha Krech
  12. What is the Difference? Women's Rights and Women's Liberation, by Linda Phelps
  13. Why Women's Liberation?, by Marlene Dixon
  14. Women in Society or A Woman's Place is In The Home, by Marcella Womack
  15. Women's Rights, Feminism, and Politics in the United States, by Mary Lyndon Shanley, 1988

The following periodicals have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library printed materials collection:

  1. The Elmwood Newsletter, 1988-1990
  2. The Every Other weekly, Volume 1, number 16. December 1, 1970
  3. GenderGap: an In these Times Special Report, June 13-26, 1984
  4. Network for Women's Spirituality, September - November, 2002

Processing Information

Processed: August 2016

By: Cat Lea Holbrook, with assistance from Alexis Boucher, Caitlin Walker, and Margaret Dalton.

Rosen, Ruth. Papers of Ruth Rosen, 1965-2015: 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 gifts from the Zetlin Sisters Fund and the Jane Rainie Opel '50 Fund.

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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