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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 915; T-505; Vt-85

Papers of Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, 1966-2014 (inclusive), 1969-1980 (bulk)


Correspondence, flyers, teaching notes and syllabi, audiotapes, t-shirts, etc., of feminist activist, educator, and historian of Russian feminism Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild.


  • 1966-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1969-1980

Language of Materials

Materials in English and Russian.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Rochelle Ruthchild is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Permission to publish or quote from papers created by Ruthchild must be obtained from her 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.


3.59 linear feet ((4 + 1/2 file boxes, 1 oversize box) plus 4 folio+ folders, 3 photograph folders, 1 slide, 42 audiotapes, 1 videotape, 1 object)
3629.91 Megabytes (11 files)
The papers of Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild document Ruthchild's feminist activism and involvement with feminist community groups, mainly in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts. In addition, the first decade of her teaching career is well represented, and these materials show early efforts by Ruthchild and others to develop women's studies and women's history courses, syllabi, curricula, and programs. The collection contains correspondence, notes, meeting minutes, feminist song lyrics, event flyers, syllabi, pamphlets, t-shirts, and audiotapes. There is very little personal material, particularly among the earlier papers; several audiotapes are about Ruthchild's son, parents, and life decisions. Post-1980 material is primarily t-shirts, which show Ruthchild's continuing involvement with feminist causes.

Previously, Ruthchild's papers given between 1995 and 1997 to the Schlesinger Library were described in a preliminary inventory with the call number 95-M100--97-M42. In 2017, addenda to the papers was combined with this initial group of material to create MC 915. Folders were renumbered, although only five folders of paper material were added; most of the addenda added was audiovisual and memorabilia material. When the collection was updated, files in the preliminary inventory (#1-109) were renumbered as #1.1-2.8, 2.14-5.6, and PD.1-PD.4. Material added to the collection in 2017 is represented by #2.9-2.13; Series III and Series IV. A copy of the previous inventory with original folder numbers can be found at the beginning of Box 1 for cross reference purposes.

Ruthchild's original folder titles are rendered in quotes in the inventory.

Series I, WRITINGS AND FEMINIST ACTIVITIES, 1966-1979, 1993-2014 (#1.1-2.13, F+D.1-F+D.3) includes agendas, minutes, flyers, and other materials from the many women's liberation organizations with which Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild was involved, both in California and in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts. This material provides general documentation of marches, meetings, actions, and issues of interest to women involved in these women's liberation and other women's activist and community groups. In addition, folders relating to women's business enterprises (bookstore, restaurant, community center) show the financial pressures on these organizations and the difficulty of sustaining community involvement. Also of note are feminist song lyrics, some parodies of well-known songs, some original compositions. The series is arranged with several folders of writings first, followed by those documenting Ruthchild's and others' feminist and women's liberation-related activism.

Series II, TEACHING, 1969-1980 (#2.14-5.6), includes syllabi, reading lists, lecture notes, student papers and writings, correspondence, and grant applications related to Ruthchild's teaching career. Most of the papers in this series are from Ruthchild's work at Cardinal Cushing College and Cambridge-Goddard. The material documents Ruthchild's interest in the development of curricula about and invested in gender, women's history, and social justice. Ruthchild's involvement with the Cambridge-Goddard program itself is evidence of this interest; the program strove to provide an intellectual foundation to students already actively involved in work for social change. Applicants to Cambridge-Goddard programs, as well as enrolled students, wrote "position papers" explaining their interest in the subject matter of courses that appealed to them. The series is arranged chronologically by teaching position, with some material related to professional organizations and conferences filed at the end.

The records for the Goddard-Cambridge Graduate Program in Social Change (collection #41) are held by the University of Massachusetts at Boston's Healey library.

Series III, MEMORABILIA, 1979-2014 (#6OB.1m-6OB.19m, Mem.1, F+D.4m), contains Ruthchild's feminist t-shirts, a necklace, and a shopping bag from New Words Bookstore. Series is arranged chronologically.

Series IV, PHOTOGRAPHS AND AUDIOVISUAL, 1969-1994, 2014 (#PD.1-PD.4, T-505.1-T-505.43, Vt-85.1, E.1-E.10) includes several photographs, a helical scan videotape, and audiotapes which were either recorded by Ruthchild or are recordings of her presentations or conversations. The 21 reel-to-reel tapes and 21 audiocassettes contain some personal recordings: several are of Ruthchild's son Rafael while a baby, a few are of her parents. Others are recordings of Cambridge, Massachusetts, radio show programs relating to the women's liberation movement. Several recordings are from panels at Berkshire Conferences on the History of Women and other conferences; these tend to be about or to include Russian feminists, sometimes with English translation by Ruthchild. In 2014, Ruthchild arranged to have the audiotapes digitized at the time of donation; there are several tapes for which no digital file exists, and there are also a number of digital recordings for which no original tape exists at the Schlesinger Library. Ruthchild's original titles are in quotation marks. The series is arranged by format, and chronologically thereunder.

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


Rochelle Ruthchild was born Rochelle L. Goldberg in 1940 to Samuel A. and Ruth Goldberg in New York; her mother was a homemaker and her father a high school teacher. She attended Hofstra College (B.A., 1962) and studied Russian history at the University of Rochester (M.A., 1964; Ph.D., 1976) and as an exchange student at the University of Leningrad.

Ruthchild lived briefly in northern California in the late 1960s, and in 1969 moved to Boston, where she taught courses in Russian history, United States history, and women's history at Cardinal Cushing College (1969-1972), at Cambridge-Goddard (also known as Goddard-Cambridge) Graduate School for Social Change (1971-1978), and at Goddard College in Vermont (1979-1981). From 1981 to 2007 Ruthchild held a number of faculty and administrative positions at Norwich University and the Union University and Institute, also in Vermont. Ruthchild's academic work has centered on Russian and Soviet history, particularly the history of women in Russia. Her book Equality and Revolution: Women's Rights in the Russian Empire, 1905-1917, was published in 2010.

Ruthchild was active in female liberation groups in Berkeley and in Cambridge; her radical political sympathies led her to join socialist feminist groups, like Bread & Roses. She was a founder and second president of the Women's Center in Cambridge. Ruthchild is currently a member of the feminist collective The 888 Women's History Project, active in producing the documentary film, Left on Pearl, about the founding of the Women's Center.

Ruthchild married Robert Ziegler in 1968; they divorced in 1969; she later came out as a lesbian. She has a son, Rafael Ruthchild, born in 1980. In 2004, Ruthchild married her longtime partner Vicki Gabriner.


The collection is arranged in four series:
  1. Series I. Writings and feminist activities, 1966-1979, 1993-2014 (#1.1-2.13, F+D.1-F+D.3)
  2. Series II. Teaching, 1969-1980 (#2.14-5.6)
  3. Series III. Memorabilia, 1979-2014 (#6OB.1m-6OB.18m, Mem.1, F+D.4m)
  4. Series IV. Audiovisual, 1969-1994, 2014 (#PD.1-PD.4, T-505.1-T-505.43, Vt-85.1, E.1-E.10)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 80-M232, 95-M100, 95-M142, 97-M42, 2014-M147

The papers of Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild were given to the Schlesinger Library between November 1980 and September 2014 by Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild. In April 1997 a videotape copy was added.


Donors: Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

Accession number: 2014-M147

Processed by: Jenny Gotwals

The following items have been removed from the collection and added to the Women's Periodical and Newsletter Collection (Pr-4):
  1. American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. NewsNet. Vol. 49, No. 1 (January 2009)
  2. Feminist Times. Vol. 2, No. 2 (February 1996)

Processing Information

Preliminary finding aid: May 1997

By: Susan von Salis

Processed: June 2017

By: Jenny Gotwals
Link to catalog
Ruthchild, Rochelle Goldberg. Papers of Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, 1966-2014 (inclusive), 1969-1980 (bulk): 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 the Alice Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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