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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 909

Additional Papers of Judy Chicago, 1963-2022 (inclusive), 1993-2022 (bulk)


Papers of artist, feminist, and writer Judy Chicago.


  • Creation: 1963-2022
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1993-2022


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

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

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Judy Chicago retains her copyright in these papers during her lifetime. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Upon Chicago's death, copyright in her journals (#5.1-7.4, 119.1-125.4) is transferred and assigned to the Chicago/Woodman Foundation, which will exist for twenty years after the deaths of both Judy Chicago and her husband, Donald Woodman. Upon the dissolution of the foundation, copyright in the journals will be transferred and assigned to the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Permission to publish any visual materials by Judy Chicago must be obtained from Judy Chicago or Through the Flower.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


54.71 linear feet ((116 +1/2 file boxes, 3 folio boxes, 2 folio+ boxes, 1 card box) plus 7 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 19 photograph folders, 2 objects, 5 archived web sites)
40.714 Megabytes

The additional papers of Judy Chicago document Chicago's creative and professional life. The collection contains working files of some of Chicago's art projects, administrative files related to exhibitions and events, and the organizational files of Chicago's non-profit feminist arts organization Through the Flower. Included are personal and professional correspondence, writings, drafts, research notes, sketches, personal journals, interviews, exhibition checklists and announcements, clippings, photographs, etc. Most of the material in this group of papers (MC 909) dates from the 1990s onward. Although there are some materials from the 1960s-1980s, including a folder of correspondence, personal journals, and a few folders of original The Dinner Party exhibition materials, most documentation from this earlier time period can be found in the original collection of papers of Judy Chicago (MC 502). There may be some overlap and duplication of the earlier materials between the two collections.

Folder headings are those of Chicago unless otherwise noted; archivist's titles are in square brackets. Audiovisual materials were removed and cataloged separately. Published materials have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection and cataloged separately. Electronic records were received on 63 disks. Disks were imaged using FTK Imager. 145 files were retained, including documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and images. These electronic files were grouped as necessary for description and converted to PDF/A for preservation and delivery purposes.

Additional material (accession numbers 2018-M119, 2019-M125, 2020-M15, 2020-M43, 2022-M31) were added to the collection between 2018 and 2022. These materials are housed in #36.15, 119.1-125.4. All other files remain in the same order. Folders are listed in intellectual, not numerical, order.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL, 1972-2015 (#1.1-4.12, SD.1, E.31) consists of information about Chicago's life, background, and achievements. The types of documents included in this series range from brief biographies (both autobiographical and written by others), curricula vitae, bibliographies, filmographies, interviews, awards, honorary degree files, acceptance speeches, press kits, and correspondence regarding travel and lodging arrangements. Institutions and organizations from across the United States are represented among the interviewers and degree- or award-granting organizations, such as Duke University, the Smithsonian, the Society for the Psychology of Women of the American Psychological Association, the University of California at Los Angeles, and many more. Of special interest is documentation commemorating a "Judy Chicago Day" in two cities: Louisville, Kentucky, and Chicago's adoptive hometown of Belen, New Mexico. Also included is Chicago's web site, which is being captured periodically as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program. The series is arranged in alphabetical order.

Series II, JOURNALS, 1971-2022 (#5.1-7.4, 119.1-125.4) contains journals written by Chicago and which chronicle her professional activities as an artist and author as well as her personal life, including her relationships and inner thoughts. Included are entries about building a female artists community and women's art programs; her life plans; traveling and her participation in public events, lectures, and exhibits; ruminations about her romantic relationships and friendships; comments about her health, weight, and eating; thoughts about and relationship to feminism, the creative process and the development of specific art works; the growth and activities of Through the Flower; struggles and successes in her efforts to establish herself in the art world; and references to her published writings, including Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist (1975), The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage (1979), Embroidering Our Heritage: The Dinner Party Needlework (1980), and Beyond the Flower: The Autobiography of a Feminist Artist (1996). Series is arranged chronologically.

Series III, CORRESPONDENCE, 1963-2016 (#8.1-28.22, E.1) consists of professional, general, and personal correspondence of Chicago. The bulk of this series contains letters with galleries representing Chicago, including ACA Galleries, LewAllen Galleries, etc.; institutions and museums; researchers; and other artists. Correspondence between Chicago and the public include letters from fans and elementary, middle, and high school students; general inquiries; information requests from galleries, publishers, and art students. Of note are a file of letters from Chicago written about her early work and career (#20.16) and responses from readers to Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist. The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series IV, LECTURES, TEACHING, EVENTS, AND RELATED, 1970-2016 (#28.23-34.3, 113F+B.1-113F+B.5, SD.1, E.2-E.3) includes planning and promotional materials related to lectures, events, symposia, presentations, art juries, art auctions where Chicago donated her works, artist-in-residence appointments, teaching positions, etc. Chicago's artist-in-residence and teaching files relate to classes and workshops Chicago conducted and contain recommendations and student evaluations, course description, syllabi, proposals for projects related to teaching, and materials related to student exhibitions developed under Chicago's guidance. Lecture files contain agreements; correspondence, including re: Chicago's participation; schedules and itineraries; publicity and printed materials, including brochures, flyers, programs, and invitations; posters; notes; and invitation/address lists. There are very few lecture notes or speech transcripts in this series. Any lectures notes or transcripts or noted at the folder level. Of note are Feminist Art Project files (#30.17-31.2). Chicago and a group of artists, curators, and feminists developed the Feminist Art Project to bring public attention to women's impact on contemporary art. Starting in 2006, many museums, galleries, universities, and other institutions put together multiple exhibits, events, and other programs as part of the project. The files contain mission statement drafts, schedule of events and exhibitions, meeting notes and agendas, printed materials, etc. See also Series V-VII for additional lectures and events related specifically to The Dinner Party, Resolutions, and Kitty City, respectively. Series is arranged chronologically.

Series V, THE DINNER PARTY, 1979-2015 (#34.4-40.3, 115FB.1-115FB.3, 113F+B.6-113F+B.14, SD.1, E.4-E.6), contains materials related to projects, events, and exhibitions of Chicago's pioneering work, The Dinner Party. Chicago and a team of artists, artisans, and assistants created The Dinner Party between 1974 and 1979. It is a multi-media work of art celebrating the history of women in Western civilization. This series includes some text and materials related to the creation of the work and the early exhibitions, but the bulk of files relate to projects, events, and exhibitions from the 1990s onward. Of note are correspondence with the Brooklyn Museum and publicity regarding its acquisition and permanent housing of The Dinner Party. There is also correspondence related to other The Dinner Party projects, including The Dinner Party K-12 Curriculum Project (#39.2-39.3, 39.5). The curriculum consisted of a series of instructional units that were designed to help students better understand the contributions women have made across the arts, politics, science, etc. This series also includes files related to classroom activities centered on students creating their own versions of The Dinner Party. Of additional note are Chicago's notes and speech regarding the gifting of the international honor quilt to the University of Louisville and its Hite Art Institute in October 2013 by Through the Flower (#39.8). The quilt started in 1980 in conjunction with The Dinner Party exhibition in Houston. The idea of the quilt developed from Chicago's suggestion that people submit their own small, triangular quilts about women they admired and were not included in The Dinner Party. Through the Flower became responsible for over 600 submissions. While materials related to The Dinner Party can be found throughout the collection, this series consists of the major events, a selection of exhibitions (including loans of The Dinner Party test plates and related objects to groups shows), and project work related exclusively to this piece. See series IX for additional exhibitions which include The Dinner Party-related works. The majority of materials related to the original creation of the work and its exhibition, plates and runners, Chicago's writings about the project, efforts to find exhibition space, specifications for displaying the work, and reactions to The Dinner Party can be found in the Papers of Judy Chicago MC 502. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series VI, RESOLUTIONS: A STITCH IN TIME, 1992-2003 (#40.4-50.8, 115FB.4-115FB.6, 113F+B.15-113F+B.22, 114F+B.1-114F+B.4, OD.1-OD.3, SD.1, E.7-E.11), includes correspondence, sketches, notes, research materials, printed materials, etc. related to the development of the work, including background research, technical development, exhibitions, and publicity. This collaborative work, originally titled Resolutions for the Millennium, consists of a series of painted and stitched images created by Judy Chicago and a group of needleworkers, many of whom had worked with Chicago on previous projects. Chicago started developing this work in 1994 with the intention of addressing what she saw as a widespread breakdown of social values. A collaboratively produced sampler which introduces the exhibit groups the work into sections of Family, Responsibility, Tolerance, Human Rights, Conservation, Hope, and Change. Of particular interest is correspondence with needleworkers regarding the development of their work and involvement in the process. There are also round robin letters among the stitchers, newsletters created by Chicago for the stitchers, and working files containing notes, samplers, thread and fabric samples, review forms, sketches, patterns, and photographs of works. The content of all these materials reveals the creative collaborative process for this piece, the style and depth of communication among the needleworkers, and their close working relationship among themselves and with Chicago. In addition, this series contains needleworker biographies, notes, and a proposal related to a book about the work (#46.19-47.2). This series is arranged by subject area: general, needleworkers, technical, sections/themes, financial, book, publicity, and exhibitions.

Series VII, KITTY CITY: A FELINE BOOK OF HOURS, 2002-2005 (#50.9-54.13), contains research materials, exhibition files, and publicity related to Judy Chicago's artist book, Kitty City: A Feline Book of Hours. This book of Chicago's watercolor sketches and essays is a study of the life of cats based upon a traditional book of hours. This series includes photographs of Chicago, Donald Woodman, and their many cats. The images extensively document the activities of Chicago's cats, and reveal Chicago's and Woodman's home interior and their interactions with their pets. The types of images are often reflected in the book's watercolor sketches. This series also includes drafts of the book manuscript, sketches, and information regarding events and exhibitions. Series is arranged by type of content: research materials, correspondence, manuscript, publicity, events, and exhibitions.

Series VIII, OTHER ART PROJECTS, 1990-2016 (#54.14-57.11, OD.4), includes working files for some of Chicago's art works and book projects, including collaborations and commissioned works. This series includes correspondence with artisans, research materials, fabric and thread samples, sketches, etc. There is correspondence related to castings and other technical aspects and processes for Chicago's glass works; her project files related to Chicago's dry ice art installations; research materials for potential books, including Women and Art: Contested Territory, which she co-authored with the art historian Edward Lucie-Smith; and correspondence related to her collaborative artistic pursuits with artist Vicki Leon. Of note are materials related to the film Atmospheres about her public installations (#54.15). Judy Chicago had staged a series of Atmospheres in California between 1969 and 1974, culminating in "A Butterfly for Oakland," a pyrotechnic display on the shore of Lake Merritt in 1974. Series is arranged alphabetically.

Series IX, EXHIBITIONS, 1985-2015 (#57.12-75.7, 115FB.7-115FB.8, 114F+B.5-114F+B.21, OD.5-OD.7, SD.1, 118CB.1-118CB.2, E.12-E.19) contains working files and promotional materials related to solo exhibitions and retrospectives, as well as Chicago's participation in group shows at galleries, museums, universities, etc. There are also files relating to exhibitions not realized. Materials include correspondence; checklists; notes; artist agreements; press; printed materials, such as posters, brochures, and postcards; visitor comments, price lists; and inventory lists from multiple galleries, sometimes with prices and sales information. Included are checklists sometimes with prices/insurance values noted, loan agreements and permission forms, gallery space layouts, correspondence, draft catalog texts, opening, public event, or exhibition-related presentations; public remarks; insurance values; loan agreements, sometimes coordinated with Through the Flower; invitation/mailing lists; some clippings and other publicity; Chicago's schedule related to publicity and events; images of works; and printed materials. The bulk of the exhibitions in this series are those that were planned from the 1990s onward. One exhibition of note is "Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA, 1945-1980." This multi-venue group exhibition was a collaboration of over sixty cultural institutions across Southern California from October 2011 to March 2012. Chicago participated in multiple events and exhibitions related to this show, which focused on the birth of the Los Angeles art scene and its relevance in the art world. Exhibitions in this series may include objects from Chicago's works, The Dinner Party, Resolutions, or Kitty City. See also Series V-VII for exhibitions focused exclusively on those works. In most cases, the dates in the inventory reflect the exhibition dates; actual dates of materials within folders may vary. Series is arranged chronologically.

Series X, THROUGH THE FLOWER, 1991-2015 (#75.8-107.9, E.20, E.32) contains administrative, board, committee, financial, personnel, publicity, and subject files related to Chicago's non-profit organization. Administrative records include contact lists, organizational structure charts, and reproduction requests from individuals, corporations, and galleries seeking permission to publish images of Chicago's art works. Board and committee records contain preparatory material (agendas, reports, notes, and memoranda) for board meetings, as well as minutes distributed after meetings occurred. Board member lists, governance policies and bylaws, building and education committee reports are also included. Financial records consist of budget summaries, information about operational bank accounts, and statements detailing the financial position of the organization. Publicity records include correspondence, notes related to the creation of Through the Flower's newsletter, web site, and other promotional material. Subject files contain files of fundraising events sponsored by the organization, memorial funds, contact lists of event attendees, as well as applications for grants and support. Also included is Through the Flower's web site, which is being captured periodically as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program. Series is arranged chronologically.

Series XI, CLIPPINGS, 1967-2016 (#107.10-112.2) consists of newspaper, magazine, book, and journal articles about, authored by, or collected by Judy Chicago, from both print and online sources. Most of the articles discuss Chicago's artworks, notably The Dinner Party, The Birth Project, Holocaust Project, and PowerPlay, and related exhibitions and events. There is also coverage of the activities of Through the Flower. The themes that arise in these articles include feminist pedagogy, the role of Judaism and feminism in Chicago's work, questions regarding the nature of feminist art, and controversy surrounding efforts to censor Chicago's art. A small portion of the articles are about Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe, two artists who greatly influenced Chicago. The vast majority of items in this series are in English. The rest of the articles are in Spanish, French, German, Polish, Mandarin, Japanese, and other languages. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series XII. PHOTOGRAPHS, 1967-2011 (PD.1-PD.19, E.21-E.30) contains photographs of installations of Chicago's exhibitions and art projects including "A Butterfly for Oakland" and The Birth Project, as well as exhibitions by other artists featuring Chicago's work. This series also consists of images of Chicago with other artists, in her studio, and her portraits used for publicity. Of particular note are black and white images of many women needle workers from California, New Mexico, and Texas who worked with Chicago on Resolutions: A Stitch in Time. Also included are photographs from Through the Flower board meetings and open house events and fundraisers. Most of the photographs in this series are or will be digitized and available online. The series is arranged in chronological order.

Series XIII. MEMORABILIA, 2007-2013 (#112.3m-112.5m, 116FB.1m-117FB.1m, Mem.1-Mem.2) includes items produced for Chicago's exhibitions including a t-shirt and tote bag from the exhibition "Chicago in Glass" and necklaces from "Pacific Standard Time." Of note is a spacer/tamping tool, which was used to create uniform stacks from shifting blocks of dry ice for "Pacific Standard Time: Sublime Environment, by Judy Chicago and Materials & Applications," in Santa Monica, January 19, 2012. The series is arranged alphabetically.


Judy Chicago, an artist, writer, and feminist, was born Judy Cohen in Chicago, Illinois, July 20, 1939. The daughter of labor organizer, Arthur M., and May (Levenson) Cohen, a medical secretary, Chicago adopted the surname Chicago in 1969. She was married and widowed by Jerry Gerowitz (1961-1963), married and divorced from Lloyd Hamrol (1969-1979), and has been married to Donald Woodman since 1985.

After receiving her B.A. (1962) and M.F.A. (1964) from the University of California, Los Angeles, Chicago received recognition for her minimalist sculpture through an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1967) and a one-woman show at California State University at Fullerton (1970).

Increasingly sensitive to the need for an environment in which women artists could express themselves freely without regard to an art world dominated by males, Chicago pioneered feminist art education programs through her experience as assistant and founder of the Women's Art Program California State University at Fresno (1969-1971) and as instructor and co-founder of the Feminist Studio Workshop at the California Institute of the Arts (1971-1973). Her experience with the Feminist Art Program culminated in Womanhouse (1971), an installation she directed with the artist Miriam Shapiro. In 1973, Chicago organized the Feminist Studio Workshop, the first independent feminist art program in the country. In 1978, she founded Through the Flower, a non-profit feminist art organization, committed to educate the public about the importance of art and countering the erasure of women's achievements.

Chicago is best known for The Dinner Party (1974-1979), a multi-media installation honoring the achievements of women in Western civilization. Created with the participation of hundreds of volunteers, The Dinner Party was viewed by approximately one million people in exhibitions in the United States and abroad between 1979 and 1988. Its significance was underscored by a 1996 exhibition of the work at UCLA's Armand Hammer Museum, and the publication of Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago's Dinner Party in Feminist Art History (1996). Since 2002, it has been permanently housed at the Elizabeth A Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

Committed to using art as a vehicle for intellectual and social change, Chicago created The Birth Project (1980-1985), a series of birth and creation images she designed to be executed by skilled needleworkers around the country, and the Holocaust Project (1984-1993) in collaboration with her husband, photographer Donald Woodman. A frequent lecturer, she is the author of Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist (1975), Beyond the Flower: The Autobiography of a Feminist Artist (1996), and a number of books on her work.


The collection is arranged in thirteen series:

  1. Series I. Biographical, 1972-2015 (#1.1-4.12, SD.1, E.31)
  2. Series II. Journals, 1971-2022 (#5.1-7.4, 119.1-125.4)
  3. Series III. Correspondence, 1963-2016 (#8.1-28.22, E.1)
  4. Series IV. Lectures, Teaching, Events, and Related, 1970-2016 (#28.23-34.3, 113F+B.1-113F+B.5, SD.1, E.2-E.3)
  5. Series V. The Dinner Party, 1979-2015 (#34.4-40.3, 115FB.1-115FB.3, 113F+B.6-113F+B.14, SD.1, E.4-E.6)
  6. Series VI. Resolutions: A Stitch in Time, 1992-2003 (#40.4-50.8, 115FB.4-115FB.6, 113F+B.15-113F+B.22, 114F+B.1-114F+B.4, OD.1-OD.3, SD.1, E.7-E.11)
  7. Series VII. Kitty City: A Feline Book of Hours, 2002-2005 (#50.9-54.13)
  8. Series VIII. Other Art Projects, 1990-2016 (#54.14-57.11, OD.4)
  9. Series IX. Exhibitions, 1985-2015 (#57.12-75.7, 115FB.7-115FB.8, 114F+B.5-114F+B.21, OD.5-OD.7, SD.1, 118CB.1-118CB.2, E.12-E.19)
  10. Series X. Through the Flower, 1991-2015 (#75.8-107.9, E.20, E.32)
  11. Series XI. Clippings, 1967-2015 (#107.10-112.2)
  12. Series XII. Photographs, 1967-2011 (PD.1-PD.19, E.21-E.30)
  13. Series XIII. Memorabilia, 2007-2013 (#112.3m-112.5m, 116FB.1m-117FB.1m, Mem.1-Mem.2)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2005-M12, 2005-M85, 2005-M136, 2007-M48, 2007-M67, 2007-M76, 2007-M203, 2004-M67, 2010-M6, 2011-M27, 2012-M26, 2013-M28, 2014-M31, 2014-M35, 2014-M37, 2015-M10, 2016-M32, 2016-M133, 2016-M227, 2017-M88, 2017-M130, 2018-M119, 2019-M125, 2020-M15, 2020-M43, 2022-M31.

These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library between March 2005 and January 2022 by Judy Chicago. #2017-M88 and 2020-M15 were donated by Deborah Adams in May 2017 and February 2020. Adams who worked with Chicago when she helped stage The Dinner Party at the Boston Center for the Arts in 1980.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Judy Chicago (MC 502); Audiotape Collection of Judy Chicago (T-319); Videotape Collection of Judy Chicago (Vt-122), and Mary Ross Taylor Letters from Judy Chicago, 1980-2019 (MC 1027).


Donor: Judy Chicago

Accession numbers: 2005-M12, 2005-M85, 2005-M136, 2007-M48, 2007-M67, 2007-M76, 2007-M203, 2004-M67, 2010-M6, 2011-M27, 2012-M26, 2013-M28, 2014-M31, 2014-M35, 2014-M37, 2015-M10, 2016-M32, 2016-M133, 2016-M227, 2017-M88, 2017-M130

Processed by: Amber Moore and Laura Peimer

The following published materials have been transferred to the Harvard-Yenching Library for their collection:

  1. Kin-gendai no geijutsushi. Zokei hen. Il, Ajia, Afurika to atarashii choryu by Yoko Hayashi, 2013

The following published materials have been transferred to the Fine Arts Library at Harvard University for their collection:

  1. Attitude 2007 (Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto catalog)
  2. Annie E. Brown: In Memory, February 1 - April 12, 2009 (Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery, et al. catalog) [inscribed: "To Judy - With Love and Best Wishes! Virginia"]
  3. Elizabeth Bryant, September 9 - October 9, 1999 (Works On Paper, Inc. catalog)
  4. Michelle Fierro, January 9 - February 20, 1999 (Works On Paper, Inc. catalog)
  5. Untitled Work of Charline von Heyl, 2000 (Works On Paper, Inc. catalog)
  6. Kim McCarty: Drawings, August 1 - September 5, 1998 (Works On Paper, Inc. catalog)
  7. Laura Merage: Box, 2003 (Rule Gallery catalog)
  8. Off Center: New Work by Sandra Perlow, June 18 - August 15, 2004 (Rockford Art Museum catalog)
  9. Women's Art at New Hall, second edition, 1996

Processing Information

Processed: October 2017

By: Amber Moore and Laura Peimer with assistance from Ayoola White and Margaret Dalton.

Last updated: March 2022

By: Johanna Carll

Chicago, Judy, 1939- . Additional Papers of Judy Chicago, 1963-2022 (inclusive), 1993-2022 (bulk): 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 Radcliffe Class of 1956 Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund,Barbara N. Kravitz Fund for the Schlesinger Library, and Patricia M. King Library Director’s 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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