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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 502

Papers of Judy Chicago, 1947-2004 (inclusive), 1957-2004 (bulk)


Papers of artist, feminist, and writer Judy Chicago.


  • 1947-2004
  • Majority of material found within 1957-2004

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Access. Unrestricted except that for access to folders #81.21-81.24, researchers must obtain written permission from Diane Gelon and Susan Hill. Folder #83.12 is closed until January 1, 2025.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Judy Chicago retains her copyright in these papers during her lifetime. 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.


111.18 linear feet ((54 cartons, 1+1/2 file boxes, 29 card file boxes, 9 folio boxes, 6 folio+ boxes, 2 oversize boxes) plus 1 roll box, 1 supersize folder, 97 photograph folders, 3 folio photograph folders, 5 archived web sites, and electronic records)

The collection includes personal and professional correspondence, resumes, writings, drafts, research notes, journals, interviews, questionnaires, gallery catalogs and announcements, clippings, photographs, etc., relating to Chicago's personal and professional lives. Folder headings are those of Chicago unless otherwise noted; archivist's headings and notes are in square brackets. Oversized items, photographs, and memorabilia have been transferred to separate series. Most oversized items have been photocopied and reduced in size; reference copies are filed in subject-appropriate folders, and originals are in Series XIV. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as parts of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back by an asterisk in square brackets [*]. Audiotapes and videotapes were removed and cataloged separately. For audiotapes, see finding aid for Judy Chicago Audiotapes (T-319), and for videotapes, Judy Chicago Videotapes (Vt-122). Series and subseries descriptions that follow the outline below are repeated at the beginning of their respective file unit listings.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL, 1947-2004 (scattered) (#1.1-3.18, 83.11-83.16, 87f.1, 95f+.1, E.1), includes Chicago's curricula vitae, bibliographies of writings by and about Chicago, published and unpublished articles about Chicago and her work, files relating to Chicago's many awards and honors, etc. It is divided into three subseries.

Subseries A, General, 1947-1999 (scattered) (#1.1-1.5, 83.11-83.16, E.1), contains Chicago's curricula vitae, bibliographies of writings by and about Chicago and her work, and several documents relating to her early education, including report cards from Chicago public schools and letters from administrators at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of California, Los Angeles. This subseries is arranged with school information, resumes and bibliographies first, followed by personal legal/financial documents, and a public relations kit. Chicago's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site will be available through the finding aid in 2010.

Subseries B, Writings about Chicago, 1966-2004 (#1.6-3.10, 87f.1, 95f+.1), contains essays from books, clippings, magazine and journal articles, and other materials produced about Chicago and her work. This subseries is divided into two runs of files. The first is arranged alphabetically by author; the second is arranged in rough chronological order, with files of clippings following essays and articles.

Subseries C, Awards and honors, 1972-2004 (#3.11-3.18), contains certificates, clippings, correspondence, and other materials relating to Chicago's awards and honors, ranging from honorary degrees to certificates of appreciation from feminist organizations. This subseries is arranged in chronological order.

Series II, WRITINGS, LECTURES, AND INTERVIEWS, 1972-2000 (#3.19-7.41, 83.17-83.19), contains writings by Chicago, including autobiographies, art criticism, and other; correspondence, notes, and other material related to Chicago's public lectures; interviews; and her web site. It is divided into three subseries.

Subseries A, Writings by Chicago, 1972-2000 (#3.19-6.7), contains files on Chicago's two autobiographical books, Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist and Beyond the Flower: The Autobiography of a Feminist Artist; these include manuscript drafts, correspondence with publishers re: contracts, book jacket design, royalty statements, and reviews. Women and Art: Contested Territory, co-authored with Edward Lucie-Smith, is also well-represented in this subseries; files include manuscript drafts, correspondence with Lucie-Smith, and promotional material. Essays in this subseries include "The Liberation of the Female Artist," co-authored with Miriam Shapiro (#6.1) and "A Date with Judy: A dialogue with Judy Chicago, Suzanne Lacy and Faith Wilding" (#6.3). This subseries begins with Chicago's books, arranged in chronological order. These book files are followed by Chicago's essays and other writings, also arranged in chronological order. Writings relating to a particular project (The Dinner Party, The Birth Project, Holocaust Project) are contained in their respective project series.

Subseries B, Lectures, 1972-2000 (#6.8-7.33), contains correspondence re: the arrangement of lectures; lecture announcements and related printed material; clippings; and some lecture notes. Files in this series do not contain Chicago's lecture notes or texts unless so noted in the inventory. Lecture arrangements, requests, and responses to speaking engagements are followed by notes and drafts for unspecified events (arranged alphabetically by title), and by a chronological arrangement of specific events.

Subseries C, Interviews, 1972-1996 (#7.34-7.41, 83.17-83.19), contains both published and unpublished interviews with Chicago. Some interviews include personal correspondence; others are photocopies from books or newspapers. Included in this subseries is an undated interview between Lloyd Hamrol and Chicago (#7.34). Audio recordings of interviews with Chicago have been moved to T-319, Judy Chicago Audiotapes. This subseries is arranged in chronological order.

Series III, PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE, 1957-2004 (scattered) (#7.42-11.16, 95f+.2-95f+.3), contains letters between Chicago and family, friends, other artists and colleagues, and organizations. It is divided into three subseries.

Subseries A, Correspondence with family, 1957-1985 (scattered) (#7.42-8.15), contains letters written by Chicago to her mother, May Cohen, and letters from May Cohen to friends Pearl Cassman and Fred Grady. Letters to Cassman and Grady include Cohen's observations of Chicago's teaching career, the making of The Dinner Party, and Chicago's marriage to Lloyd Hamrol. This subseries begins with Chicago's letters to her mother, followed by May Cohen's letters to Cassman and Grady.

Subseries B, Correspondence with other individuals and organizations, 1972-1994 (#8.16-8.37), mostly contains letters between Chicago and friends and artists, including Anaïs Nin, Adrienne Rich, and others. Also contained in this series are letters between galleries representing Chicago and other organizations, including ACA Galleries, Marilyn Butler Galleries/ Scottsdale, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation, Institute of Contemporary Art, and International Friends of Contemporary Art. It is arranged in alphabetical order.

Subseries C, General correspondence, chronological, 1967-2004 (scattered) (#8.38-11.16, 95f+.2-95f+.3), contains fan mail; letters and statements from other artists; birthday cards; reproduction and information requests from galleries, publishers, and art students; letters of recommendation written by Chicago; miscellaneous correspondence; and other. Some files are organized by correspondent group, i.e., museums, art associations, art institutes (#11.1), artists, teachers, art historians (#9.30-9.38), or various needleworkers (#11.9-11.10). This subseries is arranged in chronological order.

Series IV, TEACHING AND RELATED, 1971-1990 (#11.17-11.48), contains materials relating to Chicago's teaching career at California State University, Fresno and the California Institute of the Arts, and files on related projects, including "Womanhouse" (Los Angeles, California), the Feminist Studio Workshop (Los Angeles, California), and the Woman's Building (Los Angeles, California). This series includes correspondence; writings by Chicago about establishing a Feminist Art Program, consciousness-raising groups (#11.17) and "Menstruation Bathroom" (#11.35); scripts for "Womanhouse" performance pieces (#11.37); copies of the Feminist Studio Workshop and Woman's Building bylaws (#11.22, 11.40); and printed material from various feminist art organizations. Files are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Series V, THE DINNER PARTY, 1973-1996 (#12.1-26.14, 83.24-83.26, 84.1-85.16, card file box 27-56, 93f, 94f.1v, 98f+.11, 101f+.1m-101f+.5m), contains correspondence, manuscript drafts, material samples, notecards, drawings, grant applications, condition reports, clippings, printed material, etc., relating to The Dinner Party. The Dinner Party, created by Chicago and a team of artists, artisans, and assistants between 1974 and 1979, is a multi-media work of art celebrating the history of women in Western civilization. The work consists of a dining table that is an equilateral triangle measuring 48 feet on each side. At the table are 39 place settings, each representing either a woman or a goddess, and consisting of a china-painted ceramic plate resting on cloth runners executed in a variety of needlework techniques. The table stands on the "heritage floor," which is composed of 2300 hand-cast, lustered porcelain tiles that bear the names of 999 women whose lives and work form the foundation for the achievements of the women represented at the table. Surrounding the exhibit are six woven banners introducing viewers to the intent of The Dinner Party. Additionally, there are photographic panels, including the "heritage panels," which document the women on the "heritage floor" and the techniques used to create the work. After years of traveling around the world, The Dinner Party was permanently housed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2002. The records in this series document the creation of the 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. The series is arranged in four subseries.

Subseries A, Writings and related, 1976-1989, 1996 (#12.1-15.11, 83.24-83.26, 84.1-84.35), contains manuscript drafts, correspondence, notes, contracts, etc., from the published books The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage (1979), Embroidering Our Heritage: The Dinner Party Needlework (1980), and The Dinner Party (1996), which traces the genesis and exhibition history of the piece. There is also an unpublished work, ""The Dinner Party (A Heavenly Banquet)."" Also referred to as the "Apocalypse manuscript" and "Revelation of the Goddess," the work was started in the mid-1970s and reworked by Chicago in 1980. Additional contractual information concerning all of the books may be found in Series II. For images used in the books see Series XIV. Folders are grouped with those relating to The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage first, followed by those concerning Embroidering Our Heritage: The Dinner Party Needlework, The Dinner Party, and "The Dinner Party (A Heavenly Banquet)." Within each group, they are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Creation, 1973-1983 (#15.12-19.8, 85.1-85.4, card file boxes 27-56, 93f, 94f.1v, 98f+.11), contains correspondence, notes, drawings, material samples, worker agreements, etc. Records in this series document the research on women for possible inclusion in the project, fabric and thread choices, and the relationship between Chicago and the researchers and needleworkers. Researchers and workers include Diane Gelon, Susan Hill, Adrienne Weiss, Ann Isolde, and Elaine Ireland, as well as others. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title with the exception of folders relating to individual runners (#17.16-18.10), which are arranged in the order in which they appear at the table.

Subseries C, Exhibitions, 1979-1996 (#19.9-23.2, 85.5-85.11), includes correspondence, clippings, notes, printed material, etc., relating to exhibitions of the project as well as attempts to exhibit that were not always successful. A large number of files document Chicago and Through the Flower's attempts to permanently house The Dinner Party. Most notable among these attempts is the 1990 agreement between the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and Chicago. Chicago agreed to donate the work and in return, she and Through the Flower would receive a small amount of the profits made by UDC through admission to the work. Subsequent rumors over the funding involved in the agreement led to Congressional involvement and the dissolution of the agreement. Also included in this subseries are general materials, such as exhibition manuals, condition reports, and crate lists that are not specifically related to a particular exhibition. Files are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Subseries D, Follow-up, 1975-1996 (#23.3-26.14, 85.12-85.16, 101f+.1m-101f+.5m), contains correspondence, clippings, flyers, educational materials, etc., concerning events and responses in reaction to The Dinner Party. Included are press files (clippings, interviews, press releases, etc.), fan mail, worker reunion files, files relating to objects inspired by the work, etc. A large number of files document a multi-media curriculum about sex role stereotyping to be used in secondary schools. Chicago served as a consultant for the curriculum, called "Beyond Awareness," which included a slide show with audiotapes (see T-319), a teachers' manual, and a student manual that featured The Dinner Party. Materials in this subseries are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Series VI, THE BIRTH PROJECT, 1978-1993 (#57.1-71.14, card file box 86, 94f.2v), began in 1980 when Chicago sent out questionnaires asking women about their experiences with the birth process and created needlework canvases based upon the responses. She advertised for needleworkers who were willing and able to complete the work on the canvases in their homes with guidance provided by Chicago through correspondence, phone calls, and occasional review sessions. Applicants were required to fill out applications stating their experience and interests, as well as a brief biography. They also had to send samples or photographs of their work. Once accepted to work on the project, needleworkers were required to sign over the rights to the piece, photographs of the piece, photographs of themselves working on the piece, and all written documentation concerning it (i.e., correspondence, journals, interviews, etc.) to Through the Flower. Much of the information provided in the written documentation was excerpted and used in the documentation panels in exhibitions and in the book, The Birth Project.

Exhibitions of the The Birth Project were carefully monitored by Through the Flower. Groups wishing to stage exhibitions were required to submit site plans, photographs, and requests for specific pieces of art. Through the Flower, with Chicago's guidance, would approve or disapprove planned exhibition, often after requesting extensive alterations of the space. Once approved, exhibitors were required to submit samples of all printed material associated with The Birth Project. A Through the Flower representative would occasionally assess the security and maintenance of an exhibit throughout its run. After years of rotating exhibits of the work, Chicago and Through the Flower worked with a variety of institutions to place all pieces on permanent loan.

The Birth Project contains correspondence, questionnaires, applications, contracts, interviews, journals, manuscript drafts, clippings, printed material, etc., arranged in five subseries.

Subseries A, General, 1978-1993 (#57.1-58.41, card file box 86, 94f.2v), contains questionnaires concerning women's birth experiences, correspondence between Through the Flower and project participants, worker contracts, and permissions to reproduce images, newsletters, etc., that do not relate to specific exhibitions or exhibition pieces. Documents found in these files may duplicate documents found in the exhibition unit files. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order.

Subseries B, Exhibition files, 1980-1991 (#59.1-67.30), contains correspondence, site plans, notes, review sheets, agreements, etc. Files are arranged in two groups, exhibition files, which relate to places, and exhibition unit files, which relate to an exhibition piece identified with the person or group that created it. Exhibition files document exhibitions from early proposal phase through exhibition and, in some instances, responses to the exhibition. Exhibition unit files contain correspondence with needleworkers, review sheets assessing the exhibition piece, agreements, and, in some instances, journals kept by needleworkers and interviews with the workers, often conducted by Chicago. There are no files concerning exhibition unit #8. Folders are arranged with exhibition files in alphabetical order, followed by the exhibition unit files in numerical order.

Subseries C, Dropouts, 1980-1984 (#68.1-69.18), contains correspondence, review sheets, agreements, etc., regarding individuals whose pieces were never completed. Some of these individuals resigned due to lack of time or artistic differences. Other projects were terminated by Chicago because she was dissatisfied with the needleworker's progress or with the appearance of the piece. Despite the incomplete nature of the projects, Chicago still used excerpts from the needleworkers in her book and in exhibitions. Some of the workers completed other projects and are included in the exhibition unit section. Many are included in the attribution section of The Birth Project book. The files are arranged alphabetically by the name of the needleworker.

Subseries D, Book, 1983-1985 (#69.19-70.31), contains drafts of The Birth Project book as well as promotional materials. Most of the draft material is hand-written by Chicago and includes her editing notes. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries E, Clippings, 1980-1986 (#71.1-71.14), contains clippings arranged chronologically followed by a scrapbook containing clippings.

Series VII, INTERNATIONAL QUILTING BEE, 1980 (#72.1-72.14), contains a project description, and documentary information on individuals and organizations represented in the Honor Quilt. The Honor Quilt, first shown in conjunction with the Houston exhibition of The Dinner Party (March 9 - June 1, 1980), was created by individuals from all over the world and composed of hundreds of "triangular quilted piece[s], 24 inches on each side, honoring a contemporary or historical woman or women's group from your [International Quilting Bee participants'] community, well known or not." In addition to the quilted piece, contributors to the Honor Quilt were asked to provide documentation: "biographical information on the woman or group you are honoring" and a "3x5 card stating your name, address, and the name of the woman or you have honored" (see "project description" for detailed information on documentation guidelines). This documentation constitutes the bulk of the series. Each participant in the International Quilting Bee seems to have been assigned a number (e.g., IQB-047) that appears on both the biographical information sheet and 3x5 card; the series is arranged by this numerical order. Gaps in the numerical sequence of biographical sheets are marked on the folders, but not noted in this folder listing. Gaps in the numerical sequence of 3x5 cards are noted on a sheet of paper in #72.14, created by the archivist.

Series VIII, POWERPLAY, 1986-1987, 1990 (#72.15-72.18), contains correspondence, notes, and printed material relating to the exhibition of Powerplay, "a gender construct of masculinity." Included are exhibition announcements; an ACA Galleries catalog, which features an essay on Chicago's work by Paula Harper; and correspondence with representatives of the Shidoni Gallery and Wallace Wentworth Gallery. The series is arranged in chronological order.

Series IX, HOLOCAUST PROJECT, 1985-1995 (#72.19-76.48, 87f.2, 94f.3v), contains materials relating to The Holocaust Project, Chicago's collaborative project with photographer Donald Woodman. It is divided into three subseries.

Subseries A, Writings and related, 1985-1995 (#72.19-73.34), contains files documenting the publication of Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light, and related projects and activities. Included are two of Chicago's personal journals, one covering the duration of the Holocaust Project (#72.23-72.38) and another documenting Chicago's November 1988 trip to Israel (#72.40); Holocaust Project manuscript drafts; manuscript comments by Mindy Werner, senior editor at Viking/Penguin; files on book contracts, promotion, critical reception, and royalties; and writings by Arlene Raven and Sally Duncan on the Holocaust Project. Also included in this subseries are Chicago's notes for a speech entitled "Women and Tikkun" and several drafts of Harvey Mudd's A European Education, which include Chicago illustrations. This subseries is arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Exhibitions, 1986-2000 (#73.35-74.7, 74.47), contains announcements and invitations; planning materials, including contracts and correspondence; and other files relating to the exhibition of the Holocaust Project. Exhibitions at the Laguna Gloria Museum (Austin, Texas) and Spertus Museum (Chicago, Illinois) are especially well documented; a packet from the Spertus Museum exhibition includes scale drawings and slides of Holocaust Project images (#74.47). This subseries is arranged alphabetically by gallery.

Subseries C, Images, 1985-1994 (#74.8-74.47, 75.1-76.48, 87f.2, 94f.3v ), contains source material files, including photographs, sketches, and photocopied images; research notes; background information and printed material; and correspondence with researchers. Chicago used a "round-robin" format to gather information for her image about Women and the Holocaust (#76.23-76.33): Chicago, along with Vera John-Steiner, composed a series of questions and issues relating to women and the Holocaust, which was then sent to a group of seven women. Each woman sent written responses to Chicago, who then circulated them among the rest of the group. After the first round of responses, Chicago sent a second list of questions and concerns to the group. Materials relating to this "round-robin" include respondents' biographies, correspondence with Chicago, and other writings. Other files contain Chicago's research for and text of micrographies for some Holocaust Project images. Some file titles begin with the title of the Holocaust Project images (such as Double Jeopardy, Rainbow Shabbat, etc.); others describe the genre of the file contents (research, final image file, etc.) All files in this series are arranged together alphabetically.

Series X, OTHER ART PROJECTS, 1977-2004 (scattered) (#77.1-78.10, 87f.3, SD.1), contains correspondence, drafts, drawings, printed material, etc., relating to other art projects either completed or supervised by Chicago. It is arranged from earliest to most recent project.

Pyrotechnics, 1970, n.d. (#77.1), contains printed material relating to Chicago's efforts to become a licensed pyrotechnic operator. None of the information relates specifically to Chicago, but it provides researchers with insight into the skills required to create Chicago's pyrotechnic works.

The Rejection Quintet, 1974 (#SD.1), is a series of five Prismacolor drawings in which Chicago first began using vaginal imagery.

What is Feminist Art?, 1977 (#87f.3) , is a 9" x 12" pink, hand sprayed, limited edition print that was available for purchase to support The Dinner Party.

Cité des Femmes, 1982 (#77.2-4), contains correspondence and translations of a manuscript written by Christine de Pisan. Chicago proposed illustrating a condensed version of the text, but the project does not appear to have been completed.

Hot Flash Fan, 1984-1986, 1989 (#77.5-77.7), contains correspondence, printed materials, etc., relating to the exhibition of the collaborative project completed by more than 50 artists under the principal direction of Chicago and Ann Stewart Anderson. The project is a fan incorporating needlework, knotting, quilting, and painting in an expression of feelings associated with menopause.

"Prologue to The Book of Knowing ... (and) of Overthrowing," 1989 (#77.8), contains performance notes, programs, clippings, etc., relating to Chicago's collaboration with Joan La Barbara. "Prologue to The Book of Knowing ... (and) of Overthrowing" is an aria based on female creation myths from six cultures, with music composed by Joan La Barbara and projections and costumes by Chicago.

Critique by mail, 1993 (#77.9-77.11), contains correspondence relating to a service offered by Chicago. For a fee, artists could send Chicago at least 20, but no more than 60, slides of their work accompanied by a one-page written statement. Chicago would return the slides with a written copy of her critique of the artist's work. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Chicago as juror, 1993 (#77.12-77.13), contains correspondence, clippings, and printed material relating to art shows and exhibitions at which Chicago served as a juror. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Wittenberg University workshop, 1993 (#77.14-77.15), contains correspondence, workshop description, contracts, etc., relating to the common learning project supervised by Chicago. In this workshop, groups of students facilitated by their instructors created visual or performance pieces were created depicting issues of self and community.

Song of Songs, 1998-1999 (#77.16-77.19), contains working versions of graphics and text. The project was a series of illustrations of the Old Testament as translated by Marsha Falk, stressing mutual pleasure between man and woman and allowing for the juxtaposition of the male and female voices. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Resolutions: A Stitch in Time, 2000-2002 (#77.20), contains announcements for the exhibit in which Chicago uses painted and needlework images to explore adages relating to seven basic human values: family, responsibility, tolerance, human rights, conservation, hope, and change.

At Home: A Kentucky Project, 2001 (#77.21), contains correspondence, description of the project and individual rooms, etc., relating to the house and photo documentation project exhibitions. The semester-long project at Western Kentucky University in which students examined social issues through installations in various rooms in a house was supervised by Chicago and Donald Woodman.

Fragments from the Delta of Venus, 1990-2004 (#77.22-77.77.31), contains correspondence, drafts, printed material, etc., concerning Chicago's book of illustration of excerpts of Anaïs Nin's Delta of Venus. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Envisioning the Future, 2003-2004 (#77.32-78.10), contains correspondence, schedules, printed material, etc., relating to an interdisciplinary project involving the arts and education that sought to imagine, create, and exhibit diverse images of the future. Chicago worked with artists from southern California to develop their projects. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Series XI, EXHIBITIONS, 1964-2003 (#79.1-80.51, 85.17-85.23, 87f.4-87f.6), contains files documenting some of Chicago's solo and group exhibitions. Included are exhibition announcements and catalogs; correspondence with galleries; related planning materials, such as floor plans and insurance receipts; notes; posters; and slides and photographs of Chicago and others at opening receptions. Many files contain only the exhibition's catalog; in these instances, exhibition titles are followed by "[catalog]" in the inventory. Files documenting the exhibition of a specific project or groups of works (e.g., The Dinner Party, The Birth Project, Holocaust Project, Powerplay) are contained in that project's or group of work's respective series. This series is arranged in chronological order, except for six folders of miscellaneous exhibition announcements spanning 1964-2003 (#79.1-79.6).

Series XII, DIANE GELON, 1973-1984 (#81.1-81.31), contains correspondence, diaries, resumes, notes, clippings, etc., concerning Diane Gelon, a lawyer whose practice has an emphasis on media, entertainment and arts law, including television and film production, broadcasting, music, publishing and theater. She was Project Coordinator for The Dinner Party (1975-1979) and Administrative Director for The Dinner Party and Through the Flower (1979-1983). It was largely through her efforts that The Dinner Party was exhibited beyond the initial showing at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. While some of the records in this series, such as DG's diaries, chronicle her work for Chicago, the majority are of a personal nature and appear to have been left in the Through the Flower offices. Further information on her work on The Dinner Party can be found in Series V. Of particular interest in this series is the correspondence between DG and the poet Honor Moore. Correspondence with Susan Hill is closed to researchers unless they have written permission from DG and Susan Hill. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Series XIII, THROUGH THE FLOWER AND OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE, 1973-2003 (#82.1-83.10, E.2). Chartered in 1978 to support the completion of The Dinner Party, Through the Flower has become "a 501c3 non-profit arts organization whose mission is to create a cultural legacy built upon the vision embodied in the work of Judy Chicago through education, exhibition and preservation" ( This series is divided into two subseries.

Subseries A, General, 1973-2003 (#82.1-82.28, 82.49, E.2), contains correspondence, memoranda, printed material, ACA Galleries inventories of Chicago's work, requests to reproduce Chicago's artwork, and other records of Through the Flower. Also contained in this series are administrative records that pre-date the founding of Through the Flower; these include mailing lists, Chicago's and Lloyd Hamrol's Santa Monica lease, requests to reproduce Chicago's artwork, and loan agreements and price lists for Chicago's artwork. The records of Through the Flower have been combined and are arranged alphabetically. Through the Flower's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site will be available through this finding aid in 2010.

Subseries B, Workshops/seminars, 1992-1995 (#82.29-83.10), contains records relating to Through the Flower's outreach programs. Files include workshop/seminar announcements and related printed material; correspondence with and biographies of workshop leaders; registration information; and other planning materials. This subseries is arranged chronologically.

Series XIV, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1956-1993 (scattered) (PD.1-PD.100), contains photographs of Chicago, individuals who worked with Chicago, celebrations attended by Chicago, Chicago's work, etc. Photographs that were not removed from other folders are arranged in an order that mimics the series arrangement in the collection. They are followed by a list of photographs removed from various folders in numerical order (PD.55-PD.79, PD.94f-PD.100); there is a separate list (PD.80-PD.93) for legal-sized photographs removed from folders.

Series XV, MEMORABILIA, 1979-1994 (scattered) (#101f+-103f, 105o), contains buttons, pins, stickers, bumper stickers, needlework kits, postcards, etc. Folders are listed alphabetically.

Series XVI, OVERSIZE, 1974-1999, n.d. (#87f.1-101f+.6m, 104 roll box, OD.1-OD.2, SD.1), is the shelflist for oversize items (posters, calendars, programs, etc.) throughout this collection. The list below includes "catch-all" folders of large items found loose, or removed from folders in other series. Also included are oversize folders listed in previous series (as cited below), as they contain documents directly related to folders in those series (e.g., catalogs from exhibitions). There are photocopied reductions of the oversize items in their original folders if they were removed from a group of other materials. Describing the object in the case of fabric items (#88f.1-92f, 97f+.1-99f+.4, 100o.1-100o.7), an "item removed" sheet has been placed in the original folder. Items that were not removed from other folders are arranged in an order that mimics the series arrangement in the collection. They are followed by a list of "catch-all" folders, in their numerical order.


Judy Chicago, an artist, writer, and feminist, was born Judy Cohen in Chicago, Illinois, July 20, 1939. The daughter of Arthur M., a labor organizer, 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.

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 U.S. 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 Brooklyn Museum of Art 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 for needlework executed by skilled stitchers 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 16 series:

  1. Series I. Biographical, 1947-2000 (scattered)
  2. Series II. Writings, Lectures, and Interviews, 1972-2000
  3. Series III. Personal Correspondence, 1957-2004 (scattered)
  4. Series IV. Teaching and Related, 1971-1990
  5. Series V. The Dinner Party, 1973-1996
  6. Series VI. The Birth Project, 1978-1993
  7. Series VII. International Quilting Bee, 1980
  8. Series VIII. Powerplay, 1986-1987, 1990
  9. Series IX. Holocaust Project, 1985-1995
  10. Series X. Other Art Projects, 1977-2004 (scattered)
  11. Series XI. Exhibitions, 1964-2003
  12. Series XII. Diane Gelon, 1973-1984
  13. Series XIII. Through the Flower and Other Administrative, 1973-2003
  14. Series XIV. Photographs, 1956-1993 (scattered)
  15. Series XV. Memorabilia, 1979-1994 (scattered)
  16. Series XVI. Oversize, 1974-1999, n.d.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 96-M151, 96-M169, 98-M61, 98-M133, 99-M164, 2001-M16, 2002-M18, 2002-M45, 2004-M45, 2004-M54, 2004-M76

These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library between 1996 and 2004 by Judy Chicago.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Judy Chicago Additional papers (MC 909), Judy Chicago Audiotapes (T-319), Judy Chicago Videotapes (Vt-122), and Mary Ross Taylor Letters from Judy Chicago, 1980-2019 (MC 1027).


Donor: Judy Chicago

Accession numbers: 96-M151, 96-M169, 98-M61, 98-M133, 99-M164, 2001-M16, 2002-M18, 2002-M45, 2004-M54, 2004-M76

Processed by: Cheryl Beredo, Johanna Carll

The following items have been removed from the collection:

  1. Adams, Laurie. Art Across Time (Boston, 2001). Returned to Judy Chicago 2002.
  2. Adams, Laurie. A History of Western Art (Boston, 2001). Returned to Judy Chicago 2002.
  3. Anderson, Richard L. Calliope's Sisters: A comparative study of philosophies of art (New Jersey, 2004). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  4. Bersson, Robert. Responding to Art: form, content and context (New York, 2004). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  5. Bishop, Clifford, and Xenia Osthelder. Sexualia: From Prehistory to Cyberspace (Cologne, Germany, 2001). Transferred to Schlesinger Library book collection 2002.
  6. Contemporary art (Japanese language). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  7. Crooks, Robert, and Karla Baur. Our Sexuality. 8th ed. (Pacific Grove, California, 2002). Transferred to Schlesinger Library book collection 2002.
  8. Danis/Koestler/Marcadé ? Vittoz/Kroetz/Platonov/Péguy/Brecht/Kaiser/Kane/Bond. Inédits et commentaires (Paris, 1999). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  9. Dempsey, Amy. Styles Schools and Movements: an encyclopaedic guide to modern art (London 2002). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  10. Doss, Erika. Twentieth-century American Art (Oxford, 2002). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  11. Eschebach, Insa, Jacobeit, Sigrid, and Wenk, Silke. Gedächtnis und Geschlecht: Deutungsmuster in Darstellungen des nationalsozialistischen Genozids (Frankfurt, 2002). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  12. Fichner-Rathus, Lois. Understanding Art (Fort Worth, Texas, 2001). Returned to Judy Chicago 2002.
  13. Fichner-Rathus, Lois. Understanding Art (Belmont, 2004). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  14. Fineberg, Jonathan. Art since 1940: strategies of being (New Jersey, 2000). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  15. Gilbert, Rita, and Mark Getlein. Gilbert's Living With Art (Boston, 2001). Returned to Judy Chicago 2002.
  16. Gold, Xandie, Poynton, Miranda and Walker, Emily, ed. Speculum 2002: short fiction and poetry by women from Curtin University, Western Australia (Bentley, 2002). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  17. Grosenick, Uta, ed. Women Artists in the 20th and 21st Century (New York, 2001). Transferred to Schlesinger Library book collection 2002.
  18. Harlow, Jules, with Cohen/Furstenberg/Gordis/Tanenbaum. Pray Tell: a Hadassah guide to Jewish prayer (Woodstock, VT, 2003). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  19. Hopkins, Henry, with portraits of the artists by Jacobs, Mimi. 50 West Coast Artists: A critical selection of painters and sculptors working in California (San Francisco ?1981). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  20. Hornstein, Shelley, Levitt, Laura, and Silberstein, Laurence J. ed. Impossible Images: contemporary art after the holocaust (New York, 2003). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  21. Kelly, James J. The Sculptural Idea (Illinois, 2004). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  22. Lancaster, Roger N. The trouble with Nature: sex and science in popular culture (Berkeley, 2003). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  23. Macdonald, Fiona. Women in a Changing World, 1945-2000 (New York, 2001). Transferred to Schlesinger Library book collection 2002.
  24. Ocvirk, Otto G. Art Fundamentals: theory and practice (Boston, 2002). Returned to Judy Chicago 2002.
  25. Papadikas, Brenda Manges. Dear Hannah: In the style of Jane A. Stickle (Kentucky 2002). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  26. Preble, Duane, Sarah Preble, Patrick Frank. Artforms: an introduction to the visual arts (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 2002). Returned to Judy Chicago 2002.
  27. Riedel, Ingrid. Formen: Tiefenpsychologische Deutung von Kreis, Kreuz, Dreieck, Quadrat, Spirale und Mandala (Stuttgart, 2002). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  28. Roberts, Elizabeth and Amidon, Elias, ed. Prayers for a Thousand Years (New York, 1999). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  29. Sayre, Henry M. A World of Art (New Jersey, 2003). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  30. Soltes, Ori Z., curator. Jewish Artists: on the edge (Santa Fe, 2000). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  31. Whitcomb, Holly W. Feasting with God: adventures in table spirituality (Ohio, 1996). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  32. Whitehead, John W. Grasping the Wind: the search for meaning in the 20th century (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2001). Returned to Judy Chicago 2004.
  33. Wienbroer, Diane Roberts, and William Allen. McGraw-Hill Guide to Electronic Research in Art (Boston, 1999). Returned to Judy Chicago 2002.
  34. Three cartons of books on art, poetry, women's studies, sexuality, etc., were given to the University of Massachusetts Boston as per the request of Judy Chicago, February 1997.

Processing Information

Processed: June 2004

By: Cheryl Beredo, Johanna Carll

Chicago, Judy, 1939- . Papers of Judy Chicago, 1947-2004 (inclusive), 1957-2004 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
The records were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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