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Records of The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, 1942-2022


Records of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, including correspondence and other material concerning the Woman's Rights Collection; Library directors' and staff correspondence; financial records; Advisory Committee minutes; records of the Friends of the Library and special projects and grants; and publicity files.


  • Creation: 1942-2022


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Series 2, 3.2, 3.4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12 are closed for 50 years from the date of creation except with the permission of the director of the Schlesinger Library. Records may need screening by archivist for sensitive material before research use. Appointment may be required. Contact public services. Personnel files in Series 2 are closed for 50 years. Series 6 and 9 are closed for 80 years.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

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


318.56 linear feet ((466 file boxes, 5 half file boxes, 122 cartons, 2 card file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder, 2 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 1 folio photograph folder)

This collection consists of office files and other records of the library reflecting its evolution and every aspect of its work: the Woman's Rights Collection's records and correspondence; correspondence of Library Directors and staff, financial records, Advisory Committee minutes, records of grants and programs, publicity files and records of Friends of the Library. Master negatives of microfilms and microfiches are also housed in this collection.

The Schlesinger Library's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX).

Series 1, records of the Woman's Rights Collection and Series 3.1, office files, 1945-1966 are finite and will not be added to.


The Schlesinger Library had its origins in the gift of the Woman's Rights Collection by Maud Wood Park '98 to Radcliffe College in 1943. Organized as the Women's Archives in 1948, it was renamed the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America in 1965 in recognition of the Schlesingers' strong support of the Library and the College. The Woman's Rights Collection was originally housed in Longfellow Hall and the Women's Archives in Byerly Hall and moved in 1967 to the old Radcliffe College Library, left vacant after the construction of Hilles Library.

The Schlesinger Library is a national resource for women's history. It collects published and unpublished materials, the latter including manuscript collections of individual women, family papers, records of women's organizations, photographs, motion pictures, oral history transcripts audio and videotapes that document the history of American women from about 1800 to the present. The manuscript collections provide source material on women's rights, suffrage, social welfare, pioneers in the professions, family history, women in politics, the labor movement, government service and post 1920s feminism. Among the notable women whose papers are in the Library are Julia Child, Betty Friedan, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Emma Goldman, Alice Hamilton, Elizabeth Holtzman, Esther Peterson and Harriet Beecher Stowe, but many of its collections document the lives of typical rather than notable women. In addition, the Library is the official repository for the records of the National Organization for Women and other activist organizations. The book collection covers all aspects of the social and intellectual history of women, including women in other countries, and includes cookbooks, etiquette books, vertical files and women's periodicals. The library also maintains biographical, organizational and subject files on issues of historical and current interest.


The collection is arranged in twelve series:

  1. Series 1. Woman's Rights Collection: early organization and correspondence withdonors
  2. Series 2. Correspondence, including Women's Archives and Schlesinger Library
  3. Series 3. Office files, including annual reports and advisory committee minutes
  4. Series 4. Publicity files, including reports published by the Library
  5. Series 5. Fiscal and accounting records
  6. Series 6. Researcher material
  7. Series 7. Friends of the Schlesinger Library, active and inactive Friends, 4 cardfiles; financial material
  8. Series 8. Special projects and grants
  9. Series 9. Personnel and staff correspondence
  10. Series 10. Radcliffe Research Support Programs
  11. Series 11. Library, other committees: IT, e-mail, web site
  12. Series 12. Exhibition program at Schlesinger Library

Physical Location

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

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Patricia Miller King Papers, 1864, 1882-1995 (MC 711).

Processing Information

Processed: January 1982

By: Jane S. Knowles

Last updated: April 2024

By: Library staff members

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America. Records of The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, 1942-2022: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA