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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 264

Records of the League of Women Voters (Cambridge, Mass.), 1916-1974


Minutes, reports, correspondence, etc., of the League of Women Voters (Cambridge, Mass.), which advocated for informed, active participation of citizens in government.


  • Creation: 1916-1974

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the League of Women Voters (Cambridge, Mass.) 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.


1.46 linear feet (3+1/2 file box) plus 2 folio folders, 1 folio+ folder, 2 oversize folders, 3 reels of microfilm (M-103)

This collection contains minutes of regular meetings, 1916-1920, 1923-1928; minutes of annual meetings, 1916-1920, 1923-1943, 1945-1957; and minutes of the executive committee, 1920-1930. Also included are reports, correspondence, and other materials.

Eight oversized scrapbooks and seven folders of clippings were microfilmed and are only available on microfilm (M-103). The eight scrapbooks document the activities of the League from its inception in 1920 until 1964. The contents of the scrapbooks were arranged chronologically and consist of programs and other printed material, invitations, correspondence, and clippings about the League and about the community issues with which the League concerned itself. Because of the chronological arrangement of the scrapbooks and the variety of materials collected in them, the inventory does not describe in detail the contents of each volume. The index that follows the inventory provides the volume and page number of references to important women. After filming, correspondence, pamphlets, brochures, programs, invitations, and newsletters were removed from the scrapbooks and the clippings were discarded.


The League of Women Voters is an American political organization founded on February 14, 1920, in Chicago, Illinois, by Carrie Chapman Catt during the last meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association approximately six months before the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution gave women the right to vote. The organization's vision was to help newly enfranchised women exercise their responsibilities as voters. Originally, only women could join the league; but in 1973 the charter was modified to include men. The League operates at national, state and local levels through more than 800 state and local Leagues, in all 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hong Kong. Its official position is strictly nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates for office at any level of government. At the same time, the League is wholeheartedly political and works to influence policy through advocacy, as well as through political lobbying of Congress.

The Cambridge League of Women Voters evolved from the Cambridge Political Equality Association (CPEA), organized in February 1896 by women who believed "that the exercise of the suffrage on the part of the women citizens is not only just but will promote a better civic life, the true development of the home, and the welfare of the family...." In 1916 the CPEA was reorganized as the Third Middlesex Representative District Organization of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association. In 1920 it became the League of Women Voters of Cambridge, and held its first meeting as such on December 1, 1920. The organization's activities were taken over by the Boston area League of Women Voters after the 1980s

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 59-27, and parts of 1240, and 84-M168

The records of the League of Women Voters (Cambridge, Mass.) were given to the Schlesinger Library by the League, and by Louise (Fletcher) Chase, a past president of the League, beginning in March 1959. The scrapbooks and clippings (1v -15) were prepared for microfilming by Catherine Cooper in March 1986.


The eight scrapbooks and seven folders of clippings were microfilmed with the support of the Friends of the Schlesinger Library. The scrapbooks, their contents, and the loose clippings were fragile and could not be handled without damage. Some or all of the following conditions apply to each volume.

Glue or tape has caused discoloration, which affects the legibility of some items.

In some instances, glue or tape has dried and clippings or other items are loose. Loose items were filmed where they were found, when possible; otherwise, they were filmed immediately after that page. Whenever possible, these items were filmed in the order in which they are to be read. Where necessary to avoid confusion, items under those being filmed were masked before filming.

Many scrapbook pages contain items that overlap, were folded in order to fit on the page, or have multiple pages. These scrapbook pages were filmed as they first appeared and then as many more times as necessary.

In general, multiple-paged items by or about the League of Women Voters of Cambridge were filmed in their entirety. An exception to this rule was made in the case of minutes of Board and Annual Meetings, and issues of League Items, the League newsletter, which are duplicated in addenda to the collection. In the case of these materials, only those single items which are not duplicated elsewhere were filmed in their entirety.

In the case of multiple-paged items not having primarily to do with the League of Women Voters of Cambridge, only covers or first pages and any pages concerning the League of Women Voters of Cambridge were filmed. Publications by or about the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts may be found in the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts collection in the Schlesinger Library; the Library of Congress is the official repository for the records of the League of Women Voters of the United States.

Because of the brittle state of many clippings, some text has been lost. This has happened in particular at the edges of pages, and where one clipping was glued over another and was too fragile to be folded back.

Page numbers in square brackets were added by the processor to aid the microfilmer, the proofreader, and the researcher; blank pages were not numbered.

When possible, correspondence, pamphlets, brochures, programs, invitations, and newsletters were removed from the scrapbooks after microfilming; they can be found in folders 1a-1b, 2a, 3a-3cf+, 4a-4bo, 5a-5bf, 6a-6eo, 7a-7gf, and 8a-8d.

  1. M-103, Reel 1: 1vo-5vo
  2. M-103, Reel 2: 6vo-7vo
  3. M-103, Reel 3: 8vo-15

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see the Woman's Rights Collection (folders 1070-1081af, volumes 106-110); the Grace A. Johnson papers in the Woman's Rights Collection (Jo-161--Jo-164); the Maud Wood Park papers in the Woman's Rights Collection (Pa-155), and League of Women Voters (Cambridge, Mass.) Additional records, ca.1919-1977 (MC 739).

Container List

  1. Box 1: 1a-1b, 2a, 3a-3b, 4a, 5a, 6a-6c
  2. Box 2: 6d, 7a-7f, 8a-8b
  3. Box 3: 8c-8d, 16v-20
  4. Box 4: 21v-22v


The following index gives the volume and page numbers of references to notable women in the microfilmed scrapbooks (1vo-8vo). Due to poor contrast, however, page numbers are only infrequently legible (1vo-7vo).

  1. Andrews, Fannie Fern (Phillips) 3:123
  2. Blackwell, Alice Stone 2:36, 2:39, 4:4, 4:23, 4:70, 4:71, 4:142, 5:1, 6:94, 6:103, 8:80
  3. Breshkovsky, Catherine 4:23
  4. Bronner, Augusta Fox 2:3
  5. Brown, Dorothy (Kirchwey) 3:126
  6. Cannon, Ida Maud 5:12, 5:14, 5:15
  7. Cronkhite, Bernice Veazey (Brown) 1:9, 1:25, 2:85, 6:7, 6:42
  8. Eliot, Martha May 8:13, 8:40
  9. Hamilton, Alice 3:109, 3:113, 3:115
  10. Harvard Scrubwomen 2:24
  11. Hodder, Jessie (Donaldson) 1:12
  12. Howe, Helen 1:47, 1:48, 5:27, 5:34
  13. Irwin, Inez (Haynes) 6:91
  14. Luscomb, Florence Hope 1:17, 1:24, 2:34
  15. Park, Maud (Wood) 6:91
  16. Sayre, Jessie (Wilson) 1:13, 1:69, 2:5, 2:20, 2:21, 2:22, 2:39, 3:69, 4:68
  17. Schlesinger, Elizabeth (Bancroft) 2:85, 2:121, 2:125, 2:126, 2:127, 2:129, 2:130, 2:131, 3:12, 3:41, 3:88, 3:89, 4:32
  18. Strong, Anna Louise 4:110, 4:112, 4:113
  19. Van Waters, Miriam 3:125, 3:129, 4:68, 5:111, 5:113, 6:141
  20. Wambaugh, Sarah 1:6, 1:12, 1:28, 1:65, 1:66, 2:3, 2:20, 2:21, 2:22, 2:92, 2:93, 3:18, 3:97, 3:99, 3:142, 4:4, 4:40, 4:41, 4:49, 4:51, 4:52, 4:53, 4:55, 4:56, 4:57, 4:77, 4:78, 4:99, 4:102, 4:123, 5:16, 6:7

Processing Information

Reprocessed: March 1978

By: Katherine Gray Kraft

Updated: 2013

By: Stacey Flatt

League of Women Voters (Cambridge, Mass.). Records of the League of Women Voters (Cambridge, Mass.), 1916-1974: 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.

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