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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 865

Papers of Emily Norwood Rando, 1952-1998


Diaries (1956-1998); published articles and books (1971-1994); school papers, awards, and drawings; and a memoir (edited by Rando) of Susan Sebestyen, describing her life during the Holocaust and the Hungarian Revolution.


  • Creation: 1952-1998

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Diaries from 1972-1997 (#8.1-15.2) are closed for fifty years following the death of Emily Rando's husband, Robert Rando. The remainder of the collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Emily Norwood Rando 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.


5.84 linear feet ((13 file boxes, 2 half file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 4 photograph folders)

Papers consist of diaries, correspondence (mainly letters received), awards and memberships, drawings, school and university papers, and draft manuscripts. The bulk of the collection consists of diaries written between 1956 and 1998.

Series I, PERSONAL AND WRITINGS, 1952-1990 (#1.1-4.1, F+D.1, PD.1-PD.4), includes correspondence, awards and memberships, drawings, school and university papers, and draft manuscripts. Correspondence (mostly incoming) was received loose and in envelopes. Most of it is from her days at Hudson Bay High School and was received from friends, boyfriends, and relatives. Most individuals are identified and letters discuss school and exams, dating, summer and winter vacations, etc. Letters from Rando's parents and siblings during her time at Radcliffe discuss family news and occurrences in Vancouver, Washington, with fewer references to Rando's experiences at Radcliffe College. Letters from high school boyfriend, Chris Klein, document their adolescent relationship while both attending Hudson Bay High School and their long-distance relationship and his experiences while attending the New Hampton School (a private boarding school in New Hampshire) and Brown University, as well as documenting their eventual break-up. The collection also includes a small amount of school work and drawings from her time at Hudson Bay High School, mainly English assignments, poetry, and material for theater performances, as well as academic awards and memberships. Photographs include several of Rando as a child, in her high school years, and in her later years, photographs of her parents and siblings, and of their home in Washington . Also included are papers and draft articles written while at MIT. Several papers originally turned in as assignments were later revised for publication in linguistic diaries or as books. In addition, a memoir of Susan Sebestyen, edited by Rando and describing her life during the Holocaust and the Hungarian Revolution, is included. Most of the photographs in this series are or will be digitized and available online. Folder titles were created by the archivist. Folders are arranged alphabetically

Series II, DIARIES, 1956-1998 (#4.2-15.2), consists of diaries written between 1956 and 1998. Early diaries (1956-1963) document her childhood in Vancouver, Washington, and contain descriptions of family life; academics and extracurricular activities at school; attendance at a Christian Science church; dating and her interest in boys; etc. Also documented in her diaries (1964-1968) is her experiences at Radcliffe including academics and extra-curricular activities; dating; food cooked and eaten and restaurants visited; her intimate relations with men; health problems; etc. Later diaries (1972-1998) document much of the same, but also include descriptions of her time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her marriage to Robert R. Rando, the birth and care of her children, daily life in the Boston, Massachusetts area, etc. Rando's last diaries (#14.8-15.2) describe her treatment regimen and her struggle with cancer. There is a gap (1968-1972) in the diaries. It is assumed that they documented an earlier marriage since the last Diary for 1968 includes a description of Rando shopping for a wedding dress and making plans for a wedding. Folder titles were created by the archivist. Folders are arranged chronologically.


Writer and editor Emily Norwood Rando was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in 1946 to Gus and Jean Norwood. She was one of four children and grew up in Vancouver, Washington. She graduated as valedictorian of her class at Hudson Bay High School, later attending Radcliffe College and graduating in 1968. She published her first academic article on mathematical coding theory while a student at Radcliffe. Following her graduation from Radcliffe, Rando received a fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from the National Science Foundation and completed a doctorate degree in linguistics there in 1972.

She taught at the University of Washington in Seattle (1972-1974) before returning to Massachusetts to care for her family. She was the author and editor of several books and articles on linguistics and poetry including Linguistic Muse, Speaking in Tongues, Lingua Franca, Meliglossa, (all co-edited with Donna Jo Napoli) and Syntactic Argumentation (co-written and edited with Donna Jo Napoli), and Questions and Answers in English. It appears that she was married to William R. Pope III in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1968 (several of her writings were published under the name Emily Pope). It is unclear when this marriage ended, but she appears to have been remarried to Robert Rando and raising their first son Oliver by 1972. The couple had two additional sons: Tobias, and Mateo. She died of cancer in 1998.


The collection is arranged in two series:

  1. Series I. Personal and writings, 1952-1990 (#1.1-4.1, F+D.1, PD.1-PD.4)
  2. Series II. Diaries, 1956-1998 (#4.2-15.2)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 96-M79, 98-M59, 98-M187, 2000-M76, 2002-M122

The papers of Emily Norwood Rando were given to the Schlesinger Library by Emily Norwood Rando between June 1996 and November 1998 and by her sister, Valerie Norwood, in November 2000 and September 2002.


Donors: Emily Rando and Valerie Norwood

Accession numbers: 96-M79, 98-M59, 98-M187, 2000-M76, 2002-M122

Processed by: Mark Vassar

The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger Library printed materials division (pending review by curator):

  1. Lingua Franca (part of Anthropology and Humanism) edited by Donna Jo Napoli and Emily Norwood Rando, 1989
  2. Linguistic Muse edited by Emily Norwood Rando and Donna Jo Napoli, 1979
  3. Meliglossa edited by Emily Norwood Rando and Donna Jo Napoli, 1983
  4. Speaking in Tongues (part of Anthropology and Humanism) edited by Bradley R. Strahan, Donna Jo Napoli, and Emily Norwood Rando, 1994
  5. Syntactic Argumentation (with teacher's guide) written and edited by Emily Norwood Rando and Donna Jo Napoli, 1979
  6. Questions and Answers in English by Emily Norwood Pope, 1976

Processing Information

Processed: January 2017

By: Mark Vassar, with assistance from Margaret Dalton.

Rando, Emily Norwood, 1946-1998. Papers of Emily Norwood Rando, 1952-1998
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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