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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 943: Vt-105

Papers of Yolanda Bako, 1970-1995


Organizational material including agendas, minutes, reports, newsletters, statements, etc., of Yolanda Bako, feminist and activist in the movement against domestic violence.


  • Creation: 1970-1995


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research except for a few items from #1.9 and 6.4 which are closed to preserve third party privacy (there are redacted copies in the folders). An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Yolanda Bako is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Publication of quotations by Yolanda Bako requires her prior written permission. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

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


2.92 linear feet ((7 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder, 1 supersize folder, 2 photograph folders, 3 banners, 4 t-shirts, and 1 videotapes)

The collection documents Yolanda Bako's work against domestic violence through her participation in many different organizations, most of which took place during the 1970s and early 1980s. The nature of the work called for a great deal of networking, so there is considerable overlap. There is little personal material, although there are some autobiographical writings (see #1.3, 3.6); the bulk of the collection is centered around the organizations with which she was affiliated and includes agendas, minutes, press releases, reports, testimonies, flyers, newsletters, clippings, t-shirts, banners, and conference material. The collection is organized chiefly by organization with which she was affiliated, more or less chronologically. Folder titles in quotations are those of the donor.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Yolanda Bako was born in 1946 and grew up in the Bronx, the daughter of Hungarian immigrants who ran a bar and grill. She graduated from Evander Childs High School and worked as a secretary at various firms in New York City during the 1960s. She later served as public affairs coordinator and business coordinator at the Guggenheim Museum while taking courses part time. Bako became increasingly active in the movement against domestic violence and served as coordinator of the Center for the Elimination of Violence in the Family, a co-founder of the first shelter for battered women in New York City, and as a rape prevention and education specialist at the Crime Victims Service Center, Center for the Study of Social Intervention at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University. Beginning in 1974, she became a regular speaker at schools, colleges, hospitals, and women's groups, as well as testifying before the New York State legislature and the United States Congress. Bako was a founding member of the Mayor's Task Force on Rape, and coordinator of the Rape Prevention Committee of the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women, which sponsored the 1976 Women's Walk Against Rape. She was also on the New York Steering Committee of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and served as executive director of Volunteers Against Violence Technical Assistance Program (part of the American Friends Service Committee). She was the author of How to Start a Country-wide Task Force on Family Violence, and also wrote on class issues in the battered women's movement. In 1981 she moved to Woodstock, New York, to work for the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Bako also was part of a global network, in touch with the National Women's Aid Federation in London, traveling to St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, and Puerto Rico in 1982, working with Charlotte Bunch and Kathleen Barry on international trafficking in women as part of the agenda of Forum '85, the nongovernmental women's conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985, and attending the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, September 1995. In the 1980s Bako worked as a mental health therapy aide at the Bronx State Psychiatric Hospital.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 96-M117, 96-M137, 99-M80, 99-M129, 2002-M137

The papers of Yolanda Bako were given to the Schlesinger Library between August 1996 and June 1999. In August 1999 and October 2002, audiovisual material was reformatted and accessioned.

Processing Information

Processed: May 2018

By: Anne Engelhart

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Bako, Yolanda. Papers of Yolanda Bako, 1970-1995: 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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