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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 752: Vt-243

Papers of Joyce Trebilcot, 1935-2009 (inclusive), 1965-1995 (bulk)


Papers of writer, feminist philosopher, and lesbian activist Joyce Trebilcot contain school papers; correspondence; writings on philosophy, feminism, and lesbianism; class lecture notes, syllabi, reviews of teaching; and presentations and lectures.


  • Creation: 1935-2009
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1965-1995

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Joyce Trebilcot 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. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


12.3 linear feet ((29 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 3 photograph folders, 3 videotapes, 3 objects, electronic records)
20.37 Megabytes (9 files)

Collection includes school papers; correspondence; writings on philosophy, feminism, and lesbianism; class lecture notes, syllabi, reviews of teaching; and presentations and lectures. Trebilcot's papers document the life of a radical feminist philosopher, following her development in philosophy through her college course papers and into her own teaching with syllabi and lecture notes. Correspondence between Trebilcot and former students, as well as colleagues in the women's studies and feminist philosophy fields during the 1970s through early 1990s show the progress of the women's studies programs at various schools, as well as the evolution of the teaching of feminism and philosophy by others throughout the United States as well as internationally. All material that came foldered in the collection was transferred to acid-free folders. Original folder titles appear in quotation marks in the inventory. Electronic records were received in 32 5.25" disks and 4 3.5" disks. Disks were imaged using FTK imager. Selected data has been converted to PDF/A for preservation and delivery.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1935-2009 (#1.1-3.3, F+D.1, PD.1-PD.3, Mem.1-Mem.3, E.1-E.2) includes brief biographies used for publications; college class notes and papers organized by subject matter from Trebilcot's days as a student; her obituary; photographs; and vitae. Trebilcot's interest and development in her field of philosophy is evident within her various school papers, her vitae, and even her interest in women's music festivals. Files are arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within.

Series II, CORRESPONDENCE, 1965-2008 (#3.4-13.5, E.3) includes responses to writings (Trebilcot's own and her criticism of others' writings); planning for meetings; strategies for publications on themes of philosophy and feminism; guidance on teaching practices; etc. This series illustrates the sharing of ideas that took place between Trebilcot and colleagues in feminist philosophy and women's studies programs within institutions throughout the country; as well as with former students, eventually becoming colleagues themselves. Trebilcot often wrote notes on the outside of her folders; in these cases, parts of the original folders were retained with the material. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by correspondent's last name or subject.

Series III, WRITING, 1966-2008 (#13.6-23.2, E.4-E.8) includes drafts, notes, and research related to Trebilcot's dissertation from University of California, Santa Barbara; articles; books; chapter contributions; and letters to the editor written by Trebilcot. Most of the writings tackle variations on the theme of feminism and sexuality in philosophy. The subject files contain notes, clippings, and correspondence accumulated by Trebilcot on topics she had either wished to write about or had written. If known, folder titles include the publication date/month in parentheses following the title of the writing. The series is arranged with alphabetical files on articles and books followed by general and subject files. Files on Trebilcot's book Dyke Ideas are listed by chapter title.

Series IV, TEACHING, 1969-2007 (#23.3-27.4, E.9) includes classes taught by Trebilcot with syllabi, lecture notes, comments on papers, reading lists, and evaluations. The class files are arranged in chronological order; followed by lecture notes from unknown classes and presentations, arranged alphabetically by subject; and ending with general files from the colleges where Trebilcot had taught. General files include tenure information, history and notes on the founding of Washington University's Women's Studies Department, appointment letters, research grant applications, material on Trebilcot's retirement party, etc.

Series V, GENERAL PROFESSIONAL, 1967-2003 (#27.5-30.6, Vt-243.1 - Vt-243.3) includes Hypatia work files; organizations and societies affiliated with Trebilcot; job application files; and presentations by Trebilcot. The Hypatia files include correspondence of editor Linda Lopez McAlister and associate editor Trebilcot as well as files related to the search for new editors, reader reports for manuscripts, special edition ideas, and annual reports. Trebilcot's involvement at the International Women's Year's National Women's Conferences in Houston and Missouri is documented in this series, while correspondence and conference material indicates her connection with the National Lesbian Feminist Organization, National Women's Studies Association, and Society for Women Philosophers as well. Speeches, notes, and programs from appearances and talks given by Trebilcot at conferences, schools, and organizations are also found in this series. Files are arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database.


A pioneer in women's studies and feminist philosophy, Joyce Trebilcot was born in San Diego, California, in 1933 to William and Angeline Dameral Trebilcot. She grew up in Oakland, California, graduated from Fremont High School (1951), and attended University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 1955). From 1957 to 1961, Trebilcot lived in Mexico City in an artistic literary expatriate community, eventually moving back to the United States to study philosophy at University of California, Santa Barbara (Ph.D., 1970). She joined Washington University in St. Louis in 1970 as assistant professor of philosophy, and became the first woman to receive tenure in the philosophy department in 1977. Trebilcot played an integral role in developing the women's studies program at Washington University. The program started as a special major and later developed into an interdisciplinary program; Trebilcot served as coordinator from 1980 to 1992. She retired as Professor Emerita of both Women's Studies and Philosophy Departments in 1995. Trebilcot also served as visiting professor in Women's Studies as well as Philosophy at other institutions, including the University of New Mexico, Wheaton College, and elsewhere.

Trebilcot also wrote and edited for several feminist, lesbian and philosophical publications. She was the editor for the book Mothering: Essays in Feminist Theory (1980), and in 1994 published Dyke Ideas, Process, Politics, and Daily Life, which was considered a significant contribution to lesbian philosophy, taking examples from her own life to illustrate points: craziness, guilt, ethics, competition, sex and lesbian values, etc. Trebilcot also wrote articles using dialogue between two fictional characters, "Hortense" and "Gladys," who represented opposing philosophical viewpoints, with subjects such as sex, money, spirit, couples, etc. The Hortense and Gladys dialogues were written as articles for publications as well as chapters in Dyke Ideas.

Her interests in philosophy, women's studies, and lesbian rights led Trebilcot to a variety of professional organizations; she was a member of the National Women's Studies Association, the National Lesbian Feminist Organization, and was a founding member of the Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) and Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, where she also served on the editorial board. She was also a speaker at the 1977 National Women's Conference in Houston, Texas. In 1985 she began a partnership with Jan Crites, which lasted until Trebilcot's death in 2009.


The collection is arranged in five series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, 1935-2009 (#1.1-3.3, F+D.1, PD.1-PD.3, Mem.1-Mem.3, E.1-E.2)
  2. Series II. Correspondence, 1965-2008 (#3.4-13.5, E.3)
  3. Series III. Writing, 1966-2008 (#13.6-23.2, E.4-E.8)
  4. Series IV. Teaching, 1969-2007 (#23.3-27.4, E.9)
  5. Series V. General professional, 1967-2003 (#27.5-30.6, Vt-243.1 - Vt-243.3)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2011-M225

The papers of Joyce Trebilcot were given to the Schlesinger Library by Janet Crites in December 2011.


Donors: Janet Crites

Accession number: 2011-M225

Processed by: Stacey Flatt

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection:

  1. The Backlash Times. Feminists Fighting Pornography, 1989
  2. Daily Breakthrough. Where Women are News. Special issues covering the International Women's Year National Conference, November 18, 1977; November 19, 1977; and November 20, 1977
  3. Forum. A Women's Studies Quarterly, University of Cincinnati, Volume 9, Number 4 (Summer 1983)
  4. Lesbian Herstory Archives Newsletter. Newsletter #6, 8-17 (July 1980 - March 1999)
  5. NLFO News. Publication of the National Lesbian Feminist Organization, Number 3 (April/May 1979)
  6. off our backs. A women's news journal, Volume X, Number 2 (February 1980); Volume X, Number 3 (March 1980); Volume XI, Number 1 (January 1981); Volume XV, Number 6 (June 1985)
  7. Resist! The dyke zine, issue #1 (April/May 1996)
  8. Sisterlife. Feminists for Life of America, Volume XI, Number 4 (Winter, 1991)
  9. Southwestern Right to Choose. National Abortion Rights Action League. January, March, June 1978
  10. Women's Studies Quarterly. An educational project of the Feminist Press, Volume XI, Number 4 (Winter 1983), 3 copies.

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

  1. Les Talk. The magazine for empowering lesbians/womyn, Volume 2, Number 2 (August, 1992); Volume 2, Number 4 (October, 1992); Volume 2, Number 6 (December, 1992); Volume 2, Number 7 (January, 1993); Volume 3, Number 9 (April, 1994); Volume 3, Number 19 (May, 1994);
  2. Noticias de Mujeres. New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women, Volume 1, Number 1 (February 1976); Volume 1, Number 2 (June 1976); Volume 2, Number 1 (February 1977); Volume 2, Number 2 (June 1977); Volume 3, Number 2 (April 1978);
  3. Seers. Rio Grande Weekly, Volume 7, Number 4 (December 2-9, 1977); Volume 7, Number 9 (February 3-17, 1978); Volume 7, Number 11 (March 3-17, 1978); Volume 7, Number 12 (March 17-31, 1978); Volume 7, Number 15 (April 28, 1978)
  4. Society for Lesbian and Gay Philosophy newsletter, 1994-2002
  5. Society for Women in Philosophy Newsletter, 1972-2003

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library's Women's newsletter and periodical collection (Pr-4):

  1. Equilibrium. World population year, Volume 2, Number 2 (April 1974)
  2. Feminist Anti-Pornography News. An Action Bulletin, Volume 1, Number 1 (November 1985)
  3. In the Life. Newsletter of the June L. Mazer Lesbian Collection, Number 1 (Summer 1991); Number 2 (Winter 1991)
  4. Lesbian Caucus Newsletter. National Women's Studies Association, December 1990
  5. LOOC. Lesbians Opposed to the Oppression of Children, First Edition (August 1991)
  6. North Shore Visions. University of Minnesota, Duluth, Women's Studies Department, Volume 8, Issue 1 (February 1999); Volume 8, Issue 2 (May 1999)
  7. SEPConnection. For, by & about Dyke Separatists, Issue 17 (April 2001); Issue 19 (December 2001); Issue 23 (October 2003)
  8. Society for Women in Philosophy Newsletter, September 1997
  9. The S.O.M.A.N., Volume 1, Number 2 (January 15, 1995)
  10. Speaking Out. Writings about women, Spring 1985; Fall 1985

Processing Information

Processed: April 2013

By: Stacey Flatt, with assistance of Emily Underwood.

Updated and additional materials added: July 2017

By: Pablo Morales Henry

Trebilcot, Joyce. Papers of Joyce Trebilcot, 1935-2009 (inclusive), 1965-1995 (bulk): 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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