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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 887: T-538: DVD-134

Papers of Rosalyn Baxandall, 1933-2015


Correspondence, teaching papers, writings, photographs, etc., of feminist historian Rosalyn Baxandall.


  • Creation: 1933-2015

Language of Materials

Most materials in English, some in French.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. Rosalyn Baxandall's diaries, journals, and other personal writings (#3.6, 4.10-5.2, 13.1-14.8) requires the written permission of Phineas Baxandall until January 1, 2030. Upon his death, access to this material is unrestricted as specified in the agreement between Phineas Baxandall and Schlesinger Library.

An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Rosalyn Baxandall 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.


19.1 linear feet ((42 +1/2 file boxes, 2 card file boxes) plus 4 folio folders, 4 folio+ folders, 2 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 13 photograph folders, 1 oversize photograph folder, 1 audiocassette, 1 DVD.)
1554 Megabytes (483 files)

The papers of Rosalyn Baxandall mainly document the personal life, activism, and professional career of Rosalyn Fraad Baxandall. Included are biographical and personal papers and papers related to her primary and secondary education in New York City, and undergraduate studies in Wisconsin and France. There is substantial correspondence throughout the collection, including family letters and named correspondence folders, a portion of which were stored in envelopes. Papers documenting Baxandall's role as an activist include appointment books, calendars and correspondence, clippings, flyers, and other material representing consciousness raising meetings, commemorative events, women's history, demonstrations and rallies. There is also some material representing the activities of organizations she helped form, including New York Radical Women, No More Nice Girls, Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, Redstockings, and other radical feminist organizations. Although the organizational material is scattered and incomplete, Baxandall's speeches, writings and interview transcripts fill in the gaps and provide critical insights into the accomplishments and challenges of the movement.

The bulk of the papers document Baxandall's professional career as an educator, author, and public speaker. Teaching materials include course work, lectures, syllabi, notes, and subject files mainly related to the American Studies Program at the State University of New York. Some educational materials related to labor studies courses she taught at the City University of New York, and course work taught at Bayview Correctional Facility for women are also included. There is also correspondence, contracts, draft manuscripts, promotional and research material related to her published writings, which include articles, books, and film reviews, edited volumes, and biographical essays on women's history. Baxandall also attended numerous conferences and was a highly sought-after speaker. Many of her speeches provide first-hand accounts of participation in the women's liberation movement; her active role in the early phase of the day care movement; and the histories of radical women, reproductive rights, and socialist feminism. Photographs in the collection document the full span of her life, ranging from infancy to her death in 2015. Audiovisual material in the collection consists of a DVD made by her students for her retirement, and an audiocassette containing an interview with Robert Gangi, Executive Director of the Correctional Association of New York. Oversized material consists of artwork, posters, and full page newspapers. A substantial number of electronic records, containing documents and photographs were received on two CDs and one thumb drive. Disks were imaged using FTK Imager and Duke Data Accessioner. Selected data has been converted to PDF/A for preservation and delivery. Most of the papers were received without an existing order or in previously used folders. The archivist modified folder titles to avoid duplication and consolidate material, created the arrangement for all series, and sorted and interfiled all loose materials.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1933-2015, n.d. (#1.1-16.1, 44CB-45CB, FD.1-FD.4, F+D.1, OD.1, SD.1, E.1-E.3), includes address and appointment books; calendars and diaries documenting her interaction with family and friends; material related to alumni reunions; awards, honors and citations related to her career in education. Correspondence in this series, which includes clippings, flyers and announcements, postcards, greeting cards, photographs, artwork, and poetry highlights family ties and long-term friendships with second wave feminists Linda Gordon (#3.9), Carol Hanisch (#3.10), Sheila Rowbotham, and others. Correspondence is organized with family letters first, followed by named correspondent files. The series also includes educational material, consisting of diplomas, report cards, transcripts and other material representing Baxandall's primary and secondary education in New York City, her years at the University of Wisconsin, her travels in France during her junior year, and her graduate studies at Columbia University. There are some records representing her early years of employment as a camp counselor at the Herald Tribune Fresh Air Fund, and subsequent work at Mobilization for Youth. Family records include genealogy, passports, vital records, and Baxandall's wedding invitation and guest lists. Interviews in this series, conducted under the auspices of the Schlesinger Library's Tully-Crenshaw Feminist Oral History Project and the Columbia University Oral History Research Office, highlight Baxandall's personal history in the women's liberation movement and add details missing from the papers associated with the feminist organizations she helped form (see Series II). Also included are memorials and tributes for family members and friends, which include Sarah Eisenstadt (#15.2), Irene Peslikis (#15.1) and Baxandall's domestic partner Buddy (Ira) Jacobson (#15.6-15.7). Student visas, passports, notes, artwork, and photographs documenting her overseas travels are also included. Folders are arranged alphabetically and chronologically thereunder. Folder titles were created by the processor.

Series II, ACTIVISM, 1962-2014, n.d. (#16.2-18.7, F+D.2), includes flyers, announcements, and clippings, feminist cartoons, and related graphics. Correspondence in this series includes letters from many notable feminists, including Shulamith Firestone (#16.6); Meredith Tax, Ann Forfreedom, Carol Hanisch (#16.8); Kathie Amatniek Sarachild, and Susan Brownmiller (#16.9). There are also announcements, correspondence, and flyers related to demonstrations and rallies against the Vietnam war, including an anti-war essay by Jean-Paul Sartre and translated by Rosalyn and Lee Baxandall; marches organized for reproductive rights, May Day rallies (#17.8). (See also #F+D.3 for article in the State University's newspaper describing Joan Little's visit to Baxandall's class at the Old Westbury campus). Also included is correspondence, flyers, and notes associated with organizations Baxandall helped form, including New York Radical Women, which organized demonstrations against the Miss America pageant (#17.4), the May Day demonstration staged by No More Nice Girls (#18.4), and "No Restrictions," an abortion speak out organized by members of Redstockings (See also Series I for interviews that provide additional details). Redstockings informational news packets and related material were also used by Baxandall as an educational tool and reference point for her writing and speaking activities. Of particular interest is the correspondence, membership lists, flyers, and other material documenting Baxandall's successful efforts to establish Liberation Nursery, the first cooperative day care center in New York City. Other highlights include a petition and related correspondence concerning Jane Alpert, former member of the Weathermen Underground; a memorial conference organized for Shulamith Firestone entitled Women's Liberation Conference On What Is To Be Done, and surveillance records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Rosalyn and Lee Baxandall, which describe their activities and those of Baxandall's father Dr. Lewis M. Fraad. Folders are arranged alphabetically and chronologically thereunder. Folder titles were created by the processor.

Series III, TEACHING, 1970-2013, n.d. (#18.8-28.10, F+D.3, E.4), documents Baxandall's academic career at the State University of New York American Studies Program. Included are administrative files consisting of faculty memoranda, minutes, annual reviews, and self-evaluation forms, discretionary awards, promotions, and tenure letters (See also Series I for awards and honors). Also included are clippings describing Baxandall's trip to China sponsored by The Guardian, an interview of Baxandall published in the University's newspaper, a student strike organized in 1993, an article describing the work of the Joan Little Defense Committee, and Little's visit to Baxandall's class (#F+D.3). Correspondence in this series includes thank you letters and greeting cards from former students; annotated writings from academic colleagues; and emails from listservs associated with women's studies and former colleagues in the women's liberation movement. The bulk consists of syllabi, bibliographic lists, extensive notes, annotated articles, print material, and subject files associated with her classes at the State University of New York. There are some course materials and evaluations related to her labor studies classes at New York University and Bayview Prison, including a letter of congratulations from former inmate Kathy Boudin. Beginning with the State University American Studies Program, and followed by New York University, and Bayview Prison, the folders are arranged alphabetically and chronologically thereunder. Folder titles were created by the processor.

Series IV, WRITINGS AND RELATED RESEARCH, 1968-2014, n.d. (#28.11-38.7), includes articles, book proposals, and book reviews; drafts manuscripts and essays, and encyclopedia entries on various aspects of women's history and related topics. Also included are publishing contracts and related correspondence; flyers, book covers, and promotional materials related to several co-edited volumes and co-authored books, including America's Working Women: Documentary History, 1600 to the Present (1976), Words on Fire: The Life and Writings of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1987), a memoir of Baxandall's radical upbringing, co-authored with her sister Harriet Fraad, and published in Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left (1998), Picture Windows: How the Suburbs Happened, 1945-1987 (2000) co-authored with Elizabeth Ewen, and Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women's Liberation Movement (2001), co-edited with Linda Gordon. Some published conference papers and related correspondence are also included. Research files include genealogical material on her maternal uncle Meyer London, a Congressional representative elected on the Socialist Party line in 1915, the history of day care, radical and anarchist women, social reform, women's labor and union organizing, women in the communist and socialist parties. Baxandall also served as a consultant for Virago Press, the New Feminist Library and other publishers, evaluating books for publication and recommending areas of future research. Some academic papers, which she received for editing and comments, are also included. Folders are arranged alphabetically and chronologically thereunder. Folder titles were created by the processor.

Series V, OTHER PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES, 1963-2014, n.d. (#38.8-43.8, E.5), includes material from conferences and speaking engagements, which highlight Baxandall's long-standing affiliations with the American Historical Association, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, the Organization of American Historians, and Columbia University as well as other academic institutions. Topics include the women's liberation movement; the day care movement in New York, Marxist, socialist and second wave feminism; women's history, sexuality and reproductive rights, and gender studies (See Series IV for published conference papers). There is also some commentary from various panel discussions, roundtables, seminars, and workshops organized or chaired by Baxandall. Early membership files, which include the National Association of Social Workers and the National Organization for Women, emphasize her professional ties to social work and feminist organizations. Papers associated with her membership in the Coalition of Labor Union Women, which include flyers, clippings, and Baxandall's notes of the founding conference, highlight her role as steward for the New York State University Teachers Union. Also included are transcripts and related material representing various oral history projects conducted by Baxandall, including the Feminist History Research Project. For a recorded 2004 interview of Robert Gangi, Executive Director of the Correctional Association of New York see Series VI (See Series I and II for interviews of Baxandall). Folders are arranged alphabetically and chronologically thereunder. Folder titles were created by the processor.

Series VI, PHOTOGRAPHS, OVERSIZED, AUDIOVISUAL, 1939-2010, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.13, FD.1-FD.4, F+D.1 - F+D.4, OD.1-OD.2, SD.1, T-538, DVD-13, E.6-E.13), contains informal and formal portraits of Baxandall, ranging from infancy through her later years as an activist and educator. Group photographs include Baxandall and her classmates at Public School 81, at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and in France. There are also photographs of Baxandall taken during her overseas travels with her husband Lee, with family members, and friends visiting her home in Truro, Massachusetts. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online. Audiovisual material consists of an audiocassette of Baxandall interviewing Robert Gangi, Executive Director of the Correctional Association of New York, and a DVD containing tributes from Baxandall's students at her retirement party. Oversized material in this series serves as an abbreviated shelf list for oversized items fully described previously, including diplomas and degrees; artwork, feminist cartoons and related graphics, and full page newsletters. The series is arranged by format and chronologically thereunder. Folder titles were created by the processor.


Feminist historian, educator, and activist Rosalyn Fraad Baxandall was committed to a wide range of social justice issues. Born on June 12, 1939, in New York City, Baxandall was raised in a radical left-wing family, which included two younger sisters, Julie and Harriet Fraad. Her mother, Irma London Fraad, was a lawyer, curator of Middle Eastern Art at the Brooklyn Museum, and the niece of Meyer London, a socialist elected to Congress in 1915. Baxandall's father, Lewis M. Fraad, was a labor organizer and a member of the Communist Party from the 1930s through the 1950s. In 1955 he joined the staff of the pediatric department at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. The pediatric department and a residency fellowship are named in his honor.

In her teens, Baxandall worked as a camp counselor for the Herald Tribune Fresh Air Fund (1956-1957), and as a case aide for New York Hospital's Summer Experience in Social Work Program (1959). She also participated in anti-nuclear and peace campaigns, and joined picket lines protesting Woolworth's refusal to hire African Americans. After briefly attending Smith College, Baxandall transferred to the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1959. A French major and member of several honor societies, Baxandall's junior year was spent in France where she studied and worked on a community development program for UNESCO as part of a collaborative program with Hamilton College. Baxandall also met her future husband, Lee, a graduate student at the university who became a noted playwright and Marxist scholar. In 1961, Baxandall earned her BA and the couple took an extended overseas tour that included East Germany, Hungary, and Poland. They married in 1962, but lived apart while pursuing separate careers and interests. Rosalyn Baxandall resettled in New York City where she majored in community organization and casework at Columbia University's School of Social Work. Lee Baxandall briefly resumed his studies in Wisconsin before reuniting with his wife in New York. The couple divorced in 1978.

Baxandall earned an MS from Columbia in 1963 and found work at Mobilization for Youth (1963-1967), the nation's first poverty program organized by Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Baxandall's work responsibilities included research, organizing demonstrations to obtain welfare rights and fair housing, and establishing a drop-in nursery. The birth of the Baxandall's son Phineas in 1967 coincided with the burgeoning women's liberation movement, and influenced her decision to form Liberation Nursery, New York City's first feminist day care center, still in operation today. She solicited and received financial support for the nursery from city officials, and was appointed to the city's task force on day care in 1969. After returning to work, she operated a draft information center at University Settlement, supervised fieldwork units from the Hunter Graduate School of Social Work, and taught women's studies at Columbia University's Strike School and Queens College.

By the early 1970s, Baxandall had abandoned her goal to pursue a Ph.D. in social work, and chose instead to devote her time to the women's liberation movement. She became a founding member and participant in several organizations, including New York Radical Women, which published Notes from the First Year (1968) and Notes from the Second Year (1969), widely considered the first theoretical journal to represent the movement. Two other organizations, No More Nice Girls, and the Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, employed guerilla theater as an expression of social protest. Redstockings, founded in 1968, held protests at the 1968 Miss America Pageant, organized a commemorative event honoring the work of Simone De Beauvoir, and the first 1969 abortion speak-out at the Washington Square Methodist Church in New York City. Baxandall also identified with Marxist or socialist feminism and participated in demonstrations and rallies against the Vietnam War, the FBI's counter-intelligence program against the Black Panther Party, and many other leftist causes.

In 1971 Baxandall became an associate professor in the American Studies Department at the newly established State University campus in Old Westbury, Long Island. Over the course of her career, she made substantial contributions to improve campus life, including implementation of faculty advising procedures, updating curriculum to ensure inclusiveness, and supporting a student strike. She also served as a steward for the New York State University Teachers Union at the founding meeting of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. In 1990 Baxandall became a tenured professor and received official recognition as department chair. In 2004 she was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Professorship.

In addition to teaching full-time, Baxandall, served on the boards of Virago Press and the New Feminist Library and wrote extensively on women's history, including articles, books, essays, and encyclopedic entries. After gaining the support of noted author, Toni Morrison, then working at Random House, Baxandall's first co-edited volume, compiled with long time friends and feminist historians Linda Gordon, and Susan Reverby, was America's Working Women: Documentary History, 1600 to the Present(1976). Other notable works by Baxandall include Words on Fire: The Life and Writings of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1987); a memoir of her radical upbringing co-authored with her sister Harriet Fraad and published in Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left (1998); Picture Windows: How the Suburbs Happened, 1945-1987 (2000) co-authored with Elizabeth Ewen; and Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women's Liberation Movement (2001), co-edited with Linda Gordon.

In 2000, Baxandall entered into a domestic partnership with Buddy (Ira) Jacobson which lasted until his untimely death in 2002. She retired from the State University in 2010 and in recognition of her contributions a scholarship was established in her name to help working class students. In her post-retirement years, Baxandall continued to teach part-time at the City University Labor Studies Program, and, as part of the Bard Prison Initiative, at the Bayview Correctional Facility, a Manhattan based, medium-security women's prison.

Rosalyn Baxandall died on October 13, 2015.


The collection is arranged in six series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, 1933-2015, n.d. (#1.1-16.1, 44CB-45CB, FD.1-FD.4, F+D.1, OD.1, SD.1, E.1-E.3)
  2. Series II. Activism, 1962-2014, n.d. (#16.2-18.7, F+D.2)
  3. Series III. Teaching, 1970-2013, n.d. (#18.8-28.10, F+D.3, E.4)
  4. Series IV. Writing and related research, 1968-2014, n.d. (#28.11-38.7)
  5. Series V. Other professional activities, 1963-2014, n.d. (#38.8-43.8, E.5)
  6. Series VI. Photographs, oversized, audiovisual, 1939-2010, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.13, FD.1-FD.4, F+D.1 - F+D.4, OD.1-OD.2, SD.1, T-538, DVD-134, E.6-E.13)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2015-M188, 2016-M34

The papers of Rosalyn Baxandall were given to the Schlesinger Library by her son, Phineas Baxandall, and the estate of Rosalyn Baxandall in November 2015 and February 2016.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Tamiment Library at New York University The Rosalyn Baxandall and Linda Gordon Research Files on Women's Liberation (TAM.210).


Donors: Phineas Baxandall, and the estate of Rosalyn Baxandall

Accession numbers: 2015-M188; 2016-M34

Processed by: Emilyn L. Brown

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library Books and Printed Materials Division (pending review by the curator):

  1. A Woman's Pen: A Quarterly Written by and for Valley Women, September 1979, Vol. 1, No. 3
  2. Battle Acts, August-September 1972, Vol. 2, No. 5
  3. Belfast Workers Research Bulletin 5: Women in N. Ireland, n.d.
  4. Beyond the Fragments, Bulletin No. 2
  5. Conscience, A Newsjournal of Prochoice Catholic Opinion, Winter 1997-1998, Vol. XVIII, No. 4
  6. Cuba Review: Women in Transition, Vol. IV, No. 2, September 1974
  7. Cuban Studies Newsletter: A Bibliography on Cuban Women in the Twentieth Century,, Vol. 4, No. 2, June 1974
  8. Dossier Feminisme et Mouvement Ouvrier, n.d.
  9. Feminism Lives!, a publication of the Radical Feminist Organizing Committee, 1981
  10. Friends of Kathy Boudin Newsletter, Issue 4, Spring 1986
  11. Green Mountain Quarterly, #2, February 1976
  12. Heresies #15, Vol. 4, No. 3, Issue 15
  13. Meeting Ground, January 1977, Number 1
  14. Meeting Ground, November 1989, Number 11
  15. Meeting Ground, July 1990, Number 12
  16. Meeting Ground, October 1990, Number 13
  17. New Solutions, Vol. 24, Number 3, 2014
  18. Newsletter of the Long Island Women's Coalition, Inc., Vol. II, No. 1, Spring, 1987
  19. Notes From the First Year, June 1968
  20. Notes From the Second Year: Major Writings of the Radical Feminists, 1970
  21. New York Radical Feminists Newsletter, November 1971, Vol. 1, No. 5
  22. New York Radical Feminists Newsletter, February 1972, Vol. 2, No. 2
  23. Peoples' Appalachia: A Critical Research Report from the Appalachian Research Collective, June-July 1970
  24. Off Our Backs, A Woman's News-Journal, March 19, 1970, Vol. 1, Number 2
  25. Power of Women, Journal of the Power of Women Collective, Vol. 1, No 3, January 1975
  26. Prostitution: Fact and Fiction, by Jean Withers, 1973
  27. Redstockings of the Women's Liberation Movement, 1975
  28. Resist: A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority, 25 February 1975, #90
  29. Reproductive Rights Newsletter, Vol. 5, No. 3, Autumn 1983
  30. Rose of America, Newsletter of the Ernestine Rose Society, Winter-Spring, 2003
  31. Scarlett Women II: Newsletter of the Socialist Feminist Current of the Women's Liberation Movement, June 1980
  32. Social Workers for Peace Newsletter, Volume One, No. 3
  33. Socialist Review: Post Fordism: Flexible Politics in the Age of Just In Time Production, Vol. 21, No. 1, Jan-Mar, 1991
  34. Spare Rib: A Women's Liberation Magazine, Issue 70, May 1978
  35. Summerhill Bulletin, n.d.
  36. The Black Scholar, April 1978
  37. The Labor Pains Newsletter: About the Politics of Child Care, April 23, 1975, No. 8
  38. The Liberated Grapevine, Vol. 7: X, November 1976
  39. The Working Mother, Summer 1971
  40. Union W.A.G.E., May-June, 1974
  41. Woman's World, March-May, 1972, Number 4, Volume 1
  42. Women and Revolution: Journal of the Women's Commission of the Spartacist League, No. 4, Fall 1973; No. 7, Autumn 1974; No. 22, Spring 1981
  43. Women, A Journal of Liberation, Winter '70
  44. Women of Color, No. 11, Summer 1983
  45. Women's Studies Newsletter, Vol. II, No. 2, Spring 1974
  46. Women's Studies Quarterly, Vol. XI, No. 4, Winter 1983
  47. Worker Writer, Vol. 1, No. 5

Processing Information

Processed: September 2018

By: Emilyn Brown, with assistance from Margaret Dalton.

Baxandall, Rosalyn, 1939-2015. Papers of Rosalyn Baxandall, 1933-2015: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Ware acquisitions Fund at the Schlesinger Library, Schlesinger Library General Gift Fund, and the Radcliffe College Class of 1950 Fund.

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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