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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 927: Vt-262

Papers of Margaret R. Hunt, 1946-2013 (inclusive), 1971-2010 (bulk)


Correspondence, writings, speeches and conference materials, and coursework of feminist professor and political activist Margaret Hunt.


  • Creation: 1946-2013
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1971-2010

Language of Materials

Materials in English, French, and Spanish.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Most of the collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

#23.14 and E.11 are closed until January 1, 2044, and #3.3, 15.9, 16.1, 17.1-17.4, 17.13, 18.4, 18.15-18.16, 18.17, 19.7, 19.9, 19.29, 20.10, 22.6-23.2, 25.2, 25.8, 25.11, 26.5, 26.10, 26.15-26.19, 27.9-27.10, 27.11, 27.18-28.5, 30.3-30.6, 30.18, 31.12, E.4-E.5, E.8-E.10, and E.13-E.15 are closed until January 1, 2064, as specified in the agreement between Margaret R. Hunt and the Schlesinger Library. An appointment is necessary to access #E.6; please contact the Schlesinger Library reference desk.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Margaret R. Hunt 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. The bulk of the collection may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures. The folders listed in the Access Restrictions section above may not be copied until their closures expire.


20.22 linear feet ((48 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 2 folio folders, 2 folio+ folders, 1 oversize folder, 1 supersize folder, 3 photograph folders, 1 videotape)
12224 Megabytes (15805 files)

This collection documents Hunt's personal and professional life and includes resumes and articles about Hunt; diaries and address books; college and graduate school papers (including a draft of Hunt's docotral thesis), notebooks, and transcripts; speeches and conference materials; book reviews, articles, and manuscript drafts; syllabi for Hunt's classes and for classes by others; reports, speeches, and questionnaires related to Hunt's volunteer work with Transition House (battered women's shelter) and her work in Juneau, Alaska, for the Women in Transition Program; correspondence re: Radcliffe women's groups (including the "Radcliffe Lesbians" group) and Radcliffe Union of Students; musical compositions by Hunt; and printed material re: issues of interest to her (politics, gay rights, women's rights, debates about pornography, etc.) The collection also includes correspondence (with friends, lovers, family, and colleagues) documenting Hunt's personal and emotional life; some folders are closed to protect the privacy of individuals with whom she was involved and other individuals discussing personal details of their lives. Relatively little material related to Hunt's work at Amherst College is included; some of that material is, however, located at the Amherst College Library Archives & Special Collections. Most folder titles were created by the archivist; Hunt's folder titles, when used, appear in quotation marks.

Electronic records were received on 117 3.5" disks, 13 zip disks, 11 compact discs, and 1 USB memory stick. Disks were imaged using FTK Imager and selected documents were converted to PDF/A for preservation and delivery. E-mail (#E.5 and #E.6) was extracted using ePADD, a software package developed by Stanford University. #E.5 is closed until January 1, 2064. An appointment is necessary to access #E.6. Please contact the Reference Desk.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1961-2013 (#1.1-15.5, E.1-E.3), articles about Hunt and various versions of her resume; address and appointment books; passports and Hunt's will; programs for musical performances; and diaries. The series also includes transcripts and applications (funded and otherwise) for grants and fellowships. The bulk of the series consists of papers (some with instructor's comments) and notebooks from Hunt's studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Radcliffe College, Harvard Divinity School, and New York University, with some earlier schoolwork also included, as well as a notebook with messages from her classmates at the Internationale Quakerschool in the Netherlands. Of particular note is the material related to Hunt's work with the Radcliffe-Harvard's Women's Center, the Radcliffe Union of Students, and the effort to establish a women's studies program at Harvard. Also of note is the material related to Hunt's discrimination suit against Harvard Book Store, a Dutch button with the slogan "We Women Demand Legalized Abortion," and a "learning agreement" composed in 1976 in which Hunt reflects on her plans for the immediate academic year and beyond, noting "If I have a 'calling' (to return to the root meaning of the word) it is to participate in some way in the process of liberation....I'm primarily interested in being an effective activist whatever it takes." (#2.9). The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, CORRESPONDENCE, 1959-2013 (#15.6-35.1, E.4-E.16), includes correspondence with family members, including Hunt's parents and siblings, her maternal grandparents, her great aunt Louise Fox Connell, and her aunt Virginia Hunt Wedgwood. Hunt's correspondence with her parents includes descriptions of their work and travels and also touches on her conflicted feelings towards them. Of note are a letter in which a teenaged Hunt shares her thoughts on drugs, sex, and other lifestyle choices (#20.18) and a letter from Hunt's sister Kitty analyzing Edward R. Hunt's personality (#20.17). Other correspondents include professional colleagues (including Mary Beth Norton, Anna Davin, Jan Lambertz, and many other women active in the areas of history and women's studies), friends, and romantic partners, with additional correspondence related to historical associations and feminist, political, and gay rights organizations with which Hunt was involved. Topics include conference planning and other academic and literary projects, political activism, details of daily life, travel, and relationship issues, such as personality conflicts, differing goals and expectations, and problems caused by long distance relationships. Letters of recommendation for students and colleagues are also included. The series is arranged with alphabetical correspondence first, followed by chronological correspondence. Some correspondents are identified by initial, rather than by name, to protect their privacy.

Series III, PROFESSIONAL,1946-2012, (#35.2-49.3, E.17-E.20), includes correspondence, reports, and grant applications related to Hunt's work with the American Friends Service Committee, Transition House, the Women in Transition Program at the University of Alaska, and the Displaced Homemakers Program at Bronx Community College. The Women in Transition material also includes questionnaires completed by women in the program, with questions such as "What are some things you could do if you had been turned down for a scholarship? Assume you couldn't go to school without financial help."

The series also includes notes, programs, speeches, and planning materials for conferences in which Hunt participated. Conferences Hunt regularly attended include the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, conferences of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the North American Conference on British Studies, and the Northeast Conference on British Studies, as well as conferences focused on the lives and roles of women in the early modern era and on lesbian and gay studies. Speeches by Hunt include "Women, Credit and the Fiscal-Military State in Late 17th and Early 18th Century London," "Women's History and the Digital Future," and "Gender and Islamic Law in Global Historical Perspective." Syllabi Hunt collected on topics such as women's studies and history and lesbian/gay studies are also included here, as well as printed material on women's rights and gender violence.

Also included are book reviews and reader reports by Hunt; correspondence with publishers; and articles and book chapters. Material related to Hunt's book, The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England 1660-1780, includes a contract, publicity, and a promotional questionnaire completed by Hunt; readers' reports, with Hunt's reactions; reviews; and correspondence related to prizes the book received. The series also includes entries Hunt wrote for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and correspondence, draft articles, and reader reports for issues of Radical History Review co-edited by Hunt. Also of note is the material on the Lesbian Herstory Archives (Brooklyn, New York), and an interview Hunt conducted with the one of the Archives' founders, Joan Nestle, later published in the Boston-based newspaper Gay Community News. The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series IV, PHOTOGRAPHS, AUDIOVISUAL, AND OVERSIZED, 1956-2001 (#PD.1-PD.3, Vt-262.1, FD.1-FD.2, F+D.1-F+D.2, OD.1, SD.1), is arranged by format. The series includes photographs of Hunt alone and with others, including fellow recipients of honorary degrees at Uppsala University; flyers promoting the services of the Radcliffe-Harvard Women's Center; and oversized items removed from elsewhere in the collection. The series also includes a videotape of four women recounting their experiences with illegal abortion, recorded at the Reproductive Rights Conference held at Hampshire College in 1989.

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


Feminist historian and political activist Margaret R. Hunt was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1953, the eldest child of Vilma R. Dalton-Webb Hunt (a dentist, scientist, environmental activist, and feminist), and Edward Eyre Hunt (an anthropologist). She had three siblings: William, Louise, and Catherine. The family lived in the Gloucester, Massachusetts, area before relocating to Connecticut in 1966, where Hunt attended Amity Regional High School and Greenwich High School; she also attended the International Quakerschool Beverweerd in the Netherlands for one year. In 1969 the family moved to State College, Pennsylvania, where Edward and Vilma assumed faculty positions at Pennsylvania State University. Hunt began her undergraduate education in 1970 at Pennsylvania State University, studying voice and composition before leaving school in 1972 and working at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hunt was interested in feminism and social justice from an early age and the store's policies posed a challenge to her beliefs: especially when a new rule stipulated that a male employee had to be nearby when a female employee was at the cash register, on the theory that the "criminal element" was likely to take advantage of the situation if a woman were on duty alone. Hunt protested this policy as sexist and discriminatory and was fired; she filed a complaint against the store with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination, and the case was settled in her favor. She completed her education at Radcliffe College, receiving her B.A. in music in 1976.

While at Radcliffe she was a member of the Radcliffe Crew and was elected vice-president of the Radcliffe Union of Students, the student governmental body for Radcliffe College. She also helped establish and run the Radcliffe-Harvard Women's Center and advocated for the establishment of a women's studies concentration. (She continued her advocacy for women's studies programs after beginning her teaching career.) She began identifying as a lesbian while at Radcliffe and was active in gay and lesbian groups. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, Hunt began studying at Harvard Divinity School, originally in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program but ultimately switching to the Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) and receiving her degree in 1978. While at Radcliffe and the Divinity School, Hunt volunteered at Transition House, a battered women's shelter, where she wrote grant applications, served as a carpenter and liaison with public agencies, and provided counseling, advocacy, and crisis intervention. She also worked with the American Friends Service Committee's Women's Program, editing a packet of articles on domestic abuse. After graduating from Harvard Divinity School, she relocated to Juneau, Alaska, where from July to October 1978 she served as Federal Women's Program Coordinator for the Seventeenth Coast Guard District, with responsibilities including the recruitment of women for positions in the skilled crafts. In October 1978 she became coordinator of the Women in Transition project at the University of Alaska-Juneau. This Women's Education Equity Act-funded project was aimed at improving women's life-coping skills and helping them prepare from entry (or re-entry) into the work force. The project cooperated closely with women of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Hunt left Alaska in 1979 and relocated to New York City, where she continued her work with women, serving as the director of the Displaced Homemaker Program at Bronx Community College. She remained in this position until 1981.

In 1980, Hunt began doctoral studies in history at New York University, receiving her PhD in 1986. She joined Amherst College's Departments of History and Women's and Gender Studies as an assistant professor in 1986 and remained with the college until 2013. (Associate Professor 1992-1998; Full Professor 1998-2009; Henry Winkley Professor of History and Political Economy, 2009-2013; Chair, Department of History, 1996-1997; Chair, Department of Women's and Gender Studies, 1998-1999, 2007-2013, 2012-2013). in 2002 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (Great Britain). She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Uppsala University in 2010 and joined that faculty permanently in 2013 as the Geijerska Professor of History. She has held visiting and research fellowships from, among others, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Huntington Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Commission, and the Center for Social Studies, Surat, Gujarat, India. She is the author of the books Life Skills for Women in Transition (1982, with Constance Munro), The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England, 1660-1780 (1996), Women in Eighteenth-Century Europe (2010), and The English East India Company at the Height of Mughal Expansion: A Soldier's Diary of the 1689 Siege of Bombay , with Related Documents (2016, co-edited with Philip Stern), as well as articles, chapters in books, and book reviews. Her research area is early modern European history, with a focus on European/South Asian encounters, maritime and military history and European and Middle Eastern women and the law and she has presented on these topics at national and international conferences. She served on the Editorial Collective of the Radical History Review and was actively involved with the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians for many years, serving as president of the latter from 1999 to 2002. She has long been active on issues of women's and gay rights, racial and religious justice, and human rights. As of 2019, she is living in Uppsala, Sweden.


The collection is arranged in four series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, 1961-2013 (#1.1-15.5, E.1-E.3)
  2. Series II. Correspondence, 1959-2013 (#15.6-35.1, E.4-E.16)
  3. Series III. Professional, 1946-2012 (#35.2-49.3, E.17-E.20)
  4. Series IV, Photographs, audiovisual, and oversized, 1956-2001 (#PD.1-PD.3, Vt-262.1, FD.1-FD.2, F+D.1-F+D.2, OD.1, SD.1)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2000-M110, 2000-M171, 2013-M135, 2015-M6, 2015-M32

The papers of Margaret R. Hunt were given to the Schlesinger Library by Margaret R. Hunt between July 2000 and January 2015. Additional material was transferred from the additional papers of Vilma R. Hunt in March 2015.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see the Additional papers of Vilma R. Hunt, 1836-2013 (MC 807).

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see the Records of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, 1930-2005 (MC 606).

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see the Papers from the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, 1974-2005 (MC 244).

There is related material at the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections.


Donor: Margaret R. Hunt

Accession numbers: 2000-M110, 2000-M171, 2013-M135, 2015-M6, 2015-M32

Processed by: Susan Earle

The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger Library Periodicals Collection:

  1. CLAGS, 1992-2004
  2. Commitee on Lesbian and Gay History Newsletter, 1988-2000
  3. Connections, Fall 1975
  4. The Feminist Writers' Guild, January-April 1978
  5. The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Newsletter, Spring 1993
  6. The Indicator, December 9, 1999
  7. Lesbia Magazine, December 1989
  8. Lesbian Herstory Archives, June 1992??
  9. LGSN: Lesbian and Gay Studies Newsletter, 1991-1993
  10. Paris Feministe: Bulletin D'Information et de Liaison, No. 91/92
  11. The Phyllis Schlafly Report, 1986-1998
  12. Zap (newsletter of the State College Gay Community), January 1977 - April 1978

Processing Information

Processed: January 2019

By: Susan Earle, with assistance from Ashley Thomas.

Hunt, Margaret R. Papers of Margaret R. Hunt, 1946-2013 (inclusive), 1971-2010 (bulk): 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 and the Archival Processing 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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