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COLLECTION Identifier: 83-M100--83-M173: T-155

Papers of Freda Friedman Salzman, 1927-1981


Correspondence, memoranda, notebooks, etc., of Freda Friedman Salzman, physicist.


  • 1927-1981

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Freda Friedman Salzman 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.


4.83 linear feet ((4 cartons, 2 file boxes) plus 1 oversize folder, 9 audiotapes)

This collection consists mainly of a record (including correspondence, memoranda, Trustee minutes, publicity and other papers) of the struggle with the University of Massachusetts, in which both Freda Friedman Salzman and George Salzman were actively involved, and of various papers (minutes, correspondence, published and unpublished articles, etc.) of Science for the People and especially of the Sociobiology Study Group. The remainder consists of Freda Friedman Salzman's physics notebooks, writings, and lectures; papers on University of Massachustetts physics department business; Salzman family correspondence; and papers concerning her illness and treatment.

The Science for the People and Sociobiology Study Group papers included a large quantity of printed materials, most of which have been discarded; items specifically on women have been added to the Schlesinger Library's vertical files. Of photocopies of entire books available at Boston area libraries, only the title page and the page with the call number were kept. Articles, reviews, and letters to the editor on sociobiology, anthropology, evolution, intelligence quotient, educational inequality, and other subjects of interest to Science for the People, the Sociobiology Study Group, and to Salzman were in most cases discarded. They dated from the 1970s and 1980 and were published most notably in The Boston Globe, Psychology Today, Science, Sex Roles, or The New York Times, with smaller quantities from the following periodicals (not an exhaustive list): Child Development, Contemporary Sociology, Human Behavior, Human Nature, Mother Jones, Nation, Nature, New Scientist, New York Review of Books, Pediatrics, Radical Science Journal, Science News, and Scientific American.


Freda Friedman was born on May 12, 1927, in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of five children of Ann and Jacob Friedman. She was graduated from Brooklyn College in 1949, and earned her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois in 1953 with a thesis on "Photo-Meson Production from a Single Nucleon." She subsequently held research positions at the Universities of Wisconsin, Rochester, and Colorado.

She married George Salzman, also a physicist, in 1948; they had two daughters, Amy (born October 19, 1954) and Erica (born July 7, 1958). The Salzmans collaborated on some of their research and in 1965 were both appointed to the physics department of the newly-established Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts. In 1967 they learned that Salzman's appointment would soon be terminated; the University informed them of this officially on August 31, 1968. After a five-year confrontation with the University, allegedly centering on the issue of nepotism, Salzman was reinstated in May 1972. In 1975, after a briefer struggle, she was given tenure. During these years, the Salzmans became increasingly concerned with the political and social aspects of science; both were active in the Boston chapter of Science for the People and Salzman particularly with its Sociobiology Study Group and Women's Issues Project Group. Salzman was also active in organizations of women scientists. She died of cancer on April 1, 1981.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 83-M100--83-M173

This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by George Salzman in May and August 1983.


  1. Carton 1: folders 1-37
  2. Carton 2: folders 38-61
  3. Carton 3: folders 62v-100
  4. Carton 4: folders 101-135
  5. Box 5: folders 136-150
  6. Box 6: folders 151-156

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: March 1984

By: Eva Moseley, Sheila Simmons

Salzman, Freda Friedman, 1927-1981. Papers of Freda Friedman Salzman, 1927-1981: 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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