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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1016

Papers of Jill Coleman, 1966-2000


Jill Coleman's memoir, and accompanying legal documents, of a difficult divorce in the early 1980s.


  • Creation: 1966-2000

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Jill Coleman is held by Jill Coleman during her lifetime. After Coleman's death, copyright will transfer to 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.


1.46 linear feet ((3 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 photograph folder)

Collection consists of a typescript chronicle of Coleman's second marriage and divorce, and also includes correspondence, court documents, and some non-related writing. Coleman's working title for her memoir (in 2000 at the time of donation) was "Lawyer's Wife." The memoir describes in detail the Coleman's psychologically abusive marriage and complex divorce proceedings.

Material arrived at the Library in 5 titled binders and a number of folders. The binders were disassembled and their contents placed in folders. Coleman's original titles have been maintained; titles in brackets were created by the archivist. Dates on the binders (Coleman called each a "Volume") and folders of loose manuscript pages reflect the years Coleman writes about. In some cases original documents from those years are included among the memoir pages. Pages from Ronald Coleman's diary from a scuba trip are in folder #1.2, for example. The majority of the writing was done between 1981 and 1986. Another folder contains legal papers from the Coleman divorce.

Coleman's letters and clippings files from the 1980s include letters to and from her daughters, mother, and friends. The collection is arranged with Coleman's memoir binders first, followed by additional loose memoir pages. Other folders of documents and letters follow in an alphabetical arrangement.


The daughter of John Smylie and Martha Caroline (McBride) Morrel, Caroline Jill (Morrel) Coleman was educated at Swarthmore College (BA 1952), Maryland Institute College of Art (BFA 1982), and University of Maryland School of Law (JD 1988). Her first marriage to Lawrence Shoemaker in 1958 ended in divorce; they had two daughters. She married lawyer Randall C. Coleman, Jr., in 1966 and they had one daughter. The Colemans lived in Baltimore, Maryland, and had a camp on Squam Lake in New Hampshire. As part of their long and acrimonious divorce dispute, Jill Coleman received her law degree and became interested in the issue of child support, publishing (with others) Child Support: A Proposal for Reform in 1993. Randall Coleman died in 1995 from complications of Alzheimer's.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2000-M165, 2015-M1

The papers of Jill Coleman were given to the Schlesinger Library by Jill Coleman in October 2000 and January 2015.

Processing Information

Processed: September 2019

By: Jenny Gotwals.

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.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeanette Ward 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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