Papers of Ann P. Meredith, ca.1870-2013 (inclusive), 1970-2012 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 1970-2012
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures. Permission to make reproductions of any kind (of her works), and permission to publish or exhibit works must be obtained in writing from Ann P. Meredith, who retains all rights during her lifetime.
24.57 linear feet ((50 + 1/2 file boxes, 1 folio box, 1 folio+ box, 1 oversize box) plus 3 supersize folders, 108 photograph folders, 44 folio photograph folders, 14 folio+ photograph folders, 6 oversize photograph folders, 11 supersize photograph folders, 5365 slides, 10 objects, electronic records.)
Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, ca.1870-2013 (#1.1-30.10, 53.1-53.7, 54.1-54.7, PD.1 - PD.8sl, PD.224, E.1), includes biographical material regarding Meredith and other family members; autobiographical writings and journals; photographs and slides of friends and family taken by unidentified individuals; press passes; poetry; a small amount of correspondence; and electronic records. Biographical material documents the lives of Meredith and her mother, grandmother, and aunts, and includes Women's Reserve, U. S. Naval Reserves (WAVES) regalia from the service of Martha Jane Adkins during World War II. Correspondence is mostly personal in nature between Meredith and her parents, grandmother, and aunts. A small amount of this correspondence consists of letters written by Meredith to her aunt, Martha Jane Adkins, who had suffered a stroke and was unable to write, in which Meredith provided check boxes for her aunt to indicate her answers. Other letters, containing accusations of sexual abuse and torture inflicted by family members and the military, may have been the products of therapeutic exercises and never sent. Other correspondence documents relationship difficulties with several women with whom Meredith was engaged in amorous relationships. The remainder of the correspondence consists of general letters of reference for Meredith written by a number of museum directors and curators. Photographs and slides contain images of great grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as a number of college friends and other close friends and acquaintances; many of these do not appear to have been taken by Meredith. Additional photographs of friends and family are located in Series II. The bulk of this series consists of Meredith's autobiographical writings and journals that document her relationships with family and friends as well as her lesbian relationships; her bouts with addictions to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, etc., and her experiences with therapy and a number of addiction recovery support groups; her work with photography, film, and art; and her dreams and memories of physical, sexual, and ritualistic abuse at the hands of family members and the military. Throughout the 1990s Meredith records exact details of food she has consumed and her bodily functions. Later journals (2004-2013) include her adherence to the teachings of John Randolf Price, founder of the Quartus Foundation for Spiritual Research, and author of the book The Abundance Book: How to Use the Law of Attraction to Get Everything You Want in Life, which closely resembles the beliefs and language of Debtors Anonymous. Poetry is scattered throughout her journals and autobiographical writings. Meredith's papers are arranged alphabetically, followed by papers of other family members arranged alphabetically by individual's name and photographs of family members and residences.
Series II, ARTWORK, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND RELATED, ca.1948-2011 (#30.11-49.4sl, 53.8-53.10, 50FB.1-50FB.4, 50FB.6-50FB.10, 51F+B.1-51F+B.10, 52OB.1-52OB.11, SD.1-SD.2, PD.9sl - PD.223, PD.225+ - PD.240+), consists of a variety of artwork in various mediums, including aquatints, collages, drawings, etchings, prints, oil pastels, etc.; and contact sheets, negatives, prints, correspondence, notes, captions and explanatory text, slides, electronic records, lectures, and research material regarding Meredith's photographic series. Also included are audio and video logs related to documentary films produced in concert with a number of Meredith's photographic series. Audiovisual material has been removed from the collection and will be processed separately as T-387 and Vt-193.
Most collages, drawings, and oil pastels are abstract in nature. The majority of aquatints and prints are based on original photographs within this series. Subjects of Meredith's etchings generally consist of friends' homes in Oakland and San Francisco, California, as well as various buildings in other localities. Several photographic series consisting of contact sheets, negatives, prints, correspondence, notes, captions and explanatory text, slides, and research material document Meredith's family and family relationships. They include In Passing: The Death of Lucy Lee Meredith (which documents the final days and death of Meredith's grandmother, often referred to as "Tushu"), and Climb Every Mountain (documenting her mother's death), as well as Relativity in the Eighties: Women and the Aging Process (which includes images of both male and female family members and other individuals ostensibly in their 80s), and ...And No One Heard Me Scream: An Exhibition on Incest, Boundaries, Abuse, and Betrayal (which documents Meredith's own experience with sexual abuse). Additional photographs of family and friends that were not used in these exhibits are also included.
Other photographic series document various aspects of women's lives, including The Big Picture: The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, China, 1995); Don't Call Me Honey: Photographs of Women and Their Work (images of women in both traditional and non-traditional employment); Forgotten Angels, A Matter of Honor: Women Who Serve in the Military; Girls in Women's Lives - Female Survivors of Incest & Sexual Abuse; Number One Killer: Women and Breast Cancer; Reaching Common Ground: United Nations End of the Decade, Nairobi, Kenya (International Conference on Women, Nairobi, Kenya, 1985); Tall In The Saddle: Cowgirls, Ranch Women & Rodeo Gals; 24/7: Women Imprisoned (which appears to be an incomplete series about women in correctional institutions); Until That Last Breath: Women and AIDS/Breathe/The Global Face of AIDS: Photographs of Women (for which Meredith employed many of the same images); and Working the Counter: The Waitress. For many of these projects Meredith recorded her interviews on audio- or videotape. These tapes will be processed separately, but notes and transcriptions for many are located with their corresponding project. Numerous other photographs that appear not to have been exhibited also document women's lives: various women's music festivals, abortion rallies, National Organization for Women events, ERA rallies, and women in a number of professional and amateur sports, including basketball, tennis, football, and softball. Photographic series documenting gay and lesbian life include Art, Sex, Gender, and Race: The Drag King Revolution; Dyke!; Dykes and Their Dogs; On Fire! Faggots, Fairies, Dykes, and Queens; Passing: The Re-identification of Sex and Gender Through Personal Self Re-presentation; and The Right to Marry; Our Right to Love. Additional photographs documenting gay and lesbian life include gay pride rallies in San Francisco (1975-1988) and New York City (1989-1999), the Dyke March in New York City (1995-1997, 1999), ACT UP rallies (1990, 1997), an Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization demonstration in New York City (1996), and the Millennium March (2000), as well as a series of photographs of lesbian nuns. A small amount of material related to the Gay Games (1994) is also included, but Meredith donated most of her work on this subject to the Federation of Gay Games, including negatives, slides, and prints. Meredith refers to the larger body of her work as I, A Witness, although it includes all of those photographic series listed above.
Photographic series that appear to be outside of the normal scope of Meredith's subject interest include Truckin', in which she documents various types and sizes of trucks, tractor trailers, etc., on the road; The Front Porch and Garage Door, in which she documents those structures in various locations; and Urban Landscapes, which include various images of architectural details, graffiti, building structures, city scenes, etc. In addition to these photographic series, Meredith was also contracted to do portrait and event photography for a number of friends and other individuals and organizations and also photographed a number of events in which she was a participant. Many of these events have been listed previously. Folders of photographs of people were combined and grouped arbitrarily. The same individuals may be found in multiple folders. Notable subjects include Angela Davis, Charlotte Bunch, Madame Sadat, Corazon Aquino, Lily Tomlin, Geraldine Ferraro, Alice Walker, Robin Morgan, and Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon; female musicians and musical groups Holly Near, Cris Williamson, Laurie Anderson, Sharon Russell, Berkeley Women's Music Collective, Be Be K'Roche, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Somos Hermanas, and Sweet Chariot; and girls' and women's groups such as the Girl Scouts and Guerilla Girls.
Material related to Meredith's business Tea For Two shirts includes silkscreen transparencies of designs used, slides of finished t-shirts, and photographs and contact sheets of African fabric designs used in t-shirts and African handwork sold by Meredith. Many original folders of related material were combined and their contents noted in new folder titles created by the processor. The series is arranged alphabetically by project.
Series III, OVERSIZED, 1970-1999, n.d. (#50FB.1-50FB.10, 51F+B.1-51F+B.11, 52OB.1-52OB.12, SD.1-SD.3), serves as the shelflist for non-photographic oversized items listed previously, as well as oversized items removed from preceding series and grouped as listed. Included are contact sheets, artwork, posters, etc.
Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].
After graduating high school, she attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, finishing her BA in art history at the University of California at Berkeley. During college it appears that she became an avid photographer and artist and took a large number of family and vacation photographs. She developed these passions into a career and began exhibiting her photography and artwork in local galleries and public venues in the early 1970s. It is also during this time that she began her business Tea For Two shirts, silkscreening feminist t-shirts and selling them out of her shop in Oakland, California, and at various women's music venues and other events. She continued this business through the 1980s, also selling African handwork and developing designs for t-shirts from African fabric designs. It appears that during this same time she became an "out" lesbian and began having amorous relationships with women.
Most of her career in photography was spent documenting the lives of women, gay and lesbian life, and her family. Photographic series documenting the life of women include: The Big Picture: The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women; Don't Call Me Honey: Photographs of Women and Their Work; Forgotten Angels, A Matter of Honor: Women Who Serve in the Military; Girls in Women's Lives - Female Survivors of Incest & Sexual Abuse; Number One Killer: Women and Breast Cancer; Reaching Common Ground: United Nations End of the Decade, Nairobi, Kenya; Tall In The Saddle: Cowgirls, Ranch Women & Rodeo Gals; and Until That Last Breath: Women and AIDS/Breathe/The Global Face of AIDS: Photographs of Women. Photographic series documenting gay and lesbian life include: Art, Sex, Gender, and Race: The Drag King Revolution; Dyke!; Dykes and Their Dogs; On Fire! Faggots, Fairies, Dykes, and Queens; Passing; The Re-identification of Sex and Gender Through Personal Self Re-presentation; and The Right to Marry; Our Right to Love. Those documenting her family and family relationships include: In Passing: The Death of Lucy Lee Meredith and Climb Every Mountain as well as Relativity in the Eighties: Women and the Aging Process and ...And No One Heard Me Scream: An Exhibition on Incest, Boundaries, Abuse, and Betrayal. Many of these photographic exhibits were accompanied by lectures, slide shows, documentary films, and/or performance pieces. Most of these projects were funded by grants from governmental agencies and independent organizations including the United States Department of Labor, the Nelson B. Delavan Foundation, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the New York Public Art Fund, and the Zellerbach Family Fund. Meredith was also the recipient of a Lila Wallace - Reader's Digest International Artist Fellowship for which she documented the lives of Kenyan villagers in Ruma in her series, Portraits of Survivors: Ruma Village and The Sitting Room: Ruma Village, as well as her performance piece Sacred Circles, Sacred Sites. Meredith's photographic works, films, and artwork have been shown at a number of international venues and her photographic work appears in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution as well as a number of private and corporate collections. Her photographic work has also appeared internationally in publications including Ms., Life, USA Today, and a number of smaller publications. In addition to her exhibit photographs, Meredith also contracted with individuals and organizations to do portrait and event photography.
Meredith has suffered from a number of addictions throughout her lifetime, most notably alcohol and drug addiction. She has been involved in a number of recovery support groups, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous, Codependents Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Survivors of Incest Anonymous, Sexual Compulsives Anonymous, and Adult Children of Alcoholics. In 2004 she began following the teachings of self-help guru John Randolf Price, founder of the Quartus Foundation for Spiritual Research, who published his beliefs in The Abundance Book: How to Use the Law of Attraction to Get Everything You Want in Life. In 2011, Meredith was continuing her photographic, film, and art work, and living in California.
- Series I. Biographical and personal, ca.1870-2013 (#1.1-30.10, 53.1-53.7, 54.1-54.7, PD.1 - PD.8sl, PD.224, E.1)
- Series II. Artwork, photography, and related, 1948-2011 (#30.11-49.4sl, 53.8-53.10, 50FB.1-50FB.4, 50FB.6-50FB.10, 51F+B.1-51F+B.10, 52OB.1-52OB.11, SD.1-SD.2, PD.9sl - PD.223, PD.225+ - PD.240+)
- Series III. Oversized, 1970-1999, n.d. (#50FB.1-50FB.10, 51F+B.1-51F+B.11, 52OB.1-52OB.12, SD.1-SD.3)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers of Ann P. Meredith were acquired from Ann P. Meredith by the Schlesinger Library between 2008 and 2013.
Accession numbers: 2008-M68, 2008-M213, 2009-M42, 2009-M95, 2010-M12, 2010-M205, 2011-M66, 2011-M216, 2011-M231
Processed by: Mark Vassar
The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the printed materials division pending review by curator:
- Side Saddle, 1990
- Big West, Vol. 11, Winter 1991
- Mom Guess What Newsmagazine, Vol. 30, No. 573, June 1, 2009
- The Flagpole, Vol. LXI, No. 2, Fall 2010
By: Mark Vassar, with the assistance of Camille Torres.
Updated: January 2014
By: Mark Vassar
- AIDS (Disease)--United States
- Artists--United States
- Color slides
- Documentary films--United States
- Electronic records
- Feminists--United States
- Gay men--United States
- Lesbians--United States
- Photographers--United States
- Sex crimes--United States.
- Substance abuse--United States
- Web sites
- Women artists--United States
- Women photographers--United States
- Women--Employment--United States
- Meredith, Ann P. Papers of Ann P. Meredith, ca.1870-2013 (inclusive), 1970-2012 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from generous supporters of the Schlesinger Library to the Maximum Access Fund.
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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