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COLLECTION Identifier: T-338

Audiotape collection of Cynthia Rich and Barbara Macdonald, 1973-1990


Audiotapes of Cynthia Rich and Barbara Macdonald, writers, and activists in anti-ageism and lesbian feminist politics.


  • 1973-1990

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in audiotapes created by Cynthia Rich and Barbara Macdonald is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other materials in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Audiotapes may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


14 audiotapes

The collection consists of primarily interviews with or speaking engagements by Cynthia Rich, Barbara Macdonald, separately and together. Exceptions include reels #1 and 2 which feature commercially produced readings of Rich's writings; and reel #14 which contains relevant references to an interview with Rich, although she does not appear.


Cynthia Rich (born 1933) and Barbara Macdonald (1913-2000) were writers, activists in lesbian feminist politics, and partners for 26 years. A graduate of Radcliffe College (A.B. 1956, A.M. 1958), Rich was married to Roy Glauber, a member of the physics department at Harvard; they had two children. Rich taught writing at Harvard for ten years beginning in the late 1960s, her courses focusing on sexism, homophobia, and racism. She was active in the peace and social justice movements as president of Voice of Women--New England, and wrote regularly for feminist publications such as Ms., Equal Times, and Sojourner.

Separated from her husband in 1971, Rich met Barbara Macdonald, a retired social worker, at the Goddard Cambridge Graduate School. They co-authored Look Me in the Eye: Old Women, Aging and Ageism in 1983, a groundbreaking examination of ageism from a feminist perspective, which later appeared in two expanded editions (1991, 2001). Moving west in the 1980s, Rich and Macdonald helped organize protests of the Miss California pageants, and worked to end apartheid in South Africa, and in support of the United Farm Workers' 1989 grape boycott. In 1987 they served on the planning committee of the First West Coast Conference of Old Lesbians and were active in the subsequent Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, a Houston-based organization. An internationally recognized speaker, Macdonald lectured widely on ageism and feminism, including at the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women. She died June 15, 2000, of Alzheimer's disease. Rich was a member of Desert Waves, an affinity group protesting weapons testing in Nevada; the Women's Alliance, a group dedicated to giving a woman's perspective to the debate surrounding the Gulf war; and the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers, among others.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2002-M31

These audiotapes were included with the papers of Cynthia Rich and Barbara Macdonald MC 505 that were given to the Schlesinger Library by Cynthia Rich in February and May 2002.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Cynthia Rich and Barbara Macdonald papers, MC 505, Cynthia Rich papers, 83-M240, Papers of Adrienne Rich, 1927-1999 (84-M141--99-M136), and Helen Jones Rich Papers, ca.1888-2000 (MC 803).

Processing Information

Processed: August 2009

By: Melissa Dollman

Rich, Cynthia. Audiotape collection of Cynthia Rich and Barbara Macdonald, 1973-1990: 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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