News: New Sex and Feminism Research Made Available by Harvard

The Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS), Harvard University, has completed a five-year project to address its backlog of uncataloged print, manuscript, and audiovisual material.  This involved cataloging of the entire print backlog (12,813 titles), 207 manuscript collections and 8,479 unpublished audiovisual items.

Unexpected discoveries include a videotape of the last concert of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Rock Band in the early 1970s; a 1778 manumission of a female slave named Elizabeth; and spirit writings in chalk dating from spiritualist meetings in the early 20th century.  Among the collections now available to research are the records of a number of national organizations: Lamaze, National Abortion Rights Action League, and Concerned United Birthparents, as well those with a more local focus including  Fishermen’s Wives of Gloucester (Mass.) Association and Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer.

Other manuscript collections document the lives of transgender individuals (International Foundation for Gender Education, Mark Ethan Smith, and J. Ari Kane-Demaios) as well as women who were active in the Republican Party (Anna Chennault, Mary Dent Crisp, and Mildred Jefferson). Also included in the project are the papers of National Organization for Women activists Toni Carabillo, Judith Meuli, and Patricia Ireland; lawyers Florynce Kennedy and Catharine MacKinnon; singer Holly Near; writers Barbara Ehrenreich and Ellen Willis; advocate for Kip Tiernan; and sex educator Shere Hite. It also includes large numbers of grey literature (those more ephemeral items typically not issued by commercial publishers), documenting 20th century women’s history.

Newly described audiovisual collections include those of writers June Jordan and Eve Merriam; Julia Child; feminists Alix Dobkin and Andrea Dworkin; outtakes from The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter; and recordings from the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, and Boston Women’s Community Radio.

For a complete list of newly available manuscript collections, see

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