Last month we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. In addition to Friedan’s papers, which include her research notes and handwritten drafts of The Feminine Mystique, the Schlesinger Library owns several editions of this groundbreaking title. Among the most interesting is a copy of the 1963 edition formerly owned by the women’s rights activist Alice Paul (1885–1977).
Picks & Finds
In the course of the past 150 years, women’s efforts in behalf of social justice (including suffrage, equal rights, fair labor laws, peace, and civil rights for African Americans and gays and lesbians) have been well documented in diaries, speeches, correspondence, and meeting minutes—some passionate and intimate, others written for a public audience. But what happens to those ephemeral pieces left behind in dresser drawers or rolled up at the back of a closet, forgotten once the march was over or the election won?
The Schlesinger Library recently acquired the Freda Leinwand Papers and photographs collection, consistenting of over 36,000 image many of which document the activities of the Women's Movement in New York City.
The Schlesinger Library's vegetarian cookbooks provide a look into book history, social movements, subcultures, and, certainly, food.
Hundreds of love letters and diary entries about love, heartbreak, marriage, divorce, and family relationships spanning four generations are among the materials in the Louise Walker McCannel Papers, which the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute received between 2008 and 2012.
In 1976, the Portuguese journalist and activist Maria Antonia Palla produced and aired a documentary on Portuguese television titled “Abortion: The Crime Is in the Law.” It documented an illegal abortion clinic and advocated for decriminalization of the procedure. She was jailed for “moral offenses” and “incitation to crime.” Her trial did not occur until 1979.
Concord Academy is known as a top-flight boarding school whose alumni include Caroline Kennedy and Drew Faust. Much of the school's reputation was built under the administration of Elizabeth Blodgett Hall, who served as headmistress from 1949 to 1963, and whose tenure was marked by her addresses containing advice for the student body.
The Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute is proud to serve as the repository of the manuscript and audiovisual collections of the award-winning author, poet, and social and political activist June Jordan.
Scholars have researched the development of gender roles through childhood letters. The Schlesinger Library has several "Dear Santa" letters in our collections. Whether you read them for amusement or to determine a more symbolic meaning is entirely up to you.
The community cookbooks in the Schlesinger Library’s culinary collection give us glimpses into the past, though some offer a wider lens than others. Created to raise funds for various civic and religious organizations, they frequently include extensive local advertisements; showing us what we ate and how we ate it is often the least of what we can learn from them.