The Schlesinger Library holdings date from the founding of the United States to the present and include more than 3,200 manuscript collections, 100,000 volumes of books and periodicals, and films, photos, and audiovisual material.

Researchers travel from around the world to use the manuscript collections of Julia Child, the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Maud Wood Park, and Betty Friedan or to examine comics like Ms. Marvel and periodicals like Bust.

Manuscript Material

Notable Individuals

You may learn about the daily lives of notable American women, who reveal their experiences across centuries and geography.

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Families

In our collections, you'll find family papers that include correspondence from budding courtships, poignant letters home, and scrawled notes from summer camp.

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Organizational Records

Our manuscript holdings also include minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and other records of women's organizations, groups, and agencies.

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Books

The library holds more than 100,000 volumes, ranging from rare 16th-century texts to 21st-century titles. Approximately 20,000 of these volumes are cookbooks or food related.

Highlights:

  • Books owned by Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Child, Marilyn Monroe, and Ella Fitzgerald
  • James C. Whitten Collection on the History of Vegetarianism
  • Nineteenth-century etiquette manuals and advice literature
  • Titles inscribed by Helen Keller, Alice Paul, and Susan B. Anthony
  • Twenty-first-century romance and graphic novels
  • Woman's Rights and College Equal Suffrage League collections

Periodicals

The library subscribes to more than 250 current periodicals on a variety of topics related to women and girls. We also hold extensive runs of many historic titles and a world-class collection of food journals.

Highlights:

  • Bust
  • Godey's Ladies Book
  • Seventeen

Audiovisual

The library holds both unpublished and published audiovisual materials.

Unpublished materials were acquired as part of manuscript collections. We currently hold more than 16,500 items in all formats, including documentaries, interviews, talk shows, speeches, oral histories, and home movies and films of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

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Our published audiovisual materials are relatively few in number and include many pop culture titles.

Highlights:

  • The Gilmore Girls
  • The L Word
  • Murphy Brown

Digital Resources

As a researcher, you may access some of our library material online, and more of these resources will become available over time.

Highlights:

We have launched a program to capture materials that were "born digital."

Photos

The Schlesinger Library holds more than 150,000 images, including all varieties of photographic and photomechanical formats, as well as some original graphic material. The images represent the work of both professional and amateur artistic and documentary photographers.

Highlights:

  • Ansel Adams
  • Jessie Tarbox Beals
  • Mathew Brady
  • Marjory Collins
  • Diana Mara Henry
  • Frances Johnston
  • Martha Stewart 

Inside the Collections

[Honor Moore. Photo by Victoria Rue, courtesy of Schlesinger Library]

Poets’ Corner at Schlesinger Library

The Schlesinger Library's collections include published works and papers of an impressive group of American poets, among them Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, June Jordan, Jean Valentine, Ruth Whitman, May Sarton, Honor Moore, Jean Lunn, and Eve Merriam.