News & Ideas

Burst of Imagination

The Library’s collections contain a number of works of art, and the renovation afforded an opportunity to bring some of them out of storage. 

The Library’s collections contain a number of works of art, and the renovation afforded an opportunity to bring some of them out of storage. Fortuitously, the Institute received a gift specifically to refresh the art at the Schlesinger: a group of Radcliffe alumnae from the Class of 1962 made a donation in honor of their classmate and friend Anne Moskovitz Davis, who hosted them at a monthly dinner in her New York home for 31 years. Here are some highlights now on display—and where to find them. 

Bust of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, by her daughter Katherine Gilman Chamberlin. Plaster bust, 1917; cast in bronze, 2008. (Reading Room) 

Documentation for The Birth Project and Thou Art the Mother Womb, Judy Chicago, 1982–1984. (Reading Room) 

The Schlesinger is the repository for the Judy Chicago Papers. In October, the Library launched the collaborative Judy Chicago Research Portal

Hope, by Suzanne Benton, in memory of Michele Falkow ’79. Mixed media, 1992. (Reference Desk) 

The papers of Suzanne Benton, a feminist printmaker, sculptor, and mask performance artist, came to the Library in 2008. 

Women Are Not Chicks, by the Women’s Graphics Collective. Poster reproduction, 1972. (Reference Desk) 

United Nations Decade for Women World Conference, July 14–30, 1980. Poster reproduction. (Reference Desk) 

Collection of Clementine Hunter paintings, ca. 1979–1984. Oil on board. (Executive Suite Conference Room)

These works by Clementine Hunter have never before been on display in the Library. Hunter—the granddaughter of a slave and a self-taught folk artist from Louisiana—participated in the Black Women Oral History Project. She worked at Melrose Plantation, in Louisiana, for 75 years, but she took up painting in her 60s and continued to paint until she died, in 1988, at the age of 101. The paintings were donated to the Library as supplemental material, two of them by Thomas N. Whitehead, Hunter’s longtime friend and patron.

Ruth Whitman, by Morton Sacks, 1992. Oil on canvas. (Reading Room)

Ruth Whitman ’44, AM ’47 wrote her first poem at age nine. She went on to publish eight volumes of poetry, and she was the poetry editor of Radcliffe Quarterly from 1980 to 1995. Her papers are housed at the Schlesinger.

Kip Tiernan on a rooftop, 1991. Photo on dibond. (Executive Suite)

Kip Tiernan founded Rosie’s Place, the first shelter for homeless women in the US, in 1974. She went on to cofound several other Boston social service institutions, and in 2006, her papers came to the Schlesinger Library, with which she maintained a relationship until her death, in 2011.

Bring U.S. Together, Vote Chisholm, 1972. Poster reproduction (Library Reception)

Corita Kent serigraphs, n.d. Paint on fabric. (Executive Suite)

A pop artist, Corita Kent was best known for her silk-screen prints and public works—such as “Rainbow Swash,” the unofficial name of the design she made for a Dorchester gas tank. Kent’s papers are housed at the Schlesinger.

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