Jewels from the Schlesinger Library

Tales from the Vault Spanning the Library’s First 75 Years
Photo by Jennifer EsperanzaPhoto by Jennifer Esperanza
By Pat Harrison

At the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, Jane Kamensky, the Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, presented an illustrated lecture in which she used objects from the Library’s collections to tell fresh stories about American history.

The Schlesinger Library began in August 1943, when the Radcliffe College alumna Maud Wood Park donated materials she had amassed in her work on behalf of women’s suffrage. The Radcliffe College Women’s Rights Collection comprised 30 cartons of manuscripts and 300 books and periodicals. In its first year of operation, the collection welcomed seven researchers. Today, the Schlesinger is the largest women’s history library in the United States and holds more than 4,000 manuscript collections, over 125,000 volumes, and troves of audiovisual materials. Thousands of researchers access the collection on site and online every year.   

The topics that Kamensky addressed in this event cosponsored by the  Harvard Alumni Association included women's rights and civil rights, the sexual revolution and the remaking of the American family, and the actions and activism of American women abroad from World War II to the present day. Among the objects she discussed were the Library's collection of political buttons (above). Photo by Jennifer Esperanza.The topics that Kamensky addressed in this event cosponsored by the Harvard Alumni Association included women's rights and civil rights, the sexual revolution and the remaking of the American family, and the actions and activism of American women abroad from World War II to the present day. Among the objects she discussed were the Library's collection of political buttons (above). Photo by Jennifer Esperanza.

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2018