Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

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Address and Contact Info:

Address: Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, 10 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138-3630.

Phone: (617) 495-8647.

Fax: (617) 496-8340.


Web page:

Online Finding Aid:

Archivists (principal contacts for advice on the collection):

Hours and usage restrictions

Collection Summary:

The library houses nearly 3,000 manuscript collections, including the personal papers of notable women such as Susan B. Anthony, Lydia Maria Child, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Dorothy West, Julia Child, Betty Friedan, Judy Chicago, and Pauli Murray. Family papers, as well as the papers of lesser-known women, are also abundant and equally important for a full understanding of women’s place in history. The library houses the records of women’s organizations and of groups and agencies concerned with women’s issues, among them the Boston and Cambridge YWCAs, the National Organization for Women, the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, National Abortion Rights Action League, and several Boston-area settlement houses.

The approximately 90,000-volume book collection covers all aspects of the social and intellectual history of women and includes scholarly works, bibliographies, fiction, and more than 20,000 volumes on cookery and household management. The library subscribes to over 225 periodicals on a wide range of women’s issues and interests. Approximately 100,000 photographs, hundreds of oral history transcripts, videotapes, and other materials are also available to scholars.

All of the library’s manuscript collections, as well as most books and periodicals, are cataloged on HOLLIS, Harvard University’s OnLine Library Information System. Finding aids for all of the library’s manuscript collections are available on OASIS, Harvard’s Online Archival Search Information System, and nearly half of the library’s photographs are available through VIA, the university’s Visual Information Access database.

Usage Discussion

Suggestions for approaching the material:

Housing and getting by for less in the area:

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