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Irene Peslikis papers, 1957-2002 and undated 27 Linear Feet — 20,250 Items

Feminist artist, activist, and educator Irene Peslikis (1943-2002) was born in New York, New York, and raised in different locations in Queens, New York. She was instrumental in a number of influential feminist and feminist art groups, including the New York Feminist Art Institute, the journal Women & Art (co-founded with Pat Mainardi), and the group Redstockings. The Irene Peslikis Papers span the years 1957-2002 and document Peslikis's life as a feminist artist, activist, and educator. The collection is organized into nine series: Feminist Activism, Correspondence, Writings, Personal Files, Subject Files, Education, Art, Printed Material, and Audiovisual Material. Materials in this collection include correspondence, essays, personal journals, exhibit files, artwork in a number of media, personal files, her student files, teaching files, clippings, photographs, journals, pamphlets, and audiocassettes. Frequent and/or notable correspondents include her immediate family: her mother, father, and brother, Michael; and friends Ursula Karau, Alix Kates Shulman, Rosalyn Baxandall, Robin Morgan, Carol Hanisch, Lucinda (Cindy) Cisler, Lucia Vernarelli, Pat Mainardi, Judy Chicago, and Shulamith (Shulie) Firestone.

The Irene Peslikis Papers span the years 1957-2002 and document Peslikis's life as a feminist artist, activist, and educator. The collection is organized into nine series: Feminist Activism, Correspondence, Writings, Personal Files, Subject Files, Education, Art, Printed Material, and Audiovisual Material.

The Feminist Activism Series is composed of materials from three key venues for Peslikis's feminist activist work: the New York Feminist Art Institute, the journal Women & Art, and the group Redstockings. This series includes organizational records, related correspondence and articles, exhibition announcements, and grant proposals.

The Correspondence Series contains letters, postcards, and cards received by Peslikis from family and friends. Frequent and/or notable correspondents include her immediate family: her mother, father, and brother, Michael; and friends Ursula Karau, Alix Kates Shulman, Rosalyn Baxandall, Robin Morgan, Carol Hanisch, Lucinda (Cindy) Cisler, Lucia Vernarelli, Pat Mainardi, Judy Chicago, and Shulamith (Shulie) Firestone. A smaller amount of outgoing letters is also included. Correspondence depicts Peslikis's work as an activist and as an artist, as well as her financial and medical difficulties.

Materials in the Writings Series include manuscripts, notes, notebooks, and journals kept by Peslikis. The Manuscripts subseries includes writings by people other than Peslikis which directly impacted her work, as well as drafts and outlines of Peslikis's publications. Notes, notebooks, and journals were all penned by Peslikis. Notebooks are primarily personal journals kept by Peslikis from her teenage years through the early 1980s and again from the early 1990s until the end of her life.

The Personal Files Series depicts the numerous financial, legal, and medical issues confronted by Peslikis over three decades. Peslikis received assistance in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, and subsidized housing for artists (at Westbeth Artist Housing), each of which required meticulous documentation in order to retain. A portion of this series is closed until 2099.

The Subject Files Series consists primarily of clippings and notes retained by Peslikis on a number of women- and feminism-related subjects, as well as on art, astrology, United States foreign policy, and Greek politics.

The Education Series is composed of files documenting Peslikis as a student, an instructor, and an instructor in search of employment.

Items in the Art Series include artwork by Peslikis, duplications of her artwork, sketchbooks, and files related to her exhibits, including flyers, reviews, and catalogs.

The Printed Material Series comprises periodicals, pamphlets, and printed essays. Subjects represented include feminism, Marxism, and art.

The Audiovisual Material Series consists of audiocassettes and super 8 film documenting discussions, meetings, and other events. Items are labeled with original descriptions provided by Peslikis. Also included is a VHS tape of a memorial service for Peslikis.

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The collection documents the personal, political, and professional aspects of the life of an important feminist writer of the twentieth century. The largest group of materials consists of documentation on all of Morgan's significant written works: DEMON LOVER; DEPTH PERCEPTION; DRY YOUR SMILE; GOING TOO FAR; A HOT JANUARY; LADY OF THE BEASTS; SATURDAY'S CHILD; her well-known feminist anthologies, SISTERHOOD IS POWERFUL, SISTERHOOD IS GLOBAL and SISTERHOOD IS FOREVER; and other materials on her poems, articles, and other writings. In addition, Morgan's papers hold many items of correspondence with a wide range of individuals, including prominent activists and feminists as well as family members and close friends. There is also a significant amount of correspondence and other material that documents Morgan's role as founder of the Sisterhood is Global Institute, and records related to her role as editor and writer for MS. magazine.

The collection documents the personal, political, and professional aspects of the life of an important feminist writer of the twentieth century. It is organized into the following series: Correspondence, Writings, Speeches and Interviews, Subject Files, Personal Files, Teaching Materials, Audio-Visual Materials, Photographic and Visual Materials, and Oversize Material. The largest group of materials consists of documentation on all of Morgan's significant written works: Demon Lover; Depth Perception; Dry Your Smile; Going Too Far; A Hot January; Lady of the Beasts; Saturday's Child; her well-known feminist anthologies, Sisterhood is Powerful and Sisterhood is Global; and other materials on her poems, articles, and other writings. In addition, Morgan's papers hold many items of correspondence with a wide range of individuals, including prominent activists and feminists as well as family members and close friends. There is also a significant amount of correspondence and other material that documents Morgan's role as founder of the Sisterhood is Global Institute, and records related to her role as editor and writer for Ms. magazine.

Seen in a broader context, the collection provides ample documentation for the study of modern feminism. Morgan's subject files (the second largest in the series) are rich in materials related to the feminist movement in the United States and around the world; and materials concerning sexual health, witchcraft, lesbian feminism, and the social, economic, and political position of women in the world (especially in the Middle East, Russia, and South Africa). There are materials on individual figures such as Bella Abzug, Jane Alpert (imprisoned revolutionary), Patty Hearst, Gloria Steinem, and Marilyn Waring. Other series hold additional materials related to Morgan's career as a writer; several of her speeches and interviews; materials from Morgan's courses she gave on feminism; and photographs and audio-visual materials.

The Correspondence Series spans much of Morgan's adult life. It is divided into two subseries: Correspondence by Name and Correspondence by Decade. The Correspondence by Name Subseries chiefly consists of Morgan's correspondence with family members, friends, fellow feminist activists and contemporary authors and critics. The bulk of the items in the Correspondence by Decade Subseries dates from the 1990s and relates to the production of Ms. magazine. The Correspondence Series is restricted: patrons must sign an Acknowledgment of Legal Rights and Responsibilities form before using the materials.

The Writings Series documents Morgan's career as a poet, novelist, essayist and journalist. Of Morgan's eighteen books, ten are represented in individual subseries. Particularly noteworthy is the material related to Sisterhood is Global, which provides an inside view into the production of the anthology. The series also contains some of Morgan's earliest unpublished writings as well as files containing her comments on other writers' work, and single issues of periodicals in which she published her poetry. The Writings Series is also restricted: patrons must sign an Acknowledgment of Legal Responsibilities and Privacy Rights form before using the materials.

The Speeches and Interviews Series primarily contains peripheral documentation such as contracts, correspondence, and schedules. However, there are drafts of a number of her speeches and interviews.

Materials which Morgan collected over the years concerning American and international feminism are located in the Subject Files Series. The materials cover a number of topics, including women's economic, political, and social status, and feminist action - especially in South Africa, the Soviet Union, and the Middle East; rape, abortion, terrorism, female genital mutilation, and pornography; and the first feminist demonstration against the Miss America Pageant. Significant figures represented in the subject files include Marilyn Waring, Patricia Hearst, and Gloria Steinem. Two subseries contain administrative information about Ms. magazine and the Sisterhood is Global Institute. The Subjects Series is restricted: patrons must sign an Acknowledgment of Legal Rights and Responsibilities form before using the materials.

The smaller Personal Files Series offers materials related to Robin Morgan's education, early critical writing, and her many trips overseas. The series also includes material that Morgan requested under the Freedom of Information Act from the FBI and CIA about her own activities.

The documents in the Teaching Materials Series are primarily related to Morgan's academic positions at New College (Sarasota, Fla.) and the University of Denver, and the courses she taught on feminism and writing. The files include both administrative documentation as well as actual course material, but there are also clippings related to feminist protests on campus.

The Audio-Visual Materials Series contains numerous interviews on cassette tapes that Morgan conducted in the Middle East, a recording of her reading of selected poems from A Hot January, and a videotape about the production of Saturday's Child. Permission is not granted to publish interviews conducted in the Middle East; the researcher is responsible for obtaining permission to publish. Original copies of audiovisual materials are not open to use; however, use copies are available to researchers.

The Photographic and Visual Materials Series provides a small visual supplement to the other documents in the collection and includes portrait photographs of Morgan taken by the press and by her close friends, as well as snapshots of social gatherings. This series also includes two painted portraits of Morgan. The series is restricted: patrons must sign an Acknowledgment of Legal Rights and Responsibilities form before using the materials.

Later additions (Accessions 2009-0069, 2010-0176, 2015-0060) have not been fully processed, but boxlists are available in the Detailed Description portion of this finding aid. Some portions are restricted or closed.

For collections related to the Robin Morgan Papers, see the Phyllis Chesler, Merle Hoffman, and Kate Millett Papers, all located in the Duke University David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. In addition to Robin Morgan's own papers, the Library also holds the records of the Sisterhood is Global Institute, founded by Morgan in 1984.