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Paula Kamen was born in Chicago and grew up in Flossmoor, Illinois. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1989 from the University of Illinois. Kamen is a Chicago-based (current as of 2007) journalist, playwright, and the author of a number of books, including one of the first books to describe the third wave of feminism. Articles and book reviews by Kamen have been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Ms., Chicago Tribune, among others, and more than a dozen anthologies. Kamen is also a frequent public speaker and has appeared at over 70 universities. A focus of the collection, which spans the years 1971-2006, is on Generation X women, feminism, and sexuality. Contains a Writings Series which includes research files, drafts, and publicity-related files for all of Kamen's major works as of 2006, as well as drafts of and materials related to articles and other shorter pieces written by Kamen. Works represented are the nonfiction books All In My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache, Feminist Fatale: Voices from the Twentysomething Generation Explore the Future of the Women's Movement, Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution, and the plays Jane: Abortion and the Underground and Seven Dates with Seven Writers. Other series in the collection are Conferences and Engagements, with files relating to Kamen's frequent speaking engagements, particularly at universities; Subject Files, an extensive array of clippings and articles maintained by Kamen on a wide range of feminist subjects primarily in the 1990s; Audiovisual Materials, and Printed Materials.

The Paula Kamen Papers span the years 1970-2006, with the bulk of the material dating from 1991 to 2002. The collection documents Kamen's career as a writer and journalist. Specific topics covered by Kamen and addressed in the collection are Generation X women, feminism, and sexuality, abortion, popular culture, and chronic pain. The collection is organized into five series: Writings, Conferences and Engagements, Subject Files, Audiovisual Materials, and Printed Materials.

The Writings Series includes research files, drafts, and publicity-related files for all of Kamen's major works as of 2006, as well as drafts of and materials related to articles and other shorter pieces written by Kamen. The Other Files subseries primarily includes correspondence related to the publishing of Kamen's writings, and also contains pieces in which Kamen is cited. Works represented in the Writings Series are the nonfiction books All In My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache, Feminist Fatale: Voices from the "Twentysomething" Generation Explore the Future of the "Women's Movement," Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution, and the plays Jane: Abortion and the Underground and Seven Dates with Seven Writers.

Materials in the Conferences and Engagements Series document Kamen's frequent speaking engagements at college and university campuses, bookstores, and conferences throughout the 1990s. A significant number of these talks were in support of her books Feminist Fatale and Her Way.

The Subject Files Series contains files maintained by Kamen on a wide range of subjects pertaining to her writing interests. Topics covered in this series include feminism, activism, politics, popular culture, and sex, along with many others. These files consist primarily of clippings from magazines, newspapers, and other publications.

The Audiovisual Materials Series contains audio cassettes, micro cassettes, compact discs, videotapes, and photographs. A majority of these materials are recordings of interviews conducted by Kamen during the course of researching her books and articles. Other recordings are from conferences attended by Kamen, a production of Kamen's play, Seven Dates with Seven Writers, and copies of television programs which included appearances by Kamen. Photographic material consists of photographs taken at the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights and at an undated production of Kamen's play, Seven Dates with Seven Writers.

Items in the Printed Materials Series consist of 20 issues of the magazines Deneuve and Curve. Other magazines and a number of zines are filed separately, with the Bingham Center's Women's, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Movements Periodical Collection, and with the Bingham Center's Women's Zine Collection, respectively. A complete list of these titles may be found in the Items Separated section of this document.

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Materials in this series include research files, drafts, and publicity-related files for all of Kamen's major works as of 2006, as well as drafts of and materials related to articles and other shorter pieces written by Kamen. The Other Files subseries primarily includes correspondence related to the publishing of Kamen's writings, and also contains pieces in which Kamen is cited. Works represented in the Writings series are the nonfiction books All In My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache (2005), Feminist Fatale: Voices from the "Twentysomething" Generation Explore the Future of the "Women's Movement" (1991), Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution (2000), and the plays Jane: Abortion and the Underground (1999) and Seven Dates with Seven Writers (1998). A significant number of drafts are present; some reflect different iterations of a work in progress, or segments thereof, and some incude comments and notations by Kamen and others. A large portion of the research conducted by Kamen for her works of nonfiction is in the form of interviews. Typed transcriptions of many of these interviews are included and are identified most often by the location in which the interviews were conducted. The collection contains many notebooks used by Kamen during her research but the handwriting is quite difficult to decipher. Wherever possible, original folder titles have been retained. The subseries are arranged alphabetically by major work, followed by Other Writings and Other Files.

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All In My Head was written by Kamen to document her experiences in trying to cure her severe headache problems. By the time of publication, she had been battling what is now diagnosed as "chronic daily headache" for 15 years. Materials in this subseries are divided into drafts, publicity-related material, and research. Draft material is arranged by order in which the segment was to be included in the book, with chronological arrangement where applicable. Edited drafts appear in alphabetical order by name of the editor. Research files include transcribed interviews, notebooks, clippings, and materials from pain- and headache-related conferences attended by Kamen. Arranged in alphabetical order.