Bobbye S. Ortiz papers, 1919-1993 and undated, bulk 1950-1990
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- Parts of the collection are closed to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. All or portions of this collection may be housed...
- Ortiz, Bobbye S.
- Bobbye Ortiz was a social activist and Marxist feminist. The collection consists chiefly of personal correspondence; extensive subject files on international political and cultural movements; photographs and slides; ephemeral publication material such as grassroots newsletters, pamphlets, broadsides, and clippings; cultural artifacts, including buttons and T-shirts; and over 300 sound recordings of spoken voice and music (see separate catalog record for sound recordings). The collection documents the personal life and career of an international feminist, Marxist activist, and mother, who also served as editor of the magazine Monthly Review and was the founder of the organization WIRE (Women's International Resource Exchange). English.
30.4 Linear Feet
- Collection ID:
- Scope and Content:
The papers of feminist and social activist Bobbye Ortiz span from the years 1919 to 1993, with most of the papers being dated between 1950 and 1990. The papers consist chiefly of personal correspondence; extensive subject files on international political and cultural movements; photographs and slides; ephemeral publication material such as grassroots newsletters, pamphlets, broadsides, and clippings; cultural artifacts, including buttons and T-shirts; and over 300 sound recordings of spoken voice and music. The collection documents the personal life and career of an international feminist, Marxist activist, and mother, who also served as editor of the magazine Monthly Review and was the founder of the organization WIRE (Women's International Resource Exchange). Other personal documents and subject files concern the activities of Bobbye's daughter, Viki Ortiz, an activist in her own right. The materials in both women's files are especially rich in the history of the international women's liberation movement and other revolutionary movements in Europe, Latin America, and other countries during the sixties, seventies, and eighties. Many of these materials focus on politics and government in Cuba, China, and France. Other topics include Vietnam War protests; students' movements, particularly Paris, 1968; indigenous women's movements in Latin America; AIDS activism; sexual health; adoption rights; gay and lesbian parenting; and women's issues such as reproductive rights, economic status, and violence against women.
The Correspondence Series is almost completely CLOSED to research; see the inventory below for more information. Most materials in other series, however, are open for research.
The Personal Files Series focuses on Ortiz's formal education, particularly her coursework at New York University. Other highlights of the series include Ortiz's scrapbook from her tour of China, which is further documented by audio tapes and photographs in the collection. Writings folders include notes, short articles, and speeches written by Ortiz as well as a collection of poetry by Grace Goldin, a friend of Ortiz. Two folders contain photocopies of inscriptions from many authors found inside the volumes in her personal library (now in the Perkins Library stacks of Duke University). This series is partially CLOSED.
The Subject Files Series has been separated into two main subseries: one devoted to international women's liberation and one for general topics. In the International Women's Liberation Subseries, Ortiz maintained extensive files on the status of women and women's liberation campaigns around the world. The grassroots organizational publications (many of them ephemeral in nature), news clippings, and articles found in the international women's liberation subseries address such issues as women's economic status, their roles in the family, violence against women, reproductive rights and sexuality, and indigenous women's movements. The most extensive segments of the subseries deal with women's liberation in the 1970s and 1980s in Chile, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United States. The subseries is organized alphabetically by country.
The General Files Subseries consists mainly of articles, notes, and periodicals from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Especially noteworthy are notes and other papers related to Ortiz's work as associate editor of the Monthly Review, though these provide only a limited glimpse into her decades of service there. The subseries also contains materials related to health, cancer, and the right-to-die movement; feminism, women's liberation, and the Women's International Resource Exchange (WIRE); and the political turmoil of Paris 1968. Together, Ortiz's subject files reflect the directions of her activism in the final decades of her life.
The Photographs and Slides Series contains portraits of individuals and groups, photographs taken during tours of countries and political events, and miscellaneous casual snapshots. There are very fine portraits of native peoples taken by well-known activist Gertrude Duby Blom. The largest segment of the series documents Ortiz's trips to China in 1974 and Latin America (ca. 1984). For related materials, see the Audio Tapes Series and the Personal Files Series. There are also audio cassettes recorded in Latin America and Nicaragua, which may correspond with slides in the Photographs and Slides Series. This series ends with photo negatives of an International Women's Day March in 1978. Note: This series is restricted. Use copies must be made of any cassettes without use copies already made. Please consult with reference staff.
Posters, buttons, and T-shirts bearing slogans and vivid images were vital components of the many social movements in which both Bobbye and Victoria Ortiz participated. The Cultural Artifacts Series captures the political use of popular culture in the late 20th century by preserving a representative sample of these cultural artifacts. The selections reflect Bobbye and Viki's participation in social movements concerned with issues such as U.S. imperialism in Latin America, international women's liberation, AIDS, and lesbian and gay rights. The series also contains original artwork done for Bobbye and Viki, as well as art posters from France. Several oversize posters are artifacts from the French worker/student strikes of 1968.
The majority of tapes in the Audio Tapes Series are cassette recordings of tours taken by Bobbye Ortiz during her travels in China and Latin America. Additional tapes include recordings of radio programs, interviews, and readings related to Bobbye's activism. Descriptive notes on many of the tapes listed below have been included as an appendix to this inventory. Note: This series is restricted. Use copies must be made of any cassettes without use copies already made. Please consult with reference staff. Related material about these trips may also be found in the Photographs and Slides Series and Personal Files Series.
The complete holdings of Bobbye Ortiz's library, which were donated as part of this collection and reside in Perkins Library at Duke University, are represented by the hand-written Index Card Catalog Series. The hundreds of Monthly Review Press publications in the library are one of the few records in the Ortiz Collection of her work for over twenty years as associate editor of the Monthly Review. The range of topics covered by her library -- women, Marxism and socialism, literature, Central America, Latin America, Asia, social sciences, humanities -- reveals the breadth of her intellectual interests and their intimate connections to her political concerns. The catalog is organized by topic, alphabetically by author therein.
The Phonograph Records Series features sound recordings on 33 1/3, 45, and 78 LPs collected by Bobbye Ortiz during her travels. Hundreds of folk music recordings, protest and labor song collections, and miscellaneous spoken word recordings date from the 1960s to the 1980s. Recording artists include many well-known musicians as well as hundreds of other musicians interested in folk, labor, and protest music; major languages represented include Spanish, French, and Italian. Many of these recordings are now out of print and difficult to find. This series is restricted: use copies must be made in order to access the recordings. For assistance, please contact the reference staff.
The addition (Acc.# 2003-0065) consists largely of photographs and negatives (approximately 550 prints, 120 negatives, and 1 slide, color and black-and-white), documenting Ortiz's travels to various locations including Cuba, Nicaragua, China, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Europe (1968-[1980s]). Also included are publication files related to WIRE (Women's International Resource Exchange), a few pieces of correspondence, and other miscellaneous personal items. Boxes 2 and 3, containing photographs, correspondence, and personal items, are CLOSED to research. Box 1 is open to research. No container list was created for this accession.
- Biographical / Historical:
Missing Title Date Event 1918, July 2 Born in Memphis, Tenn. 1928-1929 Attended Lockhart-Moore Academy, Little Rock, Ark. 1929-1930 Attended Fassifern School, Hendersonville, N.C. 1930-1932 Attended Kidd-Key College and Conservatory, Sherman, Tex. 1932-1933 Henderson State Teachers College, Arkadelphia, Ark. 1933-1935 Undergraduate at Barnard College at age 15 1935-1937 University of Chicago 1939-1944 Lived in Mexico 1939 Married to Robert G. Colodny, separated 1940 1940-1952 Married to Cesar Ortiz 1942, May 6 Daughter Victoria born 1951-1953 Studied at the Sorbonne, Paris and traveled extensively in Europe 1953-1956 Lived in England 1957 Returned to United States 1960 B.A. in Spanish, New York University 1963 M.A. in Spanish, New York University 1963, Fall Teaching assistant in Spanish, NYU 1968-1983 Associate Editor, Monthly Review 1979 Co-founder of WIRE (Women's International Resource Exchange) 1989 Awarded the Arthur J. Felberbaum Award from the New York Marxist School 1990, June 15 Died, New York City
- Custodial History:
The papers of Bobbye S. Ortiz were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as gifts from her daughter Victoria Ortiz in 1992, 1994, and 2003.
- Processing information:
Processed by Virginia L. Daley, Paula Jeannet, Ann Langford, Lois Schultz, Pavla Vesel, and Elizabeth Arnold
Completed March 2, 2000 and September 10, 2003
Accessions 92-077 and 94-082 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid. Part of the 2003-065 accession of the Victoria Ortiz Papers has also been added to this collection in September, 2003, but has not been fully processed as most of it is closed to use.
Audio Recordings Series reorganized January 2019 by Craig Breaden.
- Physical Location:
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
Social activists -- Correspondence
Women -- Social conditions
Feminists -- Correspondence
Social movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Radicalism -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975 -- Protest movements
Civil rights movements -- Mississippi
Indigenous peoples -- Portraits
Student movements -- France
Mothers and daughters
Women's International Resource Exchange Service
Ortiz, Bobbye S.
Ortiz, Victoria, 1942-
Italy -- Social conditions
South America -- Social conditions
Latin America -- Social conditions -- 1948
Mexico -- Social conditions
Central America -- Social conditions
China -- Social conditions
Cuba -- History -- Revolution, 1959
Using These Materials
Parts of the collection are closed to research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
In addition, some of the materials in this collection are not immediately accessible because they require further processing before use (see the finding aid for details).
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- PREFERRED CITATION:
[Identification of item], Bobbye S. Ortiz Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.