The papers of Kate Millett provide rich documentation of Millett's activities as a feminist activist, artist, and author of numerous works, including Sexual Politics, whose publication established her as one of the founding 20th century feminists. Other works for which supporting materials exist are The Loony-bin Trip, Flying, and The Basement.
Seen in a broader context, Millett's papers provide important documentation of the history of the feminist movement and feminist theory in the United States, including the history of the National Organization for Women. Materials in the collection also cover feminism and the social conditions for women around the globe, especially in France, Italy, and the Middle East - most notably Iran, where Millett traveled in 1979-1980.
The earliest dates in the collection, 1912 and 1928, refer respectively to an early family photograph, and historical resources used when writing the book A.D.. The bulk of the materials span her adult life from the 1950s through the early 2000s.
The collection content reflects the intensely personal nature of much of Millett's work and the frequent fusion of her personal, political, and professional interests, strongly evident in the many files of personal and literary correspondence, including significant exchanges with Ti-Grace Atkinson, Rita Mae Brown, Phyllis Chesler, Andrea Dworkin, Cynthia McAdams, Yoko Ono, Alix Kates Shulman, Gloria Steinem, and many other activists, writers, artists, friends, partners, and family.
Additional series include writings by other authors; papers documenting Millett's work as an artist and instructor; files relating to her New York State farm and artists' colony; materials from Millett's student years, including her thesis which led to the book, Sexual Politics; and scripts and other papers relating to Millett's little-known documentary film, Three Lives (a copy of the film also exists in the collection). Other materials document her relationship with her mother during the last years of her mother's life, also the topic of her book, Mother Millett. Subject files relate to Millett's involvement with the gay and lesbian communities, her research on prisons and torture, and her diagnosis with bipolar disorder and subsequent involvement in anti-psychiatry activism. There are also extensive printed materials such as serial issues, articles, clippings, posters, fliers, mainstream and grassroots newsletters, event programs, and manifestos.
Audiovisual materials, many available through digital access copies, include audio and video recordings of Millett's lectures, speeches, and many conversations with activists, friends, and family. There are also many photographs, slides, and negatives documenting Millett's activities and the people in her life.
Rounding out the visual components of the collection are over 250 pieces of Millett's artwork created by Millett, who was also involved in the Fluxus art movement. Predominant formats include ink drawings, calligraphy, and graphic prints. There are also sculptures and other three-dimensional works, some of which formed part of an installation representing events that surrounded the murder of Sylvia Likens, also the subject of Millett's book, The Basement. A full inventory of the artwork is available in this collection guide.
Electronic formats include some correspondence, book drafts, and other writings. These files are included in the inventory under the appropriate series. The electronic files have been migrated to a library server; please contact the Rubenstein Library for access.
The papers of Merle Hoffman span the years from about 1944 to 2001, with most of the papers dating between 1961 and 2001. The collection is arranged in the following series: Choices, On the Issues, Personal Files, Photographic Materials, and Audiovisual Materials. The bulk of the materials consist of the records of Choices Women's Medical Center, a New York City women's health clinic and abortion clinic co-founded by Hoffman in 1971, and the organizational records for On the Issues, a feminist magazine owned by Choices and overseen by Hoffman. The remainder of the collection consists of Hoffman's personal papers, mostly related to her pro-choice activism. The collection also includes writings by or interviews with many activists such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Charlotte Bunch, Phyllis Chesler, Andrea Dworkin, Kate Millett, Marge Piercy, and Elie Wiesel. The correspondence, administrative files, minutes, manuals, reports, surveys, research files, electronic records, clippings, flyers, brochures, newsletters, photographs, and audiovisual materials in the collection provide rich material for the study of the history of abortion, the pro-choice movement, women's health care, and the anti-abortion movement in the United States. The records of Choices Women's Medical Center are especially valuable for understanding the medical practice of abortion, as well as the political context of that practice. Other topics that can be explored through the materials include contraception, women's rights and feminism, and rape.
The political context of abortion is further documented throughout the rest of the collection. Hoffman's writings, speeches, and interviews on abortion illuminate the abortion debate in the media. At the same time, the internal dynamics of the pro-choice movement are documented in files on various New York and national pro-choice organizations. The collection includes some materials on the National Association of Abortion Facilities (NAAF), the National Abortion Federation (NAF), the National Coalition of Abortion Providers (NCAP), the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and the National Organization for Women (NOW). Especially noteworthy are the detailed meeting minutes and other records for the New York Pro-Choice Coalition, an umbrella organization for New York City pro-choice organizations founded by Hoffman in the mid 1980s.
In addition to her pro-choice activities, Merle Hoffman has been a vocal proponent of patient self-empowerment; an active supporter of various political candidates in New York City; and a feminist activist. The collection reflects these interests to varying degrees. The records of On the Issues magazine are especially useful as a source of writings on a broad range of feminist and other issues.
The Choices Series documents the day-to-day operations of Choices Women's Medical Center, including the clinic's medical policies and procedures, its internal administration, and its relationship with patients and community organizations. The series is divided into the following subseries: Correspondence, Subject Files, Legal Papers, Personnel, Security, Staff Files, Marketing, Operations, and Electronic Format. Much of the series consists of files on administrative issues, dating primarily from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. A few records date from the clinic's early years in the 1970s. The files also document the clinic staff's rising concern about Operation Rescue, militant anti-abortion protests, and anti-abortion violence during the late 1980s and 1990s. At the same time, the Choices records suggest how the ideals of feminist health care and patient empowerment have translated into medical practice. The records primarily provide the perspective of health providers rather than patients; the collection does not include patient medical records. However, patient surveys and a limited amount of patient correspondence provide some evidence of patient experience at the clinic. There is substantial material on the Choices East Project, Hoffman's unsuccessful attempt to establish a women's health clinic in Moscow. Choices' treatment philosophy of patient self-empowerment and its identity as a woman-friendly health care provider are documented in the Outreach Subseries and the Marketing Subseries. Information on patient experiences and reactions to the clinic can be found primarily through patient surveys, patient satisfaction questionnaires, and statistical summaries of patient demographics, all found in the Subject Files, Marketing, and Electronic Format Subseries. Choices organizational charts and staff rosters are available for reference in the Research Room's inventory drawers; please contact Research Services.
On the Issues (1983-1999), a feminist magazine, was founded by Merle Hoffman and produced by Choices staff. The magazine covered a broad range of feminist issues and topics, including but not limited to abortion and other women's health issues. During the 1990s the magazine became increasingly professionalized, moved from annual to quarterly publication, and operated more independently of Choices. The documents in the On The Issues Series provide an extensive record of the magazine's production and distribution. They primarily date from the 1990s and are organized into the following subseries: Issues, Correspondence, Article Files, Editorial Files, Production and Distribution, Marketing, Staff Files, Administration, and Electronic Format. The series includes a nearly complete run of issues. Files include reader surveys; mailing lists; drafts and correspondence from contributors; editorials by Hoffman and other writers; and working files maintained by individual editors and production staff. Electronic files contain similar materials, and include graphics.
The Personal Files Series is arranged into the following subseries: Correspondence, Writings and Speeches, Subject Files, Politics and Activism, New York Pro-Choice Coalition, Calendars, Phone Messages, Clippings, General Personal Files, and Electronic Format. The materials extensively document Hoffman's work as a writer, public speaker, organizer, and activist for abortion rights and other feminist causes. Hoffman's personal publicity materials, including curriculum vitae and biographical sketches, can also be found in this series. There are also some records of Hoffman's childhood and personal life. The correspondence, found in both the Correspondence and Electronic Format Subseries, contains significant personal exchanges with feminists, friends, and colleagues that span many decades. Pro-choice organizations represented in the series include the New York Pro-Choice Coalition (NYPCC), the National Organization for Women (NOW), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the National Association of Abortion Facilities (NAAF). The series also contains Hoffman's phone message books, calendars, and scrapbooks, including those related to her work at Choices and On the Issues. Electronic files contain a variety of correspondence, mailing lists, graphics, Choice and On the Issues documents mixed on the same disks, and a few writings. Overall, the series amply illustrates the porous nature of the boundary between Hoffman's personal activities and her work at Choices and On the Issues.
The Photographic Materials Series contains a variety of material related to Choices Women's Medical Center, On the Issues magazine, and Hoffman's personal activities. Especially notable are the numerous images of the Choices clinic facilities and procedures, and the detailed visual record of pro-choice rallies and other events involving Hoffman during the 1980s. Political figures pictured in this series include Bella Abzug, Hilary Clinton, Andrea Dworkin, Geraldine Ferraro, Flo (Florynce) Kennedy, Congressman John Lewis, and Gloria Steinem. Other photographs in the Personal Subseries include portraits of Hoffman and snapshots from a vacation at the feminist Camp Sister Spirit.
The bulk of the Audiovisual Materials Series consists of audio recordings on cassette tape of New York City radio talk shows featuring Merle Hoffman as an interview subject. Most interviews date from the 1970s or early 1980s. In some cases, these recordings feature Hoffman responding to listeners in call-in discussions of abortion, or conducting debates with anti-abortion representatives. Other audio recordings include interviews conducted for On the Issues stories and radio advertisements for Choices. Videotape recordings include several episodes of "On the Issues," Merle Hoffman's cable access television show, and some documentary material on Choices and its patients. Materials are not immediately accessible until use copies can be made upon request. Please consult with reference staff before coming to use the collection.
Finally, the Ephemera Series contains various memorabilia, including a box of Choices condoms, buttons, and banners with feminist and political slogans.
Later accessions (2004-0041, 2004-0062, 2005-0023, and 2012-0049) have been added to the end of the finding aid. Boxlists are included when known.
The papers of psychologist, radical feminist author, and professor Phyllis Chesler span the dates 1968-2001. For the most part, Chesler's original folder titles have been maintained throughout the collection. The collection is divided into the following series: Writings, Custody Speakout Project, Women and Health Organizations ,Personal and Professional Papers, International Committee for Women of the Wall ,On the Issues, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Chesler's Writings are separated into subseries by titles of her published works, and comprise the bulk of the collection. These papers include research files, interviews, and chapter drafts for her books Women and Madness;Women, Money and Power;About Men; With Child; Mothers on Trial; Sacred Bond; and Letters to a Young Feminist. The detailed research files in the Writings Series also contain audiocassettes and selected transcripts of interviews conducted by Chesler in conjunction with her research on women and mental health, women's history, childbirth and pregnancy, child custody and surrogate mothers (particularly the "Baby M" controversy concerning Mary Beth Whitehead and the Stern family), and feminist concerns. The Writings Series includes Chesler's miscellaneous writings and provides insight into her personal and professional life through correspondence, manuscripts, and notes surrounding each work as well as clippings and records documenting her feminist activism. Materials related to Women of the Wall: Claiming Sacred Ground can be found in the International Committee for Women of the Wall Series. Chesler's complete writings from 1991 to the present, as well as selected archives of her writings from the 1970s and 1980s are available at her website, The Phyllis Chesler Organization.
The Personal and Professional Papers Series is subdivided into the following subseries:Teaching Material, which provides insight into Chesler's feminist activism and includes student evaluations and selected student papers for classes at the College of Staten Island and CUNY; Publicity Files, which contain reviews of Chesler's work as well as articles by and about her; Juvenilia, which documents Chesler's artistic and intellectual development through high school; People Files,Financial Papers, Correspondence, and Invitations. These latter four subseries document aspects of Chesler's personal and professional relationships and her family life. Among the major correspondents in the People Files Subseries are Carolyn Shaw Bell, Sheila Kaplan, Kate Millett, Tillie Olsen, Grace Paley, Adrienne Rich, Donna Shalala, Susan Sontag, and Gloria Steinem. The Custody Speakout Project Series and the Women and Health Organizations Series document Chesler's concern and activism for women's health and custody rights, while the International Committee for Women of the Wall Series documents Chesler's involvement in activism surrounding the right of women to pray at the Kotel with a Torah scroll, as well as her work as co-editor of the anthology Women of the Wall: Claiming Sacred Ground. The On The Issues Series contains correspondence, article and column drafts, pre-published and published issue files, financial materials, meeting notes, and other papers related to the publication of On The Issues, a quarterly feminist magazine. Chesler served as an editor-at-large for the magazine, and she correspondedfrequently and worked closely with its publisher and editor-in-chief, Merle Hoffman. The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Series contains Chesler's research and drafts of writings on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also referred to by the acronyms CFS and CFIDS.
Many American feminists are represented in Chesler's personal and professional correspondence in the Writings Series as well as the People Files Subseries of the Personal and Professional Papers Series. The Invitations Subseries in that series documents Chesler's involvement in feminist, environmental, and other political events and protests. The Teaching Materials Subseries and the People Files Subseries contain correspondence, clippings, notes, and other miscellaneous materials related to individuals and institutions with which Chesler was in contact in the 1970s and 1980s. Much of the material in the People Files Subseries documents Chesler's personal and professional concerns following the publication of Women, Money and Power and prior to publication of About Men and With Child, with a particular emphasis on her relationships with other feminist writers and activists.
Chesler's professional literary career is documented in the Correspondence Subseries of the Personal and Professional Papers Series which focuses on Chesler's relationships with publishers, promotion for her books, and royalty statements related to Chesler's books. The Financial Papers Subseries also documents Chesler's business concerns and professional expenses. Further correspondence with publishers can be found in the research files of individual subseries within the Writings Series. The Women and Health Organizations Series,Custody Speakout Project Series, and the Invitations Subseries subseries of the Personal and Professional Papers Series provide information regarding the organizations supported by Chesler.
Chesler's attention to women's custody rights appears in the Writings Series within the Mothers on Trial Subseries. The bulk of Chesler's work on child custody is documented in the Custody Speakout Project Series which contains organizational files including proposals, resource lists, fundraising projects, speaker information and agenda files for the Custody Speakout Project.
The collection (2008-0286) includes administrative files, program and reunion materials, obituaries, correspondence, financial information, newsletters, periodicals, and photographs relating to the activities and programs of the Veteran Feminists of America. Special media formats include DVDs, floppy disks, and CDs, some of which have been withdrawn for electronic preservation. There are also medals and other ephemera. Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.
The addition (2008-0254) (64 items; 1.2 lin. ft.) consists of DVDs of VFA events and interviews.
The addition (2009-0131) (900 items; 1.8 lin. ft., dated 2001-2008) consists of board minutes, administrative materials, program files, some correspondence, and publicity. Program files include reunions, special presentations, conferences on feminist history and issues, and other educational and commemorative events. In particular, the accession includes materials from the Salute to Feminist Lawyers event put on in June 2008 at the Harvard Club in New York.
The addition (2010-0097) (300 items; 0.6 lin. ft., dated 2005-2010) includes miscellaneous newsletters, dated 2005-2008; board meeting minutes from 2007; event and program files from a 2009 Pompano Beach, FL awards gala and a Dallas conference entitled The Gender Agenda: Beyond Borders, held March 2010. The Dallas event files include copies of materials on 22 honorees, as well as the program text and other promotional materials. Other topics in this accession include website initiatives and the Feminists Who Changed America book launch.
The addition (2010-0128) (150 items; 0.6 lin. ft., dated 2009-2010) includes materials submitted by honorees at the "The Gender Agenda: Beyond Borders" conference held by the VFA in Dallas. Materials include information forms, resumes, essays, and other miscellaneous biographies.
The addition (2012-0083) (4 items; 0.1 lin. ft., dated 2006, 2009) includes a program from the Tribute to Helen Reddy event (2006) and two copies of an associated commerically-available music compact disc by Sandy Rapp; along with the souvenir program from the VFA salute to feminist lawyers (2009).
The addition (2015-0069) (1800 items; 3.0 lin. ft., dated 2011-2014) consists of event information, program and administrative files relating to the activities of the Veteran Feminists of America. Special media formats include DVDs of event programming, including the Kate Millett festival (2012), and Labor and the Women's Movement (2014).
The addition (2017-0058) (.2 lin. ft., dated 2002-2017) consists of program and administrative files related to the operation of the Veteran Feminists of America. Special media includes two DVDs; one is of the Harvard Club Luncheon (2014) and the other is of the Veteran Feminist Association South Florida Luncheon (2009).
The addition (2017-0139) (.2 lin. ft., dated 2007-2017 consists of administrative and program files related to the activities of the Veteran Feminists of America.
Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.
Women's and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Movements (LGBT) periodicals collection, 1957-201763 Linear Feet — 98 boxes
The collection comprises individual issues of periodicals produced by or reporting on organizations involved in the women's rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights movements (LGBT) of the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. A wide variety of periodical genres are represented here, including literary and art journals, newspapers, organizational newsletters, and popular culture magazines. The periodicals in this collection were donated by individuals, purchased, or separated from manuscript collections. Manuscript collections held by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from which periodicals were separated are the Catherine Nicholson Papers; the Dan Kirsch Papers; the Kate Millett Papers; the Irene Peslikis Papers; the Minnie Bruce Pratt Papers; the Margaret McFadden Papers; and the Charis Books and More-Charis Circle Records. Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.
The original collection numbered forty-one boxes. Additions in 2009, 2011 and 2012 expanded the collection.