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.
Collection contains artwork created by Steve Roden as a result of his residency at the Rubenstein Library as the 2014 Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Artist. His collection consists of a box containing 11 prints and 2 thumb drives. One thumb drive contains video files, and the other contains audio files. Roden's Visual Works on Paper are accompanied by his notes explaining his thought process and questions as he worked with Rubenstein materials during his residency. His artwork was inspired by medieval manuscripts, the Irene Peslikis Papers, Julian Abele and his role as an architect for Duke University, and other unspecified collections held in the Rubenstein Library. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University).
Women's and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Movements (LGBT) periodicals collection, 1957-2017
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.