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Violence Against Women

Selected Primary Sources in the Sophia Smith Collection

Personal Papers

Aalfs, Joann (1923 - )
Papers, 1972-1983 (ongoing)
0.25 linear ft. (1 box)
Women's rights advocate. After leaving an abusive marriage in 1980, Aalfs took refuge at the Battered Women's Shelter in Springfield, Mass. She was later active in the New Bedford Women's Center, and helped found the New Bedford Women’s Awareness Group.
[This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use.]
(There is no finding aid online—contact Special Collections for more information)

Kross, Anna Moscowitz (1891-1979)
Papers, 1905-1974
3 linear ft. (8 boxes)
Lawyer, judge, Commissioner, New York City Department of Corrections, and social reformer. The Papers consist of correspondence, speeches, memorabilia, reports, journal and newspaper articles, photographs, and audiotapes primarily covering Kross's career as New York City Commissioner of Correction (1954-66). There is a substantial amount of material on women in the criminal justice system, including the New York House of Detention for Women and the Wayward Minors Court for adolescent female delinquency.
View finding aid

MacDonnell, G.J. Stillson (1947- )
Papers, 1970-1987
3.75 linear ft. (3 boxes)
Lawyer; Civic leader; Lobbyist. MacDonnell was founder and attorney for the Hartford Rape Crisis Service. Papers include material on the first rape crisis service and the first battered women's shelter in Connecticut. Also represented are MacDonnell's legal activities in Connecticut, working with, and lobbying for, women's issues in the state legislature, including sexual assault laws.
[This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use.]
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Nussbaum, Hedda (1942- )
Papers, 1987-2009 (ongoing)
14 linear ft. (22 boxes)
Author; Editor. After the 1987 beating death of Nussbaum’s six-year-old adopted daughter, trial proceedings revealed that her husband, Joel Steinberg, had for years abused Nussbaum physically and psychologically. In the years that followed, Nussbaum co-facilitated a support group for battered women and later worked as a paralegal for an organization that helps battered women, gave talks about abuse at colleges and shelters, and authored Surviving Intimate Terrorism, which explores the complexity of domestic violence. The papers include correspondence, legal files, writings and talks by Nussbaum, Nussbaum's published books, and audiovisual materials, including documentaries about domestic violence.
Access restrictions: Portions of this collection are closed. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use. Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies. Portions of collection are stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
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Ross, Loretta J., 1953-
Papers, 1956-2013 (ongoing)
34.5 linear ft. (70 boxes)
Reproductive rights advocate; Civil rights activist; Feminist; Women's health activist. As a young woman Ross was the victim of incest by a distant relative; she gave birth to a son, Howard, in April, 1969. After being sterilized by use of the Dalkon Shield, Ross became active in reproductive rights and anti-violence activism, and in 1979 became director of the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, the only center run primarily by and for women of color. Ross organized the first National Conference on Third World Women and Violence. The papers contain speeches, correspondence, organization and conference files pertaining primarily to her activism for reproductive justice rights for women of color, anti-violence, and international human rights work. [see also VOF]
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Steinem, Gloria (1934- )
Papers/Records, 1908-2007 (ongoing)
165.25 linear ft. (288 boxes)
Journalist; Feminist; Political activist. Steinem founded and co-founded Ms. magazine, the Ms. Foundation for Women, The National Women's Political Caucus, Voters for Choice, The Women's Action Alliance, and the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Subject files contain materials on the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc., the New Bedford Coalition Against Sexist Violence, and Women Against Violence Against Women.
Access restrictions: Partially restricted access - contact Special Collections for more information.
View finding aid

Touré, Nkenge (1951- )
Papers, 1968-2005 (ongoing)
5 linear ft. (5 boxes)
Political activist; Health reformer; Feminist; Civil rights activist. As general administrator and director of community education at the D.C. Rape Crisis Center for thirteen years, Touré became a pioneer in anti-rape organizing and a champion of addressing all forms of violence against women: psychological, cultural, racial, economic, state, physical, and sexual. The papers consist of extensive files pertaining to Touré's activism, including with the D.C. Rape Crisis Center. [see also VOF]  
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ARISE for Social Justice (1985- )
Records, 1956-2013 (ongoing)
30.25 linear ft. (32 boxes)
Grassroots advocacy organization; Social reformers. The ARISE for Social Justice Records provide documentation about how ARISE has approached problems affecting the economically disadvantaged and underserved populations in Springfield, Massachusetts and the surrounding area, including issues relating to domestic violence. These include materials on vigils for victims of violence, records relating to anti-violence organizations, and reference files on domestic violence and women's shelters.
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Black Women's Health Imperative (1981- )
Records, 1983-2003 (ongoing)
1 linear ft. (3 boxes)
Women's health advocacy organization (formerly the National Black Women's Health Project). The BWHI's purpose was to develop and disseminate self-help methodologies to help Black women achieve overall physical, mental and spiritual health. Key projects include the Domestic Violence Initiative (1995). The records consist of materials pertaining to the administration and the public outreach work of the BWHI, including a large amount of promotional and educational materials, such as pamphlets, fact sheets, newsletters, self-help manuals, and videos.
Access restrictions: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use. Collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
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National Organization for Women. Springfield (Mass.) Chapter (1977- )
Records, 1976-1989
3.75 linear ft. (3 boxes)
Feminist advocacy organization. The Springfield chapter of the National Organization for Women was established to create an organized feminist presence in Springfield and to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society in truly equal partnership with men.Topics include sexual harassment and support services for battered women. Materials include administrative records, correspondence, newsletters, and financial material.
Access restrictions: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use.
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Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center (1986- )
Records, 1986-2006
30 linear ft. (24 boxes)
Women's health advocacy organization. In 1991 NAWHERC opened the Lake Andes Women's Lodge shelter for battered women to provide women and their children with a safe place to escape domestic violence and sexual assault; expanded programs over the years include the Domestic Violence Prevention Project. Records include several publications about violence, including "Teen Dating Violence Prevention Curriculum" and Workbook for Native American Girls. The organization files contain additional materials on the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Access restrictions: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use. Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.
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New Directions for Women Records, 1994-2005
1 linear ft. (1 box)
Television production company. The collection consists of taped episodes of “New Directions for Women,” a television series produced by Morris County, NJ Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), airing regular broadcasts on a broad range of topics related to women and feminism. Episodes relating to violence against women include "Female Genital Mutilation," "Domestic Violence: Different Perspectives," "Date Rape, Drugging, and Stalking," "A Closer Look at Date Rape," and "Religion and Domestic Violence."
Access restrictions: Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.
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New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT) (1976- )
Records, 1975-2001 (ongoing)
1.75 linear ft. (2 boxes)
Women's shelter. NELCWIT is the oldest continuously-run battered women's shelter in New England, serving Franklin County and the North Quabbin region of Western Massachusetts. NELCWIT also provides counseling, legal assistance, and a 24-hour hotline for victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse. Records include reports, publications, fundraising and outreach materials, and early planning board minutes. Included are personal writings by survivors of domestic violence and abuse, research papers, and printed materials related to issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Western Massachusetts and beyond.
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Safe Passage, 1978-
Records, 1971-2000 (ongoing)
8 linear ft. (7 boxes)
Women's shelter, community service organization. Formerly Necessities/Necesidades, founded in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1978 as a women's collective intended "to empower women by providing them with self-help techniques that allow them to end abusive relationships." The organization also educates the community about violence against women through public programs and publications and by training volunteers. And provides shelter and assistance to battered women and their children. Records include both internal and public material. Internal records consist of: executive director's files; financial records; correspondence, and personal records, 1978-1992. Public records include material that documents the history of the organization; publicity and fundraising material; material related to other women's organizations; and pamphlets, articles and other printed material that relate to the subject of battered women.
Access restrictions: Portions of this collection are closed. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use.
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Stop It Now! (1992- )
Records, 1993-2005 (ongoing)
2.5 linear ft. (2 boxes)
Child abuse prevention and advocacy organization. Stop It Now! works to prevent child sexual abuse through education of adults, including people at risk for abusing and their families and friends, and to promote policy changes at the local and national level to support prevention strategies. Materials include conference materials, newsletters, printed material pertaining to sexual abuse of children, reports, administrative records, and writings and speeches.
Access restrictions: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use.
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UMASS-Amherst Women's Studies Department Subject Files
Records, circa1960-1986
3.75 linear ft. (3 boxes)
Collection includes resource files from the UMASS Women's Studies Department on a variety of topics relating to women, including abortion, rape, domestic violence, and reproductive rights. Types of materials include newsletters, pamphlets, flyers, clippings, bibliographies and student papers.
Access restrictions: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.
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Valley Women's Center (1971-1977)
Records, 1971-1977
2 linear ft. (5 boxes)
Women's center located in Northampton, Mass. The VWC was one of the first organizations to address rape as a political issue. It provided a myriad of free services to women in the community, including information about legal and educational resources, pregnancy counseling, support groups, lectures, workshops, and a library of resource material. Records include correspondence, minutes, logbooks, histories, photographs, and printed materials.
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Women on the Rise Telling Her Story (WORTH)
Records: 1.25 linear ft., 2004-2010
Women prisoners' advocacy organization. WORTH is an advocacy group comprised of currently and formerly incarcerated women. Based in New York City, the group offers support and training, does education and outreach to challenge "policy and public perception concerning incarcerated women. WORTH has organized direct actions leading to changes in laws and practices in NY State correctional facilities, including the former practice of shackling incarcerated women in labor and during birth.
Access restrictions: This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use.
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Women's Action Alliance (1971-1997)
Records, 1970-1996
119.5 linear ft. (321 boxes)
Women's advocacy organization; Feminist collective. WAA was founded to coordinate resources for organizations and individuals involved in the women's movement on the grass-roots level. The records contain material on the Resource Mothers Project, which included workshops on domestic violence; the Women's Alcohol and Drug Education Project, which sought to reduce alcohol, tobacco and other drug use (ATOD) among women and adolescent girls and created prevention programs that linked ATOD use with other issues in women's lives, including domestic violence; and Project TELL: Domestic Violence Awareness.
[see also Gloria Steinem papers]
View finding aid

YWCA of the U.S.A.
Records, 1860-2002
570 linear ft. (1132 boxes; 382 reels microfilm)
Social service, women's advocacy, civic improvement, community service, and educational and intercultural exchange organization. Community YWCAs around the U.S. have run anti-domestic violence programs since at least 1980. The national YWCA initiated a Week Without Violence program in the mid-1990s. For materials related to domestic violence programs, see:
Record Group 6. Program: Series I. Department, Staff, and Committees
Record Group 6. Program--Series III. Public Advocacy
Record Group 3. National Administrative Office
Record Group 7. Student Work
Record Group 8. Community Associations
Record Group 9. Photographs
View Finding aid

Oral Histories

Activist Life Oral History Project (2008)
Records, 2008
1.25 linear ft. (3 boxes)
An Activist Life Oral History Project documents the life histories of women who have dedicated their lives to social and political activism. The project explores both the diversity and the persistence of women’s activism, as organizers and as cultural workers, in a variety of social movements such as women’s health, economic justice, and education. Includes audiovisual materials and transcripts. See interviews with Lois Ahrens and Tiik Pollet for discussion. [See also VAW]
View finding aid

Documenting Lesbian Lives Oral History Project (2010-2011)
Records, 2010-2011
5 linear ft. (8 boxes)
Documenting Lesbian Lives Oral History Project is a collection of life histories of women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, woman-identified-woman, queer, or who prefer not to identify with sexuality categories. Includes interview with artist and community organizer Annie Rachele Lanzillotto (1963- ), who discusses the impact of her father's domestic violence on her family.
View finding aid and full transcripts on SSC website

Voices of Feminism Oral History Project (2002- )
Records, 1990-2006
30.75 linear ft. (78 boxes)
The Voices of Feminism Oral History Project documents the persistence and diversity of organizing for women in the United States. Narrators include grassroots anti-violence activists. Most oral histories consist of audiovisual materials, unedited and edited transcripts, correspondence between interviewer and narrator, a biographical sketch, the interviewer’s interview guide, and occasional research material and photos.
See the following interviews: Katherine Acey, Dorothy Allison, Charon Asetoyer; Fran Henry; Geraldine Miller; Aurora Levins Morales; Rosario Morales; Suzanne Pharr; Loretta Ross; Nkenge Touré; and Wynona Ward.
View finding aid and full text transcripts

Subject Collections

Violence Against Women Collection
Records, 1967-1990
2.4 linear ft. (6 boxes) This subject collection includes mostly published sources focusing on domestic violence, pornography, rape and sexual assault. Included are records of legislative and grassroots efforts to create and sustain shelters, counseling services, and legal support for victims of violence, plus articles and newsletters that articulate a feminist perspective relating the patriarchal structure of society to the perpetration of violence against women.
View finding aid

Women’s Liberation Collection
Papers, 1959-2006
11 linear ft. (26 boxes; 6 books)
This subject collection documents the emergence, evolution, impact, and decline of the women's liberation movement and published material and ephemera relating to a variety of issues that concerned feminists in the 1960s and 1970s, including women's centers, the "Take Back the Night" movement, and self defense.
View finding aid

Periodicals Collection

A variety of national and international women's magazines, scholarly journals, newsletters,and local publications dating from the 1780s to the present, including:

  • Aegis - Magazine on Ending Violence Against Women (formerly Feminist Alliance Against Rape Newsletter)
  • Ms. Magazine
  • Outcry: a Publication of the Task Force on Battered Women & Sojourner Truth House
  • SANEnews: a national newsletter on battered women
  • WOAR (Women Organized Against Rape) Path
  • Women Against Sexist Violence (in Pornography and Media)
  • Women Against Violence (in Pornography and Media News Page)

View complete title list

The following collections are closed to research. They are listed here for future reference only.
Contact Special Collections for more information.

Henry, Fran Worden 6 Nov 1948-
Papers, 1964-2004
11 linear ft. (9 boxes)
Businesswoman, consultant, children's welfare advocate. Worden was founder of the child abuse prevention and advocacy organization Stop It Now!. Additionally, Woden served as Executive Director of the first Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women, and as Director of the President’s Citizens Advisory Committee for Women under Gerald Ford. Worden was also on the board of directors for Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.
Access restrictions: Collection is closed.

Valley Women's Martial Arts, 1977-
Records, 1976-2002 (ongoing)
9.25 linear ft. (9 boxes)
Women's martial arts school.
Access restrictions: Collection is closed.

Ward, Wynona, c1951-
Papers, 1953-2003 (ongoing)
.5 linear ft. (2 boxes)
Lawyer, advocacy group founder. In 1998 Ward founded Have Justice – Will Travel, an organization that "brings free legal services into rural [Vermont] communities by providing in-home consultations, transportation, and legal representation for low-income women who are victims of domestic violence." In addition to organization records, materials include narratives of her own experience of domestic violence.
Access restrictions: Collection is closed.

Ms. Magazine,1972-
Records, 1972-1990 (circa) (ongoing)
372.75 linear ft.
Feminist journal; Feminist collective.
Access restrictions: Collection is closed for processing.

(Note: The SSC is actively collecting the papers and oral histories of women and the records of their organizations. Please see the complete list of collections or contact us for updated information on our holdings.)