Women's Organizations Collections Available for Research
Northeastern University Libraries announces the historical records of four Boston area women's organizations are open for research. The collections were recently donated to the Archives and Special Collections Department by The Women's Center in Cambridge, MA.
The Women's Coffeehouse began in October 1979 when a small group of women from the Women's Educational Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts met to discuss plans to open a Coffeehouse operated by and for women. They felt that women of all ages, nationalities, body types, economic status, and disabilities lacked a space to safely enjoy cultural activities together. The objective of the Women's Coffeehouse was to provide "an active, participative, grass roots environment" for local women to develop their own community despite their personal political affiliations. Weekly performances were intended to spark discourse among women in the community about their shared issues and concerns. The collection documents the organization and activities of the Women's Coffeehouse and contains meeting minutes, photos, fliers, and audiotapes of performances and press releases. A guide to the collection is available online at http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m120find.htm.
The Boston Area Feminist Coalition was founded in the summer of 1981 by Nancy Wheeler, Diane Raymond, Sara Freedman and Pam Chamberlain to provide a forum for local feminist groups to collectively address issues that all women faced. The group originally had four goals: to build unity among feminists, to organize successfully against the New Right, to build a network to more effectively communicate with each other, and to create a political discourse that acknowledged the differences among women, such as race, class and sexual orientation. The records of the Boston Area Feminist Coalition document the group's efforts to organize women and feminist groups through workshops, retreats, forums, meetings and protests in Boston during 1981-1983. The collection contains meeting minutes and agendas, press releases, correspondence, proposals, member lists, fliers, and a scrapbook documenting the work of the Coalition through meeting notes, attendance records, fliers, and statements. A guide to the collection is available online at http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m121find.htm.
Female Liberation was a radical feminist organization seeking to confront issues, such as self-defense, equal wages, birth control, consumerism, and the media's portrayal of women. To meet these goals, they published weekly newsletters and a journal of women's poetry and essays, held public meetings and classes, and protested perceived injustices. Its goal was to create a unified community that worked for and supported women's issues in the Boston area. This collection documents the work of Female Liberation and the internal conflict that hindered the group's ability to develop a unified political strategy. In addition, the records offer insight into the many complex issues that surrounded the Boston feminist movement at its conception, including the difficulty in maintaining a harmonious ideology among different groups within the Women's Movement. This collection contains newsletters of Female Liberation and other feminist groups, position papers, statements, correspondence, legal documents, fliers, press releases, and copies of No More Fun and Games: A Journal of Female Liberation. A guide to the collection is available online at http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m122find.htm.
Sister Courage was an all female, volunteer, and collective newspaper dedicated to providing a forum where women could contribute their experiences and ideas while developing feminist theory. This non-profit feminist newspaper was founded in 1974 by 40 women to address issues such as health, day care, housing, union organization, and employment. The goals of the newspaper were to improve communication among Boston area women's groups, develop feminist theory and strategy, and analyze the way capitalism and sexism reinforced each other. The collection documents the work of Sister Courage, feminist theory, and volunteer and collective business practices. It includes legal documents; correspondence; newsletters; meeting minutes; and copies of the Sister Courage publication (1975-1978). A guide to the collection is available online at http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m123find.htm.
The collections are open for research Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Department, 92 Snell Library, Boston, Massachusetts, http://www.lib.neu.edu/archives/. The collections contribute to the University Archives and Special Collection Department's collecting focus on records of private, non-profit, community-based organizations that are concerned with social justice issues. View a list of special collections available for research in the NU Archives and Special Collections Department.