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Betty Friedan  

Research guide to manuscript and archival collections related to Betty Friedan.
Last Updated: May 28, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Table of Contents

Welcome! This guide is an introduction to the library's manuscript/archival collections relating to Betty Friedan.  It is meant to help you begin your research but it is not a complete list of relevant collections. Please Ask A Schlesinger Librarian if you have any questions or want further suggestions.

Betty Friedan first gave material to the Schlesinger Library in 1971. As more material was given, lists of the collection were made. Today, her papers are described in three, roughly chronological, groups of materials. Audio and video materials are described separately.



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Featured Item

The Schlesinger Library holds a copy of The Feminine Mystique that was owned and annotated by suffragist and originator of the Equal Rights Amendment Alice Paul (1885-1977). Read more about the annotations here

Manuscript / Archival Materials

Many of our collections are stored offsite and/or have access restrictions, including most A/V material. Please Ask a Schlesinger Librarian in advance of your visit to check on the availability of materials.

  • Papers of Betty Friedan, 1933-1985 (inclusive) (MC 575)
    Collection includes correspondence, financial and legal documents, research notes and drafts of writings, teaching notes, organizational records, photographs, audiovisual material, and memorabilia. Most of the material dates from the 1950s to the 1970s.
  • Additional papers of Betty Friedan, 1937-1993 (inclusive), 1970-1993 (bulk) (MC 576)
    Collection includes personal and professional correspondence, photographs, clippings by and about Friedan, drafts of The Second Stage (1981) and The Fountain of Age (1993), revisions for the 20th anniversary edition of The Feminine Mystique (1983) and It Changed My Life (1985), speeches, lectures, teaching material, research notes, and records from Friedan's involvement with a number of organizations.
  • Additional papers of Betty Friedan, 1941-2006 (inclusive), 1980-2000 (bulk) (MC 577)
    Collection includes include personal and business correspondence, drafts of books and articles, financial and legal documents, research and teaching notes, and organizational records of Men, Women and Media, an organization Friedan co-founded in 1988 to analyze gender parity and representation in different forms of media. Responses from friends and readers to Friedan’s books The Second Stage (1981) and The Fountain of Age (1993) are included, as are reviews, clippings, and lecture material, much of it about aging. Some material documents Friedan’s involvement with feminist and Jewish organizations, as well as with New York City, Long Island, and national politics.
  • Audio collection of Betty Friedan 1963-2007 (T-97, T-125, Phon-7)
    Collection consists audiotapes of radio broadcasts, speeches, lectures, etc.
  • Video collection of Betty Friedan, ca.1970-2006 (Vt-1, DVD-34)
    Collection consists video recordings of interviews with, speeches and lectures by, and symposia led by feminist, activist, teacher, and author Betty Friedan.
  • National Organization for Women records (MC 496)
    The National Organization for Women was formed on June 30, 1966, during the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women in Washington, D.C. The Statement of Purpose declares that "the time has come to confront, with concrete action, the conditions that now prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity and freedom of choice which is their right, as individual Americans, and as human beings." Friedan was among the founders of NOW and was its first president.
  • Tully-Crenshaw Feminist Oral History Project (MC 548)
    The Tully-Crenshaw Feminist Oral History Project was initiated and funded in 1990 by Mary Jean Tully in honor of her mother, Maude Gresham Crenshaw, in conjunction with the Schlesinger Library. Its goal was to document the founding and development of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund, as well as the role of Betty Friedan in NOW, and Friedan's legacy in the women's movement. Also includes interviews with Betty Friedan

Exhibit: "It Changed My Life:" The Feminine Mystique at 50

In 1963, journalist Betty Friedan described a malaise among American housewives who felt trapped by the expectation that they be fulfilled by the role of wife and mother. Friedan's assertion that women needed meaningful work to be self-fulfilled propelled her book to the best-seller list and began a national conversation about gender equality. The Schlesinger Library's exhibit, drawn from Friedan's voluminous papers, traces The Feminine Mystique from Friedan's initial research and drafts through its marketing and publication, and on to responses from readers, parodies, academic studies, and anniversary editions.

Click here to view the exhibit online.


Photograph Slideshow


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