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Digital Collections at Schlesinger Library

Digitization at Schlesinger Library

Schlesinger Library has a robust digitization program that makes manuscript collections, books, periodicals, and photographs available to researchers across the globe. In the past ten years, the Library has digitized 1,140,672 pages of material. From the papers of public intellectual Charlotte Perkins Gilman to the research files of feminist artist Judy Chicago, the library’s digital collections span two centuries of women’s history.

Digital Collections Platform

Schlesinger Library’s digital collections platform allows researchers to visually explore digitized collections and to find related materials based on people, locations, or topics. We invite you to explore the personal and family papers that are accessible through this platform. 

Catching the Wave: Photographs of the Women's Movement

Among the treasures in the Schlesinger Library are photograph collections that document the women’s liberation movement of the late 1960s and 1970s: images by Bettye Lane and Freda Leinwand, both of whom spent years capturing the moments, both big and small, that made up one of the most transformative times in U.S. history. While the Schlesinger began collecting these photographs in 1979, their families, upon the death of the photographers, donated the bulk of their collections just recently. In 2014, the Schlesinger Library was awarded a Hidden Collections grant by the Harvard Library. The grant allowed us to select, catalog and digitize images that depict the women's movement, approximately 4,000 of the total 40,000 images, including prints, negatives and slides, in the two collections. Both collections came with donor-supplied metadata that we repurposed and transcribed to create the catalog records. The project's website acts as a curated view into these wonderful images.

Catching the Wave sreenshot

College Women: Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education

College Women is a searchable collection of diaries, letters, scrapbooks, and photographs from the archives of a select group of the earliest women’s colleges in the United States, the Seven Sisters. The intention of the site is to open new avenues for research in American women’s history by making the dispersed writings, images and documents of women students easily accessible through a single search. When brought together, the collections will enable new studies in political reform and women’s rights, sexuality and body image, religion, race and class, as well as major domestic and international events.

Schlesinger Library contributed material about the history of Radcliffe College to this project.

Judy Chicago Portal

The Judy Chicago Portal bridges collections housed in three institutions: Penn State University, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Schlesinger Library. The collaboration among a public university library, a private institutional library, and a museum gives each repository the opportunity to consider and embrace new audiences and to highlight their collective interest in Judy Chicago’s oeuvre and overall impact.