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Catching the Wave: Photographs of the Women's Movement

Project Overview

The project stemmed from the desire to make available the images of 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. The Library received a one year Hidden Collections grant from the Harvard Library to digitize a portion of the images of these two photographers.

Following year one of the project, the Library received a second Hidden Collections grant to expand the project to other photograph collections which document women’s liberation. This phase focused on the photographs from organizations such as the National Organization for Women (NOW); 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women; Women’s Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice; and others. These collections offer a different view of the movement, as most were taken by members of these organizations who had no formal training as photographers.

The Harvard Library’s Hidden Collection grants provided a way for the Library to produce a visual documentation of the women’s liberation movement and make it available to users all over the world online. In total, approximately 6,000 photographs, slides, and negatives were added to our online catalogs. Women’s Strike for Equality, abortion demonstrations (both pro- and anti-), women’s rights marches, women in politics, economic equality, ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), gay and lesbian rights, women’s sexuality, peace demonstrations, and violence against women are some of the causes represented in these images.