Sprague, Joan Forrester. Papers of Joan Forrester Sprague, 1935-1998: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: 88-M103--98-M166
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Joan Forrester Sprague
Title: Papers of Joan Forrester Sprague, 1935-1998
Quantity: 17 linear feet (17 cartons) plus 1 folio folder, 1 oversize folder, 1 supersize folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of feminist architect and planner, Joan Forrester Sprague.
Accession numbers: 88-M103, 90-M6, 98-M128, 98-M166
These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Joan Forrester Sprague in July 1988 and January 1990 by Chester Sprague in July 1998.
Container list: September 1999
By: Deborah A. Richards
Access. Professional papers concerning her architectural work and planning are unrestricted.
Personal papers are closed until April 6, 2008. Certain diaries are closed until January
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Joan Forrester Sprague is held by the
President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in
other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs
Copying. Unrestricted papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual
Joan Forrester Sprague Papers, 1935-1998; item description, dates. 88-M103--98-M166,
folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge,
Joan Forrester Sprague was a feminist architect and planner who worked on developing
housing for low-income women and children. She was born in New York City, received
a bachelor's degree in architecture from Cornell University in 1953, and a master's
degree in education, with a concentration in organization development, from Harvard
University in 1976. Early in her career, Sprague designed furniture and did consulting
for Sprague Associates, Architectural Resources, Inc., Benjamin Thompson & Associates,
Inc., and Hugh Stubbins & Associates, Inc.. One of her designs was the butcher block
couch. Sprague was a co-founder of Open Design Office, a non- hierarchical practice
of women architects and planners in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Women's School of
Planning and Architecture, an alternative school that offered sessions around the
country from 1974-1981; the Women's Design Center, which sponsored the Women's China
Study Group of Architects and Planners; the Women's Development Corporation in Providence,
Rhode Island; and the Women's Institute for Housing and Economic Development, Inc.,
in Boston. She was a consultant for Better Homes Foundation, the Elizabeth Stone House
in Boston, the Women's Housing Coalition in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Save the
Children. Sprague was the author of two manuals, A Development Primer: Starting Housing or Business Ventures by and/or for Women (1984), and A Manual on Transitional Housing (1985); and two books, Taking Action: A Comprehensive Approach to Housing Women and Children in Massachusetts
(1988), and More than Housing: Lifeboats for Women and Children (1991). She lectured at Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
and Arizona State University, as well as in Canada, the Netherlands, the People's
Republic of China, and the former Soviet Union. In 1987, she received the Woman of
the Year Award from Boston Business and Professional Women, and in 1988 the Massachusetts
Women's Political Caucus' Abigail Adams Award. In 1957 she was married to Chester
Sprague, a professor at the School of Architecture and Planning at Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. One of their shared interests was the architecture of Native American
pueblos from pre-historic times to the 1960s. Sprague died of a brain tumor in Cambridge
on April 6, 1998.
The collection is comprised of personal and professional papers including diaries,
which detail her work, relationships, family, goals, and financial security; financial,
legal, and medical records; personal and professional correspondence; notes; lectures;
writings; drafts of published and unpublished work; research files, including brochures,
newsletters, articles, unpublished papers by other people, reports, surveys, manuals,
journals and books; coursework on organization development; articles and books by
and about Sprague; photographs; audiotapes; videotapes; and slides. The container
list is divided into two sections: personal and professional. The professional papers
are arranged chronologically.
- Carton 1. Personal: financial, legal, and medical records
- Carton 1. Personal: photographs, slides, and videotapes
- Carton 2. Personal: correspondence
- Carton 2. Personal: clippings
- Carton 2. Personal: manuals and reports re: hobbies
- Carton 2. Personal: notes re: work and relationships
- Carton 2. Personal: datebooks, 1975-1978
- Carton 2. Personal: audiotapes
- Carton 3. Personal: research files on unpublished work re: brain tumors; includes correspondence,
drafts, notes, and organizations' materials re: the brain and cancer.
- Carton 4. Professional: curricula vitae
- Carton 4. Professional: early published architectural work with Sprague Associates and others;
includes designs and articles.
- Carton 4. Professional: furniture designs
- Carton 4. Professional: Open Design Office.
See also supersize folder.
- Carton 4. Professional: Women's School of Planning and Architecture
- Carton 5. Professional: Women's School of Planning and Architecture
- Carton 5. Professional: Women's China Study of Architects and Planners
- Carton 5. Professional: organization development; includes articles, notes and papers from courses
for master's in education.
- Carton 5. Professional: Women's Development Corporation
- Carton 5. Professional: Women's Institute for Housing and Economic Development, Inc.
- Carton 5. Professional: A Development Primer; includes drafts and notes.
- Carton 5. Professional: A Manual on Housing; includes drafts and notes.
- Carton 6. Professional: Taking Action; includes drafts and notes.
- Carton 6. Professional: More than Housing; includes drafts and notes.
- Carton 6. Professional: unpublished work: Finding Home; includes drafts, notes, and questionnaires.
- Carton 6. Professional: clients; includes correspondence, notes, and reports.
- Carton 7. Professional: clients; includes correspondence, notes, and reports.
See also folio folder and oversize folder.
- Carton 7. Professional: writings
- Carton 7. Professional: lectures
- Carton 8. Professional: lectures
- Carton 8. Professional: grants
- Carton 8. Professional: awards
- Carton 8. Professional: research files; includes information on statewide and international
work on housing and homelessness, correspondence, surveys, and notes.
- Carton 9-10. Professional: research files; includes correspondence, surveys, and notes.
- Carton 11-14. Professional: reports, guides, brochures, pamphlets, manuals, journals, proceedings,
conference programs, directories, books, and extra copies of her publications
- Carton 15-17. Professional: notebooks re: audiovisual materials, audiotapes, slides, videotapes
- Folio folder. Architectural drawings for clients
- Oversize folder. Architectural drawings for clients
- Supersize folder. Architectural drawings for Open Design Office
Architects and community--United States
Architects and housing developers--United States
Architecture and women
Women--Services for--United States
Women-owned business enterprises--United States
Open Design Office (Cambridge, Mass.)
Women's Design Center
Women's Development Corporation (Providence, R.I.)
Women's Institute for Housing and Economic Development (Boston, Mass.)
Women's School of Planning and Architecture