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Ludtke, Melissa. Papers of Melissa Ludtke, 1977-1997: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.
June 2000

© 2000 President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: 99-M58--99-M155
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Melissa Ludtke
Title: Papers of Melissa Ludtke, 1977-1997
Quantity: 2.42 linear ft. (2 cartons, 1 file box)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of sports writer and author, Melissa Ludtke.

Processing Information:

Processed: June 2000
By: Anne Engelhart

Acquisition Information:

Accession numbers: 99-M58, 99-M155
These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Melissa Ludtke in April and October 1999.


Access. Unrestricted, except that only transcripts of interviews, with identifying information removed, are available for research; the originals are closed until the likely death of the interviewee. In addition, researchers must sign a special permission form.

Use Restrictions:

Copyright. The donor has transferred copyright in her papers to 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 or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the director of the Schlesinger Library before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred citation for publication:

Melissa Ludtke Papers, 1977-1997; item description, dates. 99-M58--99-M155, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Born in 1951 in Iowa City, Melissa Ludtke was the eldest of five children of James and Jean (Edwards) Ludtke. She grew up in Amherst, where her father taught finance at the University of Massachusetts and her mother earned a Ph.D. in anthropology. A 1973 graduate of Wellesley College, Ludtke worked for ABC Sports and Sports Illustrated. Barred from the locker rooms during the 1977 World Series, she gained national attention when she successfully sued major league baseball to gain access for women reporters. She later worked as a researcher for CBS News, for Time's Los Angeles and Boston bureaus reporting on the lives of children and families, and for Joseph Kennedy's first campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1978 Ludtke married sportswriter Eric Lincoln from whom she was divorced four years later. In 1988 Ludtke began to consider the possibility of having a child as a single mother. A Nieman fellowship at Harvard allowed her to begin what she described as "a research project for my own life," interviewing teenage mothers as well as women who had chosen single motherhood later in life. Her book, On Our Own: Unmarried Motherhood in America, was published in 1997; in June of that year she adopted a baby girl from China whom she named Maya.


The collection is arranged in two series:


Series I, Ludtke v. Kuhn (#1v-17), includes court records and press coverage concerning the case, as well as correspondence, speeches, and a research study on women sports reporters by Leba Hertz.
Series II, On Our Own: Unmarried Motherhood in America (#18-74), includes transcripts of interviews with single mothers conducted by Ludtke as part of her research. Identifying information has been removed; original transcripts are closed until the likely death of the interviewee. Also included are notes, drafts, printed material arranged by subject, as well as accounts of visits and conversations by Ludtke and donor sperm information she accumulated in the course of trying to become pregnant. Folder headings in quotations are those of Ludtke; in the case of named interviewees, pseudonyms given by ML in On Our Own are used. Readers must sign a special permission form to use this series.



Preliminary list of added entries.

The following catalog entries represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. An entry for each appears in the Harvard On Line Library Information System (HOLLIS) and other automated bibliographic databases. THIS IS NOT AN INDEX.
Adoption-United States
American League of Professional Baseball Clubs--Trials, litigation, etc.
Hertz, Leba
Infertility, Female--United States
Journalists--United States
Sex discrimination against women--United States
Sex discrimination in employment--United States
Single mothers--United States
Single Mothers by Choice
Sportswriters--United States
Unmarried mothers--United States
Women journalists--United States