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© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard university
Creator: MELISSA LUDTKE, 1951-
Title: Papers, 1977-1997
Quantity: 2 cartons, 1 file box
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 ML married sportswriter Eric Lincoln from whom she was divorced four years later. In 1988 ML 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.
These papers are arranged in two series:
- I. Ludtke v. Kuhn
- II. On Our Own: Unmarried Motherhood in AmericaSeries 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 ML 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 ML and donor sperm information she accumulated in the course of trying to become pregnant. Folder headings in quotations are those of ML; 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.
- Carton 1: 1v-2, 4-26
- Carton 2: 27-62
- Box 3: 63-74