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MC 331

Ms. Letters to Ms., 1972-1980: 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

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 331
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Ms.
Title: Letters to Ms., 1972-1980
Date(s): 1972-1980
Quantity: 7.51 linear feet (18 file boxes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Letters to the editor of Ms. magazine.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 81-M117
These letters were given to the Schlesinger Library by Ms. Magazine in April 1981.

Processing Information:

Processed: October 1981
By: Jane S. Knowles

Access Restrictions:

Letters concerning the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) are open to research. To use any other letters, readers must sign a statement agreeing not to use names or correct initials of letter-writers in any publication, thesis, or dissertation.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the letters written to Ms. Magazine is held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Letters may not be photocopied until 50 years after the year in which they were written, unless it is clear that they were published in Ms. Magazine.

Preferred Citation:

Letters to Ms., 1972-1980; item description, dates. MC 331, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Letters to Ms., 1970-1998 (MC 568)


Ms. is a national monthly magazine, published and written by women to provide a forum for women and women's issues in the United States and internationally. Created in 1971 by Gloria Steinem and fellow journalists, activists, and feminists, Ms. survived disputes over content and financing, as well as several changes in ownership. The magazine covers the women's movement and women's issues, and includes poetry, fiction, non-sexist children's fiction, a readers' letters column, and a "No Comment" column on sexist journalism and advertising.
The following provides a brief history of Ms.:


This collection consists of letters to the editor, 1972-1980, by women and men from all over the country and all backgrounds. It does not include the more than 20,000 letters written in response to the preview issue. Letters may describe personal experiences and problems, or praise, criticize or suggest new departures for the magazine. Many express feminist or anti-feminist points of view or make rhetorical or political statements about such issues as sexuality, medicine, human and family relationships, motherhood, life choices, credit, job discrimination, careers, the Equal Rights Amendment, and feminism. The "found women" files are letters enclosing biographical material about interesting women who are not well known.
Because the files of letters were voluminous and repetitious, they have been weeded to approximately half their original volume. No attempt has been made to preserve a representative sample of letters; rather, archivists have removed routine and non-biographical letters, photographs and resumes, and have moved clippings, articles enclosed with letters, and examples of sexist advertising to the Library's vertical files.
Letters written in response to articles or to other readers' letters are arranged in their original order, chronologically by date of the article to which they respond. "Personal letters" (that is, those that do not respond to particular articles) are arranged by date of letter. The letters in the "Crackpots" folders (#232-233) were selected and given this designation by Ms. Magazine staff. "Found women" files (#234-242) contain letters, clippings, and photographs of women readers believed Ms. should be aware of and are arranged alphabetically by subject. Letters about the Equal Rights Amendment are grouped together at the end of the collection (#243).


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Advertising, Magazine
Birth control
Equal pay for equal work
Equal rights amendments
Family violence
Sex discrimination
Sex role
Women--Social conditions
Women's rights
Women--Health and hygiene