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Call No.: MC 816
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Battered Women's Directory Project
Title: Records of Battered Women's Directory Project, 1975-1985
Quantity: .8 linear feet (2 file boxes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, brochures, etc., of the Battered Women's Directory Project, compiler of the Battered Women's Directory.
There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Betsy Warrior Papers, 1966-1996 (MC 843 ).
Betsy Warrior, born in 1940, was active in the women's liberation movement in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was a member of Cell 16, and wrote widely on issues surrounding marriage and domestic abuse. In the early 1970s, Warrior was involved in establishing and supporting shelters for battered women, and as a result of this work, felt the need for a compendium of resources on the topic that could be used by shelters, community groups, individual women. In 1974, while working with Chris Womendez and Cheri Jimenez, who established the first shelter dedicated to battered women, and with Respond, another shelter group, Warrior realized the need for a compendium of resources, analyses of male-pattern violence and templates for shelter procedures so she undertook a decade long effort to provide a network to knit the shelter movement together by sharing resources and knowledge. In 1975, Warrior wrote, edited, and published Working on Wife Abuse (later called Battered Women's Directory), which was the first international directory of individuals and programs advocating for battered women. It provided statistics on wife abuse, articles on the history, motivations and utility of male-pattern violence, explained legal options like restraining orders, offered articles by men working to combat sexism by counseling abusive men and provided a bibliography on woman abuse as well as advice from emergency room doctors treating battered women. It included guidelines for setting up shelters, hotlines and support groups for battered women. Nine editions were published. The first edition was 33 pages and the last, in 1989, was 300. Six editions of Working on Wife Abuse were published through 1978; in 1982 the eighth edition was published as Battered Women's Directory. The ninth edition, in 1985, was the first Betsy Warrior did not publish herself; it was published by Terry Mehlman.
The records of the Battered Women Directory Project include material received by Betsy Warrior during her work publishing Working on Wife Abuse and the Battered Women's Directory.This collection originally consisted of about two cubic feet of papers of three main types: orders and requests for publications; letters, brochures, etc., conveying information about individuals or agencies wishing to be listed in the directory, or to update or correct a listing; and a smaller number of miscellaneous letters, some relating personal experiences with battering, others discussing projects pertaining to battered women. The orders/requests for publications came from three major groups: those running or about to start shelters for battered women; students (at every educational level) writing about wife abuse; and such other people as clergy, authors, physicians, legislators, and police and other government officials with an interest in the subject.Nearly all of the first two types of letters or forms were discarded at the time of the initial inventory in 1985. Information for the directory was retained only if it did not bear the note "on index"; if it did, the information is available in one or another edition of the directory. Only a few of the more unusual requests have been retained (e.g., from the National Library of Medicine and from various Army officials). The great bulk of requests came from women (and a few men) involved in running shelters. It is clear from these communications that during the years covered (1975-1985) the issue of battered women was receiving widespread attention in most of the fifty states but that resources to address the problem were generally meager. It is also clear that the directory, Working on Wife Abuse, and the other publications Betsy Warrior had produced were very useful in these people's work. The directory was later published as Battered Women's Directory (Cambridge, Mass.: B. Warrior, 1982).Of the letters retained, those containing sensitive personal information have been copied; names, street addresses, and cities have been deleted on the copies. The originals are closed to research until January 1, 2030. These include correspondence from and about women prisoners in Georgia, Indiana, and Illinois. In 2015, the collection was rehoused for preservation reasons. Material is arranged alphabetically by geographic location.