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MC 228; T-159

Lamb, Helen Boyden. Papers of Helen Boyden Lamb, 1937-1975: 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

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 228; T-159
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Title: Papers of Helen Boyden Lamb, 1937-1975
Date(s): 1937-1975
Quantity: 4.17 linear feet (10 file boxes) plus 1 oversize folder, 1 folio+ folder, 3 audiotapes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, drafts, notes, etc., of Helen Boyden Lamb, economist.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 75-377, 76-16, 76-119, 76-133, 76-316, 76-412
The papers of Helen Boyden Lamb Lamont were given to the Schlesinger Library in November 1975 and between January and December 1976 by Corliss Lamont.

Processing Information:

Processed: July 1976
By: Anne Whittington

Access Restrictions:

Access. Folder #22 is unavailable for research until July 2019 while being digitized. The remainder of the collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the unpublished papers created by Helen Boyden Lamb is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library.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 or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Helen Boyden Lamb Papers, 1937-1975; item description, dates. MC 228, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Helen Elizabeth Boyden was born on May 31, 1906, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Walter Lincoln and Elizabeth Boyden. She majored in history at Radcliffe College, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated in 1928; her senior thesis was entitled "Metics in Athens." In 1936 she married Robert Keen Lamb (1905-1952), an economist and Harvard graduate. From 1938 to 1947 the Lambs lived in Washington, D.C., where Helen was a research analyst for the Foreign Economic Administration, working on the United States Government Guide Program for the American occupation of Japan, while Robert was a special investigator for various Congressional committees, and later a lobbyist for the United Steel Workers of America. Lamb received her Ph.D. from Radcliffe in 1943, writing an important dissertation on "Industrial Relations in the Western Lettuce Industry." In 1947 the Lambs returned to Cambridge, where Lamb joined the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to do research on India's economy. Robert Keen Lamb taught in MIT's Division of Humanities and Social Sciences until his death from cancer on August 25, 1952. Lamb remained in Cambridge, working at MIT and raising her three children, Robert Boyden Lamb (Robin), Roland William Boyden Lamb (Billy), and Albert Boyden Lamb (Al).
In 1962 Lamb moved to New York and married Corliss Lamont (Corliss Lamont), author and philosopher, who had been director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1932 to 1954. About this time she became concerned with the growing United States involvement in Vietnam and began to study the conflict there. She campaigned actively against the war, giving speeches, writing about the war from an academic viewpoint, giving money to anti-war organizations, participating in demonstrations and marches -- and was thus instrumental in bringing the war to the attention of the American public. Her efforts were notable enough to earn her a place on President Nixon's Enemies' List of 1973. She died in New York City on July 21, 1975.


The collection is arranged in four series:


The collection includes some personal papers and correspondence with relatives and friends; correspondence and publications connected with Helen Boyden Lamb's work on Indian economics and on Vietnam; and some material on other political issues, including China, Cuba, and women's rights. There are also several folders of advertisements and reviews of books that interested Lamb. The largest part of the collection pertains to Lamb's work on Vietnam. In addition to correspondence with individuals and organizations in the United States and abroad, there are papers relating to her published writing on Vietnam, including interviews with Vietnamese political exiles in Paris for an article in The Nation (August 10, 1963) and notes, correspondence and advertising for her widely-distributed pamphlet, "The Tragedy of Vietnam" (1964) and her book, Vietnam's Will to Live: Resistance to Foreign Aggression from Early Times Through the Nineteenth Century (1972). There are extensive drafts of chapters for Vietnam's Will to Live that were not used. Also in the collection are notes and invitations for speeches given by Lamb, mostly from 1963 to 1966, as well as copies and newsclippings of open letters she signed and letters to the editor she wrote from 1962 to 1974. There are several folders of flyers, announcements and other ephemera which reflect major anti-war activities from 1963 to 1972, primarily in the New York area. There is some background material on Vietnam, but most of Lamb's Vietnam literature has been given to the Indochina Resource Center in Washington, D.C.


Index of Individuals

Index of Organizations

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Cambridge (Mass.)--Social life and customs
China--Social conditions
Civil rights
Cuba--Social conditions
Drafts (preliminary versions)
India--Economic conditions
International cooperation
United States--Foreign relations
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
Women's rights
Arnett, Katherine M.
Boyden, Elizabeth B.
Boyden family
Chomsky, Noam
Cleveland, Francis G. (Francis Grover), 1903-1995
Davis, Jerome, 1891-1979
Durr, Virginia Foster
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Herz, Helga Alice
Hinton, Carma. LinkGage-Colby, Ruth
Hughes, Everett C. (Everett Cherrington), 1897-1983
James, Alice Rutherford Runnells, 1887-1957
Lamb, Robert Keen, 1905-1952
Lamont, Corliss, 1902-1995
Lattimore, Owen, 1900-1989
Luscomb, Florence, 1887-1985
Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978
Olds, Elizabeth, 1896-1991
Olmsted, Mildred Scott
Radcliffe College--Alumni and alumnae
Russell, Bertrand, 1872-1970
Smith, Jessica, 1895-1983
Strong, Anna Louise, 1885-1970
Sweezy, Paul M. (Paul Marlor), 1910-2004
Winter, Ella, 1898-1980
Women Strike for Peace
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom