Rosenberg, Rosalind, 1946- . Papers of Rosalind Rosenberg, 1979-1987: 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
Call No.: 87-M143--87-M171
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Rosalind Rosenberg, 1946-
Title: Papers of Rosalind Rosenberg, 1979-1987
Quantity: 3 linear feet (3 cartons)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Court documents including trial dispositions, briefs, transcripts, and decisions relating
to a sex discrimation case (EEOC vs. Sears, Roebuck and Co.) in which Rosalind Rosenberg,
history professor, was an expert witness.
Accession numbers: 87-M143, 87-M171
Trial documents were sent to the Schlesinger Library by Morgan Associates, at the
request of Rosalind Rosenberg, in September 1987; the other papers were sent by Rosalind Rosenberg in November 1987.
Preliminary inventory: March 1989
By: Jane S. Knowles
Access. Collection is open for research.
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Rosalind Rosenberg 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.
Rosalind Rosenberg Papers, 1979-1987; item description, dates. 87-M143--87-M171, folder
#. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
In 1979 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Sears,
Roebuck and Company for employment practice violations under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act (1964). Sears was charged with "a pattern and practice" of sex discrimination
in two areas: discrimination in the hiring and promotion of women in commission sales
jobs, and discrimination in pay in management positions. The plaintiff's case was
based on a statistical analysis of the Sears workforce by EEOC statistician Bernard
Siskin (see 88v-91v), which claimed to demonstrate disparities between men and women
in pay and in commission sales jobs. There were no individual women complainants.
The trial was held in Chicago, Illinois from September 1984 to July 1985; Judge Nordberg
decided in favor of Sears in January 1986. Both sides sought to strengthen their case
by including historians as expert witnesses. Sears called Rosalind Rosenberg, associate
professor of history at Barnard College; the EEOC called Alice Kessler-Harris, professor
of history at Hofstra University. Rosenberg argued that historically men and women
have had different interests, goals, and aspirations regarding work, and that women's
own attitudes made them reluctant to take risky jobs in commission sales. Therefore,
she concluded, historical forces other than employer discrimination were responsible
for the statistical disparities seen in the Sears data. Kessler-Harris argued that
women historically have made the most of any economic climate, taking whatever jobs
have been offered. Women's choice of work can be understood only within the framework
of available opportunities. Kessler-Harris concluded that Sears had not done enough
to counter cultural forces and to open opportunity equally to women.
The Sears case caused a storm of argument among historians of women and feminists.
Letters received by Rosenberg and articles collected by her, 1985-1987, contested
her historical interpretation of women's attitudes to work, and raised the philosophical
issue of the role of scholars and feminists in offering their expertise to parties
in lawsuits. Rosalind Rosenberg faced heavy criticism from feminists and historians
This collection of papers relating to EEOC v. Sears, Roebuck and Company is divided
into three series:
Series I, 1-20, Personal correspondence, 1985-1987, includes letters from historians
and feminists with Rosalind Rosenberg's replies, supporting or criticizing Rosalind
Rosenberg's testimony on behalf of Sears.
Series II, 21-48, Articles, 1985-1987, about the trial, some with Rosenberg's annotations.
Series III, 49-91v, Trial documents, consisting of written depositions and oral testimony
of Rosenberg, Alice Kessler-Harris, et al., briefs, statistical analyses, other exhibits,
- Carton 1: 1-68
- Carton 2: 69-87
- Carton 3: 88v-91v
- Series II. ARTICLES
- 21. Bibliography of articles, May 1987
- 22. Jon Wiener, "Women's History on Trial," Nation, 9/3/1985
- 23. Columbia University, Women and Society Seminar: The Sears Case (Rosenberg's statement),
- 24. Sandi E. Cooper, "Women's Work on Trial," New Directions for Women, 11/12/1985
- 25. Coordinating Committee on Women in the Historical Profession, resolution on experts,
- 26. Karen J. Winkler, "Two scholars conflict," The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/5/1986
- 27. Rosalind Rosenberg, "What Harms Women," New York Times, 2/27/1986
- 28. Miscellaneous articles on EEOC vs. Sears decision 2-3/1986
- 29. Organization of American Historians session on expert witnesses, 4/1986
- 30. Alice Kessler-Harris, "History on Trial," Radical History Review, 4/1986
- 31. Dorothy Wickenden, "What now for the women's movement?" The New Republic, 5/5/1986
- 32. Samuel G. Freedman, "Of History and Politics: Bitter Feminist Debate," New York Times, 6/6/1986
- 33. "Misusing history," editorial, Washington Post, 6/9/1986
- 34. Jonathan Yardley, "When Scholarship and the Cause collide," Washington Post, 6/12/1986
- 35. Carol Sternhell, "Life in the Mainstream," Ms., 7/1986
- 36. Alice-Leone Moats, Op-ed piece in Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/1986
- 37. Jon Wiener, "Women Fall One Step Behind, In These Times, 8/1986
- 38. Andrew Hacker, "Women and Work," The New York Review of Books, 8/14/1986
- 39. Ruth Milkman, "Women's History and the Sears Case," Feminist Studies, Summer 1986
- 40. "Are Women Male Clones?" Time, 8/18/1986
- 41. Sandi E. Cooper, "Documents on the Sears Case," Signs, 8/1986
- 42. "Women, Work, and Sears: Interview with Rosalind Rosenberg and Alice Kessler-Harris,"
New Perspectives, Summer 1986
- 43. Columbia Spectator, 9/25/1986
- 44. Rosalind Rosenberg, "Scholarship vs. Politics: A Feminist Battleground," Barnard Alumnae, 9/1986
- 45. Abby Kleinbaum, "Popular Press Stages Battle," New Directions for Women, 9/86
- 46. Darcy O'Brien, "A Coming of Age," Savvy, 10/1986
- 47. Nadine Taub, "Thinking about Testifying?" Perspectives (American Historical Association newsletter 24), 11/1986
- 48. Frances Keller, "The Historian's Dilemma," Perspectives, 1/1987
- Series III. TRIAL DOCUMENTS
- 49-50. Written and oral testimony of Rosalind Rosenberg
- 51. Written and oral testimony of Alice Kessler-Harris
- 52. Written testimony of Ray J. Graham, Director, Equal Opportunity for Sears, Roebuck
- 53-58. Oral testimony of Ray J. Graham
- 59-65. Written and oral testimony of Sears store witnesses
- 66. Written testimony of Sears witnesses who did not testify
- 67-68. Other Sears witnesses
- 69-73. Other Sears witnesses
- 74. Court decisions, Nov 7, 1980 and Jan 31, 1986
- 75-78. Sears motions for partial summary judgment and related orders
- 81. Decisions in four related race cases
- 82. Employment Relations Reports, 1979, about EEOC; General Counsel Issie Jenkins's memos
- 83. Sears Exhibit 25 Index, #1-57
- 84. Sears Exhibit 25 #58-154
- 85. Sears Exhibit 25 #155-207
- 86. Sears Exhibit 25 #208-319
- 87. Sears Exhibit 25 #320-431
- 88v. Statistical analyses by EEOC expert Bernard Siskin, 1984. Report on Sears commission
sales hiring and promotion practices, 1973-1980, alleging discrimination against women.
- 89v-91v. Statistical analyses by EEOC expert Bernard Siskin, 1984. Report on checklist employees'
compensation practices alleging substantial disparities in pay between men and women
Actions and defenses--Cases
Discrimination in employment--United States
Labor laws and legislation--Cases
Sex discrimination against women--United States
Sex discrimination in employment--United States
Sex role in the work environment--United States
Chafe, William Henry
Clinton, Catherine, 1952-
Degler, Carl N.
Epstein, Cynthia Fuchs
Foley, Helene P., 1942-
Norton, Mary Beth
Sears, Roebuck and Company--Trials, litigation, etc.
United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission--Trials, litigation, etc.