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MC 758; T-488

Matsumiya, Priscilla Chase, 1917-2000. Papers of Priscilla Chase Matsumiya, 1968-2000: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

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Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College


Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Radcliffe College Class of 1956, the Jane Rainie Opel Fund, and the Zetlin Sisters Fund.

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 758; T-488
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Priscilla Chase Matsumiya, 1917-2000
Title: Papers of Priscilla Chase Matsumiya, 1968-2000
Date(s): 1968-2000
Quantity: 2.92 linear feet (7 file boxes) plus 1 supersize folder, 2 photograph folders, 1 audiotape, 3 objects)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of Cambridge, Massachusetts, political activist Priscilla Chase Matsumiya contain material from her work as Coordinator for the Cambridge Committee to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, Cambridge League of Women Voters, and as a staff member of Massachusetts State Senator Michael LoPresti, Jr.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 2000-M126, 2000-M172
The papers of Priscilla Chase Matsumiya were given to the Schlesinger Library by Patricia DeVlieg and Betsy Dunn in 2000.

Processing Information:

Processed: June 2013
By: Cat Lea Holbrook, with assistance from Emily Underwood.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Priscilla Chase Matsumiya 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:

Priscilla Chase Matsumiya Papers, 1968-2000; item description, dates. MC 758, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

BIOGRAPHY

Priscilla "Pat" Chase Matsumiya was born on August 21, 1917, to Anita Bryant Johnson and Louis Rodman Chase in Newport, Rhode Island. Pat graduated from Rogers High School in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1933. She studied psychology at Pembroke College in Providence, Rhode Island, graduating summa cum laude (A.B.,1937). She married Howard DeVlieg in 1938. They had three children: Daniel, Gary, and Patricia. After her marriage to DeVlieg ended in 1957, Pat returned to Brown University to pursue graduate school work in psychology where she met Yoichi Matsumiya. They were married in 1962, and divorced in 1971.
Pat moved to Massachusetts with Yoichi in 1970, continuing her graduate school work both at MIT and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, although she did not receive a degree. In 1972 she became politically active by volunteering for the George McGovern and Sargent Shriver presidential campaign, serving as a hawker -- distributing flyers and bumper stickers, soliciting donations and volunteers -- in Downtown Crossing, Boston. In 1976 Matsumiya became the Coordinator for the Cambridge Committee to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, arranging fundraising efforts such as t-shirt and buttons sales, as well as planning informational events and rallies for voters. The committee reached voters through a "sidewalk headquarters project." ERA volunteers sent up tables in three of Cambridge's main squares, Central, Harvard, and Kendall, which functioned as miniature campaign headquarters: conducting advertising; volunteer sign up; fundraising; and event publicity. Matsumiya also served on the steering committee of the Cambridge Convention, held in May of 1977, which was an attempt to build a winning coalition of candidates for school committee and city council within the City of Cambridge. In 1979 she studied campaign management at the Kennedy School of Government.
Starting in the late 1970's, Matsumiya volunteered with the Cambridge League of Women Voters, serving as secretary for the board of directors and with voter services. The voter services group worked to expand voter registration in Cambridge for city and national elections. In 1981 Matsumiya became involved with the Coalition for Cambridge, which was formed in reaction to Massachusetts's Proposition 2 ½ property tax statute, petitioning Massachusetts legislators to limit the of budget cuts Cambridge would need to implement in order to balance its budget. In 1984 Matsumiya began working at the Massachusetts State House, first for State Senator Michael LoPresti, and then in 1993, for State Senator Robert Travaglini. Matsumiya was responsible for writing press releases and handling correspondence relating to legislation that LoPresti filed or endorsed. Matsumiya also worked as a staff member for the Massachusetts Special Commission on Alcohol and Drug Education (which LoPresti co-chaired) conducting research, writing reports, supervising interns and drafting questionnaires. The commission was formed in 1982 to study the extent of alcohol and drug abuse in the Massachusetts's school systems, as well as to establish an alcohol and drug abuse education program.
Pat Matsumiya died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on August 9, 2000, at the age of 83.

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in three series:

SCOPE AND CONTENT

This collection documents the personal and professional life of Priscilla Chase Matsumiya and contains correspondence, photographs, questionnaires, minutes, notes, reports, and memorabilia. Pat Matsumiya was engaged in numerous local Cambridge activist groups, such as the Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women, Cambridge League of Women Voters, the Coalition for Cambridge, the Cambridge Convention '77, and the Cambridge Committee to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (Series III). Other material highlights her work in the office of Massachusetts State Senator Michael LoPresti, Jr. (Series II). Matsumiya was also very involved as a volunteer and fund raiser in local and national political campaigns, including the George McGovern and Sargent Shriver 1972 presidential campaign and Jimmy Carter's 1980 presidential campaign (Series III). Matsumiya wrote poetry in her spare time, often re-writing her poems line by line, seemingly blending the natural world with events in her life (Series I). Most of the folder titles and the arrangement were created by the archivist; original titles, when used, appear in quotation marks.
Series I, Biographical and personal, 1968-2000, n.d. (#1.1-2.5, SD.1, PD.1), includes a resume, obituaries, Matsumiya's correspondence with family and friends, graduate school work, and poems. Correspondence describes her various activist campaigns to friends and family, as well as personal revelations regarding her divorce (#1.3). Graduate school work includes final exams in psychology (#1.6). Matsumiya was very involved with the First Parish Church Cambridge, serving on several committees such as the house and grounds committee, the auditorium use committee, and the hospitality committee, which served punch in the adjoining Old Burial Ground cemetery on nice days after services. After Matsumiya's death in 2000, Massachusetts State Senator Robert Travaglini adjourned the day's senate session in her honor (#2.3); a copy of the senate journal from that day is included. The series is arranged alphabetically.
Series II, Office of Senator Michael LoPresti, Jr., 1976-1992, n.d. (#2.6-3.3), includes notes, press releases, memoranda, reports, and correspondence related to Matsumiya's work in the office of Massachusetts State Senator Michael LoPresti, Jr. Matsumiya, working as an aide and researcher for LoPresti, was responsible for writing press releases and handling correspondence relating to legislation that LoPresti filed or endorsed. In 1982 LoPresti, together with State Representative Charles Flaherty, co-chaired the Massachusetts Special Commission on Alcohol and Drug Education. The commission was formed to study the extent of alcohol and drug abuse in the Massachusetts's school systems, as well as establishing an alcohol and drug abuse education program. Matsumiya served as a staff member for the commission, conducting research, writing reports, supervising interns and drafting questionnaires (#3.3). Matsumiya was also involved in LoPresti's re-election campaigns, often organizing volunteers during the campaign as well as on election day (#3.1-3.2). Correspondence includes a thank you note from Jimmy Carter to LoPresti, letters to and from Matsumiya, letters to LoPresti from constituents, letters drafted by Matsumiya for LoPresti to send to other legislators (#2.6-2.7). The series is arranged alphabetically.
Series III, Political activism, 1971-1991, n.d. (#3.4-7.7, SD.1, PD.2, Mem.1), includes flyers, memoranda, notes, volunteer lists, meeting minutes, and other material relating to Matsumiya's political activism. Her interests varied widely, and included rent control, elder housing, the MBTA Red Line extension, women's issues, and the Coalition for Cambridge (#3.4-3.5). After volunteering for the 1972 George McGovern and Sargent Shriver presidential campaign, Matsumiya became the women's issues coordinator for Shriver during his 1976 presidential campaign (#6.6-6.8). She also served on the steering committee of the Cambridge Convention, held in May of 1977, which was an attempt at building a winning coalition of candidates for school committee and city council within the City of Cambridge. All endorsed candidates pledged to support in-common candidates for mayor, city manager, and school superintendent (#4.3). After the state-wide Governor's Commission on the Status of Women was created in 1977, an Ad Hoc committee was formed to establish the Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women. The group's intention was to act as a clearinghouse for all women's services within Cambridge (#3.7-4.2). Matsumiya's letters to Cambridge City Councilors Francis Duehay and Saundra Graham describe her opinion of the in-fighting occurring within the nominating committee for the commission (#6.2). In 1980 Matsumiya was asked, as a Carter supporter, to join the Massachusetts Women for Carter Committee (#6.5). She was also involved with Citizens for Participation in Political Action (CPPAX), which consisted of local community groups seeking to influence local Massachusetts politics at the grassroots level (#5.4). The series is arranged alphabetically.
Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Audiotapes
Cambridge (Mass.). City Council
Cambridge (Mass.)--Politics and government
Equal rights amendments--Massachusetts
Feminism--United States
Feminists--United States
Fliers
Harvard Square (Cambridge, Mass.)
Local government--Massachusetts
Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
Photographs
Presidents--United States--Election--1972
Presidents--United States--Election--1976
Presidents--United States--Election--1980
Questionnaires
Sex discrimination against women--United States
Sex discrimination in employment--United States
Voting--United States
Women--Employment--United States
Women--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States
Women political activists--United States
Women--Political activity--Massachusetts
Women's rights--Massachusetts
Women--Social conditions
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
DeVlieg, Patricia
Duehay, Francis
First Church (Cambridge, Mass.)
League of Women Voters (Cambridge, Mass.)
LoPresti, Michael, Jr.
Matsumiya, Yoichi
McGovern, George S. (George Stanley), 1922-2012
Shriver, Sargent, 1915-2011

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