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MC 786

Berkman, Sylvia. Papers of Sylvia Berkman, 1909-1989: 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

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 786
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Sylvia Berkman
Title: Papers of Sylvia Berkman, 1909-1989
Date(s): 1909-1989
Quantity: 1.67 linear feet (4 file boxes) plus 2 folio folders, 1 oversize folder, 9 photograph folders)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Letters of Berkman's mother, Gertrude Berkman, as well as family photographs and writings of Wellesley College English professor Sylvia Berkman.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 93-M161
The papers of Sylvia Berkman were given to the Schlesinger Library by her estate in October 1993.

Processing Information:

Processed: February 2014
By: Anne Engelhart

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Sylvia Berkman 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:

Sylvia Berkman Papers, 1909-1989; item description, dates. MC 786, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

SEPARATION RECORD

Donors: estate of Sylvia Berkman
Accession number: 93-M161
Processed by: Anne Engelhart
The following items have been removed from the collection:

BIOGRAPHY

Sylvia Berkman was born in 1907, graduated from high school in Blackstone, Massachusetts, and received her A.B. from Pembroke College in 1928, and advanced degrees from Radcliffe College (A.M. 1937 and Ph.D. 1942). Between 1928 to 1936 she worked first for the Harvard University Press and later the Merrymount Press in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1944 she joined the English faculty at Wellesley College where she remained until 1972. A visiting lecturer at Stanford University (1959, 1966), she was also a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute (1964-1965) and a member of the Corporation of Yaddo, beginning in 1966. She was the author of Katherine Mansfield: A Critical Study, 1951; and Blackberry Wilderness, 1959, a collection of short stories. Her short stories also appeared regularly in magazines. She died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1992.
Sylvia Berkman was the daughter of Gertrude Berkman, a writer who published occasionally in a newspaper column and who wrote short stories. Gertrude was Jewish and was probably born around 1874 and immigrated from Russia in 1892. She married Jacob Berkman; they were later divorced. There may have been an earlier marriage to a man named Horn (or Horne) and two sons: Ruben and Leo. Gertrude and Jacob had two daughters: Tessie D. (1905-1976) and Sylvia. Tessie became a social worker, served as editor of Abstracts for Social Workers, and conducted the first national study of social work practice in psychiatric hospitals and clinics. She was on the faculties at New York University School of Social Work and Hunter College School of Social Work, and in retirement spent time in Maine.

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in three series:

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The bulk of the collection consists typescripts of stories by and letters from Gertrude Berkman to her daughters Tessie and Sylvia, detailing her concerns about them, money, their health, her work, and her relationships with her sons Ruben and Leo. Also included are family photographs, some of ancestors taken in Russia; letters to Gertrude from a friend, Mrs. Earl Smith; college papers, stories and book reviews by Sylvia Berkman; reprints of articles signed to Sylvia Berkman from other writers; and photocopies of typescripts of The Gardens of Flora Baum by poet Julia Budenz who evidently sent copies to Sylvia Berkman.
Series I, Photographs, 1910-1985, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.9), includes photographs of relatives, family houses, Sylvia and friends at Pembroke and Radcliffe colleges, Tessie, and friends of Sylvia. Many are unidentified. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.
Series II, Gertrude Berkman, 1909-1934 (#1.1-2.6), contains typescripts of stories and correspondence with publishers; letters to her daughters Tessie and Sylvia detailing her concerns about them, money, their health, her work, and her relationships with her sons Ruben and Leo; and letters to Gertrude from a friend, Mrs. Earl Smith.
Series III, Sylvia Berkman, 1910-1989 (#2.7-4.11, FD.1-FD.2, OD.1), includes undergraduate and graduate papers; stories and book reviews; research material for and reviews of her book on Katherine Mansfield; reprints of articles signed to Berkman from other writers; and photocopies of typescripts of The Gardens of Flora Baum by poet Julia Budenz who evidently sent copies to Sylvia Berkman.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Books--Reviews
College teachers--United States
Jewish women--United States
Mothers and daughters--United States
Photographs
Short stories
Women immigrants--United States
Budenz, Julia
Mansfield, Katherine, 1888-1923
Pembroke College (Brown University)--Students
Radcliffe College--Students

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