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Ellen Shumsky papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00493

Scope and Contents

Writings about lesbian and feminist issues by Shumsky and others; fliers; minutes of meetings of Radical Lesbians (NYC); other printed materials; photographs (photocopies); and 7 issues of the newspaper, Come Out. The photographs are identified and provide excellent documentation of women together - working, relaxing, marching, etc., and the written and printed materials offer a very good record of aspects of radical gay and lesbian political activism.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1969-1972


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that she owns copyright, Ellen Shumsky has assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College except for her photographs, to which she retains copyright. Copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by [donor], researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical Note

Ellen Shumsky earned her B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1961, her MLS from the Pratt Institute in 1964, and her MSW in psychoanalytic psychotherapy from SUNY at Stonybrook, NY in 1996. In 1969, she joined the newly formed Gay Liberation Front and also co-founded Radicalesbians; in 1970 she co-authored Woman-Identified Woman, which articulated the Radicalesbian philosophy. She was a member of the first radical lesbian consciousness raising group, and helped coordinate additional CR groups. From 1960 to 1980, Shumsky, whose photographs have been published widely in books and magazines, worked as a photojournalist, documenting the gay, feminist, and counter-cultural movements. She was the principal photographer for the gay liberation front newspaper, Come Out, and also published "Women's Songs From the Balkans" in Traditions magazine and "Transforming Ties That Bind: Lesbians, Lovers and Chosen Family" in the journal Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (1966).


1.813 linear feet (2 containers)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was recieved from Ellen Shumsky in October 2003.

Existence and Location of Originals

This collection includes photocopies of original photographs which remain in Ellen Shumsky's possession.



Finding aid to the Ellen Shumsky papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063