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Kady papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00500

Scope and Contents

The Kady papers contains a small amount of biographical information, drawings by Kady, articles, clippings, memorial invitations to "KadyFest", eulogy, her book Panhandling Papers (1989), and an oral history.

Dates of Materials

  • 1989 - 2004


Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that she owns copyright, Kady has retained copyright in her works donated to Smith College. All materials should say copyright by Kady KVD/ Sophia Smith Collection. Kady grants literary rights to Sophia Smith Collection and requests a copy of anything using her images or other items. 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 those few instances beyond fair use, or which may regard materials in the collection not created by Kady, 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

Kady Van Deurs was born in Pensacola, Florida, the daughter of Admiral George van Deurs and Ann van Deurs. In the 1940s, she attended Florida State College for Women, the University of California at Berkeley, and the New School for Social Research in New York. In 1970, she graduated cum laude with a degree in urban affairs from Hunter College. In the 1960s, prior to resuming her education, Kady spent two years with the Peace Corps in Panama, living with a group of squatter villagers and helping them organize to obtain basic services. Upon her return, she lived in New York City where she developed and ran a workshop for 500 children living in New York City project housing; worked with street children to create toys, furniture and large-scale artworks; and taught crafts to emotionally disturbed and brain damaged children. In the late 1960s, Kady helped organize the rent strikes that led to the establishment of rent control laws in the City of New York. As a peace activist, she worked with the New England Committee for Non-violent Action, engaging in non-violent civil disobedience in the U.S. and Canada. She was arrested and served prison time on numerous occasions for participating in peace and justice actions, including: a civil rights demonstration at the opening of the World's Fair (New York, 1964); the Women's Pentagon Action (Washington, DC, 1980 and 1981); Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice (Seneca Falls, NY, 1983); participation in the Women's Peace Camp (Greenham Common, England, 1984); protest against the Gulf War (Westover Air Force Base, Chicopee, MA,1990); and"sitting on a lawn, admiring those who refuse to pay for wars"(Greenfield, MA,1993).

After studying at the Craft Students League in New York, Kady worked for twenty years as a silversmith, selling her work from a handmade display booth at craft and art fairs, women's studies conferences, and music festivals; during this time she called herself Axe-Maker to the Queen. She was a co-founder of the Craftswimmins Mutual Aid Society, created in response to poor treatment of craftswomen and artists by craft and art fair organizers. She co-founded the Womyn's Braille Press, to bring "strong, informative writing by women" to the visually impaired. She also became a reader for sound recordings by women, and helped compile a catalog of "all available women's writings in recorded format." Kady published two books: The Notebooks That Emma Gave Me: The Autobiography of a Lesbian (1978); and Panhandling Papers (1989). She lived in Greenfield, MA in her later years, where she exhibited her artwork and was a member of the Arts Council of Franklin County. She died in 2003.


0.833 linear feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Kady was a writer, activist, feminist, artisan, and jeweler. Her papers contain a small amount of biographical information, drawings by Kady, articles, clippings, memorial invitations to "KadyFest", eulogy, her book Panhandling Papers (1989), and an oral history.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated by Kady in 1997. Additional materials were donated by Diana Davies between 2002 and 2004.

Related Materials

Some material on Kady in the Diana Davies Papers.


Finding aid to the Kady papers
Minimum Finding Aid (Completed)
Scott Biddle
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.
  • 2020-04-06: Added box 1, updated notes
  • 2021-10-04: Minor edits to notes and agents, published.

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063