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Florence B. Stevenson papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00514

Scope and Contents

The Florence B. Stevenson Papers include a typescript memoir of Stevenson's life through 2004; diaries from age thirteen though seventy-nine (note: 1936-1940 is a line diary, and the years 1948-1952 and 1954-1979 are missing); family correspondence--primarily post-World War II, when Stevenson was stationed in Europe with her first husband; and information pertaining primarily to Stevenson's graduate education and to her career in women's continuing education and women's issues within the academy.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1922 - 2007


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, Stevenson has assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, 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 Stevenson, 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

Florence Cozart Byrd Stevenson was born in Weldon, North Carolina to Florence and Daniel Byrd. After graduating from high school in 1939, she earned a B.A. in English from College of the Ozarks in 1943, an M.A. in Personnel Administration from Ohio State University in 1963, and a Ph.D. in Continuing Education (with an emphasis on women's programs) from Michigan State University in 1973. From 1945 to 1947, she worked as airline hostess for Braniff Airlines, primarily in France and Germany. She married Howard Gardner Stevenson in 1946, with whom she had two sons, Howard Gardner Stevenson, Jr. (b. 1948) and Brian Byrd Stevenson (b. 1955). She accompanied her husband to various U.S. and foreign military posts, working for the Red Cross from 1950 to 1952 while he was stationed in Korea and she remained in the U.S. After divorcing in 1955, Stevenson lived in suburban Washington, D.C. and worked for the Pentagon (1956 to 1958), and then as a real estate agent (1959 to 1961). She lived in Little Rock, Arkansas from 1961 to 1962, and from 1962 to 1963 worked in an administrative support position at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, while earning M.A. In 1963 to 1970, she was Dean of Women at the University of Tulsa, during which time she organized and judged several beauty pageants, volunteered for the Red Cross, was active in the AAUW, and was instrumental in developing a continuing education program for older women. She also became more politically active and aware, joining the National Organization for Women (NOW) and Modern Oklahomans for Repeal of Abortion Laws (MORAL); in 1969, she was Chairman of the Democratic Party in her precinct. Stevenson's interest in women's issues evolved while she pursued her Ph.D. at Michigan State University from 1971 to 1973 (her dissertation topic was"Women Administrators in the Big Ten Universities"). Upon completion of her doctorate, she worked in the Continuing Education Program at UCLA (1973 to 1975); during this time she was active in the Association for Women's Active Return to Education, and founded the Association for Full Employment of Doctorates, an organization for under-emplyed women Ph.D.s. She lived in Washington, D.C. from 1977 to 1980, initially working in the Civil Service and selling Avon beauty products, and from 1977 to 1978 worked at the Continuing Education Center for Women at George Washington University. From 1978 to 1980, she worked for Computer Sciences Corp., where her responsibilities included teaching a training and development course titled Women at Work. Stevenson married William Henry Struhs in 1978; she was separated from him from 1980 to 1982, during which time she lived in San Antonio, TX and worked various jobs there, in real estate, as a hypnotist, and as a Yellow Pages sales representative for Southwestern Bell. She moved back to the Washington, D.C. area, and from 1983 to 1986 was employed by Kelly Temporary Services and also at the Brookings Institution, all the while continuing to work on the side in real estate sales, property management, and development. William Struhs died in 1995, and in 1997 Stevenson married Walter Hilding Paulson; they ran a B&B out their house in Pulaski, VA from 1997 to 1999, and they separated in 2004. Stevenson is participating in the Veteran Feminists of America Project (administerd by Barbara Love) and Cameo.


5.167 linear feet (8 containers)

Language of Materials



Collection contains the personal and professional papers of Florence Stevenson, a Women's Studies scholar and women's rights activist.


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection was recieved as a gift from Florence Stevenson in 2005 and 2008, and by Brian Stevenson in 2008.

Processing Information

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. A full crosswalk of old to new numbers is available.

Finding aid to the Florence B. Stevenson papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Madison White
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.
  • 2018-10-12: Updated to conform to DACS

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063