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Lesléa Newman papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00588

Scope and Contents

The Lesléa Newman Papers consist of drafts of writings; first editions of her books; subject files about gay and lesbian rights; audiovisual materials documenting Newman's public appearances and readings, lectures and speeches; original book covers; correspondence and fan mail; contracts; clippings; postcards; workshop materials; publicity materials for Newman's books; and material re: Newman's tenure as Northampton poet laureate.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1970 - 2022


Conditions Governing Access

At the direction of the donor, this collection is closed until the donor's death.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that she owns copyright, Lesléa Newman has retained copyright in her works donated to Smith College. 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 Lesléa Newman, 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

Lesléa Newman was born November 5, 1955 in Brooklyn, New York, to Florence and Edward Newman. She graduated from the University of Vermont in 1977 and is the author of over 50 books including Heather Has Two Mommies, A Letter To Harvey Milk, Writing From The Heart, In Every Laugh a Tear, The Femme Mystique, Still Life with Buddy, Fat Chance, and Out of the Closet and Nothing to Wear. She is also the author of many books for adults that deal with lesbian identity, Jewish identity and the intersection and collision between the two. Other topics Ms. Newman explores include AIDS, eating disorders, butch/femme relationships and sexual abuse. Her award-winning short story, A Letter To Harvey Milk has been made into a film and adapted for the stage. Newman has received many literary awards including Poetry Fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Highlights for Children Fiction Writing Award, the James Baldwin Award for Cultural Achievement, and two Pushcart Prize Nominations. Nine of her books have been Lambda Literary Award finalists. Heather Has Two Mommies was the first children's book to portray lesbian families in a positive way, and has followed up this pioneering work with several more children's books on lesbian and gay families: Gloria Goes To Gay Pride, Belinda's Bouquet, Too Far Away to Touch, and Saturday Is Pattyday. Lesléa Newman lived in Northampton, Mass. for many years.


0.48735 Gigabytes

24.646 linear feet (29 containers)

Language of Materials



Lesléa Newman is an American author and editor whose writing explores lesbian, feminist, and Jewish themes and their intersection. The collection contains materials documenting her professional career as a writer, speaker, and teacher, including drafts of writing, correspondence, speeches, and audiovisual material.


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.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Lesléa Newman in 2007, 2012, 2016, and 2022.


Periodic accruals to collection are expected.

Related Materials

See also An Activist Life student oral history project:

Processing Information

The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created.

Materials from the 2022 aquisition of Newman's papers was accessioned by Grace Phippard in 2023.

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 Lesléa Newman papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
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.
  • 2018-12-17: Finding aid updated to current standards and published
  • 2020-04-21: Added accessions 07S-85, 12S-29, and 16S-113
  • 2020-06-17: Description added for born-digital content.

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063