Mary Thom papers
Scope and Contents
The materials in this collection document Thom's personal and professional life. They include correspondence; manuscript drafts; research and interviews for her biography of Bella Abzug and Ms. magazine projects; published works by Thom and others; and photographs.
Dates of Materials
- Creation: 1944 - 2013
- Thom, Mary (Person)
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
Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. 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. 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.
Mary Thom was a feminist activist, author and editor of Ms Magazine. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Paul and Susan Thom. The family soon moved to Akron where her father worked as an engineer in the steel industry. Her mother encouraged her precocious daughter's interest in Shakespeare and jazz. After attending a private girls' high school as a scholarship student, Thom went on to Bryn Mawr College where she earned a degree with honors in history in 1966. While in college, she became active in the civil rights and anti-war movements and joined the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She entered graduate school in 1966 at Columbia University, in pursuit of a PhD in European history but left in 1968 after the tumultous student strike that began there in April, 1968. She stayed in Manhattan and for the next three years, working as an associate editor at Facts on File and, in 1971, volunteered for the newly-founded National Women's Political Caucus. The following year Thom joined the staff of Ms. magazine, first as a volunteer, then a researcher, and eventually serving as editor until 1991. After she left to become a freelance writer and editor, Thom maintained an association with Ms. until 2001. While still at Ms., Thom edited the book, Letters to Ms. (1987), and in 1997 published Inside Ms.: 25 Years of the Magazine and Feminist Movement. With Suzanne Braun Levine, she co-edited an oral history tribute, Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed Off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, Rallied Against the War and for the Planet, and Shook Up Politics Along the Way (2007). In addition to her freelance career, at the time of her death Thom was editor-in-chief at the Women's Media Center, founded in 2005 as a non-profit progressive women's media organization by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem. An avid motorcyclist for years, Thom died April 26, 2013, when her motorcycle struck another vehicle on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Yonkers, New York. She was, according to Gloria Steinem,"one of the women's movement's best editors."
12.272 linear feet (15 containers )
Language of Materials
Mary Thom was a feminist activist, author and editor of Ms Magazine. The materials in this collection document Thom's personal and professional life. They include correspondence; manuscript drafts; research and interviews for her biography of Bella Abzug and Ms. magazine projects; published works by Thom and others; and photographs.
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
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
These papers were donated by Susan Loubet and Sarah Dunlap, 2013-2014.
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.
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. The following changes were made in this collection: Accession 2014-S-0061, Boxes 1-3 renumbered as Boxes 11-13
Genre / Form
- Business cards
- Computer media
- Electronic mail
- Galley proofs
- Address books
- Authors, American -- 20th century
- Electronic records
- Publishers and publishing
- Women authors
- Women editors -- United States
- Women's periodicals, American -- 20th century
- Women's rights -- United States -- 20th century
- Finding aid to Mary Thom papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Ellice Amanna
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2019-06-19: Finding aid updated to current standards and published
- 2020-06-02: Description added for born-digital content.
- 2021-06-09: Added content lists from accession inventories
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063