Susan Ribner papers
Scope and Contents
Ribner's papers document the feminist martial arts, self-defense and anti-violence movements of the 1970s and 80s in New York City and include articles, published and in manuscript form; newsletters and periodicals; newspaper clippings; books; correspondence; photographs; fliers; pamphlets; and organizational papers. Additional materials donated by Elisa Dunn include video recordings of a conference and a memorial tribute.
Dates of Materials
- 1968 - 2015
- Ribner, Susan (Person)
- Dunn, Elisa (Collector, 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
To the extent that she owned copyright, Susan Ribner has assigned the copyright in her works that she donated 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 Susan Ribner, 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.
Susan Ribner was most noted as a practitioner, teacher, and champion of women's participation in martial arts and their use as a feminist tool for expression and self-defense.
Born in 1940 to Dr. Harold and Phyllis Ribner, Ribner earned a BA in government in 1962 and a MA in comparative government in 1965, both from Cornell. She began to write on women's history, the martial arts and human rights. After being kicked out of her dojo for wanting women to do the same knuckle push-ups as men, Ribner co-founded the Women's Martial Arts Union (WMAU) in 1972 and founded her studio, the Women's Center Karate Club, in 1974. WMAU was a feminist collective of women in various schools that began demonstrations, self-defense classes, conferences and trainings for women and girls, including at colleges and universities. Out of WMAU grew the National Women's Martial Arts Federation. She co-authored the young adult book "The Martial Arts" in 1978 as well as articles, including those published under the early pen name Rebecca (or sometimes Rachel) Moon. Ribner was also a teacher of English as a Second Language and creative writing as a private tutor, at Hunter College, Baruch College and elsewhere. She died on October 14, 2014.
2.398 linear feet (5 containers)
Language of Materials
Susan Ribner was most noted as a practitioner, teacher, and champion of women's participation in martial arts. Ribner's papers document the feminist martial arts, self-defense and anti-violence movements of the 1970s and 80s in New York City.
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
The bulk of this collection was donated by Susan Ribner in 2014. A small amount of additional material was donated by Elisa Dunn in 2017.
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 2017-S-0069, Box 1 renumbered as Box 3
- Anti-rape movement
- Business cards
- Computer media
- DVD-Video discs
- Feminism -- New York (state)
- Forms (documents)
- Martial arts -- Study and teaching
- National Women's Martial Arts Federation
- Self-defense for women
- Sex discrimination against women
- Sex discrimination in sports
- Women's Center Karate Club
- Women's Martial Arts Union
- Ribner, Susan (Donor, Person)
- Dunn, Elisa (Donor, Person)
- Finding aid to the Susan Ribner papers
- 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.
- 2018-03-23: Published with most recent accession only
- 2021-07-01: Added content description from accession inventories
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063