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Dee Mosbacher papers and Woman Vision records

Identifier: SSC-MS-00740

Scope and Contents

The Dee Mosbacher papers and Woman Vision records document Dee Mosbacher's personal and professional life, both within and beyond her film production company, Woman Vision.

The first series of Mosbacher's personal and professional papers includes a small amount of material from her days as a graduate and medical student, and a small amount of digitized and bon digital photographs and other personal historical materials, but mostly documents her life and work in the 1980s and 1990s. It includes articles about her, as well as materials she authored, speeches she gave, and two films she produced that were directed by Joan E. Biren (JEB).

The bulk of the collection is in the second series, which documents the work of the non-profit film production company Dee Mosbacher founded in 1992, Woman Vision. This series includes paper files about the funding, production, publicity, and response to the films, as well as a significant amount of audiovisual materials such as raw footage of interviews and other materials used in the films, early edits of the films, digital video production files, and final cuts.

The films that Woman Vision has produced cover a range of topics, but notable themes include issues around homophobia in various social, racial, and religious contexts; homophobia in medicine and sports; women's history; and the lived experiences of gay and lesbian people, particularly those of color.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1950 - 2021
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980 - 2013


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 Reproduction and Use

To the extent that she owns copyright, Dee Mosbacher and Woman Vision have assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators.

Biographical Note

Diane (Dee) Mosbacher, MD, PhD, was born in Houston, Texas on January 13, 1949 to Jane Pennybacker (1926-1970) and businessman Robert Adam Mosbacher, Sr. (1927-2010). She has three siblings, Robert Mosbacher, Jr. (1951-), Kathryn Mosbacher (1953), and Lisa Mosbacher Mears (1956-).

Dee Mosbacher's wife is Nanette Gartrell, M.D., formerly a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Francisco, and, since 2009, a Visiting Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. Gartrell is the principal investigator of the U. S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), the largest, longest-running prospective investigation of lesbian mothers and their children in the United States. The two have been together since 1975 and married in 2004 (annulled by the State of California) and 2005. Dr. Dee Mosbacher and Dr. Nanette Gartrell live and work in San Francisco.

Dee Mosbacher received her primary and secondary education at Kinkaid School from which she graduated in 1967. She graduated from Pitzer College with a B.A. in psychology in 1972. She received a doctorate in social psychology from Union Graduate School in 1979 and a medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1983. She was a medical intern at Cambridge Hospital through Harvard Medical School from 1983-1984 and was a psychiatry resident in the same hospital from 1984-1987.

Dee Mosbacher became a women's health activist in college and began directing documentary films as a student at Baylor College and as a resident at Harvard Medical School. Her films focused on discrimination against lesbian and gay physicians and patients, and she wrote many articles about gay and lesbian patients for the academic and medical community.

Dee Mosbacher's father, Robert A. Mosbacher, Sr., was a Texas oil and gas producer, who served as a chief fundraiser for five Republican presidential campaigns. Robert, Sr. served as Commerce Secretary under President George H. W. Bush but left his post in 1992 to raise funds for Bush’s reelection campaign. The Republican Party intensified their anti-gay, anti-abortion rhetoric during this time period, which was a point of contention for Robert, Sr. and his daughter Dee, who spoke out against the Republican Party's use of homophobia as a fundraising tool in the 1992 election.

In 1992, Dee Mosbacher founded the non-profit production company Woman Vision to counteract the media campaign on LGBT issues conducted by the Republican Party, which was the focus of the 1992 Republican National Convention. As a psychiatrist, Mosbacher understood the psychological and psychosocial suffering caused by homophobia and created Woman Vision to promote equal treatment of all people through the production and use of educational media. Woman Vision promotes positive role models and supportive images of societally marginalized people. It uses diversity trainings, lectures, and other educational outreach programs to encourage people to abandon their homophobia and to improve the lives of LGBT individuals. Dr. Mosbacher has directed and produced nine documentaries, which have received a total of forty-six awards nationally and internationally, including a 1994 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Film for Straight From the Heart. This film was screened at a bipartisan event for Congress in 1995.

Dee Mosbacher has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the 1992 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Award for "courage and honesty in challenging the Republican Party's tactics;" the 1993 NOW Women of Power Award; the 1997 Lambda Liberty Award; the 2002 Pitzer College award "for unwavering support of our goal of educating students to social responsibility and for being a model in her own life of that goal;" the 2009 Barbara Gittings Award; the 2014 John E. Fryer Award from the American Psychiatric Association for "contributing to the mental health of sexual minorities;" and, as a co-recipient with Dr. Nanette Gartrell, the 2014 Legal Aid Society Mathew O. Tobriner Public Service Award.

In 1991, Dee Mosbacher was the first Pitzer College graduate to deliver a commencement address at her alma mater. In 2010, she established the Mosbacher/Gartrell Center for Media Experimentation and Activism at Pitzer College.


1,617.7 Gigabytes

71.646 linear feet (104 containers)

Language of Materials



Diane (Dee) Mosbacher is an activist, filmmaker, and practicing psychiatrist. Her production company, Woman Vision, has produced films with themes touching on homophobia in various contexts, women's history, and the lived experiences of people who are gay and lesbian. This collection documents Mosbacher's personal life and professional life both through and outside of Woman Vision. It includes writings by and about Mosbacher, paper records from Woman Vision's projects, and a large amount of audiovisual materials from those productions.


The collection is organized in two series based on type of content. Series 1. Dee Mosbacher personal and professional papers includes personal materials and professional materials produced outside of Woman Vision, while Series 2. Woman Vision documents the company's productions.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Dee Mosbacher in in 2014, 2015, and 2021.


19 folders of restricted material with personal identifiable information, was removed and destroyed 5/20/2019.


Additional donations of materials are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Amanda Ferrara, 2017.

Many of the materials in this collection do not have dates on them, but approximate dates have been assigned in the finding aid as a tool to aid in searching. These dates are based on known project dates and the dates of related nearby materials.

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. Some media was unable to be copied. See the log files linked in the container list for more details.

Finding Aid to the Dee Mosbacher papers and Woman Vision records
Amanda Ferrara
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.
  • 2018-02-27: Folder-level data entry reviewed, second iteration of finding aid published
  • 2018-11-28: Description of digital content added.
  • 2020-07-13: Description added for born-digital content.
  • 2021-03-24: Added Accession 2021-S-0003
  • 2022-11-03: Added Accession 2021-S-0005
  • 2023-07-19: Parsed and imported legacy item level A/V inventory

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063