Annette Kar Baxter papers
Scope and Contents
Baxter's papers provide a rich and detailed view of the life of an academic--at both the departmental and college-wide level- and a woman who combined career and motherhood. Baxter filled her days with committee meetings, student recommendations, and inter-departmental disputes; she even entertained her students in her home on a regular basis. She found time to research and write and speak on a wide range of topics, even as she made an effort to spend summers away from the city with her family. At the forefront of emerging American and women's studies, her correspondence, writing, teaching, and subject files reveal the thrills and frustrations that come with advancing new disciplines, while advocating traditional, single-sex educational programs.
While the bulk of the papers date from 1943 to 1983, and focus on Baxter's academic career, the collection also contains material related to her home life. James Baxter's writings, correspondence, and alumni activities are fairly well represented in SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS and correspondence with the rest of the family can be found in SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE.
Although the series designations flow naturally from the types of materials within the collection, significant portions needed to be rearranged because a specific order was not discernable. As the chair of two departments, Baxter often had numerous copies of materials. She also kept home and work files for important work-related matters that needed to be sorted through and integrated. Correspondence files were scattered throughout the collection, and sometimes were arranged chronologically, sometimes segregated between personal and professional, and sometimes not arranged at all. Other areas of the collection, however, such as her class notes while a student and her research notes for writing projects remain very near her original order. For example, in her unfinished book, Foreign Views of American Women, one can see which items she decided to discard and why. Also, while her class files were purged of social security numbers and grades, these files remain in much the same arrangement as she kept them, by class and year.
- Baxter, Annette Kar (Person)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
She received her Ph.D. from Brown in 1958 and was promoted to the status of lecturer in the History Department at Barnard. Two years later she became an associate in History. In 1966 she was appointed as an assistant professor of history and was quickly promoted to associate professor status. She reached full professorship in 1971, and in 1975 had the honor of being one of a handful of women to be awarded an endowed chair, named for Adolph and Effie Ochs.
Annette Baxter was a pioneer in the field of women's studies, teaching one of the earliest women's history classes to undergraduates in 1966. Her course served as a model for many future classes at other institutions. She remained involved in a wide variety of activities at Barnard throughout her career, including serving as an advisor to the class of 1962, membership on the Board of Trustees, regularly participating in the Seven College Conference, advising the Thursday Noon Meetings, and playing a vital role in the creation and expansion of the Women's Center at Barnard. She was acting chair of the American Studies Program in 1960-61 and 1963-64, and was made permanent chair of the department in 1967; she also served as chair of the history department from 1974 to 1983.
In addition to her career at Barnard, Baxter involved herself in many other organizations. She served on the Board of Trustees for Conference in Theology for College and University Faculty, Kirkland College (Clinton, New York) and Middlesex School (Concord, Massachusetts). She was a consultant for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, National Council of Women, and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. She served on committees for the American Association of University Women, American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, American Studies Association, and many others. She participated in panels and gave speeches on the value of women's history and women's education. Baxter published numerous book reviews and articles, and edited several series on women's autobiographies and women's studies. Her books include To Be a Woman in America, 1850-1930; Inwood House, 1839-1980; and a biography, Henry Miller, Expatriate, as well as four books in progress when she died in 1983. She has been called "one of the nation's foremost authorities on the history of women."
Throughout her career, Annette Baxter remained dedicated to the cause of women's education, women's studies, and women's rights. She fought to keep Barnard independent from Columbia. In 1979-80, "the politics and problems of the Barnard History Department in its struggle for survival in Columbia University" consumed much of her energy. In the prime of her career, Annette Baxter died in a fire that also killed her husband, at their summer home on 18 September 1983. She was fifty-six years old.
70 boxes (31 linear feet)
- I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
- II. CORRESPONDENCE
- III. WRITINGS
- IV. SPEECHES
- V. BARNARD COLLEGE
- VI. OTHER PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
- VII. SUBJECT FILES
- OVERSIZE MATERIALS
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Address books
- Barnard College--Faculty
- Baxter, Annette Kar
- Baxter, James
- Bell, Adrienne Baxter
- Card files
- College teachers
- Columbia University--Administration
- Feminism and education
- Historiography -- Women -- United States
- History -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- United States
- Kerber, Linda
- Organization files
- Rauch, Basil, 1908
- Stevenson, Louise L.
- Women -- Education (Higher) -- 20th century
- Women -- Historiography
- Women college students -- United States -- 20th century
- Women historians
- Women's studies
- lecture notes
- Annette Kar Baxter papers
- Finding Aid
- Kara M. McClurken
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2005-10-12: mnsss184 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
- 2017-07-26T17:48:12-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2020-12-03: Box 70 added to description and extent updated
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063