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Diana Davies papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00309

Scope and Contents

The Diana Davies Papers consist primarily of her photographs of individuals and groups, musicians, artists, political activists in the civil rights, peace and feminist movements; celebrities and politicians; women's events (marches, demonstrations, conferences, etc.); and images of a variety of people and events from Broadway actors to New York City street people. As a photojournalist at the height of the Women's Liberation movement, Davies documented many of the important players and events in the movement in New York City in the 1960s and 1970s. The photographs are also a rich source of images of women musicians and "Women's Music." Also included is material related to her publication Photojourney: photographs (1989); exhibit materials; fliers, broadsides, and other printed matter; memorabilia; an audio recording of "Twelve O'Clock Girl in a Nine O'Clock Town," by Davies; and an oral history.

Oversized prints are filed in a separate box at the end of the series. Acid-free photocopies of the oversize photographs are filed in the applicable folder in boxes 1 and 2. In cases where contact sheets contain photographs of more than one subject, acid-free photocopies of the contact sheet are filed in all applicable folders.

Negatives include negatives of the prints above, as well as some negatives for which the SSC does not own prints. Negatives are filed in numerical order. In cases where the Sophia Smith Collection owns the negative for a photograph, the corresponding negative number is written on the reverse side of the print.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1960 - 2009


Language of Materials


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 Use

To the extent that they own copyright, Diana Davies has assigned to Smith College all intellectual property rights in these materials; 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 Diana Davies, 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.

Additionally, Davies specified in the deed of gift that all reproductions must be credited to Diana Davies and the Sophia Smith Collection.

Biographical / Historical

Musician, theatre worker, and photographer Diana Davies became a photojournalist in the 1960s. One of the principal documentarians of the second-wave women's movement the U.S., she also photographed in Africa, Central America, the Middle East, and Europe. She documented the civil rights and peace movements, poor people's and welfare rights movements, and farmworkers' struggles. Throughout her career, Davies has photographed various creators and performers of cultural expression, including musicians, writers, craftspersons, dancers, circus and theatre people, potters, and artists. Her photographs of individuals run the gamut, from obscure street people to well-known public figures. Davies' work has been published in books, journals, newspapers, and magazines, and is included in collections at the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian Institution, Howard University, and the Swarthmore Peace Collection. Her book Photojourney : photographs was published in 1989.

In the 1990s, Davies abandoned her career in photography (except for photographs of friends) in order to work as a graphic artist, painter and illustrator, with an emphasis on the subject of social change. Davies writes plays with social justice themes, having throughout her life participated in and supported all aspects of "people's theatre." As a committed peace and social justice activist she also works with organizations promoting social change, and helps feed and clothe the needy in her community.


25.043 linear feet (58 containers)


Musician; Photographer; Artist; Theater worker. Papers consist primarily of Davies' photographs of individuals and groups, musicians, artists, political activists in the civil rights, peace, anti-poverty, and feminist events (marches, demonstrations, conferences, etc.); celebrities, musicians, politicians, and street people. Included is material related to her publication Photojourney: Photographs; fliers, broadsides; memorabilia; and artwork.


This collection is organized as follows:

  1. Biographical material
  2. Published Material
  3. Sistervision exhibit, March 2000
  4. "Diana's Place"
  5. Women's Movement - Women's Lives
  6. PhotoJourney
  7. Poverty-Poor Folk
  8. Northampton State Hospital Squat (1996) and Squatters-Housing Rights movement
  9. Welfare Rights and Economic Human Rights Struggle
  10. "Poor People's Campaign" (a.k.a. Poor People's March), 1968
  11. Civil Rights Movement, 1960s (and African-American History)
  12. People's Struggles: The State of Society and the World
  13. Common Stock - a worker's collective
  14. Labor History
  15. Prison Issues and Prisoner's Rights
  16. Theatre and Public Art
  17. Dance
  18. Street Artists, Musicians, Buskers and Craftspeople
  19. Women and Music: The Soundwomen
  20. Women's Music
  21. Artists, Craftspeople, Architects, Sculptors, Photographers, Video people, Filmmakers, Actors (film)
  22. Writers
  23. The Railroads, Hoboes and Subways
  24. Western Mass. Women; Western Mass Community Groups
  25. Women's Zines and Publications
  26. Street Kids Project, Maine
  27. Mexico, Cuba, Portugal, Spain (and related U.S. scenes)
  28. Israel - Palestine (and related material from New York City)
  29. Animals - Creatures (and more best friends)
  30. Nature and Farms and Coastal Maine (1960s-90s)
  31. The Miscellany Box
  32. Artwork and Design
  33. Videotapes
  34. Additional Material
  35. Oversize prints
  36. Oversize published material and posters
  37. Oversize and odd objects: Found and created goods
  38. Negatives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Diana Davies, 1997-2001. The final series of Smith College events was transferred from Smith College Archives in 2022. The origin of this material is unknown.

Related Material

Smaller collections of Diana Davies' photographs are housed in the Folkways Collection at the Smithsonian Institution (photographs of musicians); Howard University; Swarthmore College Peace Collection; and at the New York Public Library. See also photographs of Students for Peaceful Resolution in the Smith College Archives.

Processing Information

This collection was arranged and listed by Diana Davies in 2000.



Diana Davies papers
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Diana Davies and Maida Goodwin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:14-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2022-01-03: Added box of photos transferred from Smith College Archives
  • 2023-08-11: Updated conditions governing use to match deed of gift

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063