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Dolores Alexander papers

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00582

Scope and Contents

The Dolores Alexander Papers consist of correspondence, writings, and other documents pertaining to Alexander's work as a writer (freelance and as employed by Time, Inc.); files pertaining to Alexander's activism in NOW, Women Against Pornography, and to broader feminist and lesbian issues; files documenting the history of Mother Courage Restaurant in New York; books and audiovisual materials on the subject of achieving financial independence, and Alexander's personal financial information and records. A small amount of biographical information is also included.

Dates of Materials

  • 1945-1998
  • Majority of material found in 1960s-70s

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:
  1. The collection is stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
  2. Partially restricted access - contact the Sophia Smith Collection for more information.
  3. Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.
  4. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (specialcollections@smith.edu) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

The material in this collection may be protected by copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights for permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Permission must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Biographical / Historical

Dolores Alexander (b.1931) was raised in a working-class Italian community in Newark, NJ, and educated in Catholic schools. She received her B.A. in Language and Literature from the City College of New York in 1961. During her senior year of college she was chosen by The New York Times to work for 10 months as a paid "stringer" or "cub reporter" to gain experience in journalism. After graduation, she worked from 1961 to 1964 as a reporter, copy editor, and bureau chief for Newark Evening News. Alexander then moved to Newsday, where she worked as a reporter, copy editor, and assistant women's editor, and was feature writer for Newsday's weekend magazine from 1964 to 1969. Alexander became active in NOW in 1966 after coming across a press release announcing the creation of a new women's rights organization. With her background in media, she chaired the Monitor Subcommittee of the National Task Force on Image of Women in Mass Media. In 1969, Alexander became the first executive director of the National Organization for Women (NOW). As executive director, she established a national office for NOW in New York City, expanded NOW's membership base nationally, and edited NOW Acts, NOW's national newsletter. Resigning in May 1970 in protest against NOW's homophobic policies and practices, Alexander continued to lecture on women's rights, and worked with the New Feminist Talent Collective, a speaker agency formed by Jacqui Michot Ceballos in response to the demand for speakers on the women's movement. In addition, she opened and ran Mother Courage, a feminist restaurant in Greenwich Village, with partner Jill Ward during the 1970s. She was one of the founders and organizers of Women Against Pornography and worked with New York Radical Feminists. Alexander was also a board member of the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL); member of the advisory board of New York chapter of NOW; and member of New York Newspaper Women's Club. She continued to be active in women's causes, including the North Fork Women for Women Fund, a nonprofit group that raised money for women facing health-care emergencies, and the Herstory Writer's Workshop, a community writing project for women interested in writing memoirs. She has been present at many significant events of the women's movement: integrating the Want Ads in the New York Times, the lesbian purge of NOW, the National Women's Conference in Houston in 1977, and the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Alexander remains active in the lesbian community on the North Fork of Long Island.

Extent

21 boxes (25.5 linear feet)

Overview

Writer; Reporter; Lesbian activist. The Dolores Alexander Papers consist of correspondence, writings, and other documents pertaining to Alexander's work as a writer (freelance and as employed by Time, Inc.); files pertaining to Alexander's activism in NOW, Women Against Pornography, and to broader feminist and lesbian issues; files documenting the history of Mother Courage Restaurant in New York; books and audiovisual materials on the subject of achieving financial independence, and Alexander's personal financial information and records. A small amount of biographical information is also included.

Arrangement

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. Note that in most cases, container numbers start over at 1 with each new accession.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Dolores Alexander Papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Dolores Alexander in 2003.

Accruals

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Related Materials

Associated material: NOW Records, papers of NOW officers, and the Women Against Pornography Records are at the Schlesinger Library, Harvard University. See also Voices of Feminism Oral History Project and North Fork Women For Women Fund Records, Sophia Smith Collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Burd Schlessinger, 2007.
Title
Dolores Alexander papers
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by Burd Schlessinger.
Date
2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:18-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063