Marjory Nelson papers
Scope and Contents
The Marjory Nelson papers consist of a wide range of materials documenting the progression of her life, from faculty wife in a traditional marriage to graduate student, lesbian activist, radical feminist, hypnotherapist, and pacifist. Her activities in the feminist movement are richly documented, from its beginnings in the 1960. There are also correspondence, photographs and other materials representative of Nelson's personal life.
The 2022 addition to the collection includes material from her later life with a particular focus on issues around aging and includes her incomplete memoir "Am I There Yet?" edited by her daughter Barbara Hoekje. Hoekje also arranged and wrote nearly all the description for the addition, providing important contextual information.
Dates of Materials
- Creation: 1947 - 2022
- Nelson, Marjory, 1928-2018 (Person)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research use without restriction.
Conditions Governing Use
To the extent that they own copyright, the donor has licensed these materials to be freely used, so long as the user attributes materials' original authorship. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. 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 Marjorie Nelson, 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.
Biographical / Historical
Marjory Nelson was born in 1928 in New Brunswick, NJ, the last of four children and the only daughter born to Dorothy Lewis and Thurlow Christian Nelson. Her siblings were Thurlow Christian Nelson, Jr. (1922-2000), Edwin Lewis Nelson (b. 1924), and John Eric Nelson (1925-1999). Nelson entered Oberlin College in 1946 but left after her freshman year and, on her nineteenth birthday, married ex-Marine Howard Hoekje, a chemist who worked in academia and in corporate chemical research. The couple had three children: Carol Lynn Hoekje (b. 1950), Barbara Jean Hoekje (b. 1953), and Peter Lindsey Hoekje (b. 1956). Although Nelson briefly attended New Jersey College for Women (1947-1949), she defined herself primarily as a wife and mother until the mid-1960s. Inspired by Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, Nelson returned to college in 1964 and began to participate in the radical political movements of that decade. She graduated from the University of Akron with a B.A. in 1966 and an M.A. in Social Psychology in 1968. She was awarded a Ph.D. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1976, having completed a dissertation which examined the National Woman's Party, and was instrumental in the founding of Women's Studies at both SUNY-Buffalo and at Antioch College in Ohio. Nelson has been involved in peace, civil rights, feminist, and lesbian activism; her most notable political activities include lobbying for the ERA in Congress, organizing to free Joann Little and the Wilmington Ten, and co-founding the Women's Building in San Francisco. Her articles and essays have appeared in a wide variety of feminist publications including Sinister Wisdom, Sojourner, Off Our Backs, and many others. Since the 1980s Nelson lived in San Francisco where she worked as a feminist therapist and a lesbian feminist activist.She passed away in 2018.
12.25 linear feet (11 containers)
Marjorie Nelson was a lesbian activist, therapist and feminist. The Marjory Nelson papers consist of a wide range of materials documenting the progression of her life, from faculty wife in a traditional marriage to graduate student, lesbian activist, radical feminist, hypnotherapist, and pacifist. Her activities in the feminist movement are richly documented, from its beginnings in the 1960s to the present. There are also correspondence, photographs and other materials representative of Nelson's personal life.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Marjory Nelson (2006) and her daughter Barbara Hoekje (2022).
Original donation processed by Burd Schlessinger, 2006. 2022 donation accessioned by Dan Michelson in 2023.
Genre / Form
- Biographical sketches
- Oral histories
- Finding aid to Marjory Nelson papers
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Finding aid prepared by Burd Schlessinger; Ellice Yasner Amanna.
- 2008; 2020
- 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)
- 2017-07-26T17:48:19-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2020-03-18: Descritpion added and finding aid updated to current standards
- 2020-09-27: Updated conditions governing use note per resigned deed of gift.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063