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Helen Caldicott papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00223

Scope and Contents

The Helen Caldicott papers include correspondence; memorabilia; publicity; fliers; photographs; video tapes and audio recordings; and writings, including speeches, letters to editors, and manuscripts of her books Missile Envy, Nuclear Madness, and A Desperate Passion. Also included are organizational records of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament; as well as subject files, research material, publications, and audiovisual materials.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1961 - 2007-03-08


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use. Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. 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. 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

Helen Caldicott is a pediatrician and environmental activist. In her native Australia, she led successful campaigns to ban French atmospheric nuclear testing and uranium mining. In the U.S., she revived Physicians for Social Responsibility while an instructor at Harvard Medical School and a fellow at Children's Hospital Medical Center. In 1980, she resigned to become a full-time anti-nuclear activist. She helped found the Medical Campaign Against Nuclear War, and the Women's Party for Survival, later called the Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND), then Women's Action for New Directions.


48.342 linear feet (45 containers)

Language of Materials



Pediatrician, antinuclear activist, Co-founder of Women's Party for Survival and Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament. Papers include correspondence, memorabilia, publicity, photographs, writings, research files, and audiovisual materials. Also included are organizational records of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament


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.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Helen Caldicott Papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Helen Caldicott beginning in 1983.

Additional materials were donated by Emory Wood Disney in 2009 and Julie Enszer in 2013.

Related Materials

Associated material located in Women's Action for New Directions Records.

Processing Information

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. A full crosswalk of old to new numbers is available.

Finding aid to the Helen Caldicott papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Madison White
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 (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:20-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2018-10-25: Updated to conform to DACS
  • 2019-01-02: Updated to add boxes
  • 2019-10-17: Imported inventory of processed portion
  • 2020-05-05: Added accessions 91S-43 and 13S-16, updated dates
  • 2020-12-03: Box 36 added to description
  • 2023-02-15: Integrated description of accessions into processed portion

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063