Hedda Nussbaum papers
Scope and Contents
Papers include diaries; correspondence to Nussbaum from others re: Steinberg case; legal files re: case Hedda Nussbaum v. Joel Steinberg; writings and talks by Nussbaum; Nussbaum's published books; videos, including interviews and TV broadcasts featuring Nussbaum, and documentaries about domestic violence; photographs of Nussbaum and family; artwork; and memorabilia.
Dates of Materials
- 1940 - 2014
- Nussbaum, Hedda (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
At the direction of the donor, all material in this collection is closed during Nussbaum's lifetime.
Conditions Governing Use
Hedda Nussbaum retains copyright to her works within this collection. Copyright to materials created by others are owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.
Biographical / Historical
Hedda Nussbaum was born on August 8, 1942 in New York, NY to Emma Rosenthal and William Nussbaum. She earned her B.A. at Hunter College (1964) and her Paralegal Certificate from Mercy College (1991). Prior to entering the public eye in the media frenzy that resulted from the 1987 beating death of her six-year-old adopted daughter, Lisa Steinberg, she worked as an editor of children's books at Random House. Although initially implicated in the crime, charges against Nussbaum were dropped prior to the trial and she testified against her husband, Joel Steinberg, who was convicted of manslaughter and served fifteen years in prison. Trial proceedings revealed that Steinberg had for years abused Nussbaum physically and psychologically, and her book, Surviving Intimate Terrorism (2005), shows the complexity of domestic violence and does much to explain her denial of the danger of her situation and that of her children (the couple also had a younger adopted child, Mitchell). In the years that followed Lisa Steinberg's death, Nussbaum worked to rebuild her life and had numerous reconstructive plastic surgeries. She also co-facilitated a support group for battered women for about eight years and later worked as a paralegal for an organization that helps battered women. In 1995, she began giving talks about abuse at colleges and shelters but when Steinberg was released from prison in 2004, she receded from public attention. Nussbaum is also the author of two children's books: Plants Do Amazing Things (1977) and Animals Build Amazing Houses (1979).
18.69 linear feet (28 containers)
Language of Materials
Author; Editor. Papers include diaries; correspondence to Nussbaum from others re: Steinberg case; legal files re: case Hedda Nussbaum v. Joel Steinberg; writings and talks by Nussbaum; Nussbaum's published books; videos, including interviews and TV broadcasts featuring Nussbaum, and documentaries about domestic violence; photographs of Nussbaum and family; artwork; and memorabilia.
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
This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Hedda Nussbaum, 2009-2017.
Accessioned by Burd Schlessinger; Kathleen Banks Nutter, 2009.
The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created. Some CDs were unable to be copied.
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.
- Abused women -- United States
- Anti-rape movement
- Child abuse -- United States
- Computer media
- Domestic violence -- United States -- 20th century
- Electronic records
- Family violence -- United States -- 20th century
- Nussbaum, Hedda
- Steinberg, Joel Barnet, 1941-
- Trials (Murder) -- New York (state)
- Women -- Legal status, laws, etc -- 20th century
- Women -- Legal status, laws, etc -- 20th century
- Finding Aid to the Hedda Nussbaum papers
- 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)
- 2017-07-26T17:48:22-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2020-04-10: Description added for born-digital content.
- 2021-05-05: Updated the Conditions Governing Access note
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063