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Amy Richards papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00702

Scope and Contents

The papers include Richards' correspondence re: speaking engagements, research materials for her book, Opting In, and printed materials on various topics including the Third Wave Feminist movement, grassroots organizing, and motherhood.

Dates of Materials

  • 1995-2012


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 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 ( 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The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works by Amy Richards within this collection. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify all copyright holders.

Biographical / Historical

Amelia ("Amy") Richards was born in Alexandria, Virginia on Feb. 9, 1970 and grew up in a working-class family in Pennsylvania. Her father, Albert Wentz, was not part of her life and she was raised by her single mother, Karen Richards. Amy Richards would go on to attend Tabor Academy, a prep school in Marion, Mass., before graduating cum laude from Barnard College in 1992. An art history major at Barnard, Richards was nonetheless drawn to a life of activism, starting with her involvement with Freedom Summer '92, a nation-wide voter registration campaign, the first organizing effort of the then recently formed Third Wave Direct Action Corporation which later became known as the Third Wave Foundation. In addition to Richards, other co-founders included Rebecca Walker and Catherine Gund. Richards has written the advice column "Ask Amy" for since 1997 and has written and co-written three books: Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future (2000) and Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism (2004), both with Jennifer Baumgardner; and Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself (2008). Richards has published numerous articles in various publications, including The Nation, Bust, The New York Times, and Ms. She is regularly interviewed as the "face" of young feminism at the end of the 20th and start of the 21st centuries, appearing on television show such as "The O'Reilly Factor" and "Oprah." Richards has for twenty years assisted Gloria Steinem in multiple projects and she has also worked with Anna Deavere Smith. She founded and directs Soapbox, Inc: Speakers Who Speak Out, a feminist lecture agency, based in New York City. According to her biography on the Soapbox Inc. Web site, Richards "is also a four-time marathon runner, a former NCAA Division I soccer player, an avid traveler, and a mother of two sons." []


5 boxes (5 linear feet)

Language of Materials



Author; Activist; Co-founder, Third Wave Foundation; Feminist; Organizer. Papers include Richards' correspondence re: speaking engagements, research materials for her book, Opting In, and printed materials on various topics including the Third Wave Feminist movement, grassroots organizing, and motherhood.

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

Amy Richards donated her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection beginning in 2012.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection is comprised of the following accessions, some of which may not have accession records. Accession numbers: 12S-66. Accessions were received on the following dates: 2012-08-22.


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

Processing Information

Accessioned by Kathleen Banks Nutter, October 2012
Amy Richards papers
Finding Aid
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 (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:22-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • Location of donor files

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063