Survivors, Inc. records
Scope and Contents
The records document the work of this welfare rights organization based in the Boston area, as well as work done by the grassroots organization Advocacy for Resources for Modern Survival (ARMS). Types of materials include correspondence; grant materials; copies of and records related to the production of their newsletter, Survival News; other newspapers, clippings, pamphlets, photographs, financial records, transcripts of oral histories, and audiovisual materials. Major topics include welfare reform, economic justice, poverty, homelessness, grassroots organizing, and cross-class and bi-racial women's organizations. Especially well-documented is co-founder Dottie Stevens' 1990 Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign.
Dates of Materials
- Creation: 1973 - 2014
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1990s
- Survivors, Inc. (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.
- Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.
- This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.
- Some digital content is closed until it can be processed.
Conditions Governing Use
The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works of Survivors' Inc. within this collection. Copyright to materials authored by others may be 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
Founded in 1987 as "a group of low-income women and their allies who organize and educate around poverty, welfare and low-income survival issues. [They] offer training in writing, speaking, advocacy, computer skills, desktop publishing, organizing, membership and leadership. With these skills [they] are able to provide a forum for the voices of low-income women to be heard. [They] connect welfare office outreach and campus organizing with local and broader grassroots efforts to eliminate social and economic injustice" [from Survivors, Inc. Web site] Inspired by Professor Ann Withorn's History of Poverty course within the College of Public and Community Service at UMass Boston, original founders included returning students and AFDC recipients Dottie Stevens and Diane Dujon. Reflecting the cross-class nature of Survivors, Inc., Claire Cummings, a professor of sociology and women's studies at Newbury College, and Betty Reid Mandell, a professor of social work at Bridgewater State College, were also founders. Stevens, Dujon and other students also co-founded ARMS (Advocacy for Resources for Modern Survival!) in 1987, a UMass Boston student organization aimed at students who were or had been welfare recipients. Stevens then served as the first director of ARMS while also serving as president of the Coalition for Basic Human Needs (CBHN). Stevens and Dujon were also among the founders of the Mass. Welfare Rights Union. Eventually during the 1990s, Survivors, Inc. supplanted CBHN, and to this day remains active in the Boston area, publishing twice a year Survival News.
28.647 linear feet (25 containers)
Language of Materials
Welfare rights activist organization. The records document the work of this welfare rights organization based in the Boston area, as well as work done by the grassroots organization Advocacy for Resources for Modern Survival (ARMS). Major topics include welfare reform, economic justice, poverty, homelessness, grassroots organizing, and cross-class and bi-racial women's organizations. Especially well-documented is co-founder Dottie Stevens' 1990 Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to request the creation of and access to digital copies.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Dottie Stevens (2011 and 2014) and Debbie-Ann Meskimen Ferretti (2015).
1 folder containing a criminal background check was shredded in June 2023.
Digital copies are available for select recordings. Please contact us for more information.
Accessioned by Kathleen Banks Nutter, 2012
The contents of computer media in this collection have been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created. Some media was 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.
- Cummings, Claire (Person)
- Dujon, Diane (Person)
- Mandell, Betty Reid (Person)
- Arise for Social Justice (Organization)
- Coalition for Basic Human Needs (Organization)
- Massachusetts Welfare Reform Union (Mattapan, Mass.) (Organization)
- Advocacy for Resources for Modern Survival (Organization)
- Survival news (West Roxbury, Boston, Mass.) (Organization)
- Survivors, Inc. (Organization)
- Stevens, Dottie (1941-2014) (Person)
- Stevens, Dottie (1941-2014) (Donor, Person)
Genre / Form
- Computer media
- DVD-Video discs
- Financial records
- Grant proposals
- Oral histories
- Organization files
- Electronic records
- Fund raising
- Homelessness -- Massachusetts
- Poor women -- Massachusetts
- Poverty -- Massachusetts
- Public welfare -- Massachusetts
- Sound recordings
- Welfare rights movement
- Welfare rights movement -- United States
- Women in community development -- Massachusetts
- Working class women -- Massachusetts
- Finding Aid to the Survivors, Inc. records
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Scott Biddle
- 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.
- 2020-04-13: Added accessions 11S-65, 14S-57, 15S-66
- 2020-04-23: Description added for born-digital content.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063