Skip to main content

Survivors, Inc. records

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00687

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.

[NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]

Dates of Materials

  • 1973 - 2014
  • Majority of material found within 1990s

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:
  1. Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.
  2. This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.
  3. Some digital content is closed until it can be processed.

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 (specialcollections@smith.edu) 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The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works of Survivors' Inc. within this collection.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.

Extent

5 boxes (6.75 linear feet)

0.36828 Gigabytes

Language of Materials

English

Spanish; Castilian

Overview

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. [NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]

Arrangement

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. Note that in most cases, container numbers start over at 1 with each new accession.

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 specialcollections@smith.edu to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Survivors, Inc. Records were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Dottie Stevens beginning in 2011.

Accruals

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

Additional Formats

Digital copies are available for select recordings. Please contact us for more information.

Related Materials

Associated materials can be found in the Arise Records.

Processing 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.

Creator

Title
Finding Aid to the Survivors, Inc. records
Status
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Author
Scott Biddle
Date
2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 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.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063