Swanee Hunt papers
Scope and Contents
The papers well document Ambassador Hunt's service as the American Ambassador in Austria during a most volatile period and her efforts to provide programming to assist, especially women, in the aftermath of the break up of the Soviet Union and during the Bosnian War. Materials include correspondence, speeches, conference programs, internal memos, daily schedules, and newspaper articles. Also well represented within the papers are the activities of the Hunt Alternatives Fund including correspondence, financial records and annual reports. Monthly reports, as well as income and expenses, document the family property in Colorado, the Columbine Ranch, over several years. Finally, also included are some personal papers including manuscript drafts, correspondence, speeches, photographs, and both undergraduate and graduate school papers and notes.
Dates of Materials
- 1968 - 2015
- Hunt, Swanee Grace, 1950- (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
These records are open for research with the following exceptions: Any material related to Hunt Oil or its subsidiaries are closed until Jan. 1, 2043. Any personnel files are closed for research use, as are medical records. Unpublished manuscripts are closed until Jan. 1, 2040.
Conditions Governing Use
The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works in this collection created by Swanee Hunt. 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 and satisfy all copyright holders.
Biographical / Historical
Swanee Grace Hunt was born May 1, 1950 in Dallas, Texas, the youngest of four children born to the oil tycoon H.L. Hunt and Ruth Ray. However, not until her father's first wife died did Swanee Hunt's parents marry in 1957 and it was only then that she and her siblings moved into the Hunt mansion, built to resemble its namesake, Mount Vernon. This unusual early childhood and her mother's profoundly fundamentalist faith had a lasting impact on Swanee Hunt's world view. While she had hoped to attend college in the east, her ultra-conservative father refused so Swanee Hunt began college in her hometown at Southern Methodist University. At the age of twenty, she married Mark Meeks, a seminary student, and moved to Fort Worth where she graduated from Texas Christian University in 1972 with a degree in philosophy. A year later, the couple moved to Heidelberg,Germany where Meeks served as pastor for an English-speaking Baptist church. Although she was able to complete a master's degree in counseling, this was a difficult time for Hunt who was unhappy in her marriage and unsure what direction she should take in life. In 1977, the couple returned to the US, settling in Denver where Hunt entered the Iliff School of Theology where she earned a Master's degree in Religion (1979) and a doctorate in Theology (1986). Despite ongoing marital problems, Swanee Hunt gave birth to daughter Lillian in 1982; however, the marriage soon ended. In 1985 she married Charles Ansbacher, a symphonic conductor and divorced father of a teenage son, Henry. In 1987, amidst a growing number of professional responsibilities, Swanee gave birth to Theodore Ansbacher-Hunt.
After her father's death in 1974, Swanee Hunt had a sizable personal fortune at her disposal and throughout the 1970s, she weighed various options of how she could put some of her wealth to good use, creating positive and sustainable social change at the grassroots level. She had long been concerned about mental health issues, education and women's empowerment. Thus, in 1981, the Hunt Alternatives Fund was founded in Denver. According to their Web site, "Hunt Alternatives brings daring goals, distinctive perspectives, innovative practices, and extraordinary talent to some of the world's most complex and injurious challenges...and has contributed more than $100 million to social change through a blend of grantmaking and operating programs." In 1986, Hunt was a co-founder of the Women's Fund of Colorado which she also led for its first six years. More recently, in 2006, with her sister, Helen LaKelly Hunt, Swanee Hunt created Women Moving Millions, an organization designed to encourage women to give large gifts to support programing directed to empower other women, nationally and globally. In honor of her late husband, Charles Ansbacher, who died in 2010, she founded the Free for All Concert Fund which provides free arts programming in the city of Boston.
As her philanthropy focused more and more on issues of public policy, Hunt was increasingly drawn into the world of politics. In 1992, she vigorously campaigned and generously donated to Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential bid. Winning the White House, Clinton first appointed Hunt to his transition team and then named her Ambassador to Austria. She served at the height of the Bosnian War and urged that the US government step up its efforts to secure peace in this embattled region, a message not always well received back home. Nonetheless, Hunt did what she could and directed much of her efforts at women in the affected areas, organizing conferences designed to promote East- West learning, such as "Bosnian Women Stepping into Politics" (1999) and "Vital Voices: Women in Democracy" (1997) at which then First Lady Hillary Clinton gave the keynote address. But by 1997, Hunt was ready for a change and the opportunity to do so came when the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University offered her the task of establishing the Women and Public Policy Program. Since stepping down as Director of the Program in 2008, she has continued on at the Kennedy School as the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy. Since then, Hunt founded and directs the Institute for Inclusive Security, in which "Women are an essential tool to prevent violence, stop war, and restore communities after deadly conflicts." In addition, she focuses on demanding an end to commercial sex around the globe as well as her "Political Parity campaign which works to elect more women to higher office as such "improves policy outcomes and lifts public trust." Most recently, she has been active in Iran and Rwanda, spearheading efforts there to improve the lives of women and girls.
A talented classical composer and photographer, Swanee Hunt is also the author of three books: Worlds Apart: Bosnian Lessons for Global Security (2011); her memoir, Half-Life of a Zealot (2006); and, This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace (2004). She has also published dozens of articles in newspapers and journals, both in the US and in Europe, serves on multiple boards and foundations, and has received several honorary degrees and awards, including induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2007.
[source: Swanee Hunt's website]
119.625 linear feet (112 containers)
Language of Materials
Ambassador; Clergy member; Composer; Feminist; Foundation executive; Marriage counselor; Philanthropist; Political activist; Professor; Photographer; Reproductive health advocate; Rancher. The papers well document Ambassador Hunt's service as the American Ambassador in Austria during a most volatile period and her efforts to provide programming to assist, especially women, in the aftermath of the break up of the Soviet Union and during the Bosnian War. Materials include correspondence, speeches, conference programs, internal memos, daily schedules, and newspaper articles. Also well represented within the papers are the activities of the Hunt Alternatives Fund including correspondence, financial records and annual reports. Monthly reports, as well as income and expenses, document the family property in Colorado, the Columbine Ranch, over several years.
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
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 Swanee Hunt, 2013-2015.
Accessioned by Kathleen Banks Nutter, May 2014
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.
Starting in September 2022, Smith College Special Collections will be renumbering many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. A full crosswalk of old to new numbers is available.
- Ambassadors -- United States
- Annual reports
- Ansbacher, Charles
- Austria -- Politics and government
- Biographical notes
- Bosnia and Hercegovina -- Politics and government -- 1992-
- Business records
- Clergy -- United States
- Clergy -- United States
- Clinton, Bill, 1946-
- Clinton, Hillary Rodham
- Colorado -- 20th century
- Composers -- United States
- Computer media
- Electronic records
- Exhibition catalogs
- Financial records
- Grant proposals
- Greeting cards
- Hunt Alternatives Fund
- Hunt, Swanee Grace, 1950-
- International cooperation
- International relations -- 20th century
- John F. Kennedy School of Government. Women and Public Policy Program
- Mailing lists
- Mental health services -- United States -- 20th century
- Organization files
- Philanthropists -- United States
- Philanthropists -- United States
- Photographers -- United States
- Political activists -- United States
- Poverty -- United States -- 20th century
- Reproductive and sexual health
- Reproductive health -- Developing countries
- Sheet music
- The Institute for Inclusive Security
- United States -- Foreign relations -- 1993-2001
- Vienna (Austria) -- Description and travel
- Women -- Political activity
- Women Moving Millions
- Women Waging Peace (organization)
- Women ambassadors -- United States
- Women and peace
- Women in development
- Women's Foundation of Colorado
- Youth -- Services for -- United States
- Yugoslav War, 1991-1995 -- Atrocities
- Yugoslav War, 1991-1995 -- Protest movements
- Yugoslav War, 1991-1995 -- Women -- Bosnia and Hercegovina
- Swanee Hunt papers
- Finding Aid
- 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.
- 2020-06-23: Description added for born-digital content.
- 2021-06-08: Added word document inventories
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063