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Judith Raskin papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00126

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the papers focus on Raskin's professional life, including publicity, reviews and programs. There are also a number of recordings of Raskin's performances from the 1950s to the 1970s. There is a small amount of personal material, including diaries and correspondence, primarily from her high school and college years. There is also some personal correspondence with family and friends. Notable correspondents include Beverly Sills, Eugene Ormandy, and William Maxwell.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1911 - 2000


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 Use

To the extent that she owns copyright, Raskin has assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Raskin, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Judith Raskin was born June 21, 1928, daughter of Harry Raskin and Lillian Mendelsohn Raskin. Both her parents were public school teachers and instilled in their only child a love of music, the subject Judith Raskin majored in when she came to Smith College in 1945. She graduated from Smith in 1949 and received an honorary degree in 1963. While at Smith, Raskin studied with Anna Hamlin, continuing her lessons with Hamlin even after graduation as she began pursuing her career in opera. In 1948, Raskin married a distant cousin, Raymond Raskin. They had two children, Jonathan, born 1951 and Lisa, born 1953. She made her professional debut on both the stage and on television during the 1950s at the same time that she was raising her family. Even after undergoing a radical mastectomy in 1962, Raskin continued her operatic career, specializing in Schubert, Mozart, lieder and Yiddish songs on both the stage and in numerous recordings with major labels. During the 1970s she turned to teaching while still performing. In 1982 Raskin was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died December 21, 1984.


19.812 linear feet (29 containers)

Language of Materials



Opera singer and teacher. Raskin made her professional debut on both the stage and television, specializing in Schubert, Mozart, Lieder and Yiddish songs. The bulk of the Raskin papers focus on her professional life, and include publicity, reviews, programs, and taped recordings of performances. Personal materials include correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks and diaries, primarily from her years as a student at Smith College. Notable correspondents include Beverly Sills, Eugene Ormandy, and William Maxwell.


This collection is organized into five series, with later additions to the collection making up further series:

  1. I. Biographical
  2. II. Correspondence
  3. III. Professional Activities
  4. IV. Photographs and Scrapbooks
  5. V. Audiotapes


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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Judith Raskin in 1977. Since her death, additions to the collection have been made by her daughter Lisa Raskin, as well as by Adrienne Auerswald and Mary Elizabeth Ford.

Related Material

For more detailed biographical information, see the entry on Raskin in Current Biography (April 1964) and the entry by Paula Eisenstein Baker in Jewish Women in American: An Historical Encyclopedia (1997). There is also a small folder of materials on Raskin in the Smith College Archives, in 80.Cla 1949 and in 12.HD.

Processing Information

Procesed by Kathleen Banks Nutter, 2000.

Processing Information

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.

Finding Aid to the Judith Raskin papers
Enhanced Finding Aid (Completed)
Kathleen Banks Nutter, Venice Teeter, and Madison White
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Processing funded by the Mary Elizabeth Ford '47-Raskin Fund and the Raskin family. Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss57 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:22-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2020-06-22: Added new accession
  • 2020-10-21: Corrected accession 2017-S-0046 inventory

Repository Details

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063