The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University) and Artstor Inc. announced today that they had reached an agreement to collaborate on the distribution through Artstor of approximately 36,000 high quality digital images from the Schlesinger Library’s renowned photographic archives.

The Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study is the leading national repository for women’s history. The Library’s collections document the full spectrum of activities and experiences of women in the 19th and 20th centuries. Particular strengths include women’s rights and suffrage, social reform, the labor movement, work and professions, family history, health and sexuality, culinary history, and gender issues. In the Library’s collections, there are more than 70,000 images in all varieties of photographic formats. These images represent the work of both professional and amateur artistic and documentary photographers and include portraits of individuals and family groups, men, children, landscapes, houses and interiors, travel pictures, women at work, and political and social activities. Although they provide a unique kind of documentation of women’s history that complements and enriches other parts of the Library’s collections, these images were, until recently, all but inaccessible.

This collaboration between Artstor and the Schlesinger Library will make this rich body of visual material and related scholarship available electronically, and in high resolution, to the larger educational and scholarly community for the first time. The audience for these materials will include scholars, teachers, and students throughout the arts, humanities and social sciences, who will value having the ability to access, browse, and make rich educational and scholarly uses of this unique corpus of images. In reaching this agreement, Nancy F. Cott, the director of the library and also Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University, and Max Marmor, Director of Collection Development at Artstor, expressed their enthusiasm in collaborating to use digital technologies to make this important scholarly resource more broadly available for noncommercial pedagogical and scholarly purposes. “I am thrilled that this collaboration will bring a large part of the Schlesinger’s unique collection of photographic images to viewers worldwide,” said Professor Cott. Marmor adds, “The Schlesinger Library is by general consensus regarded as the leading repository for women’s history. Its photographic archives devoted to this subject are unrivalled. This collaboration should produce an exceptionally significant resource for scholars, teachers and students in a wide range of fields. Artstor is delighted to be able to play a part in making it more widely available for scholarly and educational purposes.”

The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, is the leading national repository for women’s history. Founded in 1943 as the Women’s Archives at Radcliffe College, the Schlesinger Library has been at the forefront of collecting, cataloging and making available for research those papers, books, and other materials essential for understanding women’s lives and contributions. It houses one of the largest English language collections of published and unpublished sources that together document the range of issues, organizations and activities in which women have been central.