January 28, 2022

A New MIT Libraries Initiative Aims to Highlight MIT’s Women Faculty by Acquiring, Preserving, and Making Accessible Their Personal Archives

From MIT News:

2018-07-06_18-24-57A new MIT Libraries initiative aims to highlight MIT’s women faculty by acquiring, preserving, and making accessible their personal archives. The Institute Archives and Special Collections (IASC) launched the project last year with the generous support of Barbara Ostrom ’78 and Shirley Sontheimer.

The first year of the project has focused on reaching out to faculty who are ending the active phase of their careers. Four faculty members added their personal collections, comprising 234 boxes and 50 gigabytes of material.


Acquisitions of MIT administrative records provide additional context to the personal archives and a broader view on issues of gender equity and the challenges faced by women in academia. In the next phase of the project, archivists will continue to manage donations, prepare collections for use, and enlarge this core group by reaching out to female faculty who were tenured in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.

Ultimately, the collections will provide not only rich resources for researchers, journalists, teachers, and students, but also, as Sontheimer says, inspiration for generations of women to come. “I’m hoping the project will encourage more women to become engaged in science, technology, and engineering,” she says.

Learn More About the Project and FourNew Collections

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.