From the Harvard Gazette:
Lucy Stone, Angela Davis, Betty Friedan, June Jordan, Julia Child, Mildred Jefferson. All of their lives and stories are captured in the rich collections housed in Harvard’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.
And thanks to ongoing efforts to diversify and broaden the library’s holdings, new names are regularly added to their number: such as poet, writer, and former Radcliffe Fellow Marilyn Chin; ordained minister, Harvard Divinity School graduate, founder of the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence and the first all-female Asian Lion dance troupe in Boston Cheng Imm Tan; and an immigrant from China who earned a master’s degree in English literature from Radcliffe in 1938 and went on to host a popular U.S. radio show, Pin Pin T’an Liu.
Diversifying the records can be complicated, sensitive work, said Kenvi Phillips, the library’s first curator for race and ethnicity, who was hired in 2017 to help the library develop a more inclusive archive. Phillips, who was part of the team that brought Davis’ papers to Schlesinger in 2018, knows different communities have different concerns and constraints and that learning to be sensitive to a group’s particular interests or worries, as well as what questions to ask, takes care and time. To help her reach out to the Asian American diaspora, Phillips helped organize the library’s Asian American Women’s Advisory Group made up of alumnae representing Chinese American, Korean American, Filipina, and South Asian communities.