Guide to the Bobbye S. Ortiz Papers, 1919-1993 and undated (bulk 1950-1990)
Bobbye Ortiz was a social activist and Marxist feminist. The collection consists chiefly of personal correspondence; extensive subject files on international political and cultural movements; photographs and slides; ephemeral publication material such as grassroots newsletters, pamphlets, broadsides, and clippings; cultural artifacts, including buttons and T-shirts; and over 300 sound recordings of spoken voice and music (see separate catalog record for sound recordings). The collection documents the personal life and career of an international feminist, Marxist activist, and mother, who also served as editor of the magazine Monthly Review and was the founder of the organization WIRE (Women's International Resource Exchange). English.
- Collection Number
- Bobbye S. Ortiz papers
- 1919-1993 and undated, bulk 1950-1990
- Ortiz, Bobbye S.
- 30.4 Linear Feet, 12,430 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Correspondence Series, 1990
- Personal Files Series, [192-]-1989 and undated
- Subject Files Series, 1938-[198-] and undated (bulk, 1960-1984)
- Photographs and Slides Series, [192-?]-[ca. 1989] and undated
- Cultural Artifacts Series,, [196-]-[198-] and undated
- Audio Tapes Series, [196-]-[198-] and undated
- Index Card Catalog Series, undated
- Oversize Materials, [192-?]-[1980s]
- Phonograph Records Series, [195-]-[198-] and undated
The papers of feminist and social activist Bobbye Ortiz span from the years 1919 to 1993, with most of the papers being dated between 1950 and 1990. The papers consist chiefly of personal correspondence; extensive subject files on international political and cultural movements; photographs and slides; ephemeral publication material such as grassroots newsletters, pamphlets, broadsides, and clippings; cultural artifacts, including buttons and T-shirts; and over 300 sound recordings of spoken voice and music. The collection documents the personal life and career of an international feminist, Marxist activist, and mother, who also served as editor of the magazine Monthly Review and was the founder of the organization WIRE (Women's International Resource Exchange). Other personal documents and subject files concern the activities of Bobbye's daughter, Viki Ortiz, an activist in her own right. The materials in both women's files are especially rich in the history of the international women's liberation movement and other revolutionary movements in Europe, Latin America, and other countries during the sixties, seventies, and eighties. Many of these materials focus on politics and government in Cuba, China, and France. Other topics include Vietnam War protests; students' movements, particularly Paris, 1968; indigenous women's movements in Latin America; AIDS activism; sexual health; adoption rights; gay and lesbian parenting; and women's issues such as reproductive rights, economic status, and violence against women.
The Correspondence Series is almost completely CLOSED to research; see the inventory below for more information. Most materials in other series, however, are open for research.
The Personal Files Series focuses on Ortiz's formal education, particularly her coursework at New York University. Other highlights of the series include Ortiz's scrapbook from her tour of China, which is further documented by audio tapes and photographs in the collection. Writings folders include notes, short articles, and speeches written by Ortiz as well as a collection of poetry by Grace Goldin, a friend of Ortiz. Two folders contain photocopies of inscriptions from many authors found inside the volumes in her personal library (now in the Perkins Library stacks of Duke University). This series is partially CLOSED.
The Subject Files Series has been separated into two main subseries: one devoted to international women's liberation and one for general topics. In the International Women's Liberation Subseries, Ortiz maintained extensive files on the status of women and women's liberation campaigns around the world. The grassroots organizational publications (many of them ephemeral in nature), news clippings, and articles found in the international women's liberation subseries address such issues as women's economic status, their roles in the family, violence against women, reproductive rights and sexuality, and indigenous women's movements. The most extensive segments of the subseries deal with women's liberation in the 1970s and 1980s in Chile, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United States. The subseries is organized alphabetically by country.
The General Files Subseries consists mainly of articles, notes, and periodicals from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Especially noteworthy are notes and other papers related to Ortiz's work as associate editor of the Monthly Review,though these provide only a limited glimpse into her decades of service there. The subseries also contains materials related to health, cancer, and the right-to-die movement; feminism, women's liberation, and the Women's International Resource Exchange (WIRE); and the political turmoil of Paris 1968. Together, Ortiz's subject files reflect the directions of her activism in the final decades of her life.
The Photographs and Slides Series contains portraits of individuals and groups, photographs taken during tours of countries and political events, and miscellaneous casual snapshots. There are very fine portraits of native peoples taken by well-known activist Gertrude Duby Blom. The largest segment of the series documents Ortiz's trips to China in 1974 and Latin America (ca. 1984). For related materials, see the Audio Tapes Series and the Personal Files Series. There are also audio cassettes recorded in Latin America and Nicaragua, which may correspond with slides in the Photographs and Slides Series. This series ends with photo negatives of an International Women's Day March in 1978. Note: This series is restricted. Use copies must be made of any cassettes without use copies already made. Please consult with reference staff.
Posters, buttons, and T-shirts bearing slogans and vivid images were vital components of the many social movements in which both Bobbye and Victoria Ortiz participated. The Cultural Artifacts Series captures the political use of popular culture in the late 20th century by preserving a representative sample of these cultural artifacts. The selections reflect Bobbye and Viki's participation in social movements concerned with issues such as U.S. imperialism in Latin America, international women's liberation, AIDS, and lesbian and gay rights. The series also contains original artwork done for Bobbye and Viki, as well as art posters from France. Several oversize posters are artifacts from the French worker/student strikes of 1968.
The majority of tapes in the Audio Tapes Series are cassette recordings of tours taken by Bobbye Ortiz during her travels in China and Latin America. Additional tapes include recordings of radio programs, interviews, and readings related to Bobbye's activism. Descriptive notes on many of the tapes listed below have been included as an appendix to this inventory. Note: This series is restricted. Use copies must be made of any cassettes without use copies already made. Please consult with reference staff. Related material about these trips may also be found in the Photographs and Slides Series and Personal Files Series.
The complete holdings of Bobbye Ortiz's library, which were donated as part of this collection and reside in Perkins Library at Duke University, are represented by the hand-written Index Card Catalog Series. The hundreds of Monthly Review Press publications in the library are one of the few records in the Ortiz Collection of her work for over twenty years as associate editor of the Monthly Review. The range of topics covered by her library -- women, Marxism and socialism, literature, Central America, Latin America, Asia, social sciences, humanities -- reveals the breadth of her intellectual interests and their intimate connections to her political concerns. The catalog is organized by topic, alphabetically by author therein.
The Phonograph Records Series features sound recordings on 33 1/3, 45, and 78 LPs collected by Bobbye Ortiz during her travels. Hundreds of folk music recordings, protest and labor song collections, and miscellaneous spoken word recordings date from the 1960s to the 1980s. Recording artists include many well-known musicians as well as hundreds of other musicians interested in folk, labor, and protest music; major languages represented include Spanish, French, and Italian. Many of these recordings are now out of print and difficult to find. This series is restricted: use copies must be made in order to access the recordings. For assistance, please contact the reference staff.
The addition (Acc.# 2003-0065) consists largely of photographs and negatives (approximately 550 prints, 120 negatives, and 1 slide, color and black-and-white), documenting Ortiz's travels to various locations including Cuba, Nicaragua, China, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Europe (1968-[1980s]). Also included are publication files related to WIRE (Women's International Resource Exchange), a few pieces of correspondence, and other miscellaneous personal items. Boxes 2 and 3, containing photographs, correspondence, and personal items, are CLOSED to research. Box 1 is open to research. No container list was created for this accession.
Parts of the collection are closed to research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
In addition, some of the materials in this collection are not immediately accessible because they require further processing before use (see the finding aid for details).
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the Rubenstein Library to use this collection.
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Boxes 1-7 contain materials that are closed to research until 2050. Box 8 consists of materials related to Bobbye's passing away in 1990 and is open to research.
Chiefly documents Bobbye Ortiz's formal education. Contains Ortiz's scrapbook from a tour of China, further documented through audio tapes and photographs in other sections of the collection. Writings include pieces by Ortiz as well as poems by her close friend Grace Goldin. Book inscriptions are photocopied from holdings in Ortiz's library. Organized alphabetically by folder title.
[This series contains materials that are CLOSED (early education folders in box 9A). See the container list below for details. Contact Research Services.]
[Contains some fragile material. Technical Services staff may need to reformat newsprint or other brittle paper before use.]
Consists chiefly of articles, reports, newsclippings, broadsides, and many ephemeral publications such as political newsletters and pamphlets gathered by Bobbye Ortiz throughout her life. Materials particularly provide a context for political movements and agendas of the sixties, seventies, and eighties. Divided into two subseries: International Women's Liberation and General.
[Note: Some of the materials in this series are not immediately accessible because they require further processing before use. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library to use this collection. This series contains large numbers of newsprint and other fragile materials. Please handle with care. Technical Services staff may need to reformat newsprint, coated fax paper, or other brittle paper before use.]
Topics concentrate on all issues important to women's liberation movements, especially violence against women, economic justice, and women's health issues. Many of the publications are ephemeral, prime examples being the grassroots feminist newsletters produced in Latin American countries, and the broadsides and pamphlets connected with political events such as rallies or protests. After English, Spanish is the most common language used in these materials. Organized alphabetically by country.
Cover a number of topics, including feminism in Britain, France, and Italy; racism around the world; the right-to-die movement; liberation theology; and colonialism. Contains many periodical publications, mostly in single issues. A substantial group of materials, including ephemeral publications and memorabilia, originated from the 1968 Paris student-worker uprisings. Organized alphabetically by folder titles.
[Note: Some of the materials in this series are not immediately accessible because they require further processing before use. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection. This series contains large numbers of newsprint and other fragile materials. Please handle with care. Technical Services staff may need to reformat newsprint, coated fax paper, or other brittle paper before use.]
Begins with snapshots taken in Europe and Mexico which are CLOSED to research. These are followed by very fine 8x10 portraits of indigenous people identified as Mexican Lacandon, taken by well-known activist Gertrude Duby Blom. Another folder contains casual snapshots by Gail Lerner Saharoui, mostly portraying unidentified people, chiefly women performing various jobs such as weaving; these were possibly taken in India or the Middle East. There are many images documenting Ortiz's trips to China (1974) and Latin America (ca. 1984) in the form of photographs and slides. This series ends with photo negatives of an International Women's Day March in 1978.
[Attention: Contains pictorial materials.]
[This series is partially CLOSED until 2050. A few photographs in the first box are closed to research. Contact Research Services.]
[CLOSED until 2025.]
( Mexican Lacandon tribe photographic portraits, [. 193-])
Buttons, T-shirts, and poster-size broadsides connected to various events or issues in countries around the world. Some items have been removed to the Oversize Series.
Chiefly cassette recordings made by Bobbye Ortiz in China, Nicaragua, Cuba, Chile, and the United States. One large set of tapes was recorded during tours of facilities in China. Other cassettes document interviews, radio programs, and speeches by various activists; many of the interviews were conducted or recorded by Ortiz. Some commercial recordings contain collections of folk and protest songs from Latin American countries, Italy, and the United States.
[Some of the materials in this series may not be immediately accessible because they require further processing before use. While some use copies are already available of Bobbye Ortiz's trip to China, Technical Services needs to format for use copies of many of the other audio tapes before they can be used. Tapes are accessible ONLY in use copy format. Copyright restrictions may also apply to some of these recordings. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library to use this collection.
Two shoebox-size containers hold hundreds of index cards representing Bobbye Ortiz's personal library. Organized by subject, in original order. Box 36 also contains three unidentified reels of sound recordings. These are closed to research: use copies must be made.
Consist primarily of oversize pieces from the Cultural Artifacts and Photographs Series. Posters in this series provide excellent examples of the use of visual arts by late 20th century social movements. All oversize materials have been cross-listed in the main series and subseries to which they belong. Materials formerly housed in Oversize Folders 6-11 have been boxed into Box 38.
[This series is partially closed. Contact Research Services.]
Some of the materials in this series are not immediately accessible because they require further processing before use. Technical Services needs to create use copies of phonograph recordings before use. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library to use this collection.
Record Label: Polydor, 184 357
Record Label: Le Chant du Monde, No. 546 Parte 9358/9362
Record Label: Path, MG 218
Record Label: Typic, Editions J. Garzon, Disques Peerless- Mexique, 1041
Record Label: Coda, El Disco Supremo, 5013
Record Label: Disc New York, 6047
Record Label: Disc New York, 6046
Record Label: La Voz de Espaa, 1005
Record Label: Colonial Discos Latinos, 537 CR-979/980
Record Label: RCA Victor, MKE 18 A
Record Label: Italia Canta, SP 33/CRA/0034
|1918, July 2||
Born in Memphis, Tenn.
Attended Lockhart-Moore Academy, Little Rock, Ark.
Attended Fassifern School, Hendersonville, N.C.
Attended Kidd-Key College and Conservatory, Sherman, Tex.
Henderson State Teachers College, Arkadelphia, Ark.
Undergraduate at Barnard College at age 15
University of Chicago
Lived in Mexico
Married to Robert G. Colodny, separated 1940
Married to Cesar Ortiz
|1942, May 6||
Daughter Victoria born
Studied at the Sorbonne, Paris and traveled extensively in Europe
Lived in England
Returned to United States
B.A. in Spanish, New York University
M.A. in Spanish, New York University
Teaching assistant in Spanish, NYU
Associate Editor, Monthly Review
Co-founder of WIRE (Women's International Resource Exchange)
Awarded the Arthur J. Felberbaum Award from the New York Marxist School
|1990, June 15||
Died, New York City
- Civil rights movements -- Mississippi
- Central America -- Social conditions
- China -- Social conditions
- Cuba -- History -- Revolution, 1959
- Feminists -- Correspondence
- Folk music
- Indigenous peoples -- Portraits
- Italy -- Social conditions
- Latin America -- Social conditions -- 1948
- Mexico -- Social conditions
- Mothers and daughters
- Nineteen sixties
- Ortiz, Bobbye S.
- Ortiz, Bobbye S.
- Ortiz, Victoria, 1942-
- Protest songs
- Radicalism -- United States -- History -- 20th century
- Slides (photographs)
- Social activists -- Correspondence
- Social movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century
- Student movements -- France
- South America -- Social conditions
- Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975 -- Protest movements
- Women's periodicals
- Women -- Social conditions
- Women’s International Resource Exchange Service
[Identification of item], Bobbye S. Ortiz Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Processed by Virginia L. Daley, Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Ann Langford, Lois Schultz, Pavla Vesel, and Elizabeth Arnold
Completed March 2, 2000 and September 10, 2003
Accessions 92-077 and 94-082 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid. Part of the 2003-065 accession of the Victoria Ortiz Papers has also been added to this collection in September, 2003, but has not been fully processed as most of it is closed to use.
The papers of Bobbye S. Ortiz were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as gifts from her daughter Victoria Ortiz in 1992, 1994, and 2003.