Guide to the Alix Kates Shulman Papers, 1892-2014, bulk 1968-2014
Prominent feminist, author, and political activist in the 1960s and 70s. Author of MEMOIRS OF AN EX-PROM QUEEN (1972), ON THE STROLL (1980), and DRINKING THE RAIN (1995). The materials in the Alix Kates Shulman Papers span the dates 1892 to 2000, with the bulk of materials dating from 1968 to 2000. These materials include: manuscripts, notes, clippings, published books, correspondence, photographs, audio and videotapes, microfilm, address and date books, family and business records. The primary focus of the collection is Shulman's writing and literary career. The secondary focus is the women's liberation and feminist movements, in which Shulman was and continues to be very active (from 1968 to 2000). However, feminism and feminist activism are inextricably intertwined with Shulman's writing career, and her 1972 novel MEMOIRS OF AN EX-PROM QUEEN is regarded by many as the first novel to "come out of" the women's liberation movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
- Collection Number
- Alix Kates Shulman papers
- 1892-2014, bulk 1968-2014
- Shulman, Alix Kates
- 39.5 Linear Feet, 29,625 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Personal Papers Series, 1892-2000
- Political Work Series, 1967-2000
- Literary Work Series, 1951-2000
- Academic Work Series, 1979-1998
- Public Speaking Series, 1972-2000
- Restricted Series
- Oversize Materials Series, 1949-1996
- Accession (2000-0391), 1975-1998
- Accession (2004-033), [1960s]-2003 (bulk 2000-2003)
- Accession (2005-0117), 1987-2005
- Accession (2014-0176), 1971-2014
The materials in the Alix Kates Shulman Papers span the dates 1892 to 2000, with the bulk of materials dating from 1968 to 2000. These materials include: manuscripts, notes, clippings, published books, correspondence, photographs, audio and videotapes, microfilm, address and date books, family and business records. The primary focus of the collection is Shulman's writing and literary career. The secondary focus is the women's liberation and feminist movements, in which Shulman was and continues to be very active (from 1968 to the present). However, feminism and feminist activism are inextricably intertwined with Shulman's writing career, and her 1972 novel Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen is regarded by many as the first novel to “come out of” the women's liberation movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Other topics covered by the collection include: her teaching and other academic work; her public speaking and conference activities; and her involvement in political activities besides feminism. This collection sheds valuable light on the concerns and tensions within the women's liberation and second-wave feminist movements. In particular, the materials document debates and disagreements among those active in the movement with regard to sexuality, marriage and domestic relations, women's financial situation and careers, health care, civil rights and cultural expression. Many of these issues are raised in Shulman's own work, including her novels, essays, short fiction, personal letters and her teaching materials.
The collection is divided into seven series. The Personal Papers Series contains Shulman's family history papers, photographs, biographical papers, and her personal correspondence (with writers, academics, political activists and family members). Notable correspondents include Ros Baxandall, Jay Bolotin, Kay Boyle, Rita Mae Brown, Phyllis Chesler, Judy Chicago, Andrea Dworkin, Candace Falk, Marilyn French, Lori Ginzberg, Hannah Green, Erica Jong, Kate Millett, Honor Moore, Robin Morgan, Tillie Olson, Lillian Rubin, Sue Standing, and Meredith Tax. The Political Work Series contains material relating to Shulman's involvement with feminist and other liberal political groups, including Redstockings, New York Radical Women, the PEN Women's Committee, No More Nice Girls, the Women's Action Coalition, and Women Against Government Surveillance
The Literary Work Series contains a variety of materials relating to Shulman's literary career, including financial and other dealings with publishing houses, notes and research, photocopies of publications, reviews of her work, articles and notes she collected regarding the literary scene, and original manuscripts. This series contains information about her early children's books; several books she edited of Emma Goldman's writings; her essays and short fiction; her novels Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen (1972), Burning Questions (1975), On the Stroll (1977), In Every Woman's Life . . .(1980); and her memoirs Drinking the Rain (1995) and A Good Enough Daughter (1999). A small amount of correspondence regarding book reviews of other authors' work is also included.
The Academic Work Series contains materials relating to Shulman's graduate work at NYU; her teaching at Yale, the University of Colorado at Boulder, NYU, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa; as well as her relationships with her students. The Public Speaking Series contains materials relating to Shulman's participation in literary and political conferences and gatherings, personal interviews, lectures and book talks.
Portions of the Restricted Materials Series either may not be photocopied without prior permission of Ms. Shulman or the relevant author, or may not be accessed until a future date. The same organizational categories have been applied to the restricted materials as were used in the unrestricted materials to help researchers easily access overlapping and related materials that have been boxed separately due to the restrictions. The Oversize Materials Series contains miscellaneous oversize materials of a biographical and literary nature.
Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.
Access to the Collection
Portions of the collection are restricted. The materials in series 6 are all restricted, and portions of the 2014-0176 series are restricted as described in the box list.
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.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Alix Kates Shulman Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The Personal Papers Series, 1892-2000, is comprised of three subseries. The Family History Subseries contains correspondence, financial papers, articles, and other documents concerning Shulmans parents' families--the Kates and the Davis families. Some of this material concerns her Jewish ancestry, her parent's professional and political activities (her father was a lawyer and her mother a writer), financial papers, photos, diaries and other materials relating to her family's extensive travels. Materials in the Biographical Subseries relate to Shulman's own personal history, including journals and datebooks, newspaper clippings, notes and correspondence with family, friends, and professional acquaintances. The Correspondence Subseries contains letters on a wide variety of topics, including Shulman's friends and family relations, her writing career, her political work, and other social and cultural activities. Material in the Family History Subseries and the Biographical Subseries is arranged alphabetically by the folder titles assigned by Shulman with miscellaneous material appearing at the end of the subseries. Material in the Correspondence Subseries is arranged chronologically.
The Political Work Series, 1967-2000, contains information about the activities of a variety of political groups with which Shulman was active throughout her career. These groups included anti-war groups, women's liberation and feminist groups (including Redstockings), the PEN Women's Committee, No More Nice Girls, the Women's Action Coalition, Women Against Government Surveillance, and other miscellaneous groups. There are also materials relating to a trip she took to China for the purpose of political and academic research, and a copy of her FBI file and correspondence relating to her retrieval of that file during the late 1970s under the Freedom of Information Act. One of the more interesting and valuable parts of this series is the set of original documents from the women's liberation and feminist movement, which include fliers, manifestos, articles and journals, such as a flier from the 1968 Miss America demonstration and the Redstockings' list of legislative reforms presented to the New York state legislature. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
The Literary Work Series, 1951-2000, contains a wide variety of materials relating to Shulman's published and unpublished writings. The Business Subseries contains materials pertaining to her early work as a research and editorial assistant for a variety of academics and writers; papers regarding Shulman's relations with various publishing houses; and brief published quotes by and about Shulman and letters she wrote to editors. Included are a bound copy of reviews of her novels and Shulman's comments on the work of other authors ( “book blurbs,” and correspondence with a variety of authors, intellectuals and political activists, e.g., Margaret Atwood, Marge Piercy, Andrea Dworkin, and Stephen Jay Gould). The Special Projects Subseries comprises a collection of articles about feminist and “women's” literature and other notes on the literary scene; and notes and correspondence relating to a variety of special projects. The Essays Subseries, the Poetry Subseries, the Short Fiction Subseries, and the Books Subseries include notes, correspondence, research and manuscripts of her published and unpublished work. Folders are arranged alphabetically by title within each subseries with miscellany appearing at the end of the subseries.
The Academic Work Series, 1979-1998, contains a variety of materials relating to Shulman's teaching and other activities in an academic context. This includes her master's thesis in creative writing at NYU from 1979. Entitled Tricks, this manuscript was a first draft of part of what would later become her novel On the Stroll. There are papers relating to her teaching positions at NYU, Yale, University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Hawaii at Manoa, including applications, fliers and articles about her activities at these institutions, notes and papers relating to the classes she taught, and correspondence with and relating to her students. Material is arranged alphabetically by the folder titles used by Shulman with Miscellaneous Teaching Material appearing at the end of the series.
The Public Speaking Series, 1972-2000, is divided into the Interviews and Speeches subseries. The Interview subseries includes transcripts of interviews, interviews published in magazines and audiotaped interviews. The Speeches subseries contains correspondence, fliers, manuscripts, and other materials relating to Shulman's public speaking engagements. These include book signings, academic and literary conferences, feminist conferences and lectures, and audiotapes of Shulman speaking at conferences and seminars. Materials are arranged alphabetically within each subseries with miscellany appearing at the end of the series.
The Restricted Series contains three categories of restricted materials:
1. Materials which cannot be photocopied nor electronically scanned without the permission of Alix Kates Shulman or the author of the material.
2. Materials which cannot be read without the permission of Alix Kates Shulman.
3. Materials which cannot be opened until 2023, the death of Alix Kates Shulman, or the death of the author, whichever comes last.
Each of these restrictions comprises its own subseries. Additionally, the attempt has been made to recreate as closely as possible the same organization within these restricted subseries as was used in the unrestricted materials, so to facilitate researchers' use of overlapping and related materials--especially those under Restriction 1. Thus, each series contains sub-subseries such as “Personal Papers,” “Political Work,” “Literary Work,” “Academic Work,” and “Public Speaking.” Folders are arranged alphabetically by the title Shulman assigned within each subseries.
Restriction 1: Material in boxes RM1-RM7 cannot be photocopied nor electronically scanned without the permission of Alix Kates Shulman or the author of the material.
Restriction 2: The Address Book and the Royalty Statements and Bank Contracts in box RM8 cannot be read without the permission of Alix Kates Shulman.
Restriction 3: The Correspondence in Box RM9 cannot be read until Alix Kates Shulman's death.
The Oversize Materials Series, 1949-1995 and undated, contains miscellaneous materials, including a photograph of Shulman and others in her sorority at Cleveland Heights High School and large magazines featuring Shulman. Materials within each series are arranged alphabetically.
This accession consists mainly of calendars and datebooks, but also includes documentation of book promotion tours, foreign travel itineraries, records of expenses, and correspondence.
Material documenting Shulman's activism and writing, including reviews, book-tour itineraries, promotional materials, and information related to speaking engagements. Also includes a few pieces of ephemera from the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, including cards to be distributed to ""cat-callers"" and stickers reading ""This is Insulting to Women.""
Correspondence, subject files pertaining to the Women Writing Women's Lives seminar, Woman2000, National Writers Union, Vermont Studio Center, and PEN America Center, and clippings.
Includes correspondence, including Naomi Weisstein and Oliver Sachs, speeches, writings by Alix Kates Shulman (appearances in anthologies, magazines, journals, newspapers, and book manuscripts), as well as reviews, calendars, research and activist files, and writings by others.
Labeled and stamped folder: Book proposal for "The Visionaries" in 2014/0176 Box 4 closed until the book is published or Alix Kates Shulman's death, whichever comes first.
Labeled, stamped, and tied folder: Book proposal for "The Visionaries" closed until the book is published or Alix Kates Shulman's death, whichever comes first.
Alix Kates Shulman (given name Alix Audrey Kates) was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1932 to Dorothy Davis Kates and Samuel Kates. Raised in suburban Cleveland Heights, she graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 1953 with a degree in English and History. She moved to New York City after college and began graduate studies at Columbia University where she met and married fellow graduate student Marcus Klein in 1954. After marriage she began a series of research, editorial and writing jobs. She and Klein were divorced in 1958, and she then married Martin Shulman in 1959. She gave birth to her son Ted in 1961 and to her daughter Polly in 1963.
Shulman became involved in the early women's liberation movement groups in New York City in the late 1960s. She participated in the famed Miss America Pageant Protest in Atlantic City in 1968, was an early member of the groups “Redstockings” and “WITCH” in 1969, and joined the “New York Radical Women” in 1970. At approximately the same time she became active in the women's liberation movement, Shulman began her literary career, publishing articles in both feminist and mainstream periodicals, and publishing a number of children's books and non-fiction books about Emma Goldman. She and Martin Shulman drafted a Marriage Agreement which was published in the feminist journal Up From Under in 1970. The Agreement was re-printed with accompanying articles in Redbook (in 1971) and then in Life (1972). Due to these re-printings, the Agreement received much press and raised much controversy. It was attacked by, among others, Norman Mailer and Russell Baker. Also in 1972, Shulman published her first major (and semi-autobiographical) novel, Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen.Memoirs became a national best seller, raised much debate about the growing feminist movement and the situation of women in U.S. society, and launched Shulman's writing career on a national level.
Throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Shulman continued to work as a feminist activist, to write essays and short stories for a wide variety of journals and newspapers, to teach and present speeches and conference papers, and to publish novels and memoirs. She divorced Martin Shulman in 1985 and married former Cleveland Heights High School classmate Scott York in 1989. Her two most recently published books are Drinking the Rain (1995), an account of her solitary, non-technological life on a Maine island, and A Good Enough Daughter (1999), a memoir focusing on her relationships with her late parents. She received an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Case Western Reserve University in 2001.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Feminism -- United States
- Feminists -- United States
- Feminists -- United States -- Correspondence
- Feminism and literature -- United States
- Feminism and education -- United States
- Political activists -- United States
- Women authors -- 20th century
- Women and literature
The Alix Kates Shulman Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase and gift between 1998 and 2014.
Processed by Kathryn Fenn
Encoded by Joshua Kaiser; Ruth E. Bryan
Revised by Lindsay Matson, May 2009; by Megan Lewis December 2015