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Collection Overview
Creator: The Women's Coffeehouse.
Title:The Women's Coffeehouse records
Dates:1978-1989
Call Number:M120
Location: 60/1
Volume: 0.15 cubic ft. (1 box)
Scope and Content Abstract:This collection documents the activities of the Women's Coffeehouse, a non-profit group affiliated with the Women's Educational Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which sought to bring intellectual and cultural activities to all women in the Cambridge community through weekly musical performances and speakers. The materials in this collection demonstrate the difficulty women had in establishing female owned and operated small businesses. Research topics include feminist organizations, women in the arts and community organization. The collection contains meeting minutes, photos, fliers, audiotapes of performances and press releases.
Historical Abstract:The Women's Coffeehouse began in October 1979 when a small group of women from the Women's Educational Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts met to discuss plans to open a Coffeehouse operated by and for women. They felt that women of all ages, nationalities, body types, economic status, and disabilities lacked a space to safely enjoy cultural activities together. The objective of the Women's Coffeehouse was to provide "an active, participative, grass roots environment" (The Women's Coffeehouse, Event Schedule, February-April 1989) for local women to develop their own community despite their personal political affiliations. In December of 1979, the first Coffeehouse was held with Marjorie Parsons as guest speaker. For the next ten years the Coffeehouse remained open, sponsoring performances that included local musicians, writers, speakers and activists such as Hillary Kay, Nancy Aberle, Beth Hodges, Linda Brown, Pamela Gray, Sharon Kennedy, and Betsy Zelchin. These weekly performances were intended to spark discourse among women in the community about their shared issues and concerns. Although the core organizers of the Women's Coffeehouse were feminists, they were careful to reach out to all women and make them feel welcome.
Arrangement:Arranged in one alphabetical sequence.
Subjects and Contributors:

  • Feminism -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
  • Women in community organization -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
  • Women's Educational Center

Restrictions:This collection is unrestricted.
Related Materials:

Women's Educational Center records, 1971-1998 (M47)

Processor:Finding aid prepared by Dominique Tremblay, October 2006