Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids

Printable Finding Aid. Back to Browsing Version.

Collection Overview
Title:Female Liberation: A Radical Feminist Organization records
Call Number:M122
Volume:0.6 cubic ft. (2 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:This collection documents the work of Female Liberation: A Radical Feminist Organization, 1968-1974. These records demonstrate how internal conflict within an organization can affect a group's ability to develop a unified political strategy. In addition, the records offer insight into the many complex issues that surrounded the Boston feminist movement at its conception including the difficulty in maintaining a harmonious ideology among different groups within the Women's Movement. Research topics for this collection include women's rights and feminist theory and publications. This collection contains newsletters of Female Liberation and other feminist groups, position papers, statements, correspondence, legal documents, financial information, bills, fliers, press releases, and copies of No More Fun and Games: A Journal of Female Liberation (Issues 1-6).
Historical Abstract:Female Liberation was a small group of women activists seeking to confront issues, such as self-defense, equal wages, birth control, consumerism, and the media's portrayal of women. To meet these goals, they published weekly newsletters and a journal of women's poetry and essays, held public meetings and classes and demonstrated to protest perceived injustices. Although the organization went through several incarnations during it's seven year history, it's goal throughout was to create a community that worked for and supported women's issues in the Boston area.
Arrangement:Arranged in one alphabetical sequence.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Rockefeller, Abby
  • Densmore, Dana
  • Leghorn, Lisa
  • Warrior, Betsy
  • West, Jayne

  • Young Socialist Alliance (U.S.)
  • Female Liberation, Inc
  • Cell 16 (Organization)

  • Feminist theory
  • Feminism

Restrictions:The collection is unrestricted.
Related Materials:

The Second Wave: A Magazine of the New Feminism records (M19).

A microfilmed version of the Female Liberation: A Radical Feminist Organization records is located in the Archives Faculty Publications Collection filed under Grassroots Feminist Organizations.

Processor: Finding aid prepared by Dominique Tremblay, November 2006; updated by Anna J. Cook, July 2010.

Historical Note

Female Liberation began in 1968 with a small group of women activists hoping to challenge the subjugation of women in America. These women were committed to confronting issues, such as self defense for women, equal distribution of housework, consumerism, birth control, abortion, childcare, the media's portrayal of women, and guaranteed minimum pay. They published weekly newsletters and quarterly journals, such as No More Fun and Games and The Second Wave, in addition to holding public meetings, classes, and demonstrations to protest perceived injustices against women.

As Female Liberation grew, some of the new women who came to work in the office were members of the Young Socialist Alliance of the Socialist Worker Party (YSA/SWP). The YSA/SWP women began building coalitions between Female Liberation and other groups as a means of gaining political power. Unfortunately, this method of political organization ran counter to the original intent of the founding members, who strongly believed that Female Liberation needed to remain independent to the ensure the purity of its message.

In 1970, after a brief attempt to reconcile these opposing political ideologies, the core group of original members (Dana Densmore, Lisa Leghorn, Abby Rockefeller, Betsy Warrior and Jayne West) officially split from Female Liberation and renamed themselves Cell 16. After the split, legal arguments ensued over ownership of the Boylston Street office, office equipment, back stock of publications, legal rights to the name Female Liberation, and mail addressed to the Boylston Street office. Despite the legal battles, by February 1971, both groups had reorganized themselves and were once again active participants in the Women's Movement. By 1974, however, Female Liberation disbanded permanently due to an inability to "agree on priorities or political perspective" (Press Release: The End of Female Liberation, 1974). Female Liberation ultimately split into three groups—The Second Wave, which continued to publish feminist journals; I am Woman, a radio show on WBZ-FM; and a third group that began work on an unnamed women's liberation newspaper.

1968Birth of Female Liberation: A Radical Feminist Organization
1968-1972Publishes six issues of No More Fun and Games: A Journal of Female Liberation.
1970Cell 16 and Female Liberation splits.
1970Female Liberation begins publishing The Second Wave.
1972Female Liberation and YSA/SWP begin to dissolve ties.
1974Female Liberation disbands completely into three groups, The Second Wave Journal, I am Woman radio show, and a third group that plans to publish an unnamed female liberation newspaper.
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1Black and Third World Women's Liberation1971-1972
1Boston University Female Liberation1971-1972
1Boston Women's Abortion Coalition1971-1972
Cell 16/Female Liberation Split
1Cell 16 Statements1970-1971
1Female Liberation Statements1970
1Financial and Legal Documents 1970
1Correspondence (3 folders)1968-1973
1"Females and Liberation: A Collection of Articles" by Dana Densmore1970
1Film Series (with Cambridge Women's Center)1973
1Financial Records1969-1971
1Gynecological Self-Help Presentation1972-1973
1Letter of Resignation (Office Manager of Female Liberation) 1972
1National Abortion Coalition1971, 1973
1Newsletter: Voice of Women's Liberation Movement1968
1-2Newsletter: Female Liberation (8 folders)1969-1973, n.d.
2Newsletter: Proceduresn.d.
2"No More Fun and Games: A Journal of Female Liberation" (3 folders)1968-1970
2"No More Fun and Games: A Journal of Female Liberation": Journal Requests1969-1970
2"No More Fun and Games: A Journal of Female Liberation": Unsolicited Articles1969-1970
2Operations of Female Liberationca.1970
2People's Action Against Cutbacks1973
2Position Papers1968-1972, n.d.
2Press Release: The End of Female Liberation1974
2"The Right to Choose Abortion" (Journal)ca.1971
2"The Second Wave" (v.2, n.3)n.d.