Archives and Special Collections
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Collection Overview
Name of Creator:Women's Educational Center (Cambridge, Mass.).
Title:Women's Educational Center (Cambridge, Mass.) records
Reference Code:M47
Location Code:66/1, 33/3
Extent:12.00 cubic ft. (16 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:The collection documents the efforts of the Women's Educational Center to provide a safe haven for women in the Boston area. It also documents the growth of the women's movement, not only in the Boston area, but also across the country. Administrative records document the group's formation, day-to-day operations, and governance. Staff Logs include information regarding the Women's Educational Center's organization and services. Subject files contain descriptions of the Women's Educational Center sponsored events, and information about affiliated groups. The collection also contains materials about women's issues, such as the forced sterilization and reproductive rights, job training, and lesbian mothers. Also included is the group's newsletter, "On Our Way," which contains articles about women's rights, announcements, book reviews, listings of support groups, and information about the groups that meet or have met at the Women's Educational Center.
Historical Abstract:In 1970, Bread and Roses, a group of Socialist-Feminist women in Boston, Massachusetts, began searching for a building to house a center for women. In March 1971, Bread and Roses seized an unoccupied building, owned by Harvard University, on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Bread and Roses held the building for ten days, offering free classes and child care before they were forced out. Sympathetic individuals donated $5,000, and in June 1971, Bread and Roses bought a house in Cambridge. The Women's Center (later incorporated as the Women's Educational Center) opened in January 1972. The Women's Educational Center is committed to the philosophy that women, empowered by taking responsibility for their lives, are able to help themselves and effect change in their communities. Staffed mostly by volunteers, the Women's Educational Center provides women with referrals to outside community resources, including doctors, therapists, lawyers, clinics, housing and job opportunities. Over time, some of the groups that have met at the Women's Educational Center have developed into independent organizations, such as the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Finex House, Incest Resources, and Transition House, a shelter for women and children who are escaping violent home situations.
Language and Scripts:The majority of the materials are in English, but some materials are in Spanish.
System of Arrangement:The collection is organized into three series: Series 1. Administration. Series 2. Subject Files. Series 3. Newsletters.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Bread and Roses (Organization)
  • Women's Educational Center (Cambridge, Mass.)
  • Bread and Roses (Organization)
  • Women's Educational Center (Cambridge, Mass.)

  • Women -- Services for
  • Women -- Societies and clubs
  • Women in charitable work -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
  • Women in community organization -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
  • Women volunteers in social service -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
  • Feminism -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
  • Feminist Therapy
  • Group psychotherapy
  • Self-help groups

Conditions Governing Access:The collection is unrestricted.
Immediate Source of Acquisition:Materials were donated by the Women's Educational Center, Cambridge, Mass. in two installments in 1997 and 2006.
Accruals:There may be future accruals to this collection.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:Some copyright restrictions may apply.
Finding Aids:Boston Women's Union (M145), Abortion Action Coalition (M21), Boston Women's Music Collective (M22), Somerville (Mass.) Women's Educational Center, Inc. (M26)
Related Materials:

A microfilmed version of the Women’s Educational Center (Cambridge, Mass) records is located in the Archives Faculty Publications Collection filed under Grassroots Feminist Organizations.

The Archives and Special Collections Department capture the website content of the Women’s Educational Center, which is accessible at:*/

Processor:Finding aid prepared by Cat Lea and Cynthia Rufo, September 2002 and July 2008