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

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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Title:Phyllis M. Ryan papers
Dates:1959-1988 (bulk 1961-1988)
Call Number:M94

Scope and Content Note

The Phyllis Milgroom Ryan papers document the social justice causes with which Ryan was active from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, including civil rights, housing discrimination, racial imbalance in local schools and school desegregation, prison reform, welfare reform, interfaith relations, and disability rights, with an emphasis on the Boston area. This collection also includes material relating to the campaigns of various political figures, especially African Americans from Massachusetts, during the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, the papers document Ryan's efforts to defeat particular candidates for public office, including Governor Michael Dukakis in 1976 and Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964. Because she served as the press representative for many organizations, causes, and political candidates, there is a strong emphasis on press releases by and clippings about these movements in the collection. Also included are correspondence, reports, media coverage, notes, newsletters, meeting minutes, and organizational records of these groups as well as some material relating to state and federal legislation. There are a few personal files, which include Ryan's resume and interviews in which she reflected on her experience as an activist. The newspaper clippings document many of these issues, especially in greater Boston. Few records document the period when Ryan lived in New Haven, Conn., from 1967 to 1971.