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Yale Divinity School Women's Center Records

Call Number: RG 320

Scope and Contents

The Yale Divinity School Women’s Center Records cover a wide range of material, including the Center's administrative and operational records, Women’s Center publications, financial records, collected resources (including non-Yale Divinity journals, magazines, church history), audio-visual material, and memorabilia. The collection documents milestone events in women’s history at Yale Divinity School, including the "Liberation of the Divinity Library Men’s Room," Margaret Farley’s tenure, and the Women’s Interseminary Conference and Retreat. Material from this collection has been included in the Yale University Library online exhibit for the inaugural celebration of Women at Yale called “A Herstory of Yale Divinity School: Women at YDS, 1907–Today.”

This collection will be of interest to researchers studying both the history of women at Yale Divinity School and the development of women’s issues in the United States, as the Women's Center collected publications that reflect on the status of women in academia, the development of women’s rights, and the evolution of women’s liberation.

The material in this Collection has been separated from documentation concerning the Yale Divinity School Women’s History Project, which is housed within the Yale Divnity School Memorabilia Collection. Refer to Record Group 53 to supplement the material in this collection.

Series I, Administrative and Operational Records, is divided into three categories, including board records, history and communications, and correspondence between the Women’s Center and Yale Divinity School. Letters range from women faculty members organizing events with the early financial support of the Women’s Center to modern emails from the Women’s Center student directors.

Series II, Publications, Activities, and Events, includes correspondence regarding VOICE magazine, the Women’s Center biannual journal that “honors the dangerous memory of women and non-binary communities through creative expression,” and documentation of Women's Center events. The collection contains historic issues of VOICE as well as the most recent issue of the magazine, which was revived in 2019.

Series III includes the Financial Records of the Women’s Center dating from 1973 to 2015, including reimbursement forms, bank forms, and annual budget documents created by the Center.

Series IV consists of collected resource materials that were gathered for the use of students in the Women’s Center over the years. Feminist resources are organized alphabetically and consist of folders of material collected and labeled by the Women’s Center, topically organized from "Abortion" to "Women's ordination." The folders in this sequence have been kept in the same order in which they were received. Series IV also includes resources published by outside organizations, journals, and church denominations on the topics of women’s history, rights, and pop culture. Some of these publications can also be found in other Yale repositories. In 1980, the Director of the Women’s Center systematically contacted various organizations regarding the Center’s subscription to newsletters and magazines. If found in the collection, these letters are located at the beginning of each folder spanning the following subsections: ‘Documentation of organizations and centers’ and ‘Newsletters.’

The Women’s Center documented its history in albums of photographs and flyers, which have been deconstructed and filed in Series V, Audio-Visual Material. The images and clippings found in these scrapbooks have been kept in order of appearance. Series V also contains film strips and photographs from Women’s Center’s events, the Women’s Inter-seminary Conference, and day-to-day activities. There are also VHS tapes that record a Women’s Center-sponsored event called “Breaking the Sound Barrier.” One flyer for the event can be found in Series II, under the subsection Events.


  • 1943 - 2020

Conditions Governing Access

The material is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the YDS Women's Center, 2020.


Organized in six series:

I. Administrative and Operational Records

II.Publications, Activities, and Events

III. Financial Records

IV. Collected Resources

V. Audio-Visual Material

VI. Memorabilia


10.5 Linear Feet (30 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Yale Divinity School Women’s Center Records include administrative and operational records, Women’s Center publications, financial records, an extensive selection of collected materials (including non-Yale Divinity journals, magazines, church history), audio-visual material and memorabilia.

Biographical / Historical

The Women’s Center was founded in 1971 under the leadership of Joan Bates Forsberg, who was Advocate for Women and Registrar at the Yale Divinity School at the time. The Center was created as a place for the particular concerns of women to be heard and addressed, and as a space for community-building.

The current mission of the Women's Center is “to provide a safe, supportive community for discussion and reflection on experiences in ministry, academia, related fields, and our personal lives. All cis women, trans women, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming individuals are welcome in our safe space. We aim to empower students to stand together in the work towards gender equity in their relationships, academic and sacred spaces, work places, and the wider world.” The Women’s Center also hosts events open to the entire Divinity School community, typically with the focus on raising awareness about the persistence of gender-based discrimination and injustice against women.
Guide to the Yale Divinity School Women's Center Records
Sarah Ambrose, Claire Barnes, and Martha Lund Smalley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Part of the Yale Divinity Library Repository

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