The thing I love most about working in Archives and Special Collections is the opportunity I get to glimpse into the lives of individuals and get a sense of their thoughts and feelings. I’m particularly interested in learning about the interior lives of women, especially as women are often underrepresented in the archival record, including in Stanford’s own collections. I did a (very rough, very inexact) examination of about 2300 collections held by Stanford’s Manuscripts Division, looking specifically at collections 1 box or more. Looking only at collections centered around a particular individual or family, the rough math worked out to about 72% of collections centered on men, 22% centered on women, and 6% centered on families. Again, these numbers aren’t exact, but the collections are undoubtedly dominated by men.
With that said, I’d like to highlight some moments from the lives three women represented in our collections: Edith M. Garretson Davies, Nellie Kono, and Marilyn Lyttle.