What’s New

Spring 2023

News from the Women@MIT Archival Initiative

A sepia-toned photo of two women sitting outdoors in long dresses

Ellen Swallow Richards and Louisa Hewins at Middlesex Fells, May 7, 1899. Journal of Louisa Hewins, “Excursions: Boston and Vicinity,” 1896–1899, Collection on Ellen Swallow Richards, Distinctive Collections.

Launched in 2017, the initiative seeks to add the records of women faculty, staff, students, and alumnae to the historic record by collecting, preserving, and sharing their life and work with MIT and global audiences. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Ellen Swallow Richards being the first woman to graduate from MIT, Distinctive Collections staff have finished digitizing the collections on Richards and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Woman’s Laboratory, making 77 folders’ worth of materials available on the early history of women at MIT. In addition, the records of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program have been processed and are open for research.

The initiative will once again host a fellowship program, inviting scholars, activists, artists, musicians, writers, and others to propose projects that showcase the Women@MIT collections in informative and engaging ways, contributing to the greater understanding of the history of women at the Institute and in STEM. In 2021 the first Women@MIT fellows, multimedia artists Mariana Roa Oliva and Maya Bjornson, created “A Lab of One’s Own,” an immersive video game in which players encounter archival materials that tell the stories of women from MIT’s history.

Follow the MIT Libraries on Instagram (@mitlibraries) to see highlights from the collections on “Women at MIT Wednesdays.”

The Women@MIT Archival Initiative is generously supported by Barbara Ostrom ’78 and Shirley Sontheimer.