Letter from Gordon Meadows-Hills to "Feminist Studies," October 23, 1971

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311 Coryell Court East Seattle, Wn. 98102 October 23, 1971 Staff>__ Feminist“Studies 606—West 116th St. New York, N.Y. 10027

I am enclosing a copy of a letter I sent to Michell Rudy of the American Library Associa- tion Social Responsibilities Roundtable, Taskforce on the Status of Women and Women's Liberation ("ALA SRRT on Women"). If you

can help me in this project in any way, I'd appreciate it.

I am also enclosing for you also a copy

of my thesis announcement. I have a short form which I'd like to place in yfiur publi-

’cation (edited by Off Our Backs staff member

frances). Let me know if there is a fee. "Proposed thesis subject:"library

Collections pertaining to Women", including

an international survey, bibliographic~reviey and exhaustive bibliography. Gordon H. Meadows— Hills considers his role as "strictly that of

a compiler", with his interpretations subject to the review of "activist" women. Send inform- ation about sources and collections, no matter how small or esoteric, to him at 311 Coryell Ct. East, Seattle, Wn. 98102".

Is it possible to see a sample copy too, of Feminist Studies?

Sincerely, ; - :_1g

Gordon Meadows—Hil1s

J [inc /osonve

_ 311 Coryell Court East ’ - Seattle, Wn. 98102 October 23, 1971

Michell Rudy

1403 Le Gove Lane

Manhattan, Kansas 66502

Michell Rudy:

I am writing you in your position as head of the ALA SRRT on Status of Women and Women's Liberation. Enclosed is a copy of my thesis announcement. If you have any suggestions as to how most effectively to approach this subject, I'd appreciate hearing from you. I have already received a number of good ideas, and with them I am only just_starting to clarify the scope and plan of the thesis.

It will be, I think, a comprehensive bibliographic review of worldwide resources or collections pertaining to women. An ultimate goal Ifidmlihgigpssee realized someday is an international union catalog pbftaining to women, or at least a very comprehensive biblio- graphy as a preliminary.


The other matter I'am writing you about is this:... I am pursuing a special project here currently that involves a comparison of subject headings used in the U.W. Library under these designations, and their "see" and "see also" references: man,men,male masculine,mankind::: woman,women,female,feminine,womankind:::(plus3 Human(N.),Vumanity,Sex.

One idea, or purpose, is to construct a set of headings which would enable a woman to most efficiently discover library resources of int— erest to women, assuming a society characterized by full equality for both men and women, as individuals with life experiences full of common- ly shared potential( and where the special burdens of child—bearing and child-rearing would be adequately assumed by society at large.) This is an experifimental project, and I am not exactly shre how to do this. Another idea is to run a text to illustrate the male supremacist bias in currently used headings in subject classification. This would be to simply reverse the references for both sexes. For example, under "Man", one would find "See also boys, human(n.),humanity, fathers, single men, widowers, young men, also men as artists, men as authors, men as physicians and similiar headings, also men in astrflfinautics, men in literature and art; men in the US and similiar subjects. XMen, XX Anthropology, family, boys, young men." we

‘ee“h” .At any rate I have looked in vain in the library literature for

studies on sex—designations in subject headings. Anita Schiller briefly touched on this some time ago. Maybe I should write her also. Do you know of any? Or lists of descriptors used by feminists? Erom the Women's History Research Center in Berkeley I find in their catalog of materials a lot of "Women as——-", "Women in —-—"-and "Women and-——", but not a very effective classification scheme, as far as I can Tell.

I would first compare, side by side, what one finds new under each designation above. Then, to expose the sexist character of this, I would reverse, as closely as possible, the references (see my example above). I might then show the new scheme to men and women, to get their reaction. (Maybe the men would be disconcerted and frustrated; maybe the women would be pleased and stimulated:::both might obtain thereby a new grasp of sex discrimination in this country. Anyway it's one experiment.)

Or we would make them both the same, as under the male headings. There would be changes for general headings like "Man", which would be

' "Human"(n.) (?), "Mankind"—-—Humanity, etc. And "Prostitution" would also



have a "See" reference to "Men—Social and Moral Questions", etc, just

as there already is now for "Women". Astoundingly enough, there_are gg references under "Men" at all except "See flafl"(!) and "See Young Men". Apparently on reaching maturity (adulthood,mujority) a human male in the Western world is no longer the subject of objective regard in himself. (My authority throughout in this letter has been Sears List of Subject Headings). .

Any light or other assistance you can direct my way will be really appreciated. I am also sending a copy of this letter to the publication staff of Feminist Studies, 606-West 116th St., NY, NY 10027. When I have alternative lists of headings set up, I'll run experiments with students here to see the effect of these changes on catalog use and effectiveness for finding materials generally, as well as the effect on their attitude toward their own sex as well as the opposite, etc.

Later on, if the project proves constructive and enlightening, I'll produce an article for publication in the appropriate periodicals, in the library and feminist areas, as a report and summary.

Sincerely, V Gordon Meadows-Hills Graduate student, University of Washington School of Librarianship.

60?’. 147/


. As a graduate student at the University of Washington School of Librarianship, I have chosen the thesis subject "library collections pertaining to women". It was suggested to me by William Mandel of Berkeley, California,i%uthority on Soviet life and author of "Soviet Komen and Their Self-Image".

In recent years I have become involved in issues of direct concern to all women and a small yet growing number of men, both from the standpoint of 1ong—overdue change 'within the system‘ and that of revolutionary politics. The committment to work professionally for an equitable balance in all spheres of human endeavor was acquired through the decisive.eff0rts of Janet Meadows, of Seattle Radical Women.

Though the final form and practical approach have not yet been determined, its scope will be as comprehensive as possible, including an international survey. There will be a bibliographic review, followed by an exhaustive bibliography, possibly running into extra volumes.

I anticipate a great deal of aid and advice from many sources and many women, and consider my role to be strictly that of a com ilcr, if you will, and any interpretations on my part will as a matter of course be reviewed editorially by knowledgeable, activist women of diverse viewpoints. Their comments will be appended. '

If you can refer me to bibliographic sources, references, lists or collections, or works—in—progress, no matter how small or esoteric, whether in or outside of the conventional "library" framework, or efforts to coordinate any of those, I am very anxious to have this information.

I intend the completed work to be an indispensable reference tool for women's studies or related programs anywhere. Full credits will be given to all individuals and groups offering gpy


>-help, substantive or otherwise. These will be included in an

annotated directory.

write, Gordon H. Meadows—Hil1s 311 Coryell Court East Seattle, Wn. 98102