Note from Martha Peterson to Catharine Stimpson, 1971, page 2

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To the Friends of the Schlesinger Library:

The last week of November with its traditional pause for thanksgiving
seems an especially appropriate time this year for the Schlesinger Library to com-
municate with its Friends. We write in gratitude, eager to convey to you a little of
our own excitement about what the Friends have made possible for the Library.

For any of our readers whose memory reaches back to the first decades of
this century the name of Charlotte Perkins Gilman will be familiar. Then a widely
read author and lecturer, she is being hailed today, after forty years of relative
neglect, as one of the two boldest and most original thinkers in the long history of
the woman’s movement in the United States, sharing this honor with the redoubt-
able Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Since the time of Mrs. Gilman’s death in 1935 her papers in their entirety
had remained in the hands of her daughter, Mrs. Katharine Stetson Chamberlin
of Pasadena, California. With the revived appreciation in the late 1960’s of
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s work, many scholars longed to be able to examine
these papers which were known to be extensive.

Aware that this was the case and encouraged by a cordial note from Mrs.
Chamberlin, the Director of the Schlesinger Library stopped in Pasadena to call
on her just a year ago at this time during a West Coast trip and was able to convey
to her the Library’s interest in the manuscripts. Some months of correspondence
followed in which Mrs. Chamberlin sought the answer to her own earnest ques-
tion as to the proper repository for her mother's papers.

Meanwhile more than one of the great historical libraries of the country
were pressing to obtain the papers. At the crucial moment in the decision, funds
derived from the Friends’ memberships became the determining factor. The result
has been that the Schlesinger Library is now the recipient of an astonishingly rich
and varied Charlotte Perkins Gilman collection.

Over a thousand of her own letters, two unpublished book-length manu-
scripts, original hand-written drafts of poems, complete texts of many of her best
known lectures and that famous short story, “The Yellow Wall Paper,” all in her
own hand, constitute an important part of the whole. In addition there are her
journals, and letters from leading intellectual figures of the day: Edward Bellamy,
Lester Ward, E.A. Ross, H.G. Wells, many of the English Fabians, Jane Addams,
Susan B. Anthony, William Dean Howells, and a host of others.

Howells wrote to her in 1919, “I hope you will like to let me use your terrible
story of ‘The Yellow Wall Paper’ in a book which I am making . . . and thinking of
calling ‘Little Masterpieces of American Fiction’. You will be in the best company I
know, and I hope you will not curdle their blood past liquefying . . . . ”