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Collection Overview

Holden, Miriam Young.
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Miriam Y. Holden Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1676-1993 (mostly 1930-1969)
104 boxes and 45.0 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1-104


The Miriam Holden Collection consists of books, periodicals, manuscripts, clippings, photographs, cartoons, letters, and other materials about women and their achievements collected by Holden.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection contains personal papers of Holden, including lectures, speeches, articles and correspondence, reflecting the views of American feminists during the post-19th Amendment, pre- Feminine Mystique era, especially the early efforts to pass an equal rights Amendment. Also included alongside contemporary feminist views is a bulk of materials related to the role women have played in long history, from ancient Rome to the first women lawyers to depictions of women in mythical stories, reflecting Holden's belief that something needed to be done about the absence of women in the world's history.

Papers of mid-20th century women's rights groups feature prominently in this collection, especially the National Woman's Party, of which Miriam Holden was a member of the National Council. Materials from this group contain bound volumes of correspondence, pamphlets, Equal Rights, and a detailed record of the 1947 schism within the party. Also included are papers related to the World Center for Women's Archives, including extensive correspondence with Mary Beard. Also included are collections of papers belonging to Eugenie Andruss Leonard and Elsa Grove Butler, both friends of Holden and fellow women's studies scholars. Materials related to The American Woman in Colonial and Revolutionary Times, 1565-1800: A Syllabus with Bibliography, written by Miriam Holden, Eugenie Andruss Leonard, and Sophie Hutchinson Drinker, are also included as are the 34 radio scripts for the 1939-40 series "The Gallant American Woman," written by Jane Asham. Many of these materials represent the earliest stages of women's history as a body of scholarship and demonstrate efforts made by individuals before the formal establishment of this body of historical study in 1963.

The largest portion of this collection belongs to the Subject Files--materials collected by Miriam Holden on specific topics, people, events, and ideas. These largely cover subjects related to women's rights and history, although also include many other topics of interest to Holden, including anti-vivisection, hurricanes, New York social clubs, and social welfare. Many of these files include clippings, book reviews, pamphlets, advertisements, and notes. These subject files also include original 19th-century materials belonging to such important women as Belva Lockwood, Susan B. Anthony, Lydia Maria Child, Dorothea Dix, Caroline Norton, Alice Paul, and Victoria Woodhull. These materials largely include correspondence and writings. There are also several original sermons (mid-19th-century) and an autograph song by Victoria Woodhull on the Beecher & Tilton Scandal.

Above all, this collection clearly demonstrates the efforts of a woman who spent her life collecting knowledge about the role of women in history in a time when women's history had yet to be established as a formal field of historical inquiry as well as her dedication to the cause of advancing women's rights during the 20th-century.

Collection Creator Biography:

Holden, Miriam Young.

Miriam Holden was born Miriam Young in Boston in 1893. She graduated from Miss Mary's School and attended Simmons College. After marrying Arthur Holden, she moved to New York, where she and her husband had three children. She was active in such diverse organizations as the Junior League, the Urban League, family-planning groups, and settlement-house work. She was on the advisory boards of the Women's Archives at Radcliffe College and the friends of the Columbia University Libraries, and co-authored The American Woman in Colonial and Revolutionary Times, 1565-1800. She was also a member of the National Council of the National Woman's Party and created the Miriam Young Holden Library in New York City in order to document the roles of women in history and to help researchers further the cause of women's histories. She died in 1977.

Collection History


This collection was the gift of Miriam and Arthur Holden in 1980 (AM 80-58) with additional gifts from Arthur Holden in 1980 (AM 80-58a) and 1990 (AM 1990-108). Some materials were also extracted from the Arthur Holden Papers (C0767, AM 1994-121) in 1999. The collection was added to with a purchase in 1996 (AM 1996-07) and a gift from the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library in 2013 (AM 2012-72). Provenance and acquisition information was kept in tact as much as possible through reprocessing, but some materials were not documented in records.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection underwent substantial reprocessing in 2014 by Nicholas Williams '2015, which included restructuring and re-housing of materials.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Miriam Y. Holden Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184

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Related Materials

The Princeton University Library also possesses Mrs. Holden's collection of books relating to women and women's studies.

Subject Terms:
American literature -- Women authors -- 20th century.
Authors and publishers -- 20th century.
Authors, American -- 20th century.
Autographs -- Collections.
Book collectors -- United States -- 20th century.
Christianity and other religions.
Civil rights -- United States -- 20th century.
Civil rights movements -- United States -- 20th century.
Collectors and collecting -- United States -- 20th century.
Constitutional law -- United States -- 20th century.
Education, Higher -- United States -- 20th century.
Feminism -- Religious aspects -- Judaism.
Feminism and literature.
Feminists -- United States.
International Women's Year, 1975.
Presidents' wives -- United States -- 20th century.
Princeton University
Publishers and publishing.
Slave records -- United States -- 19th century.
Social reformers -- United States -- 20th century.
Suffrage -- United States.
Suffragettes -- United States -- 19th century.
Women -- Economic conditions -- 20th century.
Women -- Education -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Women -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- 19th century.
Women -- Suffrage -- United States.
Women college students -- Education.
Women in politics.
Women's history.
Women's rights -- United States.
Women's studies.
Genre Terms:
Commonplace books -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 19th century
Engravings -- 19th century.
Historians -- United States.
Radio scripts -- United States.
World Center for Women's Archives
National Woman's Party
Asham, Jane