Those Extraordinary Blackwells: Leaders of Social Reform in 19th and 20th Century America


This project consist of a collection of approximately 120,000 digitized items documenting the historic Blackwell Family and their involvement in United States women’s suffrage, abolition, prohibition, health care, and education reform movements in the 19th and 20th centuries. The project was made possible by a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

The Blackwell Family Collection offers researchers access to five generations of family diaries, correspondence, sermons, lectures, orations and political speeches. Additionally, the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America has also digitized The Woman’s Journal, an influential journal covering a wide spectrum of issues important to women, which was published by members of the Blackwell family from 1870 to 1917.

The Schlesinger Library would like to thank Andrew Silva of the Harvard Law School Library for developing the original SuiteSpot system and for then sharing his time and efforts to help develop it further for the Schlesinger Library’s needs. Thanks also to the following people: Marilyn Dunn, Schlesinger Library Executive Director and Librarian of the Radcliffe Institute for her leadership and support for the project; Amy Benson, Schlesinger Librarian/ Archivist for Digital Initiatives, for guiding the project’s first phase of technical development; Jenny Gotwals, Lead Manuscript Archivist; Amanda Hegarty, Collections Conservator; Jennifer Weintraub, Digital Archivist/Librarian; Paula Aloisio, Archivist & Metadata Specialist; Catherine Lea Holbrook, Archivist; Johanna Carll, Archivist & Metadata Specialist; the student workers assisting in the project: Adam Schutzman, Amanda Landis, Susan Booth, and Katie Fortier; Jason Knight, Application Platform Analyst with Harvard University Information Technology, for his consistent and generous server support as the team transitioned the suites from a locally-hosted to Harvard Library supported server system; Mary Murphy, Schlesinger Library Project Manager, who pulled all of the players together to move the Schlesinger Suites project forward; and most especially to the NHPRC for supporting the digitization and delivery of the Blackwell Family Collection through its grant program and to Pablo Morales Henry, Schlesinger Library Programmer and Born Digital Archivist, who implemented the final development and design work for the project as it stands today.