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Women's Museum of California

Women's Museum of California

Founded in 1983, the Women's Museum of California is one of five women's museums in the United States. The museum's mission is to educate and inspire current and future generations about the experiences and contributions of women by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the documentary and visual evidence of those experiences. The museum aims to provide the community a broad collection of reference materials that document women’s history and the female experience.

With approximately 4,000 works in the Library Collection, the interdisciplinary nature concerning women’s history is reflected in our holdings - offering resources on a wide variety of disciplines such as women in the arts, women’s health & reproductive rights, women in the military, biographical works, LGBT studies, law & politics, and seminal works on the first and second waves of the feminist movement. The majority of the Library Collection is comprised of printed works including books, journals, and periodicals. A small collection of audio-visual materials are available, including early sound recordings (vinyl) and our oral history collection that includes interviews from prominent women in the Unitarian Universalist Church and San Diego’s Hall of Fame Inductees.

The Women’s Museum of California also houses a historically significant Special Collection containing rare and out-of-print volumes dating from the mid-1800s. A prized collection is a first edition set of Susan B. Anthony’s and Ida Husted Harper’s “The History of Women’s Suffrage,” the only known first edition to exist in California.

The Women's Museum of California's Archival Collection houses nearly 300 linear feet of material documenting the life and work of prominent female leaders and organizations' commitment to women's rights and representation. The Archival Collection includes the first women’s studies program developed at San Diego State University, collections from U.N. Conferences on the Status of Women, the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.), the Older Women’s League (O.W.L.), California Women for Agriculture, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (W.I.L.P.F.), National League of American Pen Women, League of Women Voters, National Women’s Political Caucus, the American Association of University Women, and finally Planned Parenthood and the Women’s Care Clinic of San Diego. The personal papers and archival collections of prominent women include our founder, Mary Maschal; California suffragist sympathizer, Alice Park; Nancy Reeves; former California Senator, Lucy Killea; and Alice Barnes.

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