Hidden Histories: Uncovering Women in Music and Art in the Twentieth Century


The collections address two different realms of women's artistic expression; which taken together will tell a broad story of the experience of female artists working in a variety of media and from a diverse range of backgrounds in 20th century America. The first group includes the collections of women jazz artists held by the Libraries' Institute of Jazz Studies (IJS): Ella Fitzgerald, known as America's First Lady of Song; Abbey Lincoln, a singular vocal stylist, composer, and civil rights activist; Annie Ross, vocalese pioneer recently named an NEA Jazz Master; Victoria Spivey, blues singer whose career extended from 1920s recordings with Louis Armstrong to a 1960s association with Bob Dylan; Wilma Dobie, pioneering promoter, journalist, and jazz activist. The second focuses on the archives of women visual artists and organizations held by the Special Collections and University Archives (SC/UA):Lucy Lippard Women's Art Registry: documentation of many women artists in the 1970s; Heresies, inc. Records: one of the key collectives in the feminist art movement; National Association of Women Artists: oldest professional organization of women artists; Elsa Honig Fine Papers: covers the publication of the Woman's Art Journal; Women's Caucus for Art: an advocacy organization for women artists. Materials include music manuscripts; personal papers; exhibition announcements; photographs; exhibit catalogs; business records; press releases; and audio and video performances.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



Rutgers University Libraries


  • Fernanda Perrone

Collection Size

364 cubic feet

Date Range

1927 - 2010

Geographic Scope

Primarily United States with limited coverage of women artists from Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Asia.