Ramona Barth papers, 1880-2002, undated

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Volume: 4.25 linear feet

Organization/Arrangement: Organized into eight series:
I. Biographical
II. Correspondence
III. Manuscripts
IV. Published articles
V. Events
VI. Photographs
VII. Memorabilia
VIII. Audio/Visual

Biographical Note: Ramona Sawyer was born in 1911 in Ware, Massachusetts, and attended grade school in Ware before enrolling in Tuft's Jackson College for Women. She studied sociology and graduated magna cum laude in 1932. From there she went on to Meadville Theological School in Chicago, where she met Joseph Barth in 1934. They married in London in the same year, then returned to Chicago so Barth could finish his degree. Ramona Barth graduated from Meadville also in 1934. They moved to Newton, Massachusetts, where Joseph had his first ministry and Ramona had their first child. In 1936 they moved to Maine after Joseph lost the ministry in Newton. Their second child was born in Maine, but the family had been there only a year when Joseph was invited to take a ministry in Miami. They spent 15 years in Miami - Joseph preaching in his church, and Ramona writing prolifically. It was there she wrote her book on Florence Nightingale, The Fiery Angel, published in 1945, and published many articles as well.

In 1955, Barth and her husband moved back to Boston, where Joseph had been given a ministry on Beacon Hill at King's Chapel. Here, Barth began getting more involved with the women's liberation movement. The couple had a brief separation in 1963, but reunited, ultimately raising 5 children together. Barth joined the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966. Joseph left his ministry in 1971 and the couple retired to Alna, Maine, in 1972. Joseph died in 1988. Barth remained active in her community, particularly with the Alna, Maine, branch of NOW. She also organized a number of events for Edna St. Vincent Millay in Camden, as well as events for Anne Hutchinson and Margaret Fuller in Boston. She passed away in 2002 in Alna, Maine.

Description: The items in this collection range from unpublished manuscripts, to stamp collections, to large posters. There is a small collection of VHS and cassettes, as well as transparencies with which Barth made t-shirts (including one of her own face). Overall, the collection is made up of eight distinct series. The topics are varied, but because of Barth's passion for feminism, women's liberation is a common theme that threads throughout the entire collection. As early as her college essays, Barth explores the idea of changing gender roles, and more personal freedoms for women. Another common theme is spirituality and the role of feminism in religion. She writes extensively on Unitarian women as well as feminist critiques of the Bible. Common topics for her feminist essays include motherhood, domesticity and sexuality. In her involvement with various events, and her creative pursuits, Barth memorializes her historic feminist role models like Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Fuller, Anne Hutchinson and Florence Nightingale.

Series one contains biographical material such as school work from grade school to graduate school, yearbooks, newspaper clippings about Barth and material relating to her husband, Joseph. Series two contains personal and professional letters, as well as a number of postcards. Series three contains any work that went unpublished, including essays, articles and book manuscripts. Series four contains any published work found in newspapers, magazines or journals. Series five contains material relating to the many events Barth organized, including celebrations of feminist icons like Margaret Fuller, and Puerto Rico's Women's Week. Series six contains both personal photographs and images Barth used for research purposes. Series seven contains the memorabilia collected by Barth such as stamps, postcards and posters. Lastly, series eight contains audio/visual material such as VHS and cassette tapes.

Access Restrictions: None

Please cite as: Ramona Barth Collection, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Portland, Maine

Container List:

I. Biographical
The biographical series spans Barth's entire life - from her first grade school reports in 1922 to her obituary in 2002. This series includes her school records through graduate school at Meadville, as well as high school and college essays. Included are three copies of the "Ware High Times" of which Barth (then Sawyer) was editor in chief. High school essay topics included "In Appreciation of Elizabeth Fry,” "Philippine Independence,” and "What College Can Help Me Do for Myself." Her college work includes an essay published in The Tuftonian - Tuft's literary magazine –  entitled "Formula C2K," in which she explores the importance of questioning "inherited opinions" and the need for critical thinking in a university setting. Additionally, this series contains Tufts commencement memorabilia, including the pamphlet of Class Day exercises, in which Barth is listed as one of two chapel orators. Barth's Meadville papers most notably include her dissertation, written in 1932, entitled "A Survey of Twentieth Century Studies in the Resurrection of Jesus." Other pieces of her work from Meadville are indicators of her longtime interest in social movements and change. In 1933, she wrote "What Kind of Social Agitators were the Prophets?"
     Also included in this series are newspaper articles written about Ramona Sawyer Barth. These span her life, from her youth - when she preached a sermon from her father's pulpit at the age of nineteen - to the early years of her marriage when she was featured in the Miami Daily News as one of "Today's Women.” Also included are articles on her as an author and book reviewer, and about her years of activism and community involvement. There is also a group of materials about her husband Joseph Barth, largely made up of articles, sermons and lectures he had published. Other pieces of note include an interview conducted by a UNE student, and a "Proposed Five Year Plan and Contract" Barth wrote for her husband, in which Barth lays out a laundry list of complaints, demands and needs concerning the next five years of their marriage.

001.  Newspaper clippings on Barth, 1920s-1930s
002.  School Reports: grade school through grad school, 1922-1935
003.  Ware High Times, 1927-1928
004.  School papers: high school, 1928
005.  School papers: high school, 1929
006.  Tufts Yearbook "Jumbo Book", 1930
007.  The Tuftonian article "Formula C2K", 1931
008.  Assignments and notes from Meadville, 1931-1932
009.  Tufts Yearbook "Jumbo Book", 1932
010.  Tufts commencement Memorabilia, 1932
011.  Assignments and notes - Meadville, 1933-1936
012.  Joseph and Ramona Barth Wedding Invitations, 1934
013.  Meadville Dissertation (1 of 3), 1934
014.  Meadville Dissertation (2 of 3), 1934
015.  Meadville Dissertation (3 of 3), 1934
016.  Junior Alliance - Ramona Barth Editor, 1936-1937
017.  Newspaper clippings on Barth, 1940s
018.  Info on Rev. Joseph Barth, 1943-1990
019.  Newspaper clippings on Barth, 1960s
020.  Newspaper clippings on Barth, 1970s
021.  "Proposed 5 Year Plan and Contract", 1976
022.  Rev. Roland D. and Mary Palmer Sawyer Scholarship, 1979-1981
023.  Newspaper clippings on Barth, 1980s
024.  Eulogy for Ruth Sawyer, 1982
025.  Newspaper clippings on Barth, 1990s
026.  "Ramona Barth Speaks About Her Life" interview, 1990
027.  "The Matriarch of the Tribe" Poem, 1995
028.  Calendar with notes, 1998
029.  Ramona Barth obituary, 2002
030.  Misc. biographical information, undated
031.  Newspaper clippings on Barth, undated
032.  Assignments and notes - Meadville, undated
033.  Ramona Barth resume, undated

II. Correspondence
The correspondence series includes both professional and personal letters, spanning from 1930 to 1990. There are letters from Margaret Chase Smith and artist Isaac Massar, as well as correspondence between Barth and MWWC curator Dorothy Healy. A large portion of the letters are in response to the magazine articles Barth wrote during the early years of her marriage concerning motherhood and early feminism. Some of these letters praise Barth's work, while others express dismay at her criticism of a woman's position in 1950s America. In the personal correspondence, there are two sets of letters marked "1st Russian lover" and "2nd Russian lover" – two men named Gregory and Sergei, respectively. The correspondence of later years, into the 1990's, is made up mostly of postcards.

001.  Correspondence - letters, photos, postcards, 1930-1945
002.  Letters concerning Barth's articles, 1949-1951
003.  Letters from and articles on Margaret Chase Smith, 1964-1972
004.  Correspondence - letters, postcards, brochures, 1984-1989
005.  Correspondence with Dorothy Healy, 1986
006.  Correspondence - letters, postcards, 1990s
007.  Letters from and articles on Ivan Massar, 1999

III. Manuscripts
Barth wrote prolifically throughout her life and anything that went unpublished is gathered in the third series. Most notable is her manuscript entitled "Famous Unitarian Women," which she wrote in 1940. There is a 1982 manuscript on Edna St. Vincent Millay, a 1993 manuscript on Anne Hutchinson and a 1995 manuscript on Frida Kahlo. Included in this series are a number of unpublished articles Barth wrote in the 1980s and 1990s, mostly concerning the changing role of women in American society. Lastly, interspersed throughout this series, is Barth's research, which includes notes on the Alcott family, booklets on women in the workforce, article clippings from other feminist authors, and information on the women about whom she was writing – Edna St. Vincent Millay, Florence Nightingale and others.

001.  "Joan of Arc" - research, 1880
002.  Newspaper clippings on famous women, 1921-1938
003.  Women at Work, Postward World - booklets, 1934-1944
004.  "Famous Unitarian Women" (1 of 5), c. 1940
005.  “Famous Unitarian Women” (2 of 5), c. 1940
006.  “Famous Unitarian Women” (3 of 5), c. 1940
007.  “Famous Unitarian Women” (4 of 5), c. 1940
008.  “Famous Unitarian Women” (5 of 5), c. 1940
009.  Articles by other writers, 1950s
010.  "The Liberated Woman" - Irene Davall, 1970s
011.  Clippings from other feminist writers, c. 1973
012.  "Why We Burn: A Feminist Exercise in Exorcism", 1974
013.  Edna St. Vincent Millay background, 1980-1994
014.  Barth's notes on the Alcott Family, 1980
015.  Edna St. Vincent Millay Manuscript, 1982
016.  "And the Ferraro Phenomenon: From Petticoat Power to Pantyhose Power", 1984
017.  "Looking Backwards - And Forwards", 1988
018.  "Older Woman, Younger Man", c. 1990
019.  "A Second Opinion", 1993
020.  "Anne Hutchinson - 350th Anniversary", 1993
021.  "My Hilary Hopes", 1993
022.  "The Fiery Feminists of the 60s", 1994
023.  "The Battle of the Sexes" - Frida Kahlo, 1995
024.  Florence Nightingale Research, 1997
025.  Speech at Cathedral Church, undated

IV. Published Articles
The fourth series gathers the articles Barth had published in her lifetime. As early as 1936, Barth was writing and publishing essays in which she discussed motherhood, family life, spirituality and women in modern society. Her earliest available article, "A Complete Life for Women" discusses the changing standards for "ideal womanhood." In 1937, she published an article entitled, "What You Owe Your Parents." In the 1940s, she wrote extensively on motherhood and women's rights, with the two issues often intersecting. Additionally, she had a number of book reviews published, gathering some local acclaim for her work. The 1940s also saw the beginning of her interest in historical women, most notably, Florence Nightingale. In 1946, she had an article published in the Washington Post on Nightingale, written in conjunction with her own book The Fiery Angel. Other articles were written on Lucy Stone, Margaret Fuller and Lucretia Mott. In her later years, Barth published a number of articles in local Maine papers on Edna St. Vincent Millay, which were written for the centennial celebration of the poet's life. For some of her more political articles, Barth published them as "Ramona X." Lastly, Barth had a number of articles published in The Journal of Liberal Religion, including "Unitarian Women of the 19th Century," "Lucy Stone: Crusader for Human Rights," and "The Soul of the Women's Movement."

001.  "Complete Life for Women", 1936
002.  "What You Owe Your Parents", 1937
003.  Articles published in 1940s, 1943-1949
004.  Newspaper and magazine articles, 1951
005.  Articles published in 1980s, 1983-1988
006.  "His-story, Her-story", 1987
007.  Articles published in Journal of Liberal Religion, c. 1989
008.  "Ladies", 1994

V. Events
Spanning the period from 1950 to 1995, the fifth series collects materials related to the many events Barth participated in, or organized over the years. The earliest material comes from a lecture series she participated in with her husband, Joseph Barth, entitled "Dialogue-Lectures on Twentieth Century Subjects." The lecture series included subjects like “Men and Women – Do They Play an Equal Role?” and “Meaningful Marriage.” There are also materials concerning the dedication of Margaret Fuller Square in Boston, which is housed with more material from the Margaret Fuller Foundation. This series documents events Barth organized in honor of Edna St. Vincent Millay, her centennial and various later events, including poetry readings by Gary Lawless and Anne Foskett, and performances by Laurie James, who also performed as Margaret Fuller. Barth also took part in Puerto Rico's First Annual Women's Week in 1985 and organized events commemorating Anne Hutchinson.
001.  "Dialogue Lectures on Twentieth Century Subjects", c. 1950
002.  Margaret Fuller Foundation materials and Fuller Square dedication, 1980-1993
003.  Laurie James - Margaret Fuller and Edna St. Vincent Millay events, 1980-1992
004.  "The Dinner Party" - Judy Chicago, 1980
005.  Boston 250th Jubilee - Special Guest Thanks, 1980
006.  Press release for Millay Event, 1983
007.  Women's Week in Puerto Rico, 1985
008.  Edna St. Vincent Millay Birthday event, 1987
009.  Anne Hutchinson performance material, 1988
010.  Bill for Gender Equality on State Boards and Commissions, 1990
011.  Edna St. Vincent Millay Centennial with Ann Foskett and Gary Lawless, 1992
012.  "A Poet and Her Island" - Edna St. Vincent Millay Centennial, 1992
013.  Camden Library Edna St. Vincent Millay display, 1992
014.  Annual Millay reading by Gary Lawless and Ann Foskett, 1993-1994
015.  Edna St. Vincent Millay grant request, 1994
016.  "Renasence: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Poet" - Vanessa Barth, 1994
017.  Eleanor Coffin Robbins Memorial, 1995
018.  "A Goodly Heritage" - Laurie James Millay reading, undated

VI. Photographs
The sixth series is comprised of one box of photographs from the 1930's through the 1990's. There are a number of photos from events, including Edna St. Vincent Millay's stamp release and centennial, the dedication of Margaret Fuller Square and performances by Laurie James. There are also photos of Barth's activism over the years, including her participation in the protest of the Boston Playboy Club and Puerto Rico's Women's Week. These photographs are joined by personal photographs of Barth and her family, from her marriage in Europe to Joseph Barth, to photographs of her children and grandchildren.

001.  Ramona and Joseph, 1930s
002.  Tea at Mrs. Proctor's, 1950s
003.  Proclamation signing in New York, 1960s
004.  Photographs of Ramona - activism, 1970s
005.  Anne Hutchinson - Statue and Reenactment, 1970, c. 1990
006.  Two photographs of Ramona, 1973
007.  Ken Curtis "Right on Brother of the Year", 1973
008.  Margaret Fuller photographs, c. 1974
009.  Ramona with Hutchinson statue, 1975
010.  Photographs of Flo Kennedy, 1980s
011.  Margaret Fuller Women's History Resource Center with Buckminster Fuller, 1980
012.  2nd Day Issue Millay stamp in Camden, 1981
013.  Signed photograph of "Clift", 1981, 1992
014.  Laurie James Edna St. Vincent Millay performance, 1982
015.  Women's Week Puerto Rico - Vanessa Barth, Lila M. De Hernandez Colon, 1985
016.  Personal photographs, c. 1987
017.  Millay Poetry Event - Gary Lawless and Ann Foskett, 1993
018.  Edna St. Vincent Millay statue, 1996
019.  Research photographs - women working, undated
020.  Research for book illustrations - "Grandmother Abigail to Mother Ann" (1 of 4), undated
021.  Research for book lllustrations - "Grandmother Abigail to Mother Ann" (2 of 4), undated
022.  Research for book illustrations - "Grandmother Abigail to Mother Ann" (3 of 4), undated
023.  Research for book illustrations - "Grandmother Abigail to Mother Ann" (4 of 4), undated
024.  Print of Clara Barton photo, undated
025.  Misc. photographs, undated

VII.  Memorabilia
Over the years, Barth collected a varied array of feminist memorabilia, which is gathered in the seventh series. There are many postcards, depicting famous suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Barth collected a number of commemorative stamps depicting Edna St. Vincent Millay, Abigail Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as a series of stamps called "100 Years of Progress of Women." Also of note, are the "Supersisters" trading card decks. The cards, printed in 1979, depict contemporary women with their names, photographs and a short biography on the back. Barth also saved newspaper and magazine clippings related to her interests, as well as a number of National Life Insurance Company ads that used stories of women from colonial America in their advertising campaign. This series also contains the transparencies Barth used for her "She-Shirts," as well as a shirt printed with her own picture and name. Lastly, Barth saved a number of posters from various events, including posters for the events celebrating for Edna St. Vincent Millay and Anne Hutchinson, as well as posters for various rallies and protests, such as the women's day march and an event for fair housing laws. These posters are almost exclusively housed in OVS.

001.  "Protecting the American Home" National Life Insurance Company Ads, 1935-1946
002.  Florence Nightingale Posters, 1945, 1984
003.  "100 Years of Progress of Women" Poster, c. 1948
004.  Fair housing practices law - Poster, c. 1970
005.  "Sexual Politics" - Poster, 1972
006.  Clippings on Louise Nevelson, 1972-1985
007.  Miscellaneous Posters and Fliers, 1974, 1984
008.  Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton Postcards, 1974
009.  Photograph of Ramona with Hutchinson statue, 1975
010.  "Women on U.S. Stamps" - Envelope with stamps, brochure, 1975
011.  "Remember the Ladies: Women in America", 1976
012.  "Another Revolution" - Poster, 1976
013.  United Maine Craftsmen "She-Shirt" Ad, 1976
014.  Susan B. Anthony coin materials, 1979
015.  "Supersisters" - 72 Trading Cards, 1979
016.  News clippings - "Women's Issues", c. 1980 - 1990
017.  Edna St. Vincent Millay posters, 1981, 1992
018.  "Rights of Passage" - Expanded version of "Why We Burn", 1984
019.  First Day of Issues Abigail Adams stamp, 1985
020.  "How Old is Old" - Harry C. Meserve, 1985
021.  Maine state proclamations - Black History Month, Maine Women's Month, Florence Nightingale Day, 1985-1986
022.  "The Appetite as Voice: Anorexia Nervosa in the Victorian Era" poster, c. 1988
023.  Flo Kennedy - letter and broadside, 1990-1991
024.  "Women Who Dared" postcards, 1991
025.  Edna St. Vincent Millay Centennial Stamp, 1992
026.  Margaret Fuller Society newsletter, 1994
027.  "Heroines Languish in Capitol's Crypt", 1995
028.  "American Women Authors Card Game", 1995
029.  Misc. stamps - Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Mary Walker, Maine Statehood, undated
030.  Feminist postcards - Abigail Adams Card Set, undated
031.  Boston postcards, undated
032.  Women's Day March - poster, undated
033.  Molly Molasses - posted, undated
034.  Misc. Notes - postcards, cards, undated
035.  Anne Hutchinson poster, undated
036.  Hilary Rodham Clinton speech transcript, undated
037.  She-Shirt transparencies (1 of 2), undated
038.  She-Shirt transparencies (2 of 2), undated
039.  She-Shirt with Ramona Barth's face, undated
040.  Misc. materials, undated
041.  Misc. postcards, undated
042.  Edna St. Vincent Millay postcards and bookmarks, undated
043.  Misc. stamp paraphernalia - slides, envelopes, undated
044.  Cartoons from the New Yorker, Playboy Magazine, undated
045.  "A Lamp in the Knight" - Rev. Ward A. Knight's Sermon on Unitarian Women, undated

VIII. Audio/Visual
The small collection of audio visual materials are contained in the eighth series. It is largely made up of VHS tapes, many of which are recordings of events that Barth helped to organize. There is footage of the Anne Hutchinson performance, the Millay poetry readings, and an event which took place at the MWWC in 1990. There are also a number of cassette tapes, some of which are recordings of various talks or interviews Barth gave, including a few on Millay. Also of note is a 45 rpm record with two recordings on each side - "Liberation Now," and "Hope of the Future" on one, "I Am a Woman," and "Sandy Duncan" on the other.
001.  Magnetic tape - "Women's Lib First Take", 1970
002.  Cassette - Herb Goldberg, 1980
003.  Cassette - "A Lovely Light" MPBN, 1981
004.  VHS - "Anne Hutchinson - Raw Footage", 1989
005.  VHS - "Anne Hutchinson Performance", 1989
006.  VHS - "Maine Women Writers Collection Marking by the Daughters of the American Colonists", 1990
007.  VHS - "Anne Hutchinson - First Parish Portland and Brunswick Theater Project", 1990
008.  Cassette - "Ramona on Ladies" (1 of 2), 1991
009.  Cassette - "Ramona on Ladies" (2 of 2), 1991
010.  VHS "Millay at Round Top", 1992
011.  VHS - "Millay at Camden Library" (1 of 2), 1992
012.  VHS - "Millay at Camden Library" (2 of 2), 1992
013.  Cassette - Harvard Faculty Club, undated
014.  Cassette - Women's Lib Brunswick, undated
015.  Cassette - "Ramona on Radio", undated
016.  Cassette - "Edna St. Vincent Millay MPBN", undated
017.  Cassette - "Anne Foskett Reads Millay", undated
018.  Cassette - "A Loverly Light - W. Bisset", undated
019.  Cassette - "Barth", undated
020.  45 Vinyl - "I am A Woman" and "Liberation Now", undated
021.  VHS - "Simone de Beauvoir", undated
022.  VHS - "Coming Through", undated
023.  VHS - "A Lovely Light", undated
024.  VHS - "Arts Infomercial", undated
025.  VHS - "Impromptu", undated
026.  Camden Opera House rubber stamp, undated