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Guide to the Jo-Ann Mayer Mullen Papers
 MS 3209

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Lia Warner

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 26, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises personal and professional printed matter including brochures, clippings, correspondence, research files, reports, agendas and minutes, notes, and speeches. The bulk of the collection was created between 1977-1993. Major organizations represented in the professional files include the National Organization for Women (NOW), the League of Women Voters (LWV), the New York State Committee Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV), Schenectady Human Rights Commission's Executive Committee and Committee on Domestic Violence, and the YWCA of Schenectady. There are also many other legal advocacy groups from the region and state represented.

Clippings and research primarily pertain to cases of domestic violence, legal responses to violence against women, and statistics on related issues. Major developments that are documented in the research and lobbying papers include the debate over marital rape law in New York State between 1981-1984 and the US Violence Against Women Act of 1990. Letters to the editor by Mullen illustrate a dialogue between the public and the individual during these debates; the correspondence underscores Mullen's role as part of the mainstream feminist movement and her concerns with consciousness and women in society. Brochures and broadsides from various feminist and political groups in New York State also capture the array of programs and actions that made up the anti-domestic violence movement during the 1970s-1990s.

Finally, Mullen's personal and artistic life is captured in a small collection of resumes, letters, awards, and creative works. These materials connect Mullen's various projects and professional developments, including her increased attention to law and the legal system as well as her lifelong artistic endeavors. The poems, song lyrics, and creative writing that deal with domestic violence and feminist issues demonstrate the multi-dimensional approach Mullen brough to her professional and political work, adding an essential personal element to the documentary record.


The collection is arranged according to subject and format. The materials were delivered to N-YHS without a clear original order, though there were relationships between certain adjacent pages. The archivist decided to intervene in order to construct a more legible intellectual order; papers pertaining to each of the main organizations that Mullen worked with were collated and brought into chronological order when deemed necessary. Other printed matter such as letters to the editor, clippings, or research files were arranged together. Original order was preserved within the clusters of working papers when possible.