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Hedda Nussbaum Papers, c1940s-2009 (ongoing)
22 boxes (14 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 642

Abstract:
Author; Editor. Papers include diaries (closed); correspondence to Nussbaum from others re: Steinberg case; legal files re: case Hedda Nussbaum v. Joel Steinberg; writings and talks by Nussbaum; Nussbaum's published books; videos, including interviews and TV broadcasts featuring Nussbaum, and documentaries about domestic violence; photographs of Nussbaum and family; artwork; and memorabilia. [NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • Access to original audiovisual material is restricted.
  • Portions of collection are stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

Hedda Nussbaum retains copyright to her works within this collection. Copyright to materials created by others are owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Hedda Nussbaum was born on August 8, 1942 in New York, NY to Emma Rosenthal and William Nussbaum. She earned her B.A. at Hunter College (1964) and her Paralegal Certificate from Mercy College (1991). Prior to entering the public eye in the media frenzy that resulted from the 1987 beating death of her six-year-old adopted daughter, Lisa Steinberg, she worked as an editor of children's books at Random House. Although initially implicated in the crime, charges against Nussbaum were dropped prior to the trial and she testified against her husband, Joel Steinberg, who was convicted of manslaughter and served fifteen years in prison. Trial proceedings revealed that Steinberg had for years abused Nussbaum physically and psychologically, and her book, Surviving Intimate Terrorism (2005), shows the complexity of domestic violence and does much to explain her denial of the danger of her situation and that of her children (the couple also had a younger adopted child, Mitchell). In the years that followed Lisa Steinberg's death, Nussbaum worked to rebuild her life and had numerous reconstructive plastic surgeries. She also co-facilitated a support group for battered women for about eight years and later worked as a paralegal for an organization that helps battered women. In 1995, she began giving talks about abuse at colleges and shelters but when Steinberg was released from prison in 2004, she receded from public attention. Nussbaum is also the author of two children's books: Plants Do Amazing Things (1977) and Animals Build Amazing Houses (1979).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Papers include diaries (closed); correspondence to Nussbaum from others re: Steinberg case; legal files re: case Hedda Nussbaum v. Joel Steinberg; writings and talks by Nussbaum; Nussbaum's published books; videos, including interviews and TV broadcasts featuring Nussbaum, and documentaries about domestic violence; photographs of Nussbaum and family; artwork; and memorabilia.

[NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with the following caveats:

  • Access to original audiovisual material is restricted.
  • Portions of collection are stored offsite; researchers must give 48 hours advance notice.
  • This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Restrictions on use:

Hedda Nussbaum retains copyright to her works within this collection. Copyright to materials created by others are owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Hedda Nussbaum Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The papers were donated by Hedda Nussbaum beginning in 2009.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Processing Information

Accessioned by Burd Schlessinger; Kathleen Banks Nutter, 2009


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English


Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Abused women -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • Child abuse -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • Domestic violence -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
  • Family violence -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
  • Nussbaum, Hedda, 1942-
  • Steinberg, Joel Barnet, 1941-
  • Trials (murder) -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Women -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- History -- 20th century -- Sources


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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