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Ronnie Gilbert papers, 1951-2010
14.5 linear feet (7 record cartons, 1 flat oversize box, plus 9 boxes. Other materials in the collection: Flat file)
Collection number: SSC.MS.00536

Abstract:
The collection contains the personal and professional papers of Ronnie Gilbert, singer, playwrite, psychotherapist, narrator of numerous documentary films, feminist, and global peace worker. Also includes extensive audiovisual materials documenting concerts, albums, and interviews with Ronnie Gilbert and others.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

Open with caveat: collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use. Financial records from Acc.#11S-14 are separated and restricted.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owned copyright, until her death, Gilbert retained copyright to the materials donated to Smith College; upon her death copyright has now passed to her daughter Lisa Weg. After Weg's death, copyright in these works will transfer to Smith College. Copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, or which may regard materials in the collection not created by Gilbert, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Sophia Smith Collection

Biographical Note

The singer, playwrite, psychotherapist, narrator of numerous documentary films, feminist, and global peace worker Ronnie Gilbert was born on September 7, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Sarah Bekerman, a dressmaker, and Charles Gilbert, a factory worker and (later) owner in the needle trades. She had one sister, born in 1928. Gilbert worked in a U.S. government office as a clerk-typist during World War II. She began singing on radio shows at age twelve, and was a founding member of the folk group, The Weavers (1947). Gilbert was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era, along with the rest of the Weavers, due to her political beliefs, putting her performing career in temporary abeyance. She earned a M.S. degree in clinical psychology from Lone Mountain College in 1974, and practiced psychotherapy for eight years afterwards. Gilbert's career in the performing arts spanned over fifty years and included acting, singing, recording, teaching, and play-writing. In addition to her work with The Weavers, she recorded albums and performed with Holly Near and Adrienne Torf and narrated numerous documentary films. Gilbert was active in feminist and global peace work, and frequently lectured and gave workshops. She took a strong role in the work of the Women In Black organization, challenging U.S. policy in the Middle East and around the world.

Gilbert was married to Martin Weg in 1950, and had one daughter, Lisa Weg (born 1952). The couple divorced in 1959. Gilbert met Donna Korones during a 1984 tour with HARP (an acronym for Holly, Arlo, Ronnie, and Pete), and came out as a lesbian after the two started dating. They were legally married in 2004 in San Francisco, and lived together in California for much of their relationship. Ronnie Gilbert died on June 6, 2015, of natural causes.

Scope and Contents

The Ronnie Gilbert Papers consist of awards and citations for Gilbert's work as a singer and as a peace and social justice activist; drafts of numerous muscial scores; and publications and clippings concerning her career as a performer and her work as narrator for the film by Ken Burns, Not For Ourselves Alone. The collection contains correspondence, printed materials, research, writings, and memorabilia. Scripts and writings from the 1990s and 2000s include plays and a book manuscript about labor activist Mother Jones. Also included are some personal materials, as well as extensive audiovisual materials documenting concerts, albums, and interviews with Ronnie Gilbert and others.


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

Open with caveat: collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be somewhat difficult to use. Financial records from Acc.#11S-14 are separated and restricted.

Restrictions on use:

To the extent that she owned copyright, until her death, Gilbert retained copyright to the materials donated to Smith College; upon her death copyright has now passed to her daughter Lisa Weg. After Weg's death, copyright in these works will transfer to Smith College. Copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, or which may regard materials in the collection not created by Gilbert, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Preferred Citation

Ronnie Gilbert papers, Sophia Smith Collection, SSC-MS-00536, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

Materials were donated by Ronnie Gilbert in 2006, by Lisa Weg in 2011, and by Donna Korones in 2018.

Processing Information

This collection has not been processed, in the sense that archival arrangement and description beyond creating minimal box lists has not been done. The arrangement and description of materials may change in the future as iterative processing occurs. Researchers are encouraged to document their citations with this in mind.

Some post-it notes are included on folders or documents in the 2019-S-0002 accession; a majority of these were written by Donna Korones to provide context to these items prior to their donation.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request the creation of and access to digital copies.


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
Related Materials

Voices of Feminism Oral History Project and the Dee Mosbacher papers and Woman Vision records.

Other Finding Aids

Some accessions have container lists that are available upon request by contacting specialcollections@smith.edu


Contents List
2019-S-0002. Korones, Donna, Ronnie Gilbert papers and audiovisual materials

9.25 linear feet(7 record cartons, 1 flat oversize box)4.25 linear feet(3 record cartons, 1 oversize flat box)audiovisual materials, including audiocassettes, videotapes, reel-to-reel recording studio tapes, DVDs, CDs, and floppy disks

Provenance:

Gift of Donna Korones

Scope and content:

Papers include concert scheduling and information, music orders, correspondence, press coverage, and personal materials; also includes extensive audiovisual materials documenting concerts, albums, and interviews with Ronnie Gilbert and others.

Search Terms
Audiotapes

DVD video discs

Floppy disks

Korones, Donna

Videotapes

Personal papers related to marriage, anniversary, birthday, vacation, and hospice care
1989-2015
6 folders(6 folders)
Box 1
Memoir and memoir book proposal
(bulk 2005, 2015)
2 folders(2 folders)
Box 1
Photo album made by Ronnie Gilbert on her 80th birthday
2006 September 7
1 items(1 CD)1.29 Gigabytes(145 digital files)
Box 1
Physical characteristics:

This material was received from the donor in digital form and is not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Processing information:

The files on this CD were copied to networked storage for preservation.

AA Music orders
1981-1990
3 folders(3 folders)
Box 1
News clippings, bio notes, articles, and performance reviews
1983-1997
8 folders(8 folders)
Box 1
Concert bookings, contracts, performance information, and setlists
1968-1996
5 folders(5 folders)
Box 1 Box 2 Box 3 Box 4
This Train Still Runs" with Ronnie Gilbert and Holly Near
1996-1997
1 folders
Box 1
Near-Gilbert: FF mix disk for "This Train Still Runs"
1996
1 items(1 floppy disk).00540 Gigabytes117 digital files (text files)
Box 1
Video recordings, including TV broadcasts, concerts with Holly Near, the National Women's Music Festival, The Weavers, and Judy Small, dub VHS tapes, and personal tapes from Ronnie Gilbert's 70th birthday; also includes CD duplicates
1983-2004
2.5 linear feet2 record cartons (65 VHS tapes, 1 slim videocassette)17 items(17 CD duplicates)
Box 5 Box 6
Audio recording studio master tapes and reel-to-reel records of Ronnie Gilbert albums and singles
1985-1989
12 items(12 tapes)
Box 6 Box 8
Audio recordings of interviews, radio broadcasts, concerts, Mother Jones, and individual tracks
1984-1996
1.25 linear feet1 record carton (135 audiocassette and microcassette tapes)
Box 7
Accession 2006-S-0071. 2006 Accession



Books, pamphlets, correspondence, and notes about Mother Jones, feminism, and labor history (books annotated by Gilbert)
1974-2002

Box 1
Correspondence
1983-2006

Box 1

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
  • Gilbert, Ronnie
  • Gilbert, Ronnie
  • Korones, Donna
  • Korones, Donna
  • Peace movements--History--20th century--Sources
  • Singers--United States--Biography--20th century--Sources
  • Weavers (Musical group)
  • Weg, Lisa Charlene
  • Weg, Lisa Charlene
  • Working class women--United States--History--20th century--Sources

Genre terms
  • Audiocassettes
  • Awards
  • DVD video discs
  • Diplomas
  • Financial records
  • Floppy disks
  • Plays
  • Posters
  • Publications
  • Research
  • Scripts
  • Sheet music
  • Videotapes
  • clippings


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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