Heralding the Way to a New World

About the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection

Baskin Library by Annie Schlechter

Interior of Lisa Unger Baskin's library, 2015

Photograph by Annie Schlechter

The Lisa Unger Baskin Collection arrived at Rubenstein Library in April 2015. Carefully assembled over forty-five years by noted bibliophile, activist, and collector Lisa Unger Baskin, the collection is a transformative body of material documenting women at work. In Baskin’s own words,

“The unifying thread is that women have always been productive and working people and this history essentially has been hidden.”

The collection includes many well-known monuments of women’s history and arts, as well as lesser-known works produced by female scholars, printers, publishers, laborers, scientists, authors, artists, and political activists. Taken together, they comprise a mosaic of the ways that women have been productive, creative, and socially engaged over more than five hundred years.


Baskin Library Shelves by Annie Schlechter

View of library bookshelves, 2015

Photograph by Annie Schlechter

 About the collection:

  • Magnitude: largest collection of women’s history material previously in private hands
  • Books and papers: 10,000 print items and over 250 manuscript collections
  • Material culture: wide-ranging and extensive collection of artifacts from a British suffrage tea set (the most complete known of its kind) to Virginia Woolf’s writing desk
  • Earliest document: a 1240 manuscript documenting a respite home for women in Italy
  • Strengths: early printed books, women artists, suffrage (U.S. and British), abolition, science and medicine, labor, education, and literature

The acquisition of the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection was made possible through a lead gift from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. Click here for additional information about the collection.