Scope and Content of Collection
Other Finding Aids
Title: Bettina Aptheker Papers
Bulk Dates: (Bulk 1965-1990)
Collection number: MS 157
52 document boxes, 1 carton, 2 flats
University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library.
Special Collections and Archives
Santa Cruz, California 95064
Abstract: This collection contains biographical material, correspondence, instructional materials, research notes, grant proposals,
writings, speeches, lectures, and material concerning her political activism, including the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley
and the trial of Angela Y. Davis.
Physical location: Stored in Special Collections & Archives: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection is processed and available for research.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and
their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Bettina Aptheker Papers. MS 157. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of
California, Santa Cruz.
Purchase and gift of Bettina Aptheker.
|September 2, 1944
||Bettina Fay Aptheker born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina to Fay Phillippa Aptheker, a life-long activist and Communist organizer,
and Herbert Aptheker, a Marxist historian and scholar of African-American history.
||Attends Erasmus Hall High School, Brooklyn, New York
||Moves to California to attend the University of California at Berkeley
|September 1964-April 1965
||Serves on the steering committee which led the Free Speech Movement (FSM) at UCB
|August 29, 1965
||Marries Jack H. Kurzweil on Long Island, NY
||Graduates from the University of California at Berkeley with an A.B. in History
||While seven months pregnant serves sentence at the Santa Rita Prison Farm for conviction stemming from FSM activity
|October 19, 1967
||Son Joshua Mark born
||Suffers a nervous breakdown
||Trip to Europe
||National United Committee to Free Angela Davis and all Political Prisoners (NUCFAD) begins its work
If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (with Angela Davis) published in England
If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (with Angela Y. Davis) published in the United States
||Works as legal investigator in the defense of Angela Y. Davis
The Academic Rebellion in the United States: A Marxist Appraisal published
||The California Supreme Court overturns the death penalty
|February 23, 1972
||Angela Y. Davis released on bail
|February 28, 1972
||Angela Y. Davis murder and conspiracy trial begins
|June 4, 1972
||Trial ends with "not guilty" verdicts on all counts
||Assistant Instructor, Speech-Communication, San Jose State University
|January 14, 1975
||Daughter Jennifer born
The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis published
||Master's Degree in Speech Communication from San Jose State University
||Lecturer, Women's Studies, San Jose State University
||Instructor, Speech/Drama, San Jose State University
||Separates from Jack Kurzweil, who agrees to a divorce
|Spring Quarter 1978
||Teaches (as a lecturer) her first Women's Studies class at the University of California at Santa Cruz
||Attends the (for her) "life changing" 4th Berkshire Conference on the History of Women
||Lecturer, Afro-American Studies, San Jose State University
||Moves with her children to Santa Cruz
|Fall Quarter 1979
||Starts on a Ph.D. track in the History of Consciousness program at UCSC
|October 19, 1979
||Meets her life partner, Kate Miller, at a Holly Near concert at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
||Lecturer, Women's Studies, UCSC
|October 19, 1981
||Resigns from the Communist Party
Women's Legacy: Essays on Race, Sex, & Class in American History published
||Doctorate in the History of Consciousness, UCSC
||Comes "out" as a lesbian instructor
||Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at UCSC
||Gets tenure at UCSC
||Associate Professor of Women's Studies at UCSC
Tapestries of Life: Women's Work, Women's Consciousness and the Meaning of Daily Experience published
||Takes bodhisatva vows in Tuscon, Arizona
||Takes a sabbatical from UCSC, followed by a leave
||Chancellor Karl Pister authorizes the establishment of Women's Studies as a Department at UCSC
||Becomes Professor of Women's Studies at UCSC
|May 29, 1997
||Excellence in Teaching Award, UCSC
||Her mother, Fay Aptheker, dies
The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis published with a new Introduction and Afterward
||Her father, Herbert Aptheker, dies
Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel published
Scope and Content of Collection
This collection contains biographical material, correspondence, instructional materials from her years as one of the most
popular instructors at the University of California at Santa Cruz, writings, speeches, and lectures, and material concerning
her political activism. There is also significant material on the trial of Angela Davis, in whose defense Ms. Aptheker was
a key activist.
Series 1: Biographical Material - contains personal documents, date books and diaries, awards and diplomas, and other personal
items. More information can be obtained from reading the family correspondence in Boxes 23-24.
Series 2: Correspondence - contains correspondence related to the Free Speech Movement, letters from strangers regarding Aptheker's
public affirmation of Communist Party membership, hate mail regarding FSM and CP activities, letters to Aptheker while she
was in the Santa Rita jail, letters concerning the Angela Davis case, letters to and from prisoners, letters regarding the
controversy over publication of
Women's Legacy, and letters of appreciation from students. Family correspondence has been separated and is in Boxes 23 and 24. Correspondence
with Angela Davis has been separated and is in Box 24, while correspondence concerning her trial is in Box 50.
Series 3: Writings - contains course outlines, bibliographies, handouts, assignments, syllabi, lecture notes, course proposals
and other material related to Aptheker's teaching career, mostly at San Jose State University and the University of California
at Santa Cruz, as well as requests for funding to support research and writing. Also included are many articles, essays, short
papers and reviews, from early compositions through student papers to excerpts of manuscripts of published works as well as
reviews of Aptheker's published works and her Master's Thesis notes, material for some of her writings, bibliographic notes
and miscellany. This series also includes notes, texts or transcripts of speeches given beginning with Aptheker's student
activism days at UC Berkeley through the Angela Davis trial to later lesbian and feminist conferences, among many other occasions
Series 4: Activities - contains pamphlets, press releases, flyers, song lyrics and songbooks (including two 45 rpm
Free Speech Carols records), notes, memos and statements as well as material related to various professional conferences. This series also contains
material related to the evolution of Women's Studies into a Department at UCSC and other agenda, memos, and notes.
Series 5: Clippings & Newspapers - contains newspaper and magazine articles related to Aptheker's areas of interest and teaching.
Most of the newspapers are from the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas. There is one folder of articles on Aptheker herself.
There are photocopied clippings in Box 51 concerning Angela Davis's trial.
Series 6: Angela Y. Davis Trial - contains correspondence concerning Angela Davis' murder and conspiracy trial in the early
1970's, photocopies of court documents, manuscripts by Angela Davis, newspapers and articles concerning the trial and the
movement to free Angela Davis, and writings by others. There is also material on George Jackson, Ruchell Magee, and the San
Series 7: Photographs & Slides - contains photographs covering Aptheker's life and slides of her wedding to Jack Kurzweil
Series 8: Non-Print Materials - contains CDs, microfilm, VHS videotapes, audio reels, audio tapes and vinyl LPs
The papers of Bettina Aptheker are organized into seven series: Series 1: Biographical material; Series 2: Correspondence;
Series 3: Writings; Series 4: Activities; Series 5: Clipping & Newspapers; Series 6: Angela Y. Davis Trial; Series 7: Photographs
Series 1, 2, 5, 7-8 have no subseries.
Series 3: Writings is divided into four subseries: 3.1 Instructional Material; 3.2 Grant Proposals; 3.3 Writings & research;
Series 4: Activities is divided in three subseries: 4.1 Activism; 4.2 Conferences; 4.3 Women's Studies.
Series 6: Angela Y. Davis Trial is divided into three subseries: 6.1 Trial Correspondence; 6.2 Manuscripts; 6.3 Related material.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
Davis, Angela Y. (Angela Yvonne), 1944- --Trials, litigation, etc.
Women's studies--United States
Free Speech Movement (Berkeley, Calif.)
Other Finding Aids
CU-309, Free Speech Movement Records, 1936-1969, UC Berkeley, University Archives
UARC PIC 24B, Free Speech Movement Photographs Collection, 1964-1984, bulk 1964, UC Berkeley, University Archives
Special Collections M0308, Angela Davis Trial, 1972-1974, Stanford University, Manuscripts Division
Special Collections M1032, Herbert Aptheker, 1842-1999, Stanford University, Manuscripts Division
BANC MSS 99/281 c, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Archives, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley