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Arlene Blum papers, M1558
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Re-housed and listed by:
  • Biography
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Acquisition Information
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Access

  • Title: Arlene Blum papers,
    Identifier/Call Number: M1558
    Contributing Institution: Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Container: 1
    Physical Description: 61.5 Linear feet (73 boxes, 10 cartons, 11 flat boxes, 1 map folder)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1960-1986
    Date (inclusive): 1920-2009 inclusive; 1960-1986 bulk
    Abstract: The Arlene Blum papers include photographs, writings, diaries, articles about the Annapurna expedition in 1978, a year-long trek across the Himalayas, and various other climbs. Also inlcuded are drafts of articles and books by Arlene Blum, photographs albums and writings of her father Ludwig Blum, school work, letters, etc.
    Physical Location: Special Collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be paged 36-48 hours in advance. For more information on paging collections, see the department's website: http://library.stanford.edu/spc.

    Re-housed and listed by:

    Liam O'Hanlon, Christy Smith, and Griselda Mercado. This work was completed in part with funds from Arlene Blum.


    Arlene Blum (born March 1, 1945) is an American mountaineer, writer, and environmental health scientist. She is best known for leading an all-woman ascent of Annapurna, a climb that was also the first successful American ascent. In the early 1960s, she attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Blum graduated from Reed and attended MIT and UC Berkeley, where she earned a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry in 1971.
    Blum was part of the first all-woman team to ascend Alaska's Mount McKinley in 1970. She participated in a 1976 expedition up Mount Everest as part of the American Bicentennial Everest Expedition, but did not reach the summit. In 1978, she organized a team of thirteen women to climb Annapurna in Nepal which, until then, had been climbed by only eight people (all men). The first summit team, comprising Vera Komarkova and Irene Miller and Sherpas Mingma Tsering and Chewang Ringjing, reached the top at 3:30 p.m. on October 15, 1978. The second summit team, Alison Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz and Vera Watson, died during this climb. After the event, Blum wrote a book about her experience on Annapurna, called Annapurna: A Woman's Place.
    She led the first expedition to climb Bhrigupanth in the Indian Himalayas, leading a team of Indian and American women. She then attempted what she called the "Great Himalayan Traverse," a two-thousand-mile journey across the treacherous but beautiful peaks of the Himalayas from Bhutan to India.
    As a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, in the late 1970s, Blum's research contributed to the regulation of two cancer-causing chemicals used as flame retardants on children's sleepwear. After a long hiatus, Blum returned to science and policy work in 2006—when her daughter started college—and her memoir Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life was published. She discovered that the same Tris her research had helped remove from children's pajamas was back in California couches and baby products. In 2007 Blum co-founded the Green Science Policy Institute (GSP) with the goal of bringing scientific research results into policy decisions to protect human health and the environment from toxic chemicals. As executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute, Blum and her team have led several successful national and international campaigns against the use of toxic chemicals. Blum has published articles about science policy in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, and Science magazine.[Wikipedia]

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], Arlene Blum papers (M1558). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Publication Rights

    The materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

    Acquisition Information

    This collection was given by Arlene Blum to Stanford University, Special Collections in three accessions from 2007 to 2010.

    Scope and Contents note

    Material in the Arlene Blum papers is arranged by accession and is divided into 4 series: Series 1. 2007 accession; Series 2. Accession 2010-099; Series 3. Accession 2010-021; and Series 4. Slides from the 2010-021 accession.
    Series 1. 2007 accession contains materials relating to the American Women's Himalayan Expedition. Team member diaries are closed until 2028.
    Series 2. Accession 2010-099 consists of two subseries: Arlene Blum materials and Ludwig Blum materials. Arlene's subseries contains school materials, letters, diaries, articles on climbs, etc. Ludwig Blum was Arlene's father and this subseries contains photographs and draft writings.
    Series 3. Accession 2010-021 includes materials relating to the Annapurna expedition, Arlene's trek across the Himalayas, drafts of Annapurna: A Women's Place, drafts of "Women in High Places: A History of Women in Mountaineering" (unpublished), diaries, articles, etc.
    Series 4. Slides (from accession 2010-021) consists primarily of images of climbs and treks. They are arranged alphabetically.


    Materials are open to research, except that diaries of individual climbers (Box 3) are closed until 1/1/2028 unless permission is granted by that individual.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    American Women's Himalayan Expedition, Inc..
    Annapurna Expedition, (1978).
    Ashton, Marie.
    Beardsley, Irene A.
    Blum, Arlene, 1945-
    Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz, Alison.
    Firey, Joan.
    Hoeman, Grace
    Klobusicky-Mailaender, Liz.
    Komarkova, Vera.
    Miller, Irene
    Rusmore, Margi.
    Taylor, Dyanna.
    Tews, Christy.
    Watson, Vera.
    Whitehouse, Annie.
    Berkeley (Calif.)
    Everest, Mount (China and Nepal).
    Himalaya Mountains
    Women mountaineers--United States
    Women mountaineers.