Privilege and Silence in the Alice Marshall Women's History Collection
- Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 87, Number 4, Autumn 2020
- pp. 690-713
- Additional Information
Alice Kahler Marshall (1923–97) was a journalist, researcher, speechwriter, Pennsylvania state employee, and a collector of women's history. Marshall's extensive collection, touted as the most comprehensive women's history collection in the United States, now resides at Archives and Special Collections in the Penn State Harrisburg Library. This article uses the Alice Marshall Women's History Collection as a case study to critically examine private collections through the lens of intersectionality. Examining the creation and subsequent use of the collection, it considers the following: In collections compiled by private individuals and donated to public repositories, how do factors such as the collector's privilege and interests and the context in which materials are acquired affect which historical voices are heard or silenced? Can materials produced using these collections truly be "objective"? This article also investigates possible solutions, such as digital collections and ethical action by archivists.