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Mirra Komarovsky Papers

Identifier: BC20-03

Collection Scope and Content Summary

This collection contains the papers of former Barnard College professor of Sociology, and alumna, Mirra Komarovky. Materials in the collection include clippings of reviews of Komarovsky's work, copies of publications that featured articles by Komarovsky, awards, correspondence with students and researchers, and programs from conferences attended by Komarovky. The collection primarily contains materials relating to Komarovky's academic work, including research files, notes, drafts of papers and lectures, course preparation materials, and grant applications and reports.


  • Creation: 1922 - 1997



Box 11, Folder 13 is restricted per the Archive's policy as it contains information about Mirra Komarovsky's reappointment and salary. Materials in this folder will be open to researchers 75 years following their date of creation, in 2045.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Barnard Archives and Special Collections. The Barnard Archives and Special Collections approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Reproduction Restrictions

Photocopies or scans may be made for research purposes.


Mirra Komarovsky was born in 1906, in Baku, a city located on the Caspian Sea, in what was then Russia. In 1920, she immigrated to the United States, and completed high school in Wichita, Kansas. She moved to New York City and began her education at Barnard College. She obtained a degree in Sociology from Barnard, and went on to receive an MA at Columbia University, also in Sociology. She taught at Skidmore College for two years before returning to Columbia University to complete a PhD in Sociology, and joined Barnard College as an instructor in 1938. She continued to teach at Barnard for thirty-two years, retiring in 1970. However, she returned to the college in 1978 to serve as chairwoman of the Women’s Studies department.

Mirra Komarovsky was an influential figure in the field of Sociology, focusing her work on studies about family, gender relations, and women’s education. She was the author of numerous books and articles, including Women in College: Shaping New Feminine Identities, a study on the women's movement and education, in which she analyzed survey responses from over 200 students of the Barnard class of 1983. She found that while attitudes about women’s place within the world may be changing, institutions have not adapted to these changes. Mirra Komarovsky also served as the second female president of the American Sociological Association in 1973 and 1974, and was presented with the Distinguished Career Award from the Association in 1991. Mirra Komarovsky passed away at the age of 93, in 1999.


14.66 Linear Feet (14 full size boxes, 3 half size boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 1 document drawer)




This collection consists of the personal papers of former Barnard College faculty member and alumna, Mirra Komarovsky.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged into the following series:

Series 1, Publications, Clippings, and Awards, 1922 - 1997
Boxes 1 - 7, and 9 contain publications, newspaper clippings, and awards, relating to Mirra Komarovsky's academic work and contributions to the sociology field. Folders within boxes are arranged in chronological order. Some materials are undated.

Series 2, Correspondence, 1928 - 1991
Boxes 8 and 12 contain correspondence from Komarovky's students and fellow faculty and researchers. Folders within boxes are arranged in chronological order. Some materials are undated.

Series 3, Course Preparation Materials, Research, and Academic Materials, 1938 - 1992
Boxes 10, 11, and 13 - 20 contain materials relating to Komarovky's academic research, course preparation, and grant applications. Folders within boxes are arranged in chronological order. Some materials are undated.

Physical Location

This collection is located in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library. To use this collection, please contact the Barnard Archives and Special Collections at 212.854.4079 or

Acquisition Information

The acquisition date and source is unknown.


No additions are expected.

Related Collections

An oral history interview with Komarovsky is available in the New York Public Library - American Jewish Committee Oral History Collection (

Processing History

This collection was processed and the finding aid written by Dinah Handel, August 2015.

Descriptive Rules Used: Finding aid adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Encoding: Machine readable finding aid encoded in EAD 2002.

Finding aid written in English.

  • 2 folders containing Mirra Komarovsky's tax information, other personal financial documents
Guide to the Mirra Komarovsky Papers
Dinah Handel
© 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Repository

3009 Broadway
New York NY 10027 United States