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Sue Larson Papers

Identifier: BC20-26

Collection Scope and Content Summary

The collection includes Sue Larson's departmental records and teaching materials, including philosophical writing, course outlines and syllabi, course descriptions, annotated teaching materials, assignment descriptions, office files generated by academic administrative meetings and responsibilities, and correspondence, including letters from Martha Peterson (Barnard president from 1967 to 1975). It also contains material documenting the activities of the Department of Philosophy, material relating to Larson's role as acting chair of Barnard's Department of Philosophy, and files generated by student-led councils and committees related to school governance.


  • Creation: 1965 - 1995



This collection has no restrictions and is located on-site.

Publication Rights

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

Reproduction Restrictions

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes.


Sue Larson received her BA and PhD at Stanford, taught at Princeton and Mills College and joined the Philosophy Department at Barnard in 1965, where she taught Philosophy through the 1990s.

Larson was active on campus, often supporting students by liaising with college administration to form and join committees, and publishing in the Barnard student newspaper, the Barnard Bulletin. In 1968, she testified at the judicial council hearing in defense of Linda LeClair, a student disciplined for living with her boyfriend off-campus, and, alongside colleague Mary Mothersill, supported the National Student Strike in 1970.

She was a member of the Society for Women in Philosophy in the northeast, and along with Mary Mothersill, she taught courses in the Experimental College In the 1980s, and served for a time as the Chair of the Philosophy Department. She died in 2011 of injuries sustained in a traffic accident on Riverside Drive, aged 79.


1.25 Linear Feet (1 bankers box)




Sue Larson joined the Philosophy Department at Barnard in 1965, where she taught Philosophy through the 1990s. The collection includes her philosophical writing, course curricula, and material documenting the activities of the Department of Philosophy. Larson's material may be useful to students studying Wittgenstein, animal cognition, music and emotion, 1968 counterculture, feminism, gender in education, theory of knowledge, and anyone researching the case of Linda LeClair.

Collection Arrangement

This collection remains in roughly the same order as it was received.

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

Donated to the College by Elizabeth Koob in 2013. Koob was a member of Sue Larson's family and was the executor of both Larson's and Mary Mothersill's estates, and donated both of their collections of personal papers.


Additions are not expected.

Related Collections

Mary Mothersill was a close friend and professionally supportive colleague of Sue Larson. Through the sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties they worked together in the Departments of Philosophy at both Barnard College and Columbia University, and they shared notes on each other's texts and teaching materials. Related material may be found in the Mary Mothersill Papers, BC 20.27, Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library.

Processing History

Lyric Evans-Hunter wrote this finding aid in 2022, with input from Andrew Kaiser and Martha Tenney, as part of the NYU course Advanced Archival Description. Martha Tenney minimally processed the collection in 2022, adding to the refoldering and folder titling completed by Shannon O'Neill or another archivist in 2014.

Finding aid adheres to rules prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Guide to the Sue Larson Papers
Lyric Evans-Hunter
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Repository

3009 Broadway
New York NY 10027 United States