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Suzette Haden Elgin papers

Identifier: Coll 307

Scope and Contents note

The Suzette Haden Elgin Papers comprise materials related to Elgin's work in the feminist communication field. The collection covers the development of the Láadan language and includes Elgin's correspondence, literary works, academic work, and artistic work, as well as audiovisual recordings.

The Láadan series sheds light on the construction of the feminist language of Láadan. Dictionaries and grammar texts in various drafts, along with articles, newsletters, and promotional material are available. The correspondence series focuses on outgoing letters by Elgin to colleagues including Cheris Kramarae, a professor at the University of Oregon. The Literary Works series contains various drafts of novels and short stories, essays, poems, and speeches. In addition, various newsletters discussing gender and language are included. The Academic Work series consists of drafts of paper written by Elgin in various forms. The Artistic Work series includes hand drawn sketches, a music score, and photographs relating to the tapestries Elgin created.

The 2009 Accession and 2010 Accession series represents donated materials after initial processing of the collection. This material overlaps with other series.


  • 1954-1999 1976-1990
  • Majority of material found within 1976 - 1990


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time. Collection includes sound recordings, moving images, and digital files to which access is restricted. Access to these materials is governed by repository policy and may require the production of listening or viewing copies. Researchers requiring access must notify Special Collections and University Archives in advance and pay fees for reproduction services as necessary.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

Suzette Haden Elgin (Patricia Anne Wilkins) was born on November 19, 1936 in Louisiana, Missouri, and died January 27, 2015. Elgin was the daughter of Gaylord Lloyd, a lawyer, and Hazel Wilkins, a teacher. At the age of eighteen, Elgin attended the University of Chicago from 1954-1956. During this time she married Peter Haden (he later passed away) in 1955 and had three children, Michael, Rebecca, and Patricia. After transferring to Chico State College, now known as California State University, Chico, Elgin remarried a sales manager named George Elgin in 1964 and had a son named Benjamin. Elgin received her B.A. in 1967 and upon graduating she began to teach at the Conservatory of Music in Chico, California from 1967-1968. Soon after, she taught adult French, guitar, and music theory. In 1970, Elgin enrolled at the University of California, San Diego where she began to write science fiction to supplement her income. She received her M.A. in Linguistics in 1970 and three years later her Ph. D. in linguistics, in 1973. Elgin invented a feminist language called Láadan for her Native Tongue science fiction series.


6 linear feet (11 containers)

Language of Materials



Suzette Haden Elgin (November 19, 1936-January 27, 2015) was known for her extensive scholarly work in linguistics, the development of a feminist language called Láadan, and numerous publications in science fiction and other genres. The collection includes original Láadan materials, correspondence, publications, academic work, biographical information, music, plays, poems, original artwork, and audiovisual recordings all pertaining to her life as a scholar and an artist in many mediums.

Arrangement note

The collection is arranged by the following series: Series I: Láadan LanguageSeries II: CorrespondenceSeries II: Literary WorksSeries IV: Academic WorkSeries V: Artistic WorkSeries VI: Audiovisual RecordingsSeries VII: 2009 Acquisition

Materials within this collection are arranged first by the initial acquisition(s) that were processed together as a whole and then by subsequent acquisition(s). This organization reflects the fact that the collection had been processed at one point in time and then more materials were acquired in increments over time. This organization is also based on the decision not to merge the various acquisitions and organize them into the whole at this point in time, given the fact that future accruals are anticipated and/or that this organization is deemed sufficient for access.

Researchers should note that materials within an acquisition overlaps and/or relates to material found in other acquisitions. For example, correspondence may be found in all number groupings. In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers will need to consult each acquisition described in the detailed description of collection list below.

Researchers should also note that similar materials can be arranged differently in each acquisition, depending on how the material is organized upon receipt or during minimal processing. For instance, correspondence in an early acquisition may be arranged alphabetically, while correspondence in a later acquisition is arranged chronologically.

Existence and Location of Copies

Selected sound recordings in this collection are available as digital audio files in Special Collections & University Archives, including tapes 2, 6-8, 33-36, 46-48, 51-52.

Related Archival Materials note

This collection is part of the Feminist Language and Communication Collection, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Rachael Miller, Rebecca Rose, and Cassandra A. Schmitt.

This collection may have received a basic level of processing including minimal organization and rehousing. The initial acquisition(s) were processed and arranged as a whole and are reflected in the detailed description of collection list below. Subsequent acquisition(s) for the collection have not been merged or organized as a whole. Each subsequent acquisition is described separately in the contents list below. Folder titles appearing in the acquisition(s) below are based on those created by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not all been verified against the contents of the folders. In some cases, staff supplied folder titles during initial processing. Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Suzette Haden Elgin Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Cassandra A. Schmitt and Sam Bouchat
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA