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Nancy Henley papers

Identifier: Coll 556

Scope and Contents

The Nancy Henley papers document Henley’s career as a feminist psychologist and professor who specialized in research on language, semantics, nonverbal communication, and issues of gender and power. The papers include correspondence, research and writing material, and writing of others.

The correspondence series contains Henley’s professional correspondence, including letters, emails, and notes.

The research and writing series contains material related to Henley’s academic work, particularly her research and scholarly writing. This series includes research material, subject files, published and unpublished manuscripts, conference papers and other conference material, drafts, correspondence, journals, articles, and essays.

The writing of others series contains writings by others sent to and collected by Henley, including writings that Henley edited and reviewed. This series includes essays, conference papers, journals, newspaper clippings, and photocopies of publications.


  • 1963-2003


Conditions Governing Access

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.

Conditions Governing Technical Access

This collection includes 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 Reproduction and Use

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.

Archival records many contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Nancy M. Henley was a feminist psychologist and professor who specialized in research on language and nonverbal communication; issues of gender, power, change, and semantics; psychology of women and gender; attitudes toward women and gender issues; and violence against women.

Born Nancy Eloise Main on October 27, 1934, in Palatka, Florida, Henley grew up in Washington, DC. She attended Wilson Teachers College, where she took her first psychology courses before leaving to start a family. She earned a B.S. in psychology in 1964, an M.A. in 1967, and a Ph.D. in 1968, all from Johns Hopkins University.

Henley taught at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County from 1968-1971, at Lowell Technological Institute/University of Lowell from 1974-1980, and at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1980-1994. From 1971-1972, she was a postdoctoral researcher with Roger Brown at Harvard University. From 1980-1986, Henley served as the Director of Women’s Studies at UCLA and the editor of Psychology of Women Quarterly. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Henley was one of the feminist psychologists who worked to change sexist practices and theories in the American Psychological Association (APA). Her efforts contributed to the founding of the APA’s Division 35, Psychology of Women, in 1973.

Henley is the author of Body Politics: Power, Sex and Nonverbal Communication (1977) and of many journal articles and book chapters on language, nonverbal communication, and gender. Her work has earned her several awards, including the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology in 1978, the Carolyn Wood Sherif Memorial Award of Division 35 of the APA in 1985, and the Distinguished Contribution to Women in Psychology Award from the APA Committee on Women in Psychology in 1996. In 1984, Henley was named a Foremother by the Association for Women in Psychology.

Henley passed away on June 4, 2016.


7.5 linear feet (5 containers) : 5 record storage boxes

Language of Materials



Dr. Nancy M. Henley (1934-2016) was a feminist psychologist and professor who specialized in research on language, semantics, nonverbal communication, and issues of gender and power. The papers include correspondence, research and writing material, and writing of others.


The Nancy Henley papers are arranged in three series:
1. Correspondence, 1966-2003
2. Research and writing, 1963-2003
3. Writing of others, 1963-2003

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Nancy Henley, 2003-2008.

Processing Information

This collection contains unprocessed digital material. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives for more information.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Sarah Lueders, 2022.


Guide to Nancy Henley papers
Complete Description
Sarah Lueders
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is 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