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Sonja K. Foss papers

Identifier: Coll 691

Scope and Contents

The Sonja K. Foss papers document Foss’s life and work as a scholar and educator. The papers include biographical materials, publications, academic work, feminist activism material, and correspondence.

The biographical materials series contains documents, material related to Foss’s childhood and education, and material related to her career.

The publications series contains material related to Foss’s writing and publications. This series includes Foss’s Ph.D. dissertation, books, annotated drafts, manuscripts, proposals, journals, printouts of articles, correspondence, publisher materials, reviews, photographs, research files, publicity materials, and royalties documents.

The academic work series documents Foss’s work as a scholar and educator. This series contains material related to conferences, presentations and workshops, courses, scholars' retreats, awards, and editorial work.

The feminist activism series contains material related to Foss’s feminist activism, including the development of the Feminist Communication Scholarship Collection at the University of Oregon Libraries Special Collections and University Archives. This subseries includes correspondence and ephemera.

The correspondence series contains personal and professional correspondence exchanged between Foss and her friends and colleagues. The series includes letters, cards, and emails sent to Foss by students, colleagues, coauthors, book publishers, and faculty at other institutions.


  • 1950-2020


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.

Access to the following folders in box 13 is closed due to the presence of confidential personally identifiable information:

"University of Oregon, B.A., Romance Languages, 1968-1972”
“Ph.D. applications, 1973-1974”
“Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1977-1978”
“University of Denver, 1980-1986”
“University of Georgia, 1985”
“University of Oregon, 1988”
“St. Louis University, 1989”
“Ohio State University, circa 1990”
“University of Colorado Denver, 1997-1998”
“Evaluation materials, 1999-2010”
“Evaluation materials, 2011-2012”
““Contemporary perspectives on rhetoric”, publication, agreement, 1983”
““Women speak,” agreement, 1989 June 30”
““Destination Dissertation,” publication, agreement, 2006 February 1”
““Destination Dissertation,” publication, advertising, reviews, royalties, 2008-2010”
““Inviting Transformation,” publication, agreement, 1993”
““Inviting Transformation,” 2nd edition, publication, 2002-2004”
““Feminist Rhetorical Theories,” “Readings in Feminist Rhetorical Theory,” publication, advertising, 2003-2006”
““Feminist Rhetorical Theories,” “Readings in Feminist Rhetorical Theories,” royalties, 1998-2005”
““Feminist Rhetorical Theories,” publication, agreement, 1995”
““Feminist Rhetorical Theories,” development, annotated drafts, circa 1992-1999”
““Gender Stories,” publication, reviews, advertising, adoptions, royalties, 2011”
““Inviting Understanding,” development, rejections, 2019”
““The Construction of Feminine Spectatorship in Garrison Keillor’s Radio Monologues,” 1998”
““Herstory: History from a Feminist Perspective,” 1975”

Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit if you are interested in accessing this material.

Conditions Governing Technical Access

This collection includes sound recordings 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 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. Sonja K. Foss is a rhetorical scholar and professor emerita of communication at the University of Colorado Denver.

Sonja Kay Foss and her twin sister, Karen A. Foss, were born in Portland, Oregon, on January 26, 1950, to Lyle W. Foss and Hazel Mortenson Foss. Foss grew up in Eugene, Oregon, where her father was a sales representative, and her mother was the director of the Widowed Services Program at the University of Oregon. Foss earned a B.A. in romance languages (Spanish and French) from the University of Oregon in 1972, an M.A. in speech (rhetoric and public address) from the University of Oregon in 1973, and a Ph.D. in communication studies from Northwestern University in 1976. Foss married Anthony Radich in 1972. After completing her Ph.D., Foss moved with Radich to Reno, Nevada, where she worked as a customer service representative for Banta West, a book manufacturing company. When the company closed, Foss began teaching.

Foss taught at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University [Virginia Tech] from 1977-1978, Norfolk State University from 1978-1980, the University of Denver from 1980-1986, the University of Oregon from 1986-1989, Ohio State University from 1990-1996, and the University of Colorado Denver from 1997-2019. She was a visiting professor at the University of Georgia in spring 1985 and at St. Louis University from 1989-1990. At the University of Colorado Denver, Foss served as the chair of the Department of Communication from 1997- 2003, in spring 2005, and in fall 2007.

Foss’s research and teaching interests include contemporary rhetorical theory and criticism, feminist perspectives on communication, the incorporation of marginalized voices into rhetorical theory, visual rhetoric, and the reconceptualization of communication theories and concepts. Foss regularly presents her research at regional and national conferences. She has written and contributed to many articles, book chapters, and books, including Contemporary Perspectives on Rhetoric (1985), Women Speak: The Eloquence of Women's Lives (1991), Inviting Transformation: Presentational Speaking for a Changing World (1994), Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice (1988), Feminist Rhetorical Theories (1999), Readings in Contemporary Rhetoric (2002), Readings in Feminist Rhetorical Theory (2004), Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation (2007), Gender Stories: Negotiating Identity in a Binary World (2013), and Inviting Understanding: A Portrait of Invitational Rhetoric (2020).

Foss serves on the editorial boards of various communication journals, and from 1981-1988, served as the coeditor with her sister Karen Foss, who is also a rhetorical scholar, of the journal Women's Studies in Communication. In 1997, Foss founded Scholars' Retreat, writing retreats that provide individualized assistance for graduate students and faculty members working on their theses, dissertations, and other academic publications.

Foss has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Francine Merritt Award for contributions to women in communication from the Speech Communication Association in 1993, the Gender Scholar of the Year from the Southern Communication Association in 2005, the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Western States Communication Association in 2011, the Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award from the National Communication Association in 2012, and the Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award from the University of Colorado Denver in 2013.


18.5 linear feet (13 containers) : 12 record storage boxes; 1 manuscript box

Language of Materials



Dr. Sonja K. Foss (1950-) is a rhetorical scholar and professor emerita of communication at the University of Colorado Denver. The papers include biographical materials, publications, academic work, feminist activism material, and correspondence.


The Sonja K. Foss papers are arranged in five series:
1. Biographical materials, 1950-2020
2. Publications, 1976-2019
3. Academic work, 1975-2019
4. Feminist activism, 1975-2019
5. Correspondence, 1969-2019

Series 1. Biographical materials is arranged in three subseries:
1.1. Documents, 1950-2020
1.2. Childhood and education, 1950-1976
1.3. Career, 1976-2019

Series 3. Academic work is arranged in six subseries:
3.1. Conference material, 1977-2018
3.2. Presentations and workshops, 1975-2019
3.3. Course material, 1981-2017
3.4. Scholars' retreat material, 1997-2014
3.5. Awards, 1989-2013
3.6. Editorial work, 1989-2018

Series 5. Correspondence is arranged in five subseries:
5.1. Graduate students, colleagues, coauthors, and book publishers, 1973-2019
5.2. Undergraduate students, 1978-2019
5.3. Faculty at other institutions, 1977-2018
5.4. Students at other institutions, 1990-2019
5.5. Holiday cards and letters, 1969-2019

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Sonja K. Foss, 2020.

Related Materials

Related materials are found in the following collections: Karen A. Foss papers, Coll 599


A donor-supplied inventory of the collection with additional description of the material is available upon request.

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, 2021.


Guide to the Sonja K. Foss papers
Complete Description
Sarah Lueders
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