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Judy Chicago art education collection

Identifier: 09028

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of textual, photographic, graphic, and audiovisual materials related to Judy Chicago's art and pedagogy. This includes the records of courses taught at California State Polytechnic University, Duke University, Indiana University, Vanderbilt University, and Western Kentucky University, as well as the development of the Dinner Party companion curriculum, and a number of Chicago’s writings about art and education. Although some material is dated from the early 1970s, the bulk of the collection was created between 1994 and 2013.


  • Creation: 1970-2014


Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

This collection contains student records that are subject to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In accordance with FERPA, all student records are restricted for a period of 75 years from the date of their creation. Restrictions, where applicable, are noted at the series level.

Technical Access Note

Boxes 30-35 of this collection contains audiovisual and born digital materials which may require specialized equipment for playback and access. Please contact the Special Collections Research Services Unit at

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Custodial History

This collection was donated to the Pennsylvania State University Libraries by Judy Chicago and the non-profit Feminist art organization Through the Flower founded by Judy Chicago.

Processing Information

This collection does not remain in its original order. The collection was reprocessed, arranged and described, by Alyssa Carver and Special Collections employees, 2017-10. Item level inventory for computer disks/tapes, moving images and artifacts was completed by G. Johns, 2018-12. Metadata required to present this archival collection as a digital collection was provided by Katelyn Dion Town, G. Johns and Special Collections employees, 2017-2018.


15 Linear Feet (35 Boxes)


Judy Chicago is a noted feminist artist, author, and educator. This collection consists of textual, photographic, graphic, and audiovisual materials related to her art pedagogical methods, including The Dinner Party Curriculum.


This collection is organized into the following series.

Arrangement Outline

  1. Series I – University Teaching Residencies
  2. Subseries 1 – At Home: A Kentucky Project (WKU)
  3. Subseries 2 – Envisioning the Future (Cal State Pomona)
  4. Subseries 3 – Evoke/Invoke/Provoke (Vanderbilt University)
  5. Subseries 4 – From Theory to Practice (Duke)
  6. Subseries 5 – SINsation (Indiana University)
  7. Series II – Other Pedagogy
  8. Subseries 1 – The Dinner Party Curriculum Project
  9. Subseries 2 – Feminist Art Program (Fresno/Cal Arts)
  10. Subseries 3 – Through the Flower Summer Workshop (College of Santa Fe)
  11. Series III – Book Projects & Other Writing
  12. Subseries 1 – Frida Kahlo: Face to Face
  13. Subseries 2 – Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education
  14. Subseries 3 – Other Writing
  15. Series IV – General Files & Correspondence
  16. Series V – Art & Artifacts


For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Penn State University Libraries catalog via the link above. Archival collections may be housed in offsite storage. For materials stored offsite, please allow 2-3 business days for retrieval.

Biographical Note

Judy Chicago is a feminist artist, author, and educator best known for The Dinner Party, a multimedia art installation honoring women in history, created with the participation of hundreds of volunteers between 1974 and 1979. Other major works of art include: the Birth Project (1980-1985), The Holocaust Project: From Darkness to Light (1985-1993), and Resolutions: A Stitch in Time (1994-2000).

Born Judith Sylvia Cohen in 1939, she later adopted the surname Chicago, the city of her birth, as a rejection of patriarchal naming conventions. After receiving her B.A. (1962) and M.F.A. (1964) from the University of California, Los Angeles, Chicago pioneered a feminist, content-based approach to art education through teaching positions at the California State University, Fresno (1970-1971) and the California Institute of the Arts (1971-1972). There she helped to organize and produce the ground-breaking Womanhouse installation and exhibition (1971). In addition to ‘central core imagery,’ Chicago’s work often utilizes stereotypically ‘feminine’ art techniques like embroidery, ceramics, needlework, and weaving. Though her art has been exhibited internationally and received many honors, it has also been subject to ongoing debate and criticism. Even her most influential work, The Dinner Party, did not find a permanent home until 2007, when the Brooklyn Museum made it the centerpiece of their new Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

In the late 1990s, Chicago returned to teaching with a succession of appointments at universities across the United States, often working with her husband, photographer Donald Woodman. In addition to Chicago’s work as an artist and educator, she is the author of numerous books, including Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education, and two autobiographies: Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist (1975) and Beyond the Flower: The Autobiography of a Feminist Artist (1996).

Chicago’s non-profit organization is also called Through the Flower. Founded in 1978 to help raise funds for completing The Dinner Party, it maintains Chicago’s art legacy and works to educate the public about women’s achievements in art. It is based in Belen, New Mexico, where Chicago and Woodman currently reside.

Existence and Location of Copies

Audiovisual materials in this collection have been digitized and digital access copies are available upon request

Related Materials

Judy Chicago's archives and artworks are held by a number of institutions, including at the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard and at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Penn State University, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America have collaborated to create and maintain the Judy Chicago Portal, an online site designed to allow “each repository to consider and embrace new audiences and their collective interests in Judy Chicago’s oeuvre and overall impact.”

Guide to the Judy Chicago art education collection
The original author of this finding aid is unknown. Alyssa Carver, Gwyn John, and Kaitlyn Dion Town contributed to this finding aid
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 10/23/2017: New finding aid and reprocessed inventory created to replace previous published version of # 9028.
  • 2019: Finding aid revised to update finding aid title, finding aid date, added finding aid authors, and added technical access note. Converted <i> tags to <title> tags for updated standard. Lexy deGraffenreidm December 18, 2019
  • 2023: Lexy deGraffenreid revised the link to the Judy Chicago Portal

Repository Details

Part of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library Repository

104 Paterno Library
Penn State University
University Park 16802 USA