Guide to the Frieda Fligelman Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Fligelman, Frieda, 1890-1978
Title: Frieda Fligelman Papers
Dates: 1909-1981 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 1.3 linear feet
Collection Number: Mss 184
Summary: Frieda Fligelman was a linguist, sociologist, poet and advocate for women's issues who lived in Montana. The collection includes correspondence, writings, photographs, pamphlets, biographical information, and research dated 1909 to 1981.
Repository: University of Montana, Mansfield Library, Archives and Special Collections
Contact Information: Archives and Special Collections
Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library
University of Montana
32 Campus Dr. #9936
Missoula, MT
Telephone: 406-243-2053
Fax: 406-243-4067
Languages: Materials are in English 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical Note

Frieda Fligelman was a linguist, sociologist, poet and a well-known advocate for women's issues. She pioneered the study of "linguistic sociology," an evaluation of the meaning and value of words used in a sociological context. She believed language should be studied as an environment and national group interest rather than simply as meaning and form. Fligelman authored many articles and papers outlining the depth and importance of language. Her work included a book titled The Richness of African Negro Languages, which illustrated the principles of linguistic sociology.

Fligelman faced much frustration over the general disinterest in her work. She fought to have her writings published and her theories accepted by the sociologists and linguists of her day. Fligelman was politically active and participated in establishing a program providing relief for victims of anti-Semitic persecution during Word War II. She showed concern over the racial issues of her time and society's attempt to limit immigration. Fligelman's studies in the value of language emphasized the vitality of a multi-ethnic culture and the importance of her sociological theories in understanding that culture.

Content Description

The collection includes correspondence, writings, and research dated 1909 to 1975. Also included are postcards, photographs and pamphlets of the same era. There are also biographical materials for Frieda Fligelman dating 1977 to 1981. The collection provides an illustration of pro and anti-war propaganda and the lives of Jewish refugees during World War II. Personal handwritten notations and opinions are also part of the collection and appear on the back of much of the correspondence.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of Archives and Special Collections, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, and The University of Montana--Missoula.

Restrictions on Use :  

Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. and any other applicable statutes. Copyright not transferred to The University of Montana.

Preferred Citation :  

[Name of document or photograph number], Frieda Fligelman Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana--Missoula.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The collection is divided into five series:

Series I: Correspondence, 4 folders, 1927-1975

Series II: Writings, 8 folders, 1932-1974

Series III: Research and Education, 17 folders, 1909-1974

Series IV: Photographs, 3 pieces, undated

Series V: Biographical, 1 folder and 1 Audio Cassette, 1977-1981

Custodial History :  

This collection remained in the possession of Frieda Fligelman and her estate until donation to Archives and Special Collections.

Acquisition Information :  

Gift of the Frieda Fligelman Estate through Professor Jon Driessen, 1978 and 2014.

Future Additions :  

There are no expected additions to this collection.

Processing Note :  

The actions of the original processors are unknown. The collection was arranged chronologically with photos interspersed within the correspondence and writings. The collection was reprocessed and re-described in 1998, maintaining the original arrangement except photographs were transferred to the general photograph collection and designated as a separate series.

Separated Materials :  

The photographs in Series IV were transferred to the archives general photograph collection in 1998.

Related Materials :  

There are oral history interviews with Fligelman in the Mansfield Library's Montana Women's Oral History Collection, OH 49.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  Correspondence , 1927-1975
4 folders

This series consists of various correspondence including letters from World War II Jewish refugees, letters of application and introduction, as well as documents referring to various peace organizations and upcoming presentations of professional papers. Some letters are written in French and German.

The series is arranged chronologically.
1/1 General Correspondence 1927-1950
1/2 General Correspondence 1951-1975
1/3 General Correspondence undated
1/4 General Correspondence, Personal and Clippings undated

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Series II:  Writings , 1932-1974
8 folders

This series includes writings dealing with Frieda Fligelman's theory of linguistic sociology. It provides an outline of the theory. Also included to illustrate how the theory works is an analysis of George Orwell's 1984.The series also has personal notes and clippings.

1/5 Writings 1932-1933
1/6 Writings 1934
1/7 Writings 1958
1/8 Writings 1962
1/9 Writings 1967-1969
1/10 Writings 1974
Writings undated

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Series III:  Research and Education, 1909-1974
17 folders

The series consists primarily of the writings of varied authors on sociology and linguistics. There are also materials from Fligelman's time at Columbia University and her notes. This part of the collection also includes several pamphlets discussing the involvement of the United States in World War II. Many of these pamphlets also address other political issues of the time.

2/1 Research for 1801 undated
3/1 Pamphlets 1909-1926
2/2 Research 1927
2/3 Research 1931, 1936, 1938
2/4 Research 1939
2/5 Research 1940
2/6 Research 1948
2/7 Research 1950-1954
2/8 Research 1955-1956
2/9 Research 1961
2/10 Research 1971
2/11 Research 1972
2/12 Research 1974
2/13 Research 1974
2/14 Research undated
3/2 Notes undated

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Series IV:  Photographs , undated
3 pieces

This series consists of three photographs: one of Fligelman and two of unknown women. All are undated.

98-2431: Frieda Fligelman undated
98-2432: Unknown woman facing camera undated
98-2433: Unknown woman facing light undated

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Series V:  Biographical, 1977-1981
1 folder and 1 audio cassette

This series includes materials documenting Frieda Fligelman's life including an audiocassette of poetry by and about her, as well as an article from Montana Prospector Magazine.

The series is arranged chronologically.
3/3 Frieda Fligelman: 1890-1978, Audio Cassette 1977-1978
3/4 Frieda Fligelman: Commemorative notes to a life completed 1981

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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Occupations :
  • Linguists--Montana--Helena
  • Women sociologists--Montana--Helena
  • Subject Terms :
  • Sociolinguistics
  • World War, 1939-1945--Jews
  • World War, 1939-1945--Propaganda
  • World War, 1939-1945--Refugees
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographs

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