The items in this online exhibition evoke the stories of American women through the ages.
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Thou Art the Mother Womb, Judy Chicago, ca. 1980–1985

Photo by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute

Photo by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute


The large collection of personal papers of the artist, feminist, and writer Judy Chicago (1939–) speaks to her commitment to using art as a vehicle for intellectual and social change. The Birth Project (1980–1985)—which followed her best-known work, The Dinner Party—is a testament to this guiding principle. A collaboration between Chicago and more than 150 needleworkers around the world, The Birth Project resulted in the creation of dozens of images that combine painting and needlework to celebrate various aspects of the birth process. Exhibitions consisting of a selection of pieces and panels detailing their creation, often including words by the volunteers who embroidered them, were mounted in venues as varied as professional galleries and shopping malls in an effort to “introduce images of birth and information about the reality of women’s lives to a wide audience of viewers.” Eventually, pieces were given by Chicago to institutions throughout the United States. Along with her papers, the Library received this piece, Thou Art the Mother Womb.
Judy Chicago Papers

Catalog record:


Learn more:

Learn more about Judy Chicago.

Discover more the Schlesinger Library’s exhibit Judy Chicago: Through the Archives

Read about "Crafting the Dinner Party."

See the Schlesinger Library's research guide on artists.

View Judy Chicago in conversation with historians Jane Gerhard and Nancy F. Cott about art education and popular feminism:

Heather Min