FeMail (organization)
Correspondence, 1982-2013

SC23215

Quantity: 13 boxes (ca. 4.25 cubic ft.)
Access: See research use and access note
Acquisition: Rebecca Smith, Herefordshire, England, April 2011; accretions, August 2012, and September 2013
Processed By: Abigail Stambach, Student Assistant, University at Albany, April 2011; revised by Jasmine Bumpers, Student Assistant, University at Albany, September 2012; revised October 2013

Historical Note:

FeMail was a “correspondence magazine” group of women that was formed in the mid-1960s with members from the United States and the United Kingdom. “Correspondence magazines” were fairly popular groups beginning in the mid-twentieth century.  The primary qualification for membership in this particular group was that all the women were also members of Mensa, a social organization for individuals with a high IQ.  FeMail membership fluctuated but there were typically seven or eight women from each country. By the twenty-first century, membership dwindled.  However, members Martha Grutchfield, Madelon Hambro, Carol Conkey, Becky Smith, Jo Roberts, Margaret Aitchison and Sheila Noble all remained in the group throughout most of its tenure.   

Each month, members would write a letter and send a copy to each of the two coordinators or editors – one in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. Martha Grutchfield served as the coordinator for the U.S. and Rebecca (Becky) Smith for the U.K. Each coordinator would compile the letters into the “magazine” and create a monthly rotation for the members in her country. The “magazine” would then circulate among the members. By the late 1990s, the “magazine” began to circulate via email but a paper copy continued as well. Eventually, the group phased out paper copies except for one hard copy that was archived by the coordinator in the United States.

Most of the members had met in person on at least one occasion but the majority of communication that occurred among these women was in the form of the correspondence magazine. Phone calls to one another were seldom made, and letters and e-mails outside of FeMail were rarely sent.

Scope and Content Note:

This archive consists almost exclusively of letters written by members of FeMail from its beginning in 1982 to the present. All the letters have the same basic format. The heading typically includes the names and ages of the writer and her family as well as her address. The body is divided into two parts, “news” and “personals.” The “news” section was like a member’s diary for the month, discussing topics such as health, travel, children, work, politics, cultural events, family events, religion, hobbies, pets and gardens. Members also expressed their opinion on current events and the letters have discussions about Princess Diana’s death in 1997, Y2K, the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the mad-cow-disease epidemic in Britain, the housing crisis of 2008, the U.S. presidential election campaign of 2008, and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Generally, there was little restriction on the subject matter but some members avoided very personal matters. The “personals” section allowed members to address each other individually and respond to past letters. This section became a complex, rich and multi-layered dialogue. Occasionally, the exchanges resulted in disagreements and conflicts. Usually the disagreements were resolved but not always; one member in the late 1990s chose to leave the group after developing a major rift with another member.

Most of the letters were typed, but some of the earlier exchanges were handwritten. The letters have been arranged chronologically, mainly by month, with letters not specified by day located at the end of each folder.

Research Use and Access Note:

This collection is open for research use with explicit restrictions relative to quoting and publishing information from the documents. Provisions in the deed of gift indicate the restrictions apply for 30 years (from April 2011 to April 2041). During this period, researchers seeking access should obtain written permission from members of FeMail, or their heirs or representatives. No material from the collection may be reproduced or published during this period without express written permission.

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Description
1 1 January 1982 and November 21, 1983
1 2 February 8, 1984 – May 31, 1984
1 3 June 4, 1984 – June 30, 1984
1 4 July 7, 1984 – July 31, 1984
1 5 August 3, 1984 – September 21, 1984
1 6 October 31, 1984 – November 29, 1984
1 7 December 1, 1984 – December 28, 1984
1 8 January 24, 1985 – February 28, 1985
1 9 March 2, 1985 – March 28, 1985
1 10 April 2, 1985 – April 28, 1985
1 11 May 1, 1985 – June 30, 1985
1 12 July 3, 1985 – July 29, 1985
1 13 August 2, 1985 – August 26, 1985
1 14 September 11, 1985 – October 29, 1985
1 15 November 4, 1985 – November 26, 1985
1 16 December 3, 1985 – December 31, 1985
1 17 January 1, 1986 – January 21, 1986
1 18 April 28, 1986 – June 28, 1986
2 1 July 3, 1986 – July 20, 1986
2 2 August 7, 1986 – October 26, 1986
2 3 November 22, 1986 – December 27, 1986
2 4 January 6, 1987 – January 21, 1987
2 5 March 17, 1987 – April 25, 1987
2 6 May 2, 1987 – May 31, 1987
2 7 June 8, 1987 – June 29, 1987
2 8 July 5, 1987 – July 27, 1987
2 9 August 5, 1987 – August 29, 1987
2 10 September 3, 1987 – September 29, 1987
2 11 October 6, 1987 – October 25, 1987
2 12 November 8, 1987 – November 29, 1987
2 13 December 3, 1987 – December 30, 1987
2 14 January 5, 1988 – January 29, 1988
2 15 February 5, 1988 – February 17, 1988
2 16 February 19, 1988 – February 27, 1988
2 17 March 1, 1988 – March 31, 1988
2 18 April 1, 1988 – April 30, 1988
2 19 May 5, 1988 – May 26, 1988
2 20 June 2, 1988 – June 30, 1988
2 21 July 12, 1988 – July 25, 1988
3 1 August 4, 1988 – August 23, 1988
3 2 September 2, 1988 – September 15, 1988
3 3 September 19, 1988 – September 28, 1988
3 4 October 4, 1988 – October 30, 1988
3 5 November 5, 1988 – November 24, 1988
3 6 December 2, 1988 – December 29, 1988
3 7 January 1, 1989 – January 29, 1989
3 8 February 8, 1989 – February 28, 1989
3 9 March 4, 1989 – March 24, 1989
3 10 April 15, 1989 – May 30, 1989
3 11 June 1, 1989 – June 20, 1989
3 12 July 4, 1989 – July 28, 1989
3 13 August 1, 1989 – August 29, 1989
3 14 September 3, 1989 – September 26, 1989
3 15 October 4, 1989 – October 28, 1989
3 16 November 10, 1989 – November 26, 1989
3 17 December 7, 1989 – December 28, 1989
3 18 January 6, 1990 – January 28, 1990
3 19 February 10, 1990 – February 27, 1990
3 20 March 6, 1990 – March 31, 1990
3 21 April 1, 1990 – April 30, 1990
3 22 May 3, 1990 – May 31, 1990
3 23 June 7, 1990 – June 29, 1990
3 24 July 4, 1990 – July 28, 1990
3 25 August 1, 1990 – August 27, 1990
3 26 September 6, 1990 – September 29, 1990
3 27 October 1, 1990 – October 29, 1990
3 28 November 1, 1990 – November 26, 1990
3 29 December 8, 1990 – December 27, 1990
4 1 January 7, 1991 – January 27, 1991
4 2 February 1, 1991 – February 26, 1991
4 3 March 1, 1991 – March 28, 1991
4 4 April 4, 1991 – April 28, 1991
4 5 May 5, 1991 – May 27, 1991
4 6 June 6, 1991 – June 25, 1991
4 7 July 4, 1991 – July 27, 1991
4 8 August 3, 1991 – August 30, 1991
4 9 September 2, 1991 – September 28, 1991
4 10 October 1, 1991 – October 31, 1991
4 11 November 1, 1991 – November 30, 1991
4 12 December 3, 1991 – December 31, 1991
4 13 January 4, 1992-January 27, 1992.
4 14 February 1, 1992-February 29, 1992.
4 15 March 2, 1992-March 28, 1992.
4 16 April 3, 1992-April 28, 1992.
4 17 May 8, 1992-May 30, 1992.
4 18 June 3, 1992-June 24, 1992.
4 19 July 1, 1992-July 23, 1992.
5 1 August 3, 1992-August 25, 1992.
5 2 September 2, 1992-September 25, 1992.
5 3 October 1, 1992-October 30, 1992.
5 4 November 4, 1992-November 29, 1992.
5 5 December 1, 1992-December 27, 1992.
5 6 January 10, 1993-January 30, 1993.
5 7 February 5, 1993-March 2, 1993.
5 8 March 3, 1993-March 24, 1993.
5 9 April 4, 1993-May 2, 1993.
5 10 May 6, 1993-May 22, 1993.
5 11 June 6, 1993-June 25, 1993.
5 12 June 29, 1993-July 23, 1993.
5 13 August 9, 1993-August 22, 1993.
5 14 September 1, 1993-September 23, 1993.
5 15 October 4, 1993-November 27, 1993.
5 16 December 1, 1993-December 26, 1993.
5 17 January 3, 1994-January 25, 1994.
5 18 February 1, 1994-February 23, 1994.
6 1 March 1, 1994-March 24, 1994.
6 2 April 1, 1994-April 27, 1994. 
6 3 May 1, 1994-May 28, 1994.
6 4 June 6, 1994-June 25, 1994.
6 5 June 28, 1994-July 28, 1994.
6 6 July 29, 1994-August 24, 1994.
6 7 August 31, 1994-September 18, 1994.
6 8 September 28, 1994-October 25, 1994.
6 9 October 28, 1994-November 15, 1994.
6 10 November 29, 1994-December 19, 1994.
6 11 January 5, 1995-January 20, 1995.
6 12 January 31, 1995-February 20, 1995.
6 13 March 1, 1995-March 20, 1995.
6 14 March 26, 1995-April 21, 1995.
6 15 May 1, 1995-May 14, 1995.
6 16 June 14, 1995-July 20, 1995.
6 17 July 30, 1995-August 22, 1995.
6 18 September 6, 1995-September 18, 1995.
6 19 September 23, 1995-October 20, 1995.
6 20 October 26, 1995-November 20, 1995.
6 21 November 28, 1995-December 19, 1995.
6 22 December 22, 1995-January 19, 1996.
6 23 January 22, 1996-February 19, 1996.
7 1 February 27, 1996-March 18, 1996.
7 2 April 1, 1996-April 17, 1996.
7 3 June 12, 1996-June 29, 1996.
7 4 July 3, 1996-July 28, 1996.
7 5 August 2, 1996-August 30, 1996.
7 6 September 2, 1996-September 22, 1996.
7 7 October 1, 1996-October 22, 1996.
7 8 November 3, 1996-November 26, 1996.
7 9 November 30, 1996-December 16, 1996.
7 10 December 29, 1996-January 19, 1997.
7 11 January 28, 1997-February 21, 1997.
7 12 March 1, 1997-March 25, 1997.
7 13 April 3, 1997-April 25, 1997.
7 14 May 1, 1997-May 28, 1997.
7 15 June 2, 1997-June 25, 1997.
7 16 July 2, 1997 – July 27, 1997
7 17 August 1, 1997 – August 15, 1997
7 18 August 17, 1997 – August 30, 1997
8 1 September 3, 1997 – September 15, 1997
8 2 September 17, 1997 – September 30, 1997
8 3 October 3, 1997 – October 31, 1997
8 4 November 1, 1997 – November 30, 1997
8 5 December 5, 1997 – December 19, 1997
8 6 January 7, 1998 – January 31, 1998
8 7 February 3, 1998 – February 13, 1998
8 8 February 16, 1998 – February 28, 1998
8 9 March 4, 1998 – March 30, 1998 
8 10 April 6, 1998 – April 29, 1998
8 11 May 1, 1998 – May 27, 1998
8 12 June 2, 1998 – June 28, 1998
8 13 July 1, 1998 – July 31, 1998
8 14 August 5, 1998 – August 31, 1998
8 15 September 2, 1998 -  September 15, 1998
8 16 September 16, 1998 – September 30, 1998
8 17 October 2, 1998 – October 13, 1998
8 18 October 16, 1998 – October 30, 1998
8 19 November 1, 1998 – November 22, 1998
8 20 December 1, 1998 – December 27, 1998
8 21 January 6, 1999 – January 31, 1999
8 22 February 6, 1999 – February 24, 1999
8 23 March 2, 1999 – March 28, 1999
8 24 April 1, 1999 – April 25, 1999
9 1 May 1, 1999 – May 31, 1999
9 2 June 2, 1999 – June 29, 1999
9 3 July 2, 1999 – July 30, 1999
9 4 August 9, 1999 – August 29, 1999
9 5 September 2, 1999 – September 27, 1999
9 6 October 1, 1999 – October 31, 1999
9 7 November 3, 1999 – November 31, 1999
9 8 December 2, 1999 – December 30, 1999
9 9 January 3, 2000 – January 31, 2000
9 10 February 1, 2000 – February 28, 2000
9 11 March 12, 2000 – March 29, 2000
9 12 April 1, 2000 – April 30, 2000
9 13 May 2, 2000 – May 29, 2000
9 14 June 1, 2000 – June 30, 2000
9 15 July 15, 2000 – July 26, 2000
9 16 August 16, 2000 – August 29, 2000
9 17 September 2, 2000 – September 30, 2000
9 18 October 3, 2000 – October 31, 2000
9 19 November 1, 2000 – November 30, 2000
9 20 December 2, 2000 – December 30, 2000
9 21 January 6, 2001 – January 30, 2001
9 22 February 1, 2001 – February 28, 2001
9 23 March 1, 2001 – March 30, 2001
9 24 April 3, 2001 – April 30, 2001
9 25 July 31, 2001 – August 30, 2001
9 26 October 2, 2001 – October 28, 2001
9 27 December 1, 2001 – December 30, 2001
9 28 January 4, 2002 – January 29, 2002
9 29 February 9, 2002 – March 1, 2002
9 30 July 3, 2002 – July 29, 2002
10 1 August 3, 2002 – August 30, 2002
10 2 September 3, 2002 – September 29, 2002
10 3 October 1, 2002 – October 31, 2002
10 4 November 1, 2002 – November 27, 2002
10 5 December 5, 2002 – December 28, 2002
10 6 January 1, 2003 – January 30, 2003
10 7 February 11, 2003 – February 27, 2003
10 8 March 3, 2003 – March 31, 2003
10 9 April 1, 2003 – April 30, 2003
10 10 May 3, 2003 – May 29, 2003
10 11 June 3, 2003 – June 28, 2003
10 12 July 2, 2003 – July 20, 2003
10 13 August 2, 2003 – August 28, 2003
10 14 September 9, 2003 – September 30, 2003
10 15 October 2, 2003 – October 29, 2003
10 16 November 2, 2003 – November 26, 2003
10 17 December 1, 2003 – December 21, 2003
10 18 January 4, 2004 – January 26, 2004
10 19 February 1, 2004 – February 28, 2004
10 20 March 17, 2004 – March 29, 2004
10 21 April 1, 2004 – April 27, 2004
10 22 May 7, 2004 – May 29, 2004
10 23 June 3, 2004 – June 26, 2004
10 24 July 6, 2004 – July 28, 2004
10 25 August 12, 2004 – August 27, 2004
10 26 September 13, 2004 – September 27, 2004
10 27 October 2, 2004 – October 23, 2004
10 28 November 3, 2004 – November 28, 2004
10 29 December 1, 2004 – December 27, 2004
10 30 January 1, 2005 – January 23, 2005
10 31 February 1, 2005 – February 28, 2005
10 32 March 2, 2005 – March 31, 2005
10 33 April 12, 2005 – April 28, 2005
10 34 May 4, 2005 – May 28, 2005
11 1 June 2, 2005 – June 25, 2005
11 2 July 9, 2005 – July 25, 2005
11 3 August 2, 2005 – August 25, 2005
11 4 September 1, 2005 – September 29, 2005
11 5 October 19, 2005 – October 25, 2005
11 6 November 2, 2005 – November 29, 2005
11 7 December 3, 2005 – December 27, 2005
11 8 January 1, 2006 – January 29, 2006
11 9 February 1, 2006 – February 26, 2006
11 10 March 2, 2006 – March 26, 2006
11 11 April 1, 2006 – April 20, 2006
11 12 May 3, 2006 – May 28, 2006
11 13 June 1, 2006 – June 30, 2006
11 14 July 1, 2006 – July 23, 2006
11 15 August 17, 2006 – August 29, 2006
11 16 September 2, 2006 – September 25, 2006
11 17 October 14, 2006 – October 27, 2006
11 18 November 5, 2006 – November 30, 2006
11 19 December 17, 2006 – December 26, 2006
11 20 January 1, 2007 – January 29, 2007
11 21 February 3, 2007 – February 27, 2007
11 22 March 2, 2007 – March 29, 2007
11 23 April 1, 2007 – April 28, 2007
11 24 May 4, 2007 – May 30, 2007
11 25 June 3, 2007 – June 28, 2007
11 26 July 1, 2007 – July 26, 2007
11 27 August 4, 2007 – August 31, 2007
11 28 September 2, 2007 – September 28, 2007
11 29 October 7, 2007 – October 28, 2007
11 30 November 1, 2007 – November 27, 2007
12 1 December 12, 2007 – December 28, 2007
12 2 January 5, 2008 – January 28, 2008
12 3 February 3, 2008 – February 27, 2008
12 4 March 5, 2008 – March 28, 2008
12 5 April 2, 2008 – April 30, 2008
12 6 May 3, 2008 – May 30, 2008
12 7 June 3, 2008 – June 29, 2008
12 8 July 2, 2008 – July 30, 2008
12 9 August 1, 2008 – August 31, 2008
12 10 September 1, 2008 – September 29, 2008
12 11 October 5, 2008 – October 28, 2008
12 12 November 2, 2008 – November 29, 2008
12 13 December 1, 2008 – December 28, 2008
12 14 January 2, 2009 – January 28, 2009
12 15 February 3, 2009 – February 27, 2009
12 16 March 4, 2009 – March 27, 2009
12 17 April 2, 2009 – April 29, 2009
12 18 May 13, 2009 – May 26, 2009
12 19 June 2, 2009 – June 29, 2009
12 20 July 3, 2009 – July 29, 2009
12 21 August 3, 2009 – August 29, 2009
12 22 September 4, 2009 – September 30, 2009
12 23 October 12, 2009 – October 26, 2009
12 24 November 2, 2009 – November 24, 2009
12 25 December 3, 2009 – December 27, 2009
12 26 January 5, 2010 – January 29, 2010
12 27 February 2, 2010 – February 26, 2010
12 28 March 8, 2010 – March 26, 2010
12 29 April 2, 2010 – April 27, 2010
12 30 May 2, 2010 – May 28, 2010
12 31 June 1, 2010 – July 3, 2010
13 1 May-June 2010
13 2 July-August 2010
13 3 September-December 2010
13 4 January-June 2011
13 5 July-August 2011
13 6 September-December 2011
13 7 January-February 2012
13 8 March-April 2012
13 9 May-June 2012
13 10 August-September 2012
13 11 October-December 2012
13 12 January-April 2013
13 13 May-August 2013
Last Updated: January 15, 2014