Browse Primary Sources

Women’s Reflections on Marital Relations under Socialism

In this collection of oral histories, “V” and “L” reflect on marital relations under socialism. According to “V,” men’s upbringing in the family played a fundamental role in shaping their attitudes toward wives.

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thumbnail of a seamstress

Photograph, Needleworker

This photograph illustrates a home needleworker in the streets of San Juan around 1903. At this time, and afterwards, almost all needlework was done at home. Working at home allowed women to negotiate their own contracts with agents, who commissioned certain types and styles of work. In the best situations, a talented worker could command a salary commensurate with her skill.

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Remarks on East-West Relations at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered a major speech on the Cold War with the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall as a back drop. In staging this speech, President Reagan hoped to draw a parallel with the historic speech delivered in Berlin by President John F. Kennedy in July 1963.

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Letter from Muhamet Kapllani to Hans-Dietrich Genscher (Tirana, 18 June 1991)

In this 1991 letter, written in formal diplomatic language, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Albania agrees to accept a mission to Albania from the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) (later the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe).

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Women’s Reflections on Motherhood and Reproduction under Socialism

During a set of oral history interviews conducted in Braşov, Romania, during the summer of 2003, “F” and “R” talk about rearing children under Socialism. For “F” it was a mixed-blessing, since she adored her infant son, yet had to do so under less than optimal conditions.

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Women’s Reflections on Food Rationing in the 1980s

During a series of oral history interviews conducted in Braşov, Romania, during the summer of 2003, “S” and “M” discuss the various strategies they used to procure food and concoct meals for their families during the period of rationing in the 1980s.

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Vacations under Socialism

In this oral history interview conducted in Braşov, Romania, during the summer of 2003, “E” discusses traveling under Socialism. She notes that, despite the fact that the country was led by an uneducated dictator, people—that is working people—always received a two week, state-subsidized vacation.

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Women’s Attitudes Toward the Transition to Democracy

During a set of oral history interviews conducted in Braşov, Romania, in the summer of 2003, “C,” “E,” “O,” “M,” and “L” discuss how the transition to a democratic system and a market economy have impacted politics, the economy, and women’s professional and everyday lives.

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Press Release Regarding the Berlin Wall Memorial at the Baker Institute (Rice University)

In 2000, 11 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Rice University installed a section of the former wall as a permanent part of the Baker Institute.

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Declaration of Charter 77

In 1976, the Czech psychedelic rock band, the Plastic People of the Universe, were arrested and tried by the Czech Communist government. The government convicted the band for disturbing the peace, with the band members serving 8 to 18 month sentences.

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