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Collecting Inspiration with Supersisters

Published by Supersisters, Inc. Suzy Chaffee, Supersisters No. 1, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.1)

Published in 1979, the Supersisters trading cards were a playful, informative, and accessible way to spread feminism to younger audiences. The series was inspired by Lois Rich's daughter, an eight-year-old baseball-card collector, who asked why there weren't any pictures of girls on the cards. With a grant from the New York State Education Department, Lois Rich and her sister, Barbara Egerman, contacted five hundred women of achievement and created cards of the first seventy-two to respond.

Designed to emulate collectible sports cards, the Supersisters cards were sold as a set, numbered with a photo on one side and statistics on the other. The biographies and photographs provided by the women featured not only highlighted accomplishments, but also shared hobbies and personal details (though several of the Supersisters refrained from sharing their age). Ranging from athletes to activists to anthropologists to poets and members of Congress, many were pioneers in their respective fields. The initial sets were distributed in New York State schools and were also available by mail order. Over ten thousand sets were sold.

Left: Ruby Dee, Supersisters No. 43; Right: Jane Pauley, Supersisters No. 52

Left: Published by Supersisters, Inc. Ruby Dee, Supersisters No. 43, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.43). Right: Published by Supersisters, Inc. Jane Pauley, Supersisters No. 52, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.52)

In keeping with its mission of collecting all forms of printed visual culture, Supersisters came into the Department of Drawings and Prints' collection in 1981—the year Congress passed the law designating the week beginning March 7, 1982, as "Women's History Week." As an unofficial extension of Women's History Month, the department is pleased to highlight several examples from the Museum's collection here.

Bella S. Abzug, Supersisters No. 8

Published by Supersisters, Inc. Bella S. Abzug, Supersisters No. 8, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.8)

Left: Margaret Mead, Supersisters No. 16; Right: Rosa Parks, Supersisters No. 27

Left: Published by Supersisters, Inc. Margaret Mead, Supersisters No. 16, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.16). Right: Published by Supersisters, Inc. Rosa Parks, Supersisters No. 27, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.27)

Janet Guthrie, Supersisters No. 53

Published by Supersisters, Inc. Janet Guthrie, Supersisters No. 53, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.53)

Meredith Monk, Supersisters No. 40

Published by Supersisters, Inc. Meredith Monk, Supersisters No. 40, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.40)

Left: Shari Lewis, Supersisters No. 38; Right: Shirley Chisholm, Supersisters No. 71

Left: Published by Supersisters, Inc. Shari Lewis, Supersisters No. 38, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.38). Right: Published by Supersisters, Inc. Shirley Chisholm, Supersisters No. 71, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.71)

Laura Lee Ching, Supersisters No. 37

Published by Supersisters, Inc. Laura Lee Ching, Supersisters No. 37, 1979. Photolithograph. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jefferson R. Burdick Bequest, 1981 (1981.1214.37)

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