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Sheli Wortis Papers, 1958-2009

Identifier: 048

Collection Overview

This collection contains correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, publications, printed materials, and a small amount of photographs and audiovisual materials related to organizations and causes with which Sheli Wortis was actively involved. Because of her deep involvement in these issues, there is a particular emphasis on multicultural and diversity initiatives, as well as early childhood education and literacy.


  • 1958-2009


Language of Materials


Access to Collection

The collection is open to research.

Access to Collection

This collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection contains a mixture of public domain and copyrighted material. It is the responsibility of the researcher to understand and observe copyright law and to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyright. The materials for which no copyright exists are in the public domain. For the materials subject to copyright and other intellectual property restrictions, researchers must obtain written permission from the copyright holders(s) if they wish to publish these documents. Questions concerning copyright should be directed to the Cambridge Room, Cambridge Public Library Archives and Special Collections.


Rochelle “Sheli” Paul Wortis was born in 1937. She received a B.A. from the City College of New York in 1958 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Rutgers University in 1965. From 1967 to 1970 she was a Research Associate in the Behaviour Development Research Unit of St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, England.

She then was a faculty member in the Department of Feminist Studies at the Cambridge-Goddard School in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1971 to 1973. From 1973 to 1980, she provided technical assistance and community outreach at the Child Care Resource Center in Cambridge. While there she was one of the founders of the Multicultural Project for Communication and Education, which later became an independent entity providing training and consultation to parents and teachers, day care centers, preschools, schools, and summer camps. She continued work on diversity initiatives when she joined the staff of Cambridge Public Schools in 1986 as Project Outreach Coordinator for Literacy Connections and Early Childhood Connections. There she expanded the circulation, to early childhood and kindergarten classrooms, of children’s books featuring children and families from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. For many years, she organized workshops about racial and cultural diversity for teachers and parents. She helped to organize the Early Childhood Advisory Council which later became the Cambridge 0-8 Council.

Wortis married Henry Wortis in 1957. They are longtime residents of Cambridge and have two children and four grandchildren. Wortis retired in 2009.


8.3 linear feet

6.8 Cubic Feet

17 boxes (16 Hollinger and 1 oversize)

Organization of Collection

Approximately 2,800 items organized into 7 series, with alphabetical or chronological organization within each series or subseries:

Series 1: Daycare and Parent Organizations, 1973-1987

Series 2: Cambridge Rainbow, 1987-2001

Series 3: Cambridge Public Schools - General, 1970-2002

Series 4: Cambridge Public Schools - Multicultural Committee, 1988-2002

Series 5: Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), including Early Childhood Connections (ECC)/Literacy Curriculum Connections (LCC) and Cambridge Community Partnerships for Children (CCPC), 1980-2008

Series 6: Other Organizations and Issues, 1958-1997

Series 7: Audiovisual, 1987-1995

Custodial History

This collection was donated by Sheli Wortis in 2010.

Physical Description

2,800 Items

Processing Information

Processed by Christine Di Bella in November of 2014.



Finding aid to the Sheli Wortis Papers, 1958-2009 048
Christine Di Bella
November 6, 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge Room, Cambridge Public Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway
Cambridge MA 02138 USA