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The Feminist Institute x supersisters™ Partnership Announcement

The Feminist Institute (TFI) proudly announces our partnership with supersisters!


Original supersisters™ trading cards of Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, and Gloria Steinem.1979. Photolithograph. The Feminist Institute Collection, 2022 (2022.01.SS). Digitized through a partnership between The Feminist Institute and supersisters™. Courtesy of Melissa and Lois Rich.


TFI and supersisters™ have a shared mission of highlighting feminist contributions to culture. As the supersisters ™ team plans to relaunch the cards for a new generation, we are excited to work alongside them to draw attention to their incredible project and add the trading cards and ephemera to our digital archive.

supersisters™ trading cards were first published in 1979, when a then 8-year-old, Melissa Rich, asked her mom, Lois, why there were no pictures of women on trading cards. Lois, alongside her sister, Barbara Egerman, wrote letters to five-hundred accomplished women of their time, and the first seventy-two to respond were featured on the cards.


They received a $3,000 grant from the New York State Department of Education to produce the cards, initially distributed to several New York State school districts and consumers through mail-order. The cards were printed without typesetting on the same poster sheet; each had to be cut out individually to baseball card size. The cards were a big hit, selling over 15,000 copies over three printings. The cards landed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of Drawing and Prints collection in 1981.

In 2015, ESPN's Steve Wulf wrote a feature about supersisters™, leading to a renewed interest in the project. For the cards' 40th anniversary in 2019, the BBC World Service created a 2 part award-winning documentary about supersisters, including a panel discussion on supersisters™, featuring Melissa, Lois, and two original supersisters™, swimmer Wendy Boglioli and gymnast Kathy Johnson Clarke as well as interviews with several other original supersisters, and a conversation with Metropolitan Museum of Art's archivists and curators about the supersisters collection.

This week, TFI's archival team is on-site in Indianapolis to organize and digitize a subset of supersisters ephemera, including correspondence with original supersisters, such as Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Margaret Mead, Helen Reddy, Shirley Chisholm, and Ntozake Shange, as well as publicity materials, educational guides, and research and documentation related to the creation of supersisters, including attendance at the 1978 March on Washington.

We look forward to sharing more information about this partnership in the coming months, such as a behind-the-scenes look at our time in Indianapolis and our processes as a feminist digital archive. You can find out more about supersisters at supersisterscards.com.