Summary Information
Title: Cynthia Sutherland Papers
Collection Number: UA.90.F61
Creator: Sutherland, Cynthia, 1934-1998

Collection Dates: Bulk, 1983-1995
Collection Dates: 1963-1997
Extent: 2.5 linear feet (2 boxes)

Language: English

Cynthia Sutherland was a professor of English Literature and Women’s Studies at the University of Pittsburgh from 1968 to 1996. Her teaching interests encompassed a broad range of subject matter including: Elizabethan through eighteenth-century drama, modern drama, myth studies, folklore, children’s literature, fantasy and science fiction literature, psychoanalysis and identity, representations of women in literature, and the influence of women authors on drama and literature. The papers in this collection include syllabi, lecture notes, annotated course materials, example quizzes and exams, as well as a small amount of personal and professional correspondence, and one exam from her PhD course work.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

June, 2010

Finding aid prepared by Katrina Milbrodt.

Cynthia Sutherland was born in 1934 and spent her early life in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned a B.A. at Bryn Mawr College in 1956, and an M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1959. Under the tutelage of Arthur Scouten, Sutherland earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967, where her main academic focus had been on dramas from the Elizabethan period through the eighteenth century. Sutherland was a lecturer at Claremont Men’s College in California during the 1966-67 academic year, and an Assistant Professor at Point Park College during the 1967-68 academic year. She continued her career as a professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Pittsburgh from 1968-1996, earning tenure in 1973. Sutherland died prematurely at the age of 63 in January 1998 after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer.

During her tenure in Pittsburgh, Sutherland’s research and teaching interests broadened to include contemporary drama, myth studies, folklore, children’s literature, fantasy and science fiction literature, psychoanalysis and identity, representations of women in literature, and the influence of women authors on drama and literature. In 1971, she co-founded the scholarly journal, Eighteenth-Century Life, and contributed articles and reviews to many scholarly publications throughout her career. Her work often exhibited feminist leanings, and she helped to establish the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh in 1972. Early in her career, she was an active participant in University governance, and in professional organizations and conference committees. She married her first husband, William Matlack, in 1958, and used her married name in professional situations. Following a divorce, she began using Sutherland as her professional name, and, after marriage to second husband J. Lee O’Nan, used her new married name socially.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

The Cynthia Sutherland Papers document a portion of Sutherland’s life from 1963-1997. A vast majority of the collection is comprised of academic course materials that were used for the instruction of English Literature and Women’s Studies classes at the University of Pittsburgh from 1981-1996. While the collection does not include documents from every course she taught, the materials are representative of the variety of subjects, from broad to specific, that interested Sutherland, and were considered appropriate for academic study by the English and Women’s Studies departments at the University of Pittsburgh. Common themes include: Elizabethan through eighteenth-century drama, modern drama, myth studies, folklore, children’s literature, fantasy and science fiction literature, psychoanalysis and identity, representations of women in literature, and the influence of women authors on drama and literature. In addition to course materials, a research examination from her PhD studies and a selection of personal and professional correspondence reflect similar subject interests that Sutherland carried throughout her academic career and beyond the collegiate classroom.


The Cynthia Sutherland Papers have been arranged in the following series. Scope notes for each series are available in the container list.

Series I. Course Materials

Series II. Personal Papers

Subject Terms

  • College teachers -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • English drama -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • English literature -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Fantasy literature -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Folklore -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Mythology -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Science fiction -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Women's studies -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

Corporate Names
  • University of Pittsburgh. -- Faculty

Personal Names
  • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Sutherland, Cynthia, 1934-1998

  • Correspondence
  • Lecture notes

  • Faculty papers
  • University of Pittsburgh

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of J. Lee O'Nan on September 14, 1999.

Preferred Citation:

Cynthia Sutherland Papers, 1963-1997, UA.90.F61, University Archives, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Katrina Milbrodt in June 2010.


The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Collection Inventory

Series I. Course Materials, Bulk, 1983-1995 1966-1997

Scope and Content Notes:

Sutherland’s teaching career spanned three decades from 1966-1996. The older papers in this series include course materials from early in her career when she conducted classes on traditional subjects such as composition, literary analysis, and comedy. The scope of the courses represented in this collection broadens with material from the mid-1980s through the 1990s, which comprises the bulk of the collection. There is a substantial amount of material for several courses taught by Sutherland during this time period including: "Fantasy and Romance," "Fantasy Writers," "Introduction to Critical Reading," "Introduction to Shakespeare," "Literature, Tradition and the New," "Myth and Folktale," and "Science Fiction." The subject matter of these courses may indicate a broadening of Sutherland's research interests as well as an increasing willingness in collegiate English departments to include popular literature in academic literature studies. The materials for three of these courses ("Introduction to Critical Reading," "Literature, Tradition, and the New," and "Myth and Folktale") each span eight to nine years of Sutherland's career, which would allow for an examination of how the courses changed over time.

The materials in this series are arranged alphabetically by course title.

Box 1
Folder 1 Comedy, English 101, English Literature 801, 1975, 1977
Folder 2 Comedy and Laughter, English Literature 101, 1983
Folder 3 Comic View, The, English 181, 1968-1969
Folder 4 Composition and Literary Analysis, H10, 1966
Folders 5-6 Contemporary American Women Writers, English Literature 1280, 1994
Folder 7 Critical Approaches to Children's Literature, English Literature 1645, 1991
Folder 8 Eighteenth-Century Englishwoman, The, English Literature 112, 1975
Folder 9 English 211, 1968
Folder 10 English 81,
Folder 11 English Literature 087, 1982
Folder 12 Fantasy and Ideology, English Literature 1360, 1992-1993
Folders 13-16 Fantasy and Romance, English Literature 1572, 1993, 1995-1996
Folders 17-20 Fantasy Writers, English Literature 1578, 1991, 1993, 1995
Folder 21 Formative Masterpieces, English Literature 590, 1992
Folder 22 Genre, English Literature 51, 1977
Folders 23-28 Introduction to Critical Reading, English Literature 050, 1981, 1983, 1985-1989
Folders 29-33 Introduction to Shakespeare, English Literature 7580, 1994-1997
Folder 34 Legendary Figures: Eve and Pandora, English Literature 160, English Literature 1574, 1989-1990
Folder 35 Literature and Ideas, English Literature 037, 1982, 1988
Folder 36 Literature and Identity, English Literature 169, 1983

Box 2
Folder 1 Literature for Children, English Literature 876, 1989, 1991-1992
Folders 2-8 Literature, Tradition and the New, English Literature 030, English Literature W030, English Literature W0350, 1984, 1986, 1988-1992
Folder 9 Major British Dramatists, English 123, 1969
Folder 10 Makers of Modern Drama, English 184, 1973
Folder 11 Monsters and Makers, English Literature 109, 1985
Folder 12 Miscellaneous Lecture Notes,
Folder 18 Portraits of Mothers and Daughters, English Literature 163, English Literature 863,
Folder 13-17 Myth and Folktale, English Literature 171, English Literature 1570, 1987-1990, 1992-1995
Folder 19 Reading and Personal Identity, Freshman Seminar 18, 1982
Folder 20 Representations of Violence, English Literature 1771, 1995
Folder 21 Seminar in the Teaching of Drama, English 281, 1971
Folders 22-24 Science Fiction, English Literature 1661, 1992-1995
Folder 25 Senior Seminar [Fantasy as a Literary Mode], English Literature 1910, 1996
Folder 26 Topics in Children's Literature: Fantasy, English Literature 1649, 1991
Folder 27 Topics in Twentieth-Century Literature: Fantasy and Science Fiction, English Literature 1360, 1991
Folder 28 Tragedy, English Literature 102, English Literature 802, 1988
Folder 29 Utopian Literature, English Literature 163, 1984
Folder 30 Women and Literature, English Literature 0360, 1993
Folder 31 Yankee Magician, English 122,

Series II. Personal Papers, 1963-1994

Scope and Content Notes:

Included in this series are professional correspondence and papers, with a particular focus on the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh, the Margaret Attwood Society, and The Chalk Garden, a play by Enid Bagnold. The Chalk Garden and the works of Margaret Attwood were prominent in some of the courses Sutherland taught. This series also includes a research examination on sixteenth through eighteenth-century grammar, syntax, and pronunciation from Sutherland’s time as a PhD student, and personal correspondence, which consists of letters from friends and family, as well as genealogical information.

Folder 32 Research Examination in English 609, January 14, 1963
Folder 33 Professional Correspondence, 1967-1994
Folder 34 Personal Correspondence, 1972-1991