Digitized materials in this online collection form part of the Mary Rowe papers (MC-0709) in the MIT Libraries Department of Distinctive Collections. Portions of some files are not available online at the request of the creator; this is indicated in the item-level description when applicable. For more information about the materials, please consult the collection finding aid.

Collection scope and contents:
Mary P. Rowe was Special Assistant to the President and Ombudsperson at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1973 to 2014. Her position was called Special Assistant for Women and Work when she started at MIT in February 1973 and she reported directly to MIT President Jerome Wiesner and MIT Chancellor Paul Gray. Later, the title became simply Special Assistant, and with Clarence G. Williams, who filled an analogous position as Special Assistant (starting as Special Assistant for Minority Affairs), the two formally became the first ombudspersons at MIT when MIT President Paul Gray established the Ombuds Office in 1980.

The bulk of this collection dates from the 1980s and 1990s and comprises some records of the Corporate Ombudsman Association (later in 1992, The Ombudsman Association) and the University and College Ombudsman Association. The Corporate Ombudsman Association (COA) had its first meeting at MIT in 1982. Mary Rowe was a co-founder and then its first president when it was formally organized in 1984. Other ombuds organizations are also represented in the collection. Materials include files about annual conferences and are useful to show the evolving nature of the profession and highlight work place issues that emerged at specific times.

Materials in the collection document practices of persons holding ombuds positions in all types of organizations including government, academic, corporate, multi-national, international, and non-profit organizations. There is information on important initiatives to address shared issues including effectiveness of organizational ombuds, ethics, the Standards of Practice as they affect “privileged” communication, and the need for shield laws. Articles by various ombuds association members can also be found throughout the collection. Mary Rowe has written a number of articles about diversity, gender roles in families, discrimination, harassment, mentoring, and the work and usefulness of organizational ombuds. For more information, see Mary Rowe's account of her research and publications.

The Mary Rowe papers (MC-0709) are closely tied to the MIT administrative collection (AC-0232) which contains administrative records of MIT and consulting work, publications, and presentations created by Mary Rowe in her position as Special Assistant to the President from 1973 to 2014.

1970s to 2021

Please note:
Materials in this collection may be under copyright. Please consult the collection finding aid or catalog record and the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for more information.

Please cite the source item title (dc.title), collection title and identifier, repository, and URI.

Example: Corporate Ombudsman Association handbook, 1987. Mary Rowe papers (MC-0709). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections. https://hdl.handle.net/1721.3/190459

Repository details:
Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository https://libraries.mit.edu/distinctive-collections

Sponsorship note:
This collection was digitized with the generous support of Dr. Jean-Jacques Degroof, M.Sc. 1993 Ph.D. 2002.

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