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COLLECTION Identifier: A/M547

Papers of Lori Ann Mennella related to NOW, 1977-1985


Printed material, writings, correspondence, and photographs of Lori Ann Mennella related to the work of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the Washington, DC, area during the late 1970s and early 1980s.


  • 1977-1985


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lori Ann Mennella is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1 folder

The papers of Lori Ann Mennella consist of printed material, writings, correspondence, and photographs related to the work of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the Washington, DC, area during the late 1970s and early 1980s. There are copies of correspondence related to an audit of the 1978 finances, as well as an account by Mennella which criticizes the work of the auditor. She was also active in the 51st State NOW (Washington, DC) chapter, and the collection contains meeting flyers from the chapter, as well as a letter from Mennella to the NOW National Board describing on-the-job harassment to discourage her from serving as a chapter delegate to the 1979 national conference. The collection also includes a letter of recommendation of Mennella by Eve Norman written after the department was dismissed. There are also copies of letters from other NOW members to Eleanor Smeal, NOW's president, regarding diversity issues in the organization in terms of both race and sexuality. Several letters protest Smeal's efforts to have her preferred slate of candidate elected at the 1979 national conference. Specifically, several letters mention the lack of diversity in the newly elected officers, and cite the election loss of Sharon Parker, a Black woman who had run for NOW secretary. The collection also includes three photographs of Mennella which include Carole Merfeld and Eve Norman. There is also conference material from Washington, DC, area conferences co-sponsored by DC NOW Sexuality Task Force and the Gay Peoples Alliance of GWU (George Washington University) from 1977-1979, as well as flyers and a newsletter from the NOW Sexuality Task Force (1984). In addition, there is printed material from other organizations supporting gay rights, including a conference program from the Gay Women's Alternative, Washington DC (1985); a newsletter "Capitol Hill" by the Gay Rights National Lobby (ca.1979); and a Virginia Gay Alliance Arlington County Chapter newsletter (1984). There is also an anti-gay comic book "The Blighted Eye that is Never Satisfied" by Christian Family Renewal, Clovis, California (undated).


Lori Ann Mennella is a graduate of the College of William and Mary (BA, 1976). In 1979, she worked as an accounting clerk at the National NOW Action Center in Washington, DC, where she was promoted to Assistant Bookkeeper. During the same period, she was active in the 51st State (Washington, DC) chapter of NOW and was chosen to be a delegate for the chapter at the national NOW conference in Los Angeles, California, which took place October 5-8, 1979. At the National NOW Action Center, she worked with Eve Norman, the NOW treasurer. When Norman failed to be reelected at the 1979 NOW national conference, Mennella and Norman's staff were dismissed. Mennella became a certified public accountant and worked as the Accounting Officer for the Department of Medical Assistance for Pima County, Arizona, in the late 1990s.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2021-M156

The papers of Lori Ann Mennella were given to the Schlesinger Library by Lori Ann Mennella in September 2020.

Processing Information

Processed: December 2021

By: Paula Aloisio

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library and Class of 1957 Schlesinger Library Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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