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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 485

Papers of NOW officer Judith Lightfoot, 1971-1977


Papers of National Organization for Women officer Judith Lightfoot, NOW chair.


  • Creation: 1971-1977

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Access. Unrestricted.

As of December 2015, written permission of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is no longer required for access to folders #1.7-7.10.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in papers created by Judith Lightfoot while an officer of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is held by NOW. 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.


2.92 linear feet ((7 file boxes) plus 1 supersize folder, 1 photograph folder)

This collection contains mostly correspondence with some minutes, reports, and printed material. It is arranged in seven series.

Series I, Personal Papers (#1.1-1.6), contains resumes, transcripts of speeches by Lightfoot, correspondence relating to Lightfoot's job search in 1974, personal correspondence, and a photograph of Lightfoot.

Series II, Chronological NOW Correspondence (#1.7-2.7), contains administrative correspondence concerning NOW procedures. Also included are reports, memoranda, financial statements, ballots, and printed material. Topics of correspondence include the "split" in 1975 (see below).

Series III, Alphabetical NOW Correspondence (#2.8-4.10), contains correspondence on a variety of topics, including computerization of the NOW national office systems, the NOW-led Sears boycott, and the NOW "split." In the mid-1970s, two factions were vying for control of NOW, the Majority Caucus and Womansurge, of which Lightfoot was part. The correspondence demonstrates the conflicts between the two groups as well as the response of various chapters to the dispute.

Series IV, NOW Conferences and Meetings (#4.11-6.5), contains correspondence, minutes, agendas, and printed material from board meetings and national conferences. Also included here are ballots concerning issues such as by-law changes and changing meeting dates, which were a source of conflict. Records are organized chronologically.

Series V, NOW Chapter and Region Correspondence (#6.6-7.10), contains correspondence relating to administrative issues, such as chapter names, regional conferences, and some responses to the Majority Caucus. They are grouped alphabetically by region (Eastern, Midwest, Southern, Western), and, within each region, alphabetically by state.

Series VI, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDEF) (#7.11-7.13), contains correspondence, and printed material relating to LDEF's activities and Lightfoot's role as ex-officio to LDEF. There is also a photograph of Lightfoot in a group.

Series VII, Other Organizations (#7.14-7.22), contains correspondence, minutes, and printed material relating to various other organizations. They are arranged alphabetically.

Folder headings are those of Lightfoot unless otherwise noted; archivist's headings and notes are in square brackets. All printed material by or about Lightfoot, as well as all printed material with annotations, has been kept in the collection. Other NOW publications and reports, except those created by Lightfoot, were transferred to the NOW records in the Schlesinger Library. Non-NOW printed material produced by mainstream organizations and publications was discarded; leaflets and other ephemera of small, transient organizations were retained.


Judith Gumpert Lightfoot Cormack, an administrator and systems consultant and former chair of the National Organization for Women (NOW), was born May 22, 1937, in New York City. She received her undergraduate degree in philosophy from Hunter College in New York. Lightfoot worked as office manager for an architectural designer (1959-1964), for IBM Australia Ltd. (1964-1968), as chair of the Data Processing Department at Greenleaf College (1968-1969), commercial projects manager for Computone Systems Inc. (1969-1971), rational product manager for accounts payable, fixed assets and inventory control at Management Science America, Inc. (1971-1973), and administrator for Summit Medical Center (1973-1974). In 1974, Lightfoot began working as a freelance systems consultant.

Lightfoot's involvement in the women's movement began when she joined the Atlanta chapter of NOW in 1970. She was elected NOW's Southern Regional Director in 1971, and served as Chair-One of the National Board of Directors from 1973-1975. Lightfoot was a convener of the Georgia Women's Political Caucus. She was appointed to the Georgia Commission on the Status of Women in 1972. In addition to her women's rights activities, Lightfoot was on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC). She was also a member of Leadership Atlanta.


The collection is arranged in seven series:

  1. Series I. Personal Papers (#1.1-1.6)
  2. Series II. Chronological NOW Correspondence (#1.7-2.7)
  3. Series III. Alphabetical NOW Correspondence (#2.8-4.10)
  4. Series IV. NOW Conferences and Meetings (#4.11-6.5)
  5. Series V. NOW Chapter and Region Correspondence (#6.6-7.10)
  6. Series VI. NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDEF) (#7.11-7.13)
  7. Series VII. Other Organizations (#7.14-7.22)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 78-M62

These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Judith Lightfoot in May 1978 in honor of her mother, Dorothy Waterman Gumpert.

Processing Information

Processed: October 2002

By: Johanna Carll

Lightfoot, Judith, 1937-2006. Papers of NOW officer Judith Lightfoot, 1971-1977: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
These papers were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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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