Audiotape collection of Marguerite Rawalt, 1953-1979
Speeches by and interviews with lawyer and feminist Marguerite Rawalt on a variety of topics, including women and the law, women and business, women's rights, and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in audiotapes created by Marguerite Rawalt is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other audiotapes in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Tapes may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
This collection includes interviews with, speeches by, and seminars with Marguerite Rawalt on a variety of topics, including women and the law, women's rights, and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Especially of note is a 1962 recording of Rawalt speaking on the President's Commission on the Status of Women. The tapes are arranged chronologically.
Marguerite Rawalt was born October 16, 1895, in Prairie City, Illinois. She received her AB/LLB (1933) and LLM (1936) from George Washington University. From 1933 to 1965, Rawalt worked as an attorney in the office of chief counsel, Bureau of Internal Revenue. During her tenure there, she served as president of the National Association of Women Lawyers (1942-1943) and the Federal Bar Association (1943-1944). She was the first woman president of the Federal Bar Association and the first woman sent to the American Bar Association's House of Delegates (1943).
Rawalt was also active in several women's organizations, including the General Federation of Women's Clubs and Zonta International. She served as President of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women (1954-1956), and as the first president of Business and Professional Women's Foundation, an educational and research institution, which she helped found in 1956.
Rawalt was appointed to President Kennedy's Commission on the Status of Women in 1961, and subsequently participated in other commissions on the status of women, including the Citizens' Advisory Council on the Status of Women and the District of Columbia Commission on the Status of Women.
Rawalt was an early member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and chair of its legal committee (1966-1969). She was a founder of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund in 1970 and served as its treasurer for three years. Rawalt was also an early member of and attorney for Women's Equity Action League (WEAL), which was established in 1968. She served on various WEAL committees and as the group's president (1979-1980). The Marguerite Rawalt Legal Defense Fund was established in 1977 to work on sex discrimination cases. In 1974, Rawalt returned to George Washington University and taught a course entitled "Women and the Law."
Rawalt's work towards the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment began as early as Operation Buttonhole, a 1950s project of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women, and continued throughout the 1970s. She was a founding member of Women United and the ERA Ratification Council. She also helped with the work of ERAmerica and ERA Congressional Jubilee.
Rawalt was author of three published volumes: The Equal Rights Amendment for Equal Rights Under the Law (WEAL, 1976), A History of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc. (NFBPW, 1969), and Decedents of John Rawalt (Rewalt), Revolutionary War Patriot, Serving 1775-1782 (Rawalt, 1974). Accounts of Rawalt's life and work are featured in several biographical reference works, including Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Law, Who's Who of American Women, and Notable American Women. She is also the subject of Judith Paterson's biography, Be Somebody: A Biography of Marguerite Rawalt (Eakin Press, 1986).
Marguerite Rawalt married Army Air Corps Sergeant Jack Tindale in 1918 and divorced him in 1927. She was married to retired Air Force Major Harry Secord from 1937 until his death in 1963; they had no children. Rawalt died December 16, 1989, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession numbers: 76-82--90-M129
These audiotapes were given to the Schlesinger Library by Marguerite Rawalt and Ruth Rawalt Hestand between 1976 and 1990.
There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Marguerite Rawalt, 1870s-1989 (MC 478).
Donors: Marguerite Rawalt and Ruth Rawalt Hestand
Accession number: 76-82--90-M129
Processed by: Joanne Donovan
The following items have been removed from the collection:
- 8 audiotapes of Business and Professional Women's Clubs (BPW) events, featuring little or none of Marguerite Rawalt. Sent to BPW archives
- 2 audiotapes of WEAL events. Transferred to WEAL Collection at Schlesinger Library
- The ERA in America. May 8, 1981. Deaccessioned, duplicate in Schlesinger Library manuscript collections
- Marguerite Rawalt, Radcliffe College. May 22, 1980. Deaccessioned, duplicate in Schlesinger Library manuscript collections
- 12 audiotapes of seminars which did not include Marguerite Rawalt. Deaccessioned
- 8 blank or damaged audiotapes. Deaccessioned
Processed: March 2003
By: Joanne Donovan
- Rawalt, Marguerite, 1895-1989. Audiotape collection of Marguerite Rawalt, 1953-1979: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- EAD ID
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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