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COLLECTION Identifier: Vt-10

Videotape collection of 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women, 1978-1980


Videotapes of 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women (U.S.).


  • Creation: 1978-1980

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Access. Researchers must sign a special form to use the collection. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright varies; see individual tape descriptions.

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


4 videotapes

Collection includes videotapes of two talk shows and coverage of the 1978 9 to 5 Convention. The first three videotapes are in black and white, the fourth in color.


9 to 5: Organization for Women Office Workers was founded in Boston in 1972 by Ellen Cassedy (EC) and Karen Nussbaum (KN), then secretaries at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ellen Cassedy and Karen Nussbaum issued a newsletter, The 9 to 5 News, and met with a small group of interested women. In 1973 the organization acquired an office, at the headquarters of the Boston YWCA [Young Women's Christian Association] (140 Clarendon Street), and published a "Bill of Rights" for women office workers. In early 1974, the first monthly meeting was held; nearly 300 women attended.

In its early years, 9 to 5 organized its activities by industry. Its original five committees waged specific campaigns for women in banking, insurance, publishing, temporary secretarial jobs, and universities. Major victories included a $1.5 million back-pay suit won against three Boston-area publishers.

Some industry-based campaigns, targeted against specific employers such as Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, continued into the mid 1980s.

As the organization grew in the 1970s, a second, issue-based strategy developed. A committee might focus on equal employment opportunity issues or on grant-funded career development and education projects. Each issue-based committee might pursue projects involving several different industries simultaneously, while in turn an employer-targeted campaign might receive aid from several different committees. The campaign against the John Hancock Insurance Company, for example, involved the Campaign, Health and Safety, and National Secretaries' Day-as well as Insurance-committees.

Paid staff grew along with committees. The Executive Board, composed of members who chaired committees, hired the staff director, who in turn hired other staff. Staff directors included Ellen Cassedy to1979; Joan Quinlan, 1979-1982; and Pat Reeve, 1982-1984. As of 1977 there were four "permanent staff"; as of 1979, there were six, including staff director, fundraiser, organizers, and office manager. The chapter also sponsored a canvass, in the mid 1980's staffed by a canvass director, canvass office manager, and part- and full-time canvassers, whose numbers fluctuated according to season. Interns, paid and unpaid, came from a variety of sources.

The organization grew significantly on a national level in its first decade. In the mid 1970s, "sister" clerical worker organizations emerged in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and other cities. In 1977, several affiliated groups, including Boston 9 to 5, sponsored the formation of a national group, Working Women, with headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1978, Karen Nussbaum became its director. In 1983, the national organization changed its name to 9 to 5: National Association of Women Office Workers. In 1975, a union affiliate, District 925, had been formed in Boston; in 1981, this local became part of the Service Employees International Union.

Links between national and local groups of the organization were very strong. The national coordinated certain campaigns, such as Project Health and Safety; in turn, a certain percentage of fundraising proceeds was sent from local to national offices. The Boston office housed both the local chapter and the East Coast headquarters; staff, however, were entirely separate. The Boston staff also worked directly with other chapters, such as Chicago's Women Employed.

Funds for Boston 9 to 5 have come from membership dues, fundraising events, the canvass, and foundations. In the early 1980s, due to the loss of much of its grant income and other financial crises, the chapter could no longer afford paid staff. In 1982, the lease at 140 Clarendon Street was not renewed, and 9 to 5 moved its office to Temple Place. In 1985 this office had to be closed for financial reasons. As of the summer of 1987 the chapter, staffed by volunteers only, shared offices with District 925.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 81-M121

These videotapes were given to the Schlesinger Library in May 1981 by 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women (U.S.) Records 79-M16--81-M121, 82-M189--86-M213, 88-M96--89-M104, 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women (U.S.). Milwaukee Chapter Records, 1973-2005, MC 655, 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women (U.S.), Milwaukee Chapter Videotape collection, 1982-2001, Vt-186, 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women (U.S.), Milwaukee Chapter Audiotapes, 1974-2000, T-380, and the Karen Nussbaum Papers, 1972-2017 (MC 1234).

Processing Information

Processed: February 1995

By: Katherine Herrlich

9 to 5, National Association of Working Women (U.S.). Videotape collection of 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women, 1978-1980: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

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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