Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MC 725: T-405: DVD-24: CD-71

Papers of Toni Carabillo and Judith Meuli, ca.1890-2008 (inclusive), 1950-2005 (bulk)


Personal and professional papers, including correspondence, appointment calendars, photograph/scrapbook albums and other photographs, writings, notes, research and printed materials, audiocassettes etc., of feminists and National Organization for Women officers Toni Carabillo and Judith Meuli, who were politically active in California and nationally.


  • Creation: 1890-2008
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1950-2005

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, with the exception of the following folders, which are closed for a period of time as noted in the finding aid, as per the NOW legal agreement: #14.6, 17.16-17.19, 18.1, 19.14-19.15, 23.18, 24.15, 25.3-25.6, 25.8, 25.11, 26.6, 26.12-26.14, 26.23, 27.1, 27.2, F+D.4. The following folders are closed; use digital images: #PD.7v, PD.11v, PD.12v, and 57FB.1v-65FB.1v. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

As of December 2015, written permission from the National Organization for Women (NOW) is no longer required for access to Series II.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Toni Carabillo and Judith Meuli are held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright for "Chronology of 'The Split,'" is held by Eleanor Smeal and at her death by the Feminist Majority Foundation. If and when the Foundation is dissolved, copyright will transfer to 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.


36.19 linear feet ((56 file boxes) plus 10 folio boxes, 1 oversize box, 4 card boxes, 2 folio folders, 5 folio+ folders, 1 oversize folder, 1 supersize folder, 220 photograph folders, 37 objects, electronic records, 343 audiocassettes, 66 audio reel to reels, 3 DVDs, 9 CDs)

The Toni Carabillo and Judith Meuli papers, which include correspondence, appointment calendars, photograph/scrapbook albums, photographs, writings, notes, research and printed materials, etc., document Carabillo and Meuli's personal and professional work, especially their feminist activism in California and on the national stage. The papers were in some order when received and have been further arranged by the processor. Where possible in Series I-VII, original folder titles have been maintained and appear in quotation marks; remaining titles were created by the processor. In Series VIII. Audiovisual material, original folder titles are listed without quotes and additional information provided by the processor is in brackets. Additional material received as electronic files will be reformatted at some future date for inclusion in this collection.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, ca.1915-2006 (#1.1-13.3, 71OB.1-71OB.7, PD.1-PD.4, E.1), includes personal correspondence; writings; Carabillo's Middlebury College class notes (see #PD.220fv for photograph album); high school yearbooks; and numerous appointment calendars, many of which contain addresses, letters, notes, and ephemera, which sometimes relate to their work with NOW and other feminist activities. Also included are Carabillo's and Meuli's personal journals; Carabillo's drawings, graphic materials, and writings she created as a young woman; and documentation of Carabillo's work prior to her women's rights activities, including early versions of her resume from her time at System Development Corporation. In addition there are many letters and cards to Carabillo and Meuli from Nancy Katherine "Sojourner" Knaak, the Dean of Women at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a fellow feminist and activist. The web site dedicated to the life of Meuli after her death was captured as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection (WAX). This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, 1964-2005 (#13.4-37.9, 67CB-68CB, PD.5-PD.6), contains many early files related to the activities of national and Los Angeles NOW, including general organizational and administrative materials, such as correspondence, memos, and reports, either created or gathered by Carabillo and Meuli. Of note are early materials related to the development of task forces and chapters, and extensive materials relating to Carabillo and Meuli's work advocating for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Subseries A, National, 1964-2005 (#13.4-22.5), contains information regarding the administration and activities of national NOW. Included are conference files, such as program and packet materials; task force reports and directives; press releases; board meeting minutes; and printed materials. General correspondence folders (#14.17-14.21) include copies of correspondence from NOW officers, including Betty Friedan, Aileen Hernandez, Dolores Alexander, Inka O'Hanrahan, and Carabillo, as well as flyers and other printed materials, reports, and clippings. Also included are legal files that include early NOW cases against sex discrimination, including actions against the Pittsburgh Press for sex segregated advertising (1979), and AT&T (1972) and the city of Chicago (1979) for discriminatory practices against women. Of additional interest are case files, clippings, and NOW-related materials regarding the legal case surrounding NOW officer Ginny Foat. Arrested in 1977 after her former husband named her as an accomplice in a 1965 murder, Foat was released after three months and in 1982 campaigned for the national vice presidency of NOW. NOW member Shelly Mandell alerted authorities to Foat's location when her former husband again accused her of murder, and she was arrested and put on trial in 1983; she was acquitted. A draft outline for a book on the case is also included (#17.14). This subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, California Regional and Los Angeles, 1966-2005 (#22.6-29.3), includes materials regarding the activities and administration of various California chapters, as well as records regarding issues affecting women in California, and regarding local activities that may have been sponsored by national NOW. Los Angeles NOW folders contain printed materials, correspondence, reports regarding political actions and issues, initiatives, and membership. Of note are files relating to the organization Mormons for the Equal Rights Amendment and Sonia Johnson. Johnson, a feminist activist who supported the ERA, and was excommunicated from the Church of Latter Day Saints for her position, found support through NOW. This subseries is arranged alphabetically; Los Angeles NOW: Equal Rights Amendment files are arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Writings, Research, and Related, 1966-2005 (#29.4-37.9, 67CB-68CB), includes writings and speeches primarily by Carabillo; notebooks and notes; briefings; reports; research items such as clippings, flyers, and printed materials; speeches; articles and other writings; and artwork and graphic materials related to Carabillo's and Meuli's work for national or California NOW. Notebooks may contain handwritten notes or Carabillo's compilations of NOW materials. Included are files on the NOW-sponsored First Sunday events in Los Angeles, which featured speakers, including Carabillo. Of note is the script of the Long and Real Revolution, a slide program tracing the history of NOW and the women's movement by Carabillo and Meuli. See also (#PD.148sl-PD.149sl) for related slides. This subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Series III, OTHER WRITINGS, RESEARCH, AND PROFESSIONAL WORK, ca.1890-2005 (#37.10-51.2, 69CB-70CB), includes drafts, notes, articles, and other writings; correspondence; printed and research materials; and book outlines. In general, Carabillo and Meuli created these materials as part of their work with organizations outside of NOW, such as the Feminist Majority Foundation, or as side projects. However, because their feminist activities are closely tied with NOW, NOW-related projects may also be included. The files relating to professional work also consist largely of writings and research, and include Carabillo's work at the System Development Corporation (SDC), as well as projects developed by Carabillo and Meuli's company Graphic Communications, later known as Women's Graphics. Of particular interest are drafts and research materials, as well as reviews and publicity, regarding Feminist Chronicles 1953-1993, which was published by Women's Graphics and supported by both NOW and the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the book and related exhibit, The Feminization of Power, also sponsored by Women's Graphics and the Feminist Majority Foundation. In addition, this series contains drafts and research materials relating to Eleanor and Rose: Women and Power, Carabillo's work on the lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Rose Kennedy. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series IV, SUBJECT AND REFERENCE FILES, 1961-2006 (#51.3-56.13), contains general research files on various feminist and related issues, topics, organizations, initiatives, agencies, etc. Files contain mostly clippings, as well as reports, printed and published materials, direct mail letters, and a small amount of correspondence. Some of these materials may have been resources for Carabillo's and Meuli's work with National NOW Times and other publications. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series V, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1938-2006 (#PD.7v-PD.220fv, #57FB.1v-65FB.1v), contains photograph/scrapbook albums, photographs, slides, and negatives. Most of the content relates to Carabillo's and Meuli's work with NOW, and other feminist activities. Included are national and chapter NOW demonstrations and rallies; events; people, including celebrities and politicians who supported NOW and attended the Equal Rights Amendment demonstrations; NOW officers, including Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Smeal, Aileen Hernandez, and Toni Carabillo; and NOW conferences. Also included are general images organized by topic, such as "women in the military" and "feminist entertainers." Miscellaneous folders (#PD.163-PD.173) contain images of conferences, chapter officers, rallies and demonstrations, etc. Many photographs were used or were considered for use in NOW publications, such as the National NOW Times and NOW Acts. Some of these photographs were sent to Carabillo and Meuli from NOW members or chapter officers, and files may contain related cover notes or letters with caption information, press releases, or clippings regarding the photograph. Most of Carabillo's and Meuli's original photograph folders were maintained. Because content sometimes overlaps among folders, images of specific Equal Rights Amendment demonstrations can be found in folders identified by name of the specific rally, as well as in folders titled "Miscellaneous"; "Demonstrations"; "Demonstrations: ERA marches"; etc. Also included are personal photographs of Carabillo, Meuli, family and friends.

This series also includes albums consisting mostly of photographs, but also containing some printed materials (including newsletters and clippings), letters, certificates, and awards. A few of the original albums contained photographic negatives, which have been removed and filed separately. Photograph subjects include family; friends; fellow activists; and NOW activities, including demonstrations, conferences, and events. Carabillo's Middlebury College scrapbook (#PD.220fv) includes photographs of Carabillo and friends on campus. The series is arranged alphabetically, following photograph albums listed chronologically at the beginning.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].

The collection also includes audiovisual material (DVD-24; CD-71; T-405) which are or will be described separately.

Series VI, MEMORABILIA, 1977-1993, n.d. (#56.14m, FB.66.1m-FB.66.3m, F+D.3m, Mem.1-Mem.11), includes neckerchiefs, sashes, buttons, and other items, many from Equal Rights Amendment demonstrations, as well as other NOW activities. See also Series II and Series III for additional memorabilia. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series VII, OVERSIZED, ca.1970-1995 (#FD.1-FD.2, F+D.1-F+D.2, F+D.4-F+D.5, OD.1, SD.1); serves as the shelflist for oversized items removed from previous series and grouped as listed.

Series VIII. AUDIOVISUAL MATERIAL, ca.1957-2008 (#T-405.1-T-405.407, DVD-24.1-DVD.24.3, CD-71.1-CD-71.9) contains audiocassettes, audio reel to reels, DVDs and CDs. This series documents the early women's movement, Toni Carabillo's and Judith Meuli's place in that movement, and the early years of NOW, particularly from the late 1960s through the early 1970s. Topics addressed in this series include abortion; efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment; activities, direction, and priorities for national NOW and the California chapters of NOW; the status of women and discrimination in the United States; and affirmative action. Audio includes lectures and workshops at the Los Angeles Women's Liberation Center; NOW meetings, retreats, and conferences; panels, rallies and demonstrations; small group discussions, "rap" sessions, and classes; theater productions; and multiple telephone conversations that Carabillo conducted with activists in the feminist movement, particularly NOW officers. There are also numerous presentations and talks, including Toni Carabillo speaking at the University of Wisconsin campuses in 1971; and local and national radio and television program segments, such as from the "Merv Griffin Show," Ralph Story television show, the Hilly Rose radio show, and the "Bob Grant Show," featuring interviews with NOW officers and feminist activists about the movement. These activists include Toni Carabillo, Meuli, Aileen Hernandez, Betty Friedan, Lana Phelan, Gene Boyer, Wilma Scott Heide, Joyce Snyder, Nancy Knaak, Gloria Steinem, Shirley Bernard, Jacqui Ceballos, Tish Sommers, and Inka O'Hanrahan. There are multiple tapes featuring conversations or debates between feminists and anti-feminists, particularly Helen and Aubrey Andelin from the anti-feminist group Fascinating Womanhood. Other materials of note are the audio and visuals for Carabillo's slide presentation: "The Beginnings of a Long and Real Revolution: Documentary on the New Feminism"; an interview with Meuli conducted in 2007 where she recounts the early days of the movement (DVD #24.2-24.3); documentation from the National Women's Political Caucus Southern California conference, October 1971 (#T-405.74a - T-405.76a); "Eleanor Roosevelt: A Recorded Portrait" with Arnold Michaelis, originally recorded in ca.1957 (#T-405.280a - T-405.280b); and Coretta Scott King speaking about civil disobedience and civil rights in 1969 (#T-405.45b, T-405.345). Also included are audio from Carabillo's and Meuli's feminist projects, such as a Women's Heritage Corporation board meeting (#T-405.116) and conversations with Marion Dickerman regarding their research for a book about Eleanor Roosevelt and Rose Kennedy (#T-405.336a - T-405.338a). Multiple events are often recorded on a single cassette.

Most of the audiocassettes arrived at the Schlesinger Library arranged in three-drawer storage units. This original arrangement has been maintained; note that some similar tapes may not be listed together. For instance, the tapes containing the production The Liberated Muse are not in sequential order: T-405.137-T.405-141, T.405-146, T-405.150. Along with the audiocassettes and reel to reels are DVDs containing digital copies of many of these audio files. Meuli arranged to have some of these audiotapes digitized by a vendor in 2006, prior to the Library acquiring the materials. These digital files will be available online and linked to this finding aid. The DVDs containing digital copies of the audio are not listed in this inventory. The series is arranged by format (audiocassettes, reel to reels, DVDs, CDs), and within each format the materials have mostly retained their original order. For instance, the arrangement of those audiocassettes and reel to reels with corresponding digital files, matches the order of the corresponding digital files on the DVDs.


Feminist and long-time activist with the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Feminist Majority Foundation, Virginia A. "Toni" Carabillo was born in Jackson Heights, New York, on March 26, 1926, to Ann Virginia Woods and Anthony Septavius Carabillo, a pharmacist. She had one brother, John "Jack" Carabillo I, who died in 1990. Carabillo graduated with a BA in English and American literature from Middlebury College in 1948 and received an MA from Columbia University in 1949. After graduation, she accepted a job as assistant to the director of public relations at Vassar College. In 1952 she joined Daystrom-Weston Industrial in Poughkeepsie, New York, as a member of their public relations staff and editor of their company magazine. In February 1959, Carabillo left for Los Angeles to take a job as managing editor of Empire, a new and struggling magazine for young executives. She joined SDC (System Development Corporation), a think tank working on national defense systems, in September 1959. At SDC, she supervised a corporate publications unit of writers, a graphic design department, an employee publications unit, and corporate exhibits staff, and edited the corporate magazine. Her eleven-year career with SDC ended soon after she was involved in an unauthorized survey of women employees that revealed a pattern of sex discrimination in salaries and career opportunities.

Carabillo joined NOW in 1966 and one year later helped found the California chapters. She served as president of the Los Angeles Chapter of NOW (1968-1970, 1980-1982), was a member of NOW's national Board of Directors (1968-1977), served as a national Vice President (1971-1974), and chaired NOW's National Advisory Committee (1975-1977). She was also the director (ca.1980) of the NOW Equal Rights Amendment Countdown office in Los Angeles during the final ratification drive.

Judith Kay Meuli was born on January 15, 1938, in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, to Isabel M. Dresel and Earle J. Meuli. She had four siblings: Earle, Gerald, Yvonne, and Allan. Meuli received a BA in Zoology and Chemistry from the University of Minnesota and worked for ten years as a research scientist. She later worked in real estate, graphic design, and as a writer. An activist in NOW since 1967, she served the Los Angeles chapter and the national organization in a number of capacities. In 1968, Meuli was elected to serve for two years as secretary of the Los Angeles chapter. She served as a member of NOW's national Board of Directors (1971-1977) and as chair of the national Membership Committee (1971-1974), instituting reforms such as central dues collection and an anniversary payment system. In 1974, she chaired NOW's national Nominating Committee, was elected coordinator of the Hollywood chapter two years later, and served as president of the Los Angeles chapter (1998-2000).

Meuli met Carabillo at a meeting of NOW in 1967. Carabillo was president of the newly founded Los Angeles NOW and needed someone to run for secretary; Meuli volunteered. They were soon in a political partnership – and relationship – that lasted from 1968 until Carabillo's death in 1997. Together they co-edited various NOW publications, including NOW Acts (1969-ca.1973) and National NOW Times (1977-1985).

Meuli and Carabillo's Los Angeles home was a gathering place for women's rights advocates and a center for feminist activities. In 1968, Meuli designed the women's movement signature symbol, "the Brassy": an equal sign within the gender symbol for woman, signifying women's equality. They co-founded Graphic Communications (ca.1970), a graphic arts, printing, and publishing firm, which they renamed Women's Graphics around 1995; it was integrally involved in developing the products related to the Women's Heritage Series, Inc. Founded in January 1969 by Meuli, Carabillo, and other women activists, the Women's Heritage Series was the first all-woman corporation dedicated exclusively to the production of materials by women for the feminist movement. The goals of Women's Heritage were primarily to help build the movement, to educate, to raise consciousness, and subsequently effect change.

Carabillo and Meuli were the co-authors of The Feminization of Power (1988), which featured biographical entries on women who held office or who made significant breakthroughs for women's participation in public affairs. The book was a companion to a traveling exhibit that they created for the Feminization of Power Campaign tour (1987-1988), spearheaded by Eleanor Smeal and produced by Peg Yorkin. The campaign was designed to encourage more feminist women to run for political office. Carabillo and Meuli also co-authored with June Bundy Csida a chronological survey of historical events, and their significance for women's lives. This survey, Feminist Chronicles 1953-1993, was intended to be an excerpt of a fuller volume, Feminist Chronicles of the 20th Century, which was never completed. In 1987, Carabillo and Meuli helped found the Feminist Majority Foundation with Eleanor Smeal, Peg Yorkin, and Katherine Spillar.

Carabillo died of cancer on October 28, 1997. Meuli died of multiple myeloma on December 14, 2007.


The collection is arranged in eight series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, ca.1915-2006 (#1.1-13.3, 71OB.1-71OB.7, PD.1-PD.4, E.1)
  2. Series II. National Organization for Women, 1964-2005 (#13.4-37.9, 67CB-68CB, PD.5-PD.6)
  3. ___Subseries A. National, 1964-2005 (#13.4-22.5, PD.5-PD.6)
  4. ___Subseries B. California regional and Los Angeles, 1966-2005 (#22.6-29.3)
  5. ___Subseries C. Writings, research, and related, 1966-2005 (#29.4-37.9, 67CB-68CB)
  6. Series III. Other writings, research, and professional work, ca.1890-2005 (#37.10-51.2, 69CB-70CB)
  7. Series IV. Subject and reference files, 1961-2006 (#51.3-56.13)
  8. Series V. Photographs, 1938-2006 (#PD.7v-PD.220fv, #57FB.1v-65FB.1v)
  9. Series VI. Memorabilia, 1977-1993, n.d. (#56.14m, FB.66.1m-FB.66.3m, F+D.3m, Mem.1-Mem.11)
  10. Series VII. Oversized, ca.1970-ca.1995 (#FD.1-FD.2, F+D.1-F+D.2, F+D.4-F+D.5, OD.1, SD.1)
  11. Series VIII. Audiovisual material, ca.1957-2008 (#T-405.1-T-405.407, DVD-24.1-DVD.24.3, CD-71.1-CD-71.9)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2005-M92, 2005-M140, 2005-M176, 2006-M164, 2007-M5, 2008-M13, 2008-M135

The papers of Toni Carabillo and Judith Meuli were given to the Schlesinger Library by Judith Meuli between 2005 and 2008.


Donor: Judith Meuli

Accession numbers: 2005-M92, 2005-M140, 2005-M176, 2006-M164, 2007-M5, 2008-M13, 2008-M135

Processed by: Laura Peimer

The following items have been removed from the collection:

  1. Approximately 1 linear foot of NOW chapter newsletters removed for review to NOW chapter newsletters collection
  2. Approximately 5 linear feet of feminist publications removed for review to Schlesinger Library printed materials collection

Processing Information

Processed: June 2013

By: Laura Peimer, with assistance of Emily Underwood

Updated: February 2016

By: Laura Peimer

Carabillo, Toni. Papers of Toni Carabillo and Judith Meuli, ca.1890-2008 (inclusive), 1950-2005 (bulk): 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.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA