Records of the National Organization for Women, 1959-2002 (inclusive), 1966-1998 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 1966-1998
Language of Materials
Access to folders #103.3-103.4 requires the written permission of NOW until January 1, 2017. Access to folders #67.13 and 87.58 requires the written permission of NOW until January 1, 2018. Access to folders #67.8-67.9 requires the written permission of NOW until January 1, 2019. Access to folder #108.36 requires written permission of NOW until January 1, 2020.
Grievance files and financial records are closed for 50 years. Certain confidential records are closed to all research use for specified periods; included are individual documents access to which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
Time limits for closure of NOW Foundation records (Series XXII, #88.1-88.11) will be determined by mutual agreement between NOW and the Schlesinger Library at a future date; the finding aid notes that such records are closed pending negotiations.
As of December 2015, written permission of the National Organization for Women is required only for documents 20 years old or less.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the National Organization for Women is held by the National Organization for Women. If the National Organization for Women ceases to exist, copyright will be transferred to the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
206.27 linear feet ((185 cartons, 23 file boxes, 8 half file boxes, 14 file card boxes, 3 folio+ boxes) plus 10 folio folders, 5 folio+ folders, 3 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 136 photograph folders, 2 folio photograph folders, slides, 9 reels microfilm (M-152), and electronic records)
Because NOW is an on-going, active organization, those of its records currently held by the Schlesinger Library represent only a portion of those created to date. (Most officers and task force chairs have retained the records created during their service to NOW; some have promised to give these to the Library at some time in the future.) The portion described here includes records of the Board and Executive Committee; national and regional conferences; National, Legislative, and Public Information Offices; National Action Center; membership; mailings; task forces and committees (those filed in the central office); chapter chartering; some financial; regions and chapters; of several officers and Board members; a very large body of records documenting the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment; judicial selection activities; legal cases; publications, press releases, testimonies, etc.; photographs; memorabilia; and clippings.
The collection is divided into 47 non-hierarchical series, as outlined and described below. Information on NOW's policies, activities, budgets, etc., are found throughout the collection, with overlap and duplication of documents within and between series; documents duplicated in separate folders were not removed if doing so would destroy context. Although folders are listed by intellectual content, they are not always physically grouped together: file unit numbers are not in strict numerical order.
Oversized items, photographs, and memorabilia have been transferred to separate series. Most oversized items have been photocopied and reduced in size; reference copies are filed in subject-appropriate folders, and originals in Series XLV. 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 parts of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back by an asterisk in square brackets [*].
Audiotapes and videotapes were removed and cataloged separately. For audiotapes, see the finding aid for National Organization for Women Audiotapes (T-29), and for videotapes, National Organization for Women Videotapes (Vt-25). There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see National Organization for Women Additional records, 1970-2011 (MC 666), Additional Audio Collection of the National Organization for Women, ca.1970s-2001 (T-466), and National Organization for Women Moving image collection, 1970-2006 (Vt-241, MP-34, DVD-7).
Series I, ORGANIZATION AND POLICY, 1966-1994 (#1.1-1.43, E.1), contains brief histories of NOW; the Statement of Purpose (both draft, October 26, and as adopted, October 29, 1966), copies of the Articles of Incorporation (February 10, 1967), and the 1968 NOW Bill of Rights; national by-laws, 1967-1993 (scattered); model by-laws for states, regions and chapters; comprehensive policy manuals covering all conference resolutions, policies, and Board decisions concerning administrative procedures within NOW, and positions on a wide variety of issues, from 1966 through August 1994; lists of national officers, Board members, task force chairs, state coordinators, and chapter convenors and presidents, 1966-1991 (scattered); and biographical information on some Board members. Of particular interest are the questionnaires completed by Board members in 1974 (#1.40), as well as Karen DeCrow's autobiographical statement in 1973 (#1.39). NOW's web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site will be available through this finding aid in 2010.
Series II, BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, 1966-1995 (#2.1-7.37, 28.1-28.16, 41.1-41.26, 202.1-202.13, 204.1, 204.4-204.7, 228.1-228.18), is divided into four subseries documenting activities of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, and their administrative committees. For records of "issue" committees and task forces, see Series XIII.
The national Board is composed of the Board members, elected by members of the regions; the national officers; and the president of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. The executive committee is made up of the national officers: president, vice president-executive, vice president-action, secretary, and treasurer. The executive committee meets when action is necessary between Board meetings.
Subseries A, Board of Directors, 1966-1995 (#2.1-6.66, 228.1-228.16), contains the most comprehensive record of NOW's administration and policy-making: Board minutes, agendas, schedules and related documents sent to Board members before the meetings, as well as meeting notes and drafts, original handwritten motions presented by Board members, and roll call votes on various motions. Included in the related documents are agenda items; reports from the National Office, Legislative Office, Public Information Office, and regional directors; budgets; membership figures; forms; lists of national office staff and job descriptions; and occasional correspondence from members or chapters concerning specific issues brought before the Board. This subseries has been compiled from the records of the national office and several officers, including Fran Kolb, Judith Lightfoot, Mary Anne Sedey, Sandy Roth, and Kathy Webb. There are no documents after 1995. The master set of minutes (which duplicate those in #2.1-6.66, but do not include related documents) is closed to research (#228.1-228.16). Beginning in 1973, Board meetings were recorded; audiotapes are cataloged separately as National Organization for Women Audiotapes (T-29).
Because many documents in the collection are not dated, but refer to Board meetings by location, meeting cities as well as dates are listed in the finding aid.
Subseries B, Board mailings, 1967-1994 (#202.1-202.13), consists mainly of official mailings to Board members from NOW offices, but also includes mailings from members and staff about issues they wanted the Board to address.
Subseries C, Executive Committee, 1966-1991 (scattered) (#28.1-28.15, 204.1, 228.17), contains an incomplete record of the minutes, memos and mailings of the Executive Committee. There are minutes for only 1970-1975, 1978, and 1983-1985; the master set of duplicates (#228.17) includes only 1970-1975 and 1978, and is closed to research use. By 1983, the Executive Committee was meeting on a weekly basis, and was more involved in the day-to-day operations of the organization. Also included are memos and mailings for NOW's National Advisory Committee (#204.1).
Subseries D, Board administrative committees, 1966-1987 (scattered) (#7.1-7.37, 28.16, 41.1-41.26, 204.4-204.7, 228.18), focuses primarily on the 1970s, with a few records from the 1980s. There is extensive information on proposed by-law revisions (#7.5-7.12, 204.6), records of the budget (closed for 50 years) and nominations committees, and records of committees charged with studying problems of organization, membership growth, and personnel policies. Grievances against chapters or other members were not handled by committee until 1978. Procedures for filing and solving grievances have changed over the years; for more information, see the Comprehensive Administrative Manual (#1.19). All grievances, including those pre-dating the committee, are grouped together and arranged alphabetically by state (#41.1-41.22), or individual (#41.23-41.26); they are closed for 50 years.
Series III, CONFERENCES, 1966-1999 (#21.1-27.79, 205.1-205.11), contains records relating to NOW's national and regional membership conferences. With the exceptions of 1969 and 1972, NOW's national conference has convened annually since the 1966 organizing conference. This series contains the planning records of these national membership meetings, as well as passed resolutions and post-conference evaluations; it also contains records relating to national conferences on feminist topics (international feminism, abortion, lesbian rights), and records relating to regional conferences and conventions. It is divided into four subseries.
Subseries A, Programs, 1973-1999 (#21.1-22.10), contains programs for NOW's national membership conferences and for national conferences on topics, including International Feminist Planning Conference (1973), National Minority Women's Leadership Conference (1979), Lesbian Rights Conference (1984, 1988), National Abortion Clinic Defense Conference (1990), National Young Feminist Conference (1992), Global Feminist Conference (1992), Women of Color and Allies Summit (1998), and Lesbian Rights Summit (1998). The information these programs provide vary from year to year; many contain letters of welcome from NOW's presidents, advertisements from conference sponsors, conference agendas, workshop and participant lists and descriptions, and reports. Beginning in the 1980s, national conference programs included proposed by-laws and conference rules.
Subseries B, Annual conferences, 1966-1998 (23.1-26.55, 205.1-205.11), is arranged chronologically and contains planning records related to NOW's annual membership conferences, including calls to conference, conference planning committee meeting minutes, memos, conference reports, resolutions (drafts and final versions), national office candidate campaign literature, and related clippings and press materials. The completeness of these planning records varies from year to year. For conferences 1976-1978, NOW hired a professional service to provide transcriptions of conference plenary sessions. Membership counts are contained in this subseries; they provide the number of members both by chapter and by state in 1993. This subseries contains mostly printed material distributed to members at the conference, or general mailings to conference planners. Helene Weitzenkorn, a member of Boston NOW, provided some of the printed material from the 1980s; notes by Weitzenkorn are marked as such.
Subseries C, Subject conferences, 1969-1999 (#26.56-27.35), contains planning records similar to those in subseries B. They relate to national conferences organized around a particular topic: Legislative Conference (1969), International Feminist Conference (1973), National Abortion Clinic Defense Conference (1990), Young Feminist Conference (1991), and 25th Anniversary/Global Feminist Conference (1992).
Subseries D, Regional conferences/conventions, 1970-1990 (#27.36-27.79), contains the records relating to regional meetings of NOW chapters, which took place shortly before the national annual conference. They contain mostly printed material, arranged alphabetically by region: Central New York, Eastern, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Southern, and Western.
See Series XII for materials relating to planning and revenue for NOW's national conferences in 1968, 1971, and 1973. See Series XVI (Subseries D) for Gene Boyer's correspondence and printed materials relating to conference workshops and seminars. Audiorecordings of some national conference speeches and workshops are available in National Organization for Women Audiotapes (T-29).
N.B.: The conferences listed below are those documented in this series. This is not a comprehensive list.
- November 18-19, 1967: National Conference, Washington, D.C.
- December 7-8, 1968: National Conference, Atlanta, Georgia
- March 20-22, 1970: National Conference, Des Plaines, Illinois
- September 3-6, 1971: National Conference, Los Angeles, California
- February 17-19, 1973: National Conference, Washington, D.C.
- May 25-27, 1974: National Conference, Houston, Texas
- October 24-27, 1975: National Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- October 9-11, 1976: National Conference, Overland Park, Kansas
- April 22-24, 1977: National Conference, Detroit, Michigan
- October 6-9, 1978: National Conference, Washington, D.C.
- October 5-7, 1979: National Conference, Los Angeles, California
- October 3-5, 1980: National Conference, San Antonio, Texas
- October 10-12, 1981: National Conference, Washington, D.C.
- October 8-10, 1982: National Conference, Indianapolis, Indianapolis
- September 30-October 2, 1983: National Conference, Washington, D.C.
- June 28-July 1, 1984: National Conference, Miami Beach, Florida
- July 19-21, 1985: National Conference, New Orleans, Los Angeles
- June 13-15, 1986: National Conference, Denver, Colorado
- July 17-19, 1987: National Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- June 24-26, 1988: National Conference, Buffalo, New York
- July 21-23, 1989: National Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio
- June 29-July 1, 1990: National Conference, San Francisco, California
- July 5-7, 1991: National Conference, New York, New York
- June 26-28, 1992: National Conference, Chicago, Illinois
- July 2-4, 1993: National Conference, Boston, Massachusetts
- July 1-3, 1994: National Conference, San Antonio, Texas
- July 21-23, 1995: National Conference, Columbus, Ohio
- June 28-30, 1996: National Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada
- July 4-6, 1997: National Conference, Memphis, Tennessee
- July 10-12, 1998: National Conference, Rochester, New York
- 1969: Legislative Conference, Washington, D.C.
- June 1-4, 1973: International Feminist Planning Conference, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- August 25, 1979: National Minority Women's Leadership Conference, Washington, D.C.
- January 20-22, 1984: Lesbian Rights Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- October 7-10, 1988: Lesbian Rights Conference, San Diego, California
- October 19-21, 1990: National Abortion Clinic Defense Conference, Washington, D.C.
- February 1-3, 1991: National Young Feminist Conference, Akron, Ohio
- January 8, 1992: Silver Anniversary Celebration, Washington, D.C.
- January 9-12, 1992: Global Feminist Conference, Washington, D.C.
- February 20-22, 1998: Women of Color and Allies Summit, Arlington, Virginia
- April 23-25, 1999: Lesbian Rights Summit, Washington, D.C.
- February 14-15, 1970: Central New York Regional Conference on Women's Rights, Syracuse, New York
- September 26-27, 1970: Eastern Regional Conference, Boston, Massachusetts
- February 12-13, 1972: Eastern Regional Conference, New York, New York
- May 25-27, 1973: Eastern Regional Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- September 6-8, 1974: Eastern Regional Conference, Atlantic City, New Jersey
- March 8-9, 1975: Eastern Regional Conference, New York, New York
- March 19-21, 1976: Eastern Regional Conference, Hartford, Connecticut
- June 4-5, 1977: Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, Washington, D.C.
- April 1-2, 1978: Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, Charleston, West Virginia
- June 14-15, 1980: Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference
- May 29-31, 1992: Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, State College, Pennsylvania
- March 27-28, 1971: Midwest Regional Conference, Chicago, Illinois
- March 4-5, 1972: Midwest Regional Conference
- June 9-10, 1973: Midwest Regional Conference, Rockford, Illinois
- October 4-6, 1974: Midwest Regional Conference, Overland Park, Kansas
- June 21-22, 1980: Midwest Regional Conference, Fargo, North Dakota
- June 2-3, 1979: Northeast Regional Conference, Albany, New York
- June 13-15, 1980: Northeast Regional Conference, Springfield, Massachusetts
- April 11-12, 1981: Northeast Regional Conference [no place listed]
- June 3-5, 1983: Northeast Regional Conference, East Hartford, Connecticut
- April 4-5, 1986: Northeast Regional Conference, New Haven, Connecticut
- March 31-April 1, 1990: Northeast Regional Conference [no place listed]
- June 22-24, 1979: Northwest Regional Conference, Seattle, Washington
- October 31, 1971: Southern Regional Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana
- June 29-July 1, 1973: Southern Regional Conference, Atlanta, Georgia
- October 18-20, 1974: Southern Regional Conference, Memphis, Tennessee
- April 24-25, 1976: Southern Regional Conference, Atlanta, Georgia
- April 23-25, 1971: Western Regional Conference, San Francisco, California
- March 1972: Western Regional Conference, Seattle, Washington
- September 28-30, 1973: Western Regional Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada
- November 22-24, 1974: Western Regional Conference, Long Beach, California
- April 9-11, 1976: Western Regional Conference, Denver, Colorado
Subseries A, Reports and logs, 1968-1975 (#7.38-7.42), contains scattered reports on the workings of the national office between 1968 and 1975, one quarterly report in 1975 listing all items printed and distributed by NOW, and mail logs for October and November 1975. More complete documentation may be found with the Board minutes in Series II.
Subseries B, Correspondence and subject file, 1965, 1968-1976 (#7.43-9.45, 204.2-204.3, 204.8-204.22, 204.32), is arranged alphabetically by topic or correspondent. Included are records of the Finance Vice President (#7.46-7.57), including treasurer's reports and budgets; forms (#204.8-204.18); insurance proposals for staff and members (#7.62-7.64, 204.19-204.20); documentation of membership services (maintaining mailing lists, creating databases, producing and distributing literature, etc.) provided by outside companies, and of office procedures; fund transmittals (#9.37-9.45). Individual folders were created for those individual officers or staff members with several letters or more.
The folders of general correspondence (#8.36-9.9) contain a sampling of requests for specific publications, as well as general information about the women's movement and NOW for school papers, library and corporate reference files, and personal interest, etc. Many letters include biographical details, and/or reasons for the request.
Subseries C. Chapter formation, 1967-1975 (#9.25-9.36, 16.1-18.7), includes lists, correspondence with regional directors, chapter status reports, and related records. Chapter convenor records, 1970-1973 (#16.1-18.7), include correspondence with convenors and other chapter officers, chapter officers records (names and addresses), and charter applications. Correspondence documents NOW's rapid growth and associated debates about structure and hierarchy; policies, strategies, politics, etc.; chapter activities; chapter officer elections and resignations. Some chapter files include minutes, by-laws, reports, and Gene Boyer's finance questionnaires. Membership lists were removed by the archivist; they are closed until December 31, 2023.
Subseries D, Membership records, 1966-1975 (#9.10-9.24, 10.1-15.157, card file boxes 19-20, 189.1-190.28, 204.45), contains correspondence with members and prospective members, chapter officers, and the general public; and chapter records. The chapter and membership correspondence overlaps. Records containing names of members are closed for 50 years from the date of creation. Membership fund transmittal forms (#12.1-15.157) list members' names, addresses, and dues payments; they often include correspondence and applications that include information on occupations. (Applications containing only names and addresses were discarded since they duplicated information on the transmittals.) Transmittals are organized alphabetically by state, and within states, by chapter name. For additional membership records, see also Series XII (Subseries H) and Series XVI (Subseries E); for analysis of a membership recruitment drive based on a right-to-choose campaign, see Series XI (#98.16-98.22).
Series V, MEMBERSHIP SERVICES, 1979-1993 (scattered) (#204.23-204.31, 204.46), contains membership recruitment memos and correspondence; records of National Secretary Kathy Webb's Chapter and State Development Department, including membership processing manuals, chapter development reports, proposals for data processing, and other. Also included in this series is the 1993 membership list on microfiche; it is closed until January 1, 2044.
Series VI, MAILINGS, 1966-1997 (scattered) (#202.14-203.33), consists of mailings that were widely distributed; they contain a wealth of information on NOW's activities. When received, they were individually spread throughout the numerous accessions; they have been grouped and filed alphabetically by recipient type. The "leadership" group consisted of several hundred people: officers, Board members (of NOW and NOW LDEF), state and regional coordinators, chapter presidents and convenors, and task force or committee coordinators. Chapter mailings were sent to chapter presidents, who passed on information within their respective chapters as needed. Letters to government or corporate officials were also distributed widely; they have been grouped together as "non-NOW individuals and organizations," and are filed in #203.20-203.24. For mailings to the Board, see Series II, Subseries B.
Series VII, LEGISLATIVE OFFICE, 1966-1981 (#51.1-57.11). At NOW's October 1966 organizing conference, founding members authorized a Legislation and Legal Committee to assist in sex discrimination cases; it soon split into two independent bodies, the Legal Committee and the Legislative Committee. In early 1973, the Legislative Office opened in Washington, D.C., and, at the 1973 national conference, NOW formed the Committee on State Legislation to work in cooperation with the Legislative Office on state and local bills; the records describe this relationship as CD/DC lobbying (Congressional District/District of Columbia). The Legislative Office was integrated into the National Action Center when it opened January 5, 1976, in Washington, D.C. The records, including correspondence, reports, printed materials, and photographs, extend past 1976, reflecting the continuation of the duties of the Legislative Office. This series contains records relating to both litigation and legislation. It is divided into six subseries.
Subseries A, Reports, 1967-1976 (#51.1-51.19), contains reports presented to NOW's Board of Directors and other officers, and membership conference attendees. Folder titles indicate the reports' originating office. Some reports are from staff members on the progress of legislative causes (such as ERA or abortion) or on administrative developments (budget or intern program); other reports are from the Legal or Legislative Vice Presidents. Reports are arranged chronologically and may be duplicated in Series II, Records of Board and Executive Committee, and Series III, Conferences.
Subseries B, Communications, 1970-1978 (#51.20-53.14), contains telephone and mail logs, chronological files of outgoing mail and correspondence, memos, correspondence of NOW staff and officers (Elizabeth Cox, Casey Hughes, Geri Kenyon, Elaine Latourell, Judith Lonnquist, Mary Barber Van Buskirk, and Mary Vogel), mailing lists, correspondence with job and internship applicants, and mailings to State Legislative Coordinators and Chapter Legislative Coordinators. The incoming and outgoing telephone logs (#51.20-51.25, 51.30) include identification of the caller (either by name, place, or sex); the call's date, time, and subject; and the Legislative Office staff or other NOW office to whom the caller was referred. The length of long distance outgoing calls was also logged. Similarly, incoming and outgoing mail logs (#51.31-51.39) include information on the nature, subject, and referral of correspondence.
Correspondence and memos (#51.40-52.36) primarily include letters to and from other NOW officers; occasionally, there is correspondence between Legislative Office staff and government officials and officers of other organizations. NOW maintained two separate chronological files of 1975 outgoing letters (#51.40-51.50 and #51.51-51.62); both contain letters and memos written by various Legislative Office staff to local chapter officers, state legislative coordinators, and others. Legislative Alerts (#53.14) notified NOW leadership of pending legislation that would impact the minimum wage, ERA, and rape and abortion laws. Beginning in 1976, Legislative Updates (#53.14) reported on pending and future legislation and provided listings of resources available to NOW members, such as workshops, pamphlets, and reports. Legislative Office mailings relating to the ERA were moved to Series XXIX. Nearly 100 form letters from the Legislative Office to potential internship applicants were removed from the collection. In addition, approximately 1600 routine answers (routing slips and form letters) were removed from the chronological correspondence file.
Subseries C, Administrative files, 1973-1977 (#53.15-53.36, 57.1-57.11), contains records relating to the Legislative Office's budget and general operation. It includes, for example, job descriptions, time sheets, and working drafts of Legislative Office publications. This subseries also contains legislative interns' weekly reports; these reports detail their research on legislation and assistance in administrative tasks.
Subseries D, Right to Choose lobbying, 1973-1976 (#53.37-54.38), contains correspondence with Congress, CD/DC lobbying report forms, notes, and voting records. The correspondence in this subseries includes form letters from Congress members relating their views on abortion. (Other issues may be represented as well.) These letters, presumably written in response to constituents' inquiries, seem to have been forwarded to the Legislative Office by NOW members and are occasionally accompanied by notes or lobbying reports. CD/DC lobbying forms document Congressional voting records and meetings between NOW members and their representatives' offices. Most of the forms in this subseries reflect meetings about abortion; others indicate discussions about ERA or other topics. Some files contain correspondence between the Legislative Office and State Legislative Coordinators, or related printed material from state chapters. These forms are arranged alphabetically by state. Finally, this subseries contains voting records of the 93rd and 94th congresses.
Subseries E, Lobbying, 1970-1981 (#54.39-55.36), includes general information about lobbying, lobbying kits, and files on the office's efforts on legislation not related to the Right to Choose campaign. After the first general folders on lobbying, this subseries is arranged alphabetically by topic. Included are files relating to NOW's "Desexing the Federal Code" project; members wrote letters and suggested revisions to Federal Code to include women. Mailings about specific issues (such as education, ERA, Title IX) are not duplicated in the chronological mailings in Subseries B.
Subseries F, Jean Faust's files, 1967-1970, 1990 (#56.1-56.6), contains files created by Jean Faust in her capacity as President of the NY-NOW and as Assistant on Women's Rights to Congressman William Ryan. Included are letters, notes and testimony presented before the New York City Committee on Human Rights. Also included are Jean Faust's 1990 notes about the documents, as well as her re-typed copies of others. See Series XIV for additional records of NY-NOW.
See Series XVII for records about and created by Ann Scott, who served as the vice president-legislation from 1971 to 1975.
Series VIII, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE, 1970-1981 (#29.1-31.61). Records in this series were created mainly by Dian Terry (1973-1975) and Nicole Burton (1976-1978). The Public Information Office (PIO) was "responsible for press releases and all public information and public relations, including developing media contacts to promote programs concerning NOW, staging press conferences, promoting NOW spokespersons, serving as a source of information about NOW's policies" ( The Inside Story: How NOW Operates , 1974). The establishment of the office was approved by the Board in July 1973 and a NOW News Service began in August 1973. The office was located at 641 Lexington Avenue, New York City, before moving to a larger space at 527 Madison Avenue. The PIO was integrated into the National Action Center when it opened January 5, 1976, in Washington, D.C. The records, including correspondence, reports, printed materials, and photographs, extend past 1976, reflecting the continuation of the duties of the PIO. Additional public information records are located in Series X. The series is arranged in five subseries.
Subseries A, Administrative files, reports, and publications, 1970-1977 (#29.1-29.36), is arranged with status and quarterly reports first, followed by publications, and general administrative files arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Subseries B, Correspondence, 1970-1978 (#29.37-30.46), is divided into three groups. The chronological files contain carbon copies of the PIO's outgoing letters from 1973-1975. The general correspondence relates to a variety of topics, including NOW publications and news stories of interest to NOW. The subject correspondence is arranged alphabetically by topic.
Subseries C, Task forces, 1971-1978 (#30.47-31.19), contains correspondence and questionnaires detailing the activities of the task forces; the PIO used the information in press releases and publications. The questionnaires provide information on task force activities as well as on individual task force leaders. Folders are arranged with general information, such as correspondence and questionnaires, first, followed by alphabetical files on individual task forces.
Subseries D, Press releases, 1973-1977 (#31.20-31.34), contains correspondence, press releases with drafts and background information. Folders are arranged alphabetically by topic. The most complete set of press releases is located in Series XLIII; it is open without written permission.
Subseries E, Do It NOW, 1971-1981 (#31.35-31.61), contains photographs and correspondence relating to the NOW newsletter. Most of the information relates to potential articles, although there is also information relating to publication. Folders are arranged with general correspondence first, followed by folders relating to specific issues, and then folders arranged alphabetically. Folders titled "correspondence" or "articles" both contain correspondence relating to potential articles in Do It NOW; they are listed together.
Series IX, NATIONAL ACTION CENTER: ADMINISTRATIVE FILES, 1973, 1975-1995 (#85.1-86.36), contains reports, contracts and leases, phone logs, correspondence, memos, etc., relating to the administrative functions of NOW. Files are arranged with personnel and procedural files first, followed by phone logs, correspondence and memos, and contracts and leases. Personnel files (#85.3) are closed until December 31, 2060. Within each group, folders are arranged alphabetically. There is very little information on staff members or general office procedural policies.
Series X, NATIONAL ACTION CENTER: PRESS OFFICE, 1977-1981, 1990-1997 (#87.1-87.67, 171.1-174.7). The Press Office generates all public information (press releases, press conferences, etc.) for NOW. They also follow press coverage of NOW's activities in outside sources: print, radio, and television.
Subseries A, Nancy Thompson, 1979-1981 (#87.1-87.57), contains correspondence, notes, press releases, clippings, etc., from the files of Nancy Thompson, NOW's press secretary (ca.1978-1981). They are arranged alphabetically by folder title; many concern the ERA.
Subseries B, General files, 1990-1997 (#87.58-87.67), contains reports, press releases, press contact lists, notes, and clippings. They are arranged with reports first, followed by press release and press conference files, and background material for possible future use in NOW's publicity.
Subseries C, "NOW in the News," 1989-1998 (#171.1-174.7), contains packets consisting of communications reports, press releases, and copies of clippings mentioning NOW that were distributed to members. There are also several folders of pasted-up clippings that will be microfilmed in the future. Folders are arranged chronologically with the packets first, followed by the clippings.
Series XI, NATIONAL ACTION CENTER: SUBJECT FILES, 1970-1995 (#89.1-98.22), contains correspondence, reports, notes, memos, clippings, printed material, etc., relating to various topics of interest to NOW. There are also a small number of kits, which include drafts, notes, etc. Files are arranged alphabetically by topic, though in some cases, these topics are included in a collection of folders labeled "legislation" (#90.38-90.42). Subjects with many folders were further subdivided alphabetically by NOW.
Well represented in this series are lesbian rights, pay equity, pornography, reproductive rights, and women in the military. Most of the records document NOW's response to legislation concerning these issues at both the national and state level. Also included are files relating to marches and rallies that NOW organized or participated in, the majority of which focused on lesbian rights and abortion rights. These records focus on NOW's organizing efforts, although there are some clippings and letters received in response to the marches and rallies. Also represented are several topics not usually thought to be associated with the feminist movement, such as efforts to gain statehood status for Washington, D.C., and opposition to nuclear power.
These files were maintained centrally; it is unclear who created many of them. When someone was clearly identified as a file creator, that information is included in the folder title. Further information on many of the topics in the subject files can be found in Series XIII.
Series XII, FINANCIAL RECORDS, 1966-1998 (#104.1-card file box 113), is an artificial creation of financial records gathered together from various accessions. All financial records are closed for 50 years. Records created between 1969 and 1973 were created by Gene Boyer, Madeline Rast, and Bonnie Howard, NOW's earliest treasurers. Later records were transferred from NOW's central subject files due to their financial nature. The records contain budgets, audits, reports, cancelled checks, deposit slips, ledgers, bank statements, correspondence, etc., relating to the financial aspects of NOW. They are arranged in eight subseries. Portions are closed for 50 years.
Subseries A, Policies, budgets, reports, etc., 1966-1997 (#104.1-105.37), contains memos and statements setting out NOW's financial policies and guidelines; budgets; audits; treasurer's reports; completed tax forms; and other financial reports. Folders are arranged chronologically within the following categories: policies, budgets, audits and related, completed tax forms, and reports. Closed for 50 years.
Subseries B, Correspondence and mailings, 1969-1993 (#105.38-106.4), contains mostly photocopies and mass mailings with a small amount of original correspondence. It is arranged chronologically, except for three folders of subject correspondence that are arranged alphabetically at the end of the subseries. Closed for 50 years.
Subseries C, Banking records, 1969-1986 (#106.5-106.36, FD.4-FD.10), contains bank statements, cancelled checks, ledgers, etc., relating to NOW's bank accounts. Cancelled checks and deposit slips were kept in the absence of ledgers documenting the various transactions. Folders are grouped by bank account, and arranged chronologically by the earliest records for each account. Closed for 50 years.
Subseries D, National conferences, 1968-1973 (#106.37-106.43), contains invoices, correspondence, and ledgers from NOW's national conferences; the 1973 conference is especially well-documented. Folders are arranged chronologically. Closed for 50 years.
Subseries E, Invoices and related, 1970-1975 (#106.44-107.41), contains mainly invoices and requests for reimbursement from NOW officers and task force leaders. Many of the invoices are from C-R [Collins-Robson] Office Programs, the company that handled NOW's printing. These dated invoices document the printing jobs (minutes, reports, mailings, etc.), including the number of copies produced. Folders are arranged alphabetically. Closed for 50 years.
Subseries F, Fundraising, 1970-1999 (#107.42-109.25), contains correspondence, reports, proposals, and guidelines concerning fundraising possibilities for NOW. Included in this subseries are folders relating to products sold by NOW and NOW benefit events. Most notable among the benefit events are the records of NOW's annual celebration of Susan B. Anthony's birthday. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries G, Commercial enterprises, 1985-1986 (#109.26-109.35), contains information relating to agreements between NOW and outside companies to offer products (car rentals, insurance, etc.) to NOW members with NOW receiving a percentage of the proceeds. Folders are arranged chronologically.
Subseries H, Membership, 1971-1973 (111.1-111.5, card file boxes 110, 112, 113), contains transmittal of funds forms, which list member names. They are closed until December 31, 2023. These records are treasurers' copies of membership fund transmittals, most of which were kept by the national office. Some of them may duplicate information in Series V.
Series XIII, TASK FORCES AND CONFERENCE IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEES, 1964-1994 (#42.1-50.79, 84.1-84.13). In its first few years, NOW created task forces to address specific areas of concern to members: campus contacts, child care, employment, public accommodations, marriage and family, image of women, education, politics, religion, women in sports, international status of women, and poverty. Beginning in the late 1970s, the term "task force" was replaced by "committee." Many of the issues remained the same, although some of the committees had slightly altered names. Within many of the "committee" files, there are documents created by the earlier task forces. NOW created a very complex structure of committees and Board oversight. See policy manuals (Series I) and minutes (Series II) for more information. Although there are some photocopied clippings in the series that follow, most clippings will be weeded, arranged and microfilmed at a later date, and are in Series XLVII. This series is arranged in three subseries.
Subseries A, General, 1967-1981 (#42.1-42.24), contains correspondence, reports, guidelines, resumes, rosters, memos, and agendas that either relate to all of the task forces or were kept in files containing similar information pertaining to several task forces and committees. Folders are arranged with those relating to task forces first, followed by those relating to committees or committee chairs. Folders are arranged alphabetically within these two categories. Most of the material in this series relates to administrative issues, including membership and the training of task force heads and committee chairs. There are also task force reports and summaries detailing task force goals and accomplishments.
Subseries B, Board Issue/Action Committees (Economic Rights, Human Rights, Societal Inequality), 1979-1980 (#42.25-42.31), contains reports, forms, correspondence, minutes, notes, etc. Conference Implementation Committees (CICs) are governed by Issue Consultant Committees, which provide informational and technical assistance, and Issue Action Committees, and develop resources and educational materials for chapters and state organizations in pursuing action on issues. In October 1977, the Board mandated that "it shall be the duty of the Board Issue/Action Committees to undertake the following tasks as they relate to their areas:
- 1. to review program proposals and budgets;
- 2. recommend policy positions and decisions to the Board;
- 3. act as a systematic liaison to the Conference Implementation Committees to: a. review progress between Board meetings; b. help with interpreting NOW policies and procedures; c. prevent overlap between committees.
- 4. assist with recruitment of Conference Implementation Committee Chairs and members." (NOW Policy Manual, 1979)
- 1. Economic Rights
- 1a. Economic Planning
- 1b. Women and Poverty
- 1c. Employment Discrimination
- 1d. Labor Union/On-site Organizing
- 1e. Full employment/Minimum Income
- 1f. Social Security/Pension Discrimination
- 1g. Credit
- 1h. Pregnancy Disability
- 1i. Displaced Homemakers
- 1j. Homemakers' Rights
- 2. Human Rights
- 2a. Women and Mental Health
- 2b. Women and Health
- 2c. Violence vs. Women
- 2d. Reproductive Rights
- 3. Societal Inequality
- 3a. Education Discrimination
- 3b. Early Childhood Development
- 3c. Women and Religion
- 3d. Ageism and Women
- 3e. Lesbian Rights
- 3f. Media Reform
- 3g. Marriage and Divorce
- 3h. Minority Women
Subseries C, Individual Task Forces and Conference Implementation Committees (CICs), 1964-1991 (#42.32-50.79, 84.1-84.13), contains correspondence, memos, notes, minutes, agendas, reports, testimonies, resumes, printed material, etc. Because the names of task forces changed frequently, and many of the task forces evolved into Conference Implementation Committees with different names, folders are arranged alphabetically by issue, rather than by task force or Conference Implementation Committee name. For instance, the Ecumenical Task Force on Women and Religion became the Task Force on Women and Religion and then the Women and Religion Committee; their records are filed under "religion." Issues represented include: child care, compliance, credit, education, employment, FCC (Federal Communications Commission), health, homemakers' rights, image of women, labor unions, lesbian rights, marriage and divorce, media, minority women, nurses, older women, politics, poverty, rape, religion, reproductive rights, university compliance, violence against women, and volunteerism. Included in the lesbian rights records are several folders relating to the guardianship of Sharon Kowalski. In 1983, Kowalski suffered disabling injuries in an automobile accident and was placed under the care of her father. In 1988, NOW joined her life partner, Karen Thompson, in her attempt to be appointed Kowalski's guardian. Further task force records are located in the separately cataloged papers of NOW officers. The collections and task forces are: Compliance: Lynne Darcy (MC 494), Wilma Scott Heide (MC 495); Media Reform: Kathy Bonk (MC 492); Marriage and Divorce: Elizabeth Coxe Spalding (MC 482); Religion: Elizabeth Farians (MC 480), NOW Officers: Georgia Fuller (MC 486).
Most of these records originated in the national office, many belonging to Jane Wells-Schooley, Vice President-Action, and are more focused on administrative details, such as membership and procedures, than on task force activities. The Compliance Task Force records were created by Lynne Darcy, Credit Task Force records were created by Sharyn Campbell, Susan Onaitis, and Linda Cohen, and the Task Force on University Compliance records were created by Ellen Morgan.
Additional records concerning task forces and Conference Implementation Committees are located in Series III and Series VIII. For court cases and briefs filed by NOW on related issues, see Series XXXIX and Series XL.
Subseries A, Regions, 1970-1990 (#169.1-169.20), is an incomplete record of NOW's regional divisions. Composed of state organizations and chapters, they have changed with NOW's growth in membership. In March 1970, state organizations and chapters were divided among four regions: East, Midwest, South, and West. By 1978, there were seven regions: Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-South, Midwest, Northeast, South Central, Southeast. The next year, the regions were reconfigured into nine: Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-South, Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South Central, Southeast, Southwest. By 1990, the Midwest region was renamed the Prairie States region. At their annual conferences, regions elected representatives to serve on the national Board.
This subseries contains records from the four original regions; it also contains records from later regions: Mid-Atlantic, Mid-South, Northeast, South Central. Records include regional directors' reports, mailings to chapter presidents and state coordinators, mailing lists, by-laws, and state coordinators' meeting materials. They are arranged alphabetically by region.
Other series contain information on regions' activities. Printed material distributed at regional conferences and regional directors' reports to national conferences are included in Series III. National NOW's guidelines for regional by-laws are included in Series I. Regional publications were moved to Series XLII, and regional newsletters were moved to Schlesinger Library's periodical holdings.
Subseries B, Chapters, 1967-1991 (#169.21-170.49), contains files on state organizations and local NOW chapters. They are arranged alphabetically by state, with each state organization followed by an alphabetical list of local chapters within the state.
Information on states and chapters varies; files may include by-laws, state conference programs, mailings, event notices, pamphlets, press releases, and minutes (of the Boston/Eastern Massachusetts and Los Angeles/Southern California chapters only). Among the states that are contained in this series, several chapters are especially well-represented: Boston/Eastern Massachusetts, Chicago, Southern California/Los Angeles, New York City, and Pittsburgh.
Several states are not represented in this series: Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Other series also contain information on states and chapters. Resolutions presented by chapters are included in Series III. National NOW's guidelines for chapter and state by-laws are included in Series I. State and chapter publications were moved to Series XLII, and state and chapter newsletters were moved to Schlesinger Library's periodical holdings. See Series VII (Subseries F) for records by Jean Faust, who served as the president of NY-NOW in its early years.
Series XV-XX, Papers of Leaders, contain correspondence, notes, reports, clippings, etc., of individuals who kept their files separately from other NOW records, and donated them to the library. Each leader's papers forms its own series, arranged chronologically, based on the dates of earliest NOW records in each series: Alice S. Rossi (1966-1967), Gene Boyer (1967-1977), Ann London Scott (1970-1975), Mary Anne Sedey (1973-1976), and Sandy Roth (1973, 1977-1982).
Series XV, PAPERS OF LEADERS: ALICE S. ROSSI, 1966-1967 (#32.1-32.12). Alice S. Rossi, sociologist, educator, author, and daughter of William A. and Emma (Winkler) Schaerr, was born September 24, 1922, in New York City. She received her B.A. from Brooklyn College (1947) and her Ph.D. from Columbia University (1957). She was a research associate at Cornell University (1951-1952), Harvard University (1952-1955), the University of Chicago (1961-1967), and John Hopkins University (1967-1969), and then a sociology professor at Goucher College (1969-1974) and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1974-1991) and professor emerita (1991-). She was a founder and a Board member of NOW (1966-1970) and President of Sociologists for Women in Society (1971-1972). She is a member of the American Sociological Association (president, 1983-1984) and the Eastern Sociological Society (president, 1973-1974). She was married to and divorced from Max Kitt. She married Peter H. Rossi September 29, 1951; they have three children, Peter Eric, Kristin Alice, and Nina Alexis.
The papers of Alice Rossi were given to the Schlesinger Library in August 1974 by Rossi. They contain correspondence, memos, reports, and agendas relating to the founding of NOW (see especially #32.10) and its early operation. The papers focus on NOW's statement of purpose and stance on issues, particularly abortion, and the establishment of task forces. AR served as temporary head of the Committee on Family and was instrumental in creating the committee's statement of purpose. Folders are arranged alphabetically by title.
Series XVI, PAPERS OF LEADERS: GENE BOYER, 1967-1977 (#32.13-37.42, 40.1-40.118). Gene Boyer, daughter of Nathan and Rene (Hiller) Cohen, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 11, 1925. She attended the University of Wisconsin (1942-1945). She was a freelance writer in West Bend, Wisconsin (1945-1951) before becoming co-owner and vice president of Matlin's Furniture Stores in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin (1951-1983). In 1983, she started a management consultant business, Gene Boyer & Associates, Inc., with offices in Madison, Wisconsin, and Weston, Florida. Boyer was a founding member of NOW and served as national Board member (1968-1969), Wisconsin state convenor (1970), national treasurer (1970-1971), and national vice president, finance (1971-1974). She was a member and past president of the NOW Legal Education & Defense Fund (later, Legal Defense and Education Fund). She is a member of the Association of American University Women, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the American Business Women's Association, and the Jewish Women's Council. She was a founder of New Moon Discussion Groups (1998) and the moderator and founder of the Jewish Women Leaders online listserve for e-mail readers (1998-). She has received numerous awards for her work as a feminist and business owner. She married Burton L. Boyer in 1945; they have a daughter, Bari Lynn.
The papers of Gene Boyer were given to the Schlesinger Library in November 1992 by Boyer. They contain correspondence, memos, financial records, notes, and printed material relating to Boyer's role as NOW Board member, treasurer and vice president-financial, and as a member of other NOW committees. In particular, these papers provide insight into NOW's early financial dealings as well as some of the discussions concerning NOW's administrative structure, policies, and procedures. There are additional, overlapping records and correspondence by Boyer throughout the collection; see especially Series IV. There are also a small number of folders relating to other organizations in which Boyer was active, mainly in Wisconsin. Papers are arranged in six subseries.
Subseries A, Biographical, 1961, 1966, 1970-1972 (#32.13-32.16), contains resumes, clippings about Boyer, press releases, and writings by Boyer.
Subseries B, NOW, 1969-1976 (#32.17-34.26), contains correspondence, memos, notes, reports, minutes, and printed material relating to Boyer's tenure on the national Board and other committees, such as the Literature Review Committee and the Nominating Committee. Folders are arranged with correspondence first, followed by Board activities, other committees arranged alphabetically, national office files, and general administrative files arranged alphabetically by title.
Subseries C, NOW financial, 1967-1975 (#34.27-36.18), contains correspondence, memos, finance reports, budgets, etc., from Boyer's term as treasurer and vice president-finance. Folders are arranged with finance reports first, followed by all other folders arranged alphabetically by title.
Subseries D, NOW conferences and meetings, 1970-1973 (#36.19-37.15), contains correspondence and printed materials mainly from workshops and seminars conducted by Boyer at meetings. Folders are arranged alphabetically by conference or meeting title.
Subseries E, NOW chapters, 1971-1976 (#37.16-37.23, 40.1-40.118) contains correspondence, officer lists, and membership records. The records were created by Boyer in her capacity as both Board member and treasurer; they include correspondence, membership applications (1970-1971), and lists of members. Folders are arranged alphabetically by region (East, Midwest, South, West), and within regions, alphabetically by chapter name (e.g., New York City chapter precedes South Middlesex, Connecticut). Membership records are closed until December 31, 2022. Regional correspondence concerns membership and financial issues with members in those regions.
Subseries F, Other organizations, 1971-1976 (#37.24-37.42), contains correspondence, reports, printed material, etc., relating to Boyer's feminist activities outside of NOW. Most of the organizations represented in this collection are located in Wisconsin. Folders are arranged alphabetically by organization name.
Series XVII, PAPERS OF LEADERS: ANN LONDON SCOTT, 1970-1975 (#37.43-38.11). Ann London Scott, daughter of Daniel Edwin and Claire (Chester) London, was born Claire Ann in Seattle, Washington, July 29, 1933. She received her B.A. (1954) and Ph.D. (1969) in literature from the University of Washington. She was an instructor at the University of Washington (1954-1955, 1963-1965), lecturer and assistant professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1965-1973), and Associate Executive Director for the American Association for Higher Education (1974-1975). She was appointed to the Commission on Equal Rights Law by the Governor of Maryland; served on NOW's Board of directors (1970-1975); the Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Labor on Revision of Order #4 (1972); the Common Cause Governing Board (1972-1975) and Committee on Finance and Administration Executive Committee; and the Advisory Committee on Women to the Secretary of Labor (1973-1975). From 1971-1975, she was the NOW vice president-legislation. Scott was married to Paul de Witt Tufts (1951-?), Gerd Stern (1956-1961), and Thomas Jefferson Scott (1969-her death). She had one son, Jared London, with Gerd Stern. Scott died February 17, 1975, of breast cancer.
The papers of Ann London Scott were given to the Schlesinger Library by NOW in January 1977. They contain correspondence, writings by Scott, clippings, notes, resumes, and photographs, documenting Scott's role as head of NOW's Federal Compliance Committee, NOW's vice president-legislation, and NOW's campus coordinator. Much of the correspondence relates to bills being considered by Congress, and sexual discrimination complaints filed against universities. The papers are arranged with a folder containing clippings, resumes, and obituaries first, followed by writings by Scott, correspondence, and folders relating to specific issues arranged in alphabetical order. Researchers should be aware that this series documents only a small portion of Scott's work on behalf of NOW; further records can be found throughout the collection. There is also a separate collection of Scott's personal papers in the library, Ann (London) Scott Papers, 1932?-1976 (accession numbers 91-M132, 91-M156, 93-M1).
Series XVIII, PAPERS OF LEADERS: MARY ANNE SEDEY, 1973-1976 (#38.12-38.42). Sedey received her B.A. in social science from Webster College (1970), and her J.D. from St. Louis University. She was the first president of St. Louis NOW, Missouri State Coordinator (1972-1974), and Midwest Regional Director of NOW (1973-1976).
The papers of Mary Anne Sedey were given to the Schlesinger Library in April 1978 by Sedey. They contain correspondence, memos, agendas, notes, and printed material relating to Sedey's Board activities, especially the controversy concerning Jane Plitt and the ensuing split in the national Board. Papers are arranged with correspondence first followed by other papers in alphabetical order. Folders relating to the split are arranged chronologically.
Series XIX, PAPERS OF LEADERS: SANDY ROTH, 1978-1981 (#38.43-39.7, 41.1-41.17). Roth is a former police officer with experience in the areas of rape prevention, crime, and delinquency. She served as Director of Research for Rape Information Service, Inc., technical advisor to the West Virginia Governor's Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction. With her husband, Doug, she co-founded Prosynergy Dental Communications in 1987. Roth was the NOW national secretary (ca.1977 to 1982). The papers, which contain correspondence, notes, printed material, etc., relating to NOW's administrative matters, were given to the Schlesinger Library by NOW in February 1985. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series XX, PAPERS OF LEADERS: MISCELLANEOUS, 1975-1994 (#39.8-39.23), contains, biographical information, correspondence, notes, clippings, etc., created by several different NOW leaders. Due to the small amount of materials from each leader, their files have been gathered into this one series. Further information concerning the various leaders' activities may be found in other series. Files in this series are arranged alphabetically by leader.
Series XXI, POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES, 1977-1996 (#99.1-103.26). The NOW Political Action Committees (PACs) work to elect feminist candidates to political office. The NOW/PAC supports feminist candidates at the national level (Congress), while the NOW/Equality/PAC (NEP) supports feminist candidates at the local level (gubernatorial, state legislative, mayors, etc.). Candidates are endorsed and funded based on their stands on several issues, including: reproductive freedom, lesbian/gay rights, racial justice, moving women out of poverty, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), affirmative action, and violence against women.
The records in this series include minutes, agendas, correspondence, memos, notes, clippings, etc., relating to NOW's efforts to elect feminist candidates to all levels of government. The NOW/PAC and NOW/Equality/PAC records were not separated from each other; most of the files were created by Alice Cohan, NOW Political Director. Files are arranged in three subseries.
Subseries A, Administrative files, 1977-1993 (#99.1-100.10, 103.16-103.23), contains guidelines; minutes, agendas, and supporting documents from PAC meetings; and financial records. PAC meeting participants discussed candidate endorsements; the files contain information on candidates and their positions. Files are arranged with guidelines first, followed by meeting files, general files, financial records, and walkathon records (see also #129.1-131.9). Within each of the groups, records are arranged chronologically.
Subseries B, Political records, 1980-1995 (#100.11-102.31, 103.24-103.26), contains printed material from campaigns, election results, requests for NOW assistance, and notes assessing various candidates. The files are arranged chronologically by election year overall, and alphabetically within each grouping.
Subseries C, Political behavior, 1981-1996 (#102.32-103.15), contains correspondence, printed material, transcripts, and notes concerning various political affiliations and activities NOW pursued in an effort to improve voter turnout and political representation for women. The majority of these files concern the Commission for Responsive Democracy, a group which assessed the need for a third major political party concerned with feminist and minority issues. Records in this group are arranged alphabetically.
Series XXII, THE NOW FOUNDATION, 1986-1994 (#88.1-88.11). The NOW Foundation, established as a public charity qualified to receive tax deductible contributions, was incorporated in 1986 to finance and conduct charitable and educational programs in support of NOW. It is governed by NOW's National Board. The records in this series include information concerning the creation of the Foundation, financial documents, and a small number of files relating to Foundation activities. This series is closed pending negotiations.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) campaign is thoroughly documented in Series XXII through Series XXXVI. Included are records reflecting efforts to ratify the ERA to the United States Constitution, to extend the ratification deadline, and to fight rescission efforts in states that had already ratified the ERA. For more information, see series descriptions below. Most photographs were transferred to Series XLIV; there are several oversize items in Series XLV. Although there are some photocopied clippings in the series that follow, most clippings will be weeded, arranged and microfilmed at a later date, and are in Series XLVII.
Series XXIII, ERA BOYCOTT, 1977-1982 (#177.32-178.46, card file box 180), contains records relating to NOW's Economic Boycott Campaign. Launched in 1977, it was one part of NOW's strategy for ratifying the ERA. NOW urged organizations to pass resolutions stating that they would not hold future conventions in unratified states; the resulting loss in revenue would pressure the business community to support ratification. Records are divided into three groups: general, states, and organizations. General information about the ERA boycott is arranged chronologically. Records on states and organizations are arranged alphabetically by name.
Records contain mailings from the National Office, related notes and memos, and correspondence. Files relating to states targeted by the campaign (#178.1-178.14) include letters from NOW members and other ERA supporters about activities specific to that state. NOW maintained a list of organizations that would not hold conventions in unratified states; updated lists, beginning January 15, 1978, and ending in July 27, 1979, show how rapidly the boycott grew (#177.48). NOW's "Economic Boycott File" and "Yippee new boycott file" (card file box 180) complement both the state files and the organizations lists. NOW created a card for each participating organization and listed its contact information; its membership numbers; the frequency, duration, and average attendance of their annual meetings; the location of recent meeting sites; and, when applicable, which events were cancelled, and to which ratified state the event was moved. Also included are forms on and letters from boycotting organizations, arranged alphabetically by name (#178.15-178.44), as well as files on associations withdrawing support for the ERA boycott (#178.45-178.46).
See Series XXXVIII for files on Missouri v. NOW and Action Committee for Tourism v. NOW (#117.41-117.48, 117.33), cases in which NOW was charged with conspiracy, and the Economic Boycott Campaign was alleged to violate anti-trust laws. Also included is a file on NOW v. Ashcroft (#116.12), NOW's counter-claim to Missouri's conspiracy and anti-trust allegations.
Series XXIV, ERA CAMPUS CAMPAIGN, 1980-1982 (#135.1-135.20), contains notes, correspondence, flyers, reports, kits, etc., relating to NOW's efforts to recruit and train college students to work on the campaign to pass the ERA. The records are arranged chronologically and then alphabetically within the year they were created.
Series XXV, ERA: ALICE COHAN FILES, 1976-1984 (#141.1-142.15), contains correspondence, reports, notes, vote counts, printed material, etc., found in the files of ERA field organizer, Alice Cohan. The files contain documents relating to subjects found elsewhere in the ERA series, including extension, action teams, economic boycott, and ratification. The Political Action Committee folders in this subseries relate to the ERA PAC, which lobbied for the election of political candidates who supported the ERA. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series XXVI, ERA EVENTS, 1977-1983 (#126.1-131.15, card file boxes 132-134), contains correspondence, notes, press releases, clippings, printed material, etc., relating to NOW events benefitting the ERA. Some of the rallies and marches took place simultaneously in different cities. Folders are arranged alphabetically by event name; "walkathons" are arranged chronologically.
Series XXVII, ERA EXTENSION, 1977-1982 (#176.1-177.31, card file boxes 179, 181), contains records relating to legislation supporting extension of the ratification deadline for the ERA, and NOW's work with outside organizations as well as with its own state organizations and chapters. These files contain printed material for NOW lobbyists, related notes and memos, field reports, correspondence, and background information on ERA extension. They are arranged chronologically.
NOW was a member of the ERA Extension Coalition, a group of religious, political, and professional women's associations that came together to lobby for the extension of the ERA ratification deadline. NOW staff member Molly Yard maintained a notebook of materials relating to this coalition's work, including memos and notes, minutes, and attendance lists (#177.10-177.12).
In addition to the groups of the ERA Extension Coalition, NOW communicated with organizations that did not actively lobby Congress, but did support ERA extension; organizations sent letters, in some cases including resolutions passed by the group's governing body, to notify NOW of their support (#177.15-177.26). NOW also maintained a card file system to keep track of these organizations (card file box 179); some organizations and prominent individuals were featured in NOW's "Signature Ad" in the June 22, 1978 New York Times (#176.28-176.34).
Within NOW, members of state and local chapters wrote to and visited their representatives to urge a time extension for the ERA. National Office staff telephoned state contacts for reports of how many contacts NOW members made (by post, telephone, or in person) with representatives, and of their responses to NOW's pressure; these reports (#176.16-176.22) are sometimes supplemented with correspondence between the National Office and state contacts. Additional state reports (#176.14-176.15), completed in the field and sent to the National Office, provide more detailed information of organizing activity and visibility campaigns on the state level; they also include state contacts' assessment of the situation and expectation of their representatives' voting on extension.
Series XXVIII, ERA FINANCIAL, 1973-1982 (#137.1-137.53, 168.1-168.6), contains budgets, invoices, correspondence, reports, notes, etc., relating to NOW's efforts to finance their campaign for the passage of the ERA. The records are arranged with the state files of Treasurer Bonnie Howard first, followed by an alphabetical arrangement of general financial files.
Series XXIX, ERA GENERAL, 1969-1994 (#191.1-197.48, card file box 179), contains notes, memos, correspondence, clippings, printed material, etc., relating to actions taken by NOW to gain passage of the ERA. Included is background material on various points of contention between pro- and anti- ERA groups, as well as literature and reports produced by organizations supporting the ERA. Folders on state ERAs contain correspondence, memos, notes, political analysis, articles, status reports and lists of ratified and unratified states, information on court cases, and clippings. Most material is from the 1970s, but there are a few items from the early 1980s. They are arranged alphabetically. More specific information on particular state campaigns is filed in a number of other ERA series. Files in this series are arranged alphabetically.
Series XXX, ERA: IDAHO V. FREEMAN, 1967-1983 (#58.1-62.42, card file box 184, 198.1-199.48), contains records relating to a case concerning the constitutionality of the Equal Rights Amendment Extension and states' rights to rescind prior ratification. In May 1979, Idaho and Arizona argued that the 1978 Congressional resolution to extend the Equal Rights Amendment ratification period was unconstitutional; they also argued for a state's right to rescind its prior ratification of the amendment.
Presiding Judge Marion Callister denied NOW's motion to intervene as a defendant in October 1979; his decision was reversed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in August 1980. In September 1980, NOW moved to disqualify Callister on the grounds that his position as Regional Representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (which was actively opposing the ERA) could compromise his ability to render an impartial decision; in February 1981, Callister denied this motion. (In October 1979, Callister had denied a similar motion made by the United States Department of Justice, which represented defendant Rear Admiral Rowland G. Freeman, III, the Administrator of General Services.) December 23, 1981, United States District Court for the District of Idaho ruled in favor of Idaho. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court which, on October 4, 1982, dismissed Idaho v. Freeman as moot.
This series contains records produced throughout these four years of litigation. They are divided into three subseries.
Subseries A, Working papers, 1967-1983 (#58.1-58.32, 59.1-59.3, 62.1-62.42, card file box 184, 198.1-199.48), contains case synopses; pleadings indices; excerpts from the court record; transcripts of May 13-14, 1981, Idaho district court; chronological files, 1979-1982, including correspondence with attorney Thomas Hart; files containing drafts and notes by Judy Knee, Eleanor Smeal, and Molly Yard; working drafts of pleadings; and research notes. This subseries begins with general files on the case, followed by chronological files and the files of NOW staff. Working drafts and research notes are arranged chronologically.
Subseries B, Depositions, 1981 (#59.14-59.15), includes the deposition of Burton S. Barr, former Arizona House majority leader, and materials requested by attorney Thomas Hart at the deposition of Donna Carlson West, former Arizona state representative.
Subseries C, Pleadings, 1979-1982 (#59.4-59.13, 59.16-59.34, 60.1-61.34), contains pleadings, including Idaho's 1979 complaint and the United States Supreme Court's 1982 opinion. There are two sets of incomplete pleadings, which taken together, contain more than three hundred court documents; indices to these documents, along with case synopses, are contained in #58.1. The first set of pleadings (#59.16-61.23) is divided into seventeen volumes, with the most recent pleadings first; each begins with an index detailing the item number, its date, and a description. The second set (#61.24-61.34) largely duplicated the first; duplicate items were discarded. The remaining items fill in gaps in the first set, and are arranged in numerical order. The defendant "Goulding" in titles of the condensed volume and volumes 2-5 (#61.1-61.23) is Paul E. Goulding, the Acting Administrator of the General Services Administration in 1979.
Series XXXI, ERA MESSAGE BRIGADE, 1981-1982 (#136.1-136.31), contains memos, notes, printed material, etc., arranged alphabetically. The Message Brigade was a NOW project in which a trained volunteer solicited people, both in person and on the phone, to give $2.00. In return, the donor would receive five alerts containing ERA campaign updates, a sample message, and an envelope or postcard addressed to an influential leader. Upon receiving the alert, the person would either sign the sample message or create their own and send it to the designated politician. In addition to volunteer solicitations, NOW sent advertisements to join the Message Brigade to various publications and requested they be printed. This effort was referred to as the "publication project."
Series XXXII, ERA MISSIONARY PROJECT, 1970-1982 (card file box 181-card file box 183, 186.1-188.48). At the 1980 National Conference, NOW resolved to send "ERA missionaries" to Utah to canvass for support of the ERA and to expose the Mormon Church's opposition to the amendment. Soon after beginning the Missionary Project (also known as the Mormon Project), NOW broadened its scope and sent volunteers to other states where the ERA was not yet ratified.
Files relating to the Missionary Project contain planning notes and memos, printed materials used to recruit and train volunteers, field reports, and ERA missionary applications. They have been divided into three groups: planning, states, and applications. Planning files and applications are arranged chronologically; files relating to states are arranged alphabetically by state.
"Nationwide records" (#187.1-187.4) provide an overview of who applied to become an ERA missionary, where and when they were trained, and how they were received by the people they tried to educate about the ERA. NOW maintained a card file system to account for hundreds of applications (card file box 182, card file box 183); these cards detailed which training sessions ERA missionaries would attend, when training packets were sent to them, and when their applications were sent to their training site. The applications of those who are not known to have eventually served as ERA missionaries are closed for seventy years from date of creation. Applications of individuals who are known to have gone on to work as ERA missionaries are available to research under the general access terms of the agreement; they are included in briefing files that identify the location and date of their training (#187.26-187.37, 187.41-187.44).
NOW provided ERA missionaries with questionnaires upon which press biographies were based (#186.41-186.43). These questionnaires offer information on the education and background of ERA missionaries, their reasons for joining NOW and, more specifically, the ERA Missionary Project, and their connections with local media outlets. The resulting press biographies include some of the information from these questionnaires and announce the time and place of missionaries' arrival.
Each ERA Missionary Project site sent weekly reports to the National Office and provided tallies of the number of people ERA missionaries spoke with, whether they were members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, accepted ERA literature, or expressed anti- or pro-ERA opinions. This series contains such reports from the Florida, Oklahoma, and Utah sites (#187.21-187.22, 187.45, 187.51-187.53).
Series XXXIII, ERA OPPOSITION, 1964-1983 (#175.1-175.33), contains publications created by right wing groups, mainly in response to the ERA. There are also articles written about and from the right wing point of view. Files from the Research Office are marked with their office location: "bs" for bookshelf, and "fc" for file cabinets. None of the contents of the file cabinets were transferred to the Schlesinger Library, although there is an index of the materials. Some, but not all, of the files from the bookshelf were transferred to the library. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series XXXIV, ERA RATIFICATION, 1959-1982 (scattered) (#143.1-164.50, card file box 182, 204.33-204.44, 212.1-212.12), documents NOW's ratification campaigns in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Virginia. Organized alphabetically by state, it contains correspondence, memos, reports, newsletters, and clippings about tactics, strategies, lobbying, marches and other activities; briefing books on state legislators, state demographics, etc.; "vote counts," consisting of notes on legislators' past votes, ERA positions, influences, etc.; campaign treasurer's reports listing contributions to candidates; information on opposition forces; candidates' campaign literature; constituent reports on visits to legislative representatives; polling data; information on phone banks and petition campaigns; and other.
Within each state, records are generally grouped chronologically by election campaign or legislative action on ERA, though some records of earlier campaigns were commingled with those of later campaigns by NOW's ERA staff. Because individual documents have not been transferred between folders, some earlier documents remain with those of the later campaigns. There is overlap and duplication of documents within and between series; documents duplicated in separate folders were not removed if doing so would destroy context. Separate folders of photocopied or mounted original clippings are usually filed at the end of each state; for folders of loose clippings (to be microfilmed at a later date), see Series XLVII.
Series XXXV, ERA RESCISSION, 1962-1983 (#120.1-125.49). Some states, after having passed the ERA, later considered rescinding their support for the amendment. The constitutionality of rescission, as well as that of time extension of the ERA's ratification period, were questions central to Idaho v. Freeman. While defendant-intervenors in that litigation, NOW monitored the legislative elections and activities of states considering rescission. In some instances, the National Office collected printed material from state governments; in others, state and local chapter members maintained notes and reported on visits to their representatives.
This series contains notes and memos by NOW staff on rescission activity, background information on state legislatures, Congressional election results, and vote counts on rescission legislation. This series is divided into two sections: general and state.
General information on rescission activity (#120.1-120.29, #125.48-125.49) includes printed material produced by NOW, sample rescission analysis kits, and 1980 state legislature election results in rescission states.
State legislative information varies; files may include legislators' directories, state registers, state constitutions, Congressional district maps, and Senate and House of Representatives rules of conduct. Notes and memos in state files also vary; they may include information on legislators provided by state legislative coordinators or NOW Board members living in that state. Among the states contained in these rescission files, several are especially well-represented: Iowa, Utah, and Wyoming.
Series XXXVI, ERA: ELEANOR SMEAL FILES, 1972-1982 (#138.1-140.49, 185.1-185.27), contains correspondence, memos, notes, mailings, clippings, etc. Although most of these notes and other materials were not created by ES, they were originally labeled as such, and so remain together. Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.
Smeal's June 17, 1981, appearance on television's Phil Donahue Show to discuss the ERA generated hundreds of letters in response. The letters are organized in numerical order, with numbers assigned by NOW, and written on each letter; they are not in chronological or alphabetical order. Several numbers are missing. At the front of the collection is a folder of letters that were not given a number. The first folder (#185.1) contains an incomplete tally sheet that lists the number of "pro", "con," and "no opinion" letters; there are more letters than the 1102 sited in the count. Letters counted as "con" are not always against ERA, but rather against specific concepts like abortion rights that the writer believes are supported by ERA. The majority of letters are from women between the ages of 30-70 in the Southern United States (although all 50 states are represented). Most are from homemakers and mothers both married and divorced who are concerned with spousal rights for Social Security and retirement pensions. Many of the writers did not understand the specific rights that would be protected by ERA. Their letters address their personal situations, such as rights of women who are ex-spouses of military men and women in the workforce.
Series XXXVII, ERA: MOLLY YARD FILES, 1973-1983 (#165.1-167.18), contains files created by NOW ERA organizer Yard, and shipped to the Library together. Other folders created by Yard are filed with individual state records as received; they are scattered throughout the ERA records (Series XXIII-XXXVI) and are clearly labeled. Yard made extensive notes on meetings, conversations, and impressions of politicians; commented on political strategies and lobbying efforts; kept thorough records of legislative vote counts (assessments of legislators' past and predicted voting behavior, before roll calls were taken); and was a tireless worker in the effort to ratify the ERA. In 1988, Yard was elected President of NOW.
This series is divided into two sections: state and national. The state files are arranged alphabetically by state, and chronologically within state. The national files are arranged chronologically.
Series XXXVIII, JUDICIAL SELECTION, 1977-1993 (#114.1-115.53), contains records relating to NOW's research on nominees to the federal judiciary, and on organizing efforts against the appointment of conservatives to the bench. This series is divided into two subseries.
Subseries A, Supreme Court nominees, 1977-1993 (#114.1-155.10), contains files on Robert Bork, Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, David Souter, and Clarence Thomas. These files include notes and memos relating to NOW's opposition to these Supreme Court nominees; letters from coalitions of which NOW was a part, such as the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Judicial Selection Project; drafts of fact sheets on the nominees; and background information. This subseries also contains general files on Supreme Court decisions and nominations.
NOW's work against Robert Bork's nomination is particularly well represented; in addition to related notes and memos, these files include Constituent Report Forms which NOW volunteers completed after having visited Senators or their aides. These forms indicate both a Senator's likelihood of confirming Bork and the NOW volunteers' general comments on their meetings. These files also contain some speeches Bork gave between 1977 and 1987.
Subseries B, Other federal judiciary nominees, 1977-1989 (#115.11-115.53), contains files on twenty-eight nominees to federal judgeships. These files include notes; fact sheets and reports on nominees; and memos and correspondence between NOW's National Office and chapters. General files "Federal judgeships" and "Ideology" include contact lists by state, notes on candidates for federal judgeships, and "NOW Project on Judicial Appointments: Outline," possibly by George LaRoche. This subseries also includes one file on Jeffrey Zuckerman, who was nominated for General Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Series XXXIX, LEGAL ISSUES AND CASES, 1968, 1971-1989, 1991?, 1994? (#116.1-119.10), contains records relating to NOW's participation in litigation concerning sex discrimination, access to abortion, the NOW Economic Boycott Campaign, and the ERA. It is divided into four subseries.
Subseries A, Working files, 1970-1978, 1987, 1992 (#116.1-116.11), include NOW's legal and litigation policies; notes and memos from NOW staff member Linda Berg; files on Kimble v. Swackhamer, a case regarding an ERA referendum in Nevada; and other working files.
Subseries B, NOW as plaintiff, 1973-1989, 1993 (#116.12-117.32), contains cases brought by both NOW state and national organizations. Especially well documented are NOW v. Hughes Aircraft Company and Pennsylvania NOW v. State Farm, cases in which NOW charged the defendants with sex discrimination in employment and insurance rates, respectively. Cases are arranged alphabetically by defendant.
Subseries C, NOW as defendant, 1971, 1974-1975, 1978-1980, 1984, 1987, 1992-1994 (#117.33-117.54), contains cases brought against NOW. Best documented is Missouri v. NOW, a case in which NOW was charged with conspiracy and the Economic Boycott Campaign was alleged to violate anti-trust laws. Cases are arranged alphabetically by plaintiff.
Subseries D, Amici curiae briefs, 1968, 1972-1973, 1978-1989, 1991?, 1994? (#118.1-119.10), contains briefs filed by NOW in cases relating to feminist issues such as protection of consumer credit information, sex discrimination in employment, parental notice in underage abortions, and state enforced pre-natal care. Briefs are arranged alphabetically by plaintiff.
Series XL, MINORITY WOMEN: JOHNSON V. HETTLEMAN, 1980-1987 (#63.1-65.12). In November 1983, Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr., creator of the board game, "Public Assistance - Why Bother Working for a Living?," filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the District of Maryland against individuals and organizations who, he claimed, conspired with each other "to ban or suppress the sale of the game." The defendants included Kalman R. Hettleman of the University of Maryland's School of Social Work, Luther Starnes of the Department of Employment and Training in Baltimore, Carl Snowden of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel Community Action Agency, Dr. Emmett Burns of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Edward Weaver and Peter Slavin of the American Public Welfare Association, and Sylvia Gonzales, NOW's co-chair on issues relating to minority women. The District Court dismissed the case July 11, 1986, and The United States Court of Appeals affirmed that court's decision on February 26, 1987. The United States Supreme Court denied Johnson's petition to hear his case on October 5, 1987.
This series contains records produced throughout these four years of litigation. They are divided into three subseries.
Subseries A, Working papers, 1980-1986 (#63.1-63.9), contains 1985-1986 correspondence and memos both between counsel and to NOW officers; these communications include pleadings, schedules for depositions, and billings for deposition transcription and document production. They also contain handwritten notes relating to the case. Many notes and correspondence were created by attorney Thomas Hart. This subseries also contains financial statements and income tax returns, 1980-1983, of Hammerhead Enterprises, Inc., the Maryland corporation responsible for marketing the game.
Subseries B, Depositions, 1985-1986 (#63.10-63.28), includes the depositions of Dr. Emmett Burns, Robert Bowie Johnson, Sandy Roth, Carl Snowden, Luther Starnes, and Linda Wolf.
Subseries C, Pleadings, 1983-1987 (#63.29-65.12), includes 192 pleadings beginning with Johnson's 1983 complaint through the Court of Appeals's 1987 denial for a rehearing. They are divided into ten volumes, with the most recent pleadings first; each begins with an index detailing the item number, its date, and a description.
Series XLI, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: NOW V. SCHEIDLER, 1975-1998, 2002 (#66.1-83.32, 229.1-229.35). In June 1986, after a series of abortion clinic arsons and bombings, NOW, the Delaware Women's Health Organization, and the Pensacola Ladies Center filed a complaint against Joseph Scheidler, the Pro-Life Action Network, and other individuals and organizations of the "pro-life" movement. This series contains records relating to the suit; it is divided into five subseries.
For photographs of demonstrations at women's health care clinics, some including Joseph Scheidler, Randall Terry, and other leaders in the anti-abortion movement, see Series XLIV.
Subseries A, Working files, 1975-1998 (#66.1-70.45, 229.1-229.2), contains correspondence and memos; notes about the case; drafts of briefs; administrative files, such as attorney invoices and information on NOW's evidence database; Executive Vice President Patricia Ireland's files; NOW intern Beth Kingsley's files; and background information about pro-life organizations and activities, including clippings, newsletters, and other publications; documents from related court cases; press materials; and files relating to Project Stand Up for Women, which organized actions to counter Operation Rescue's "rescues."
In addition to correspondence between attorneys, correspondence files include letters from clinics about instances of harassment and violence (#67.4-67.5) and reports of local pro-life activity from NOW members across the United States (#66.13, 67.1). Such reports are complemented by logs documenting abortion clinic violence and harassment (#68.18-68.19) and NOW's compilation of "possible members of the class of similarly situated clinics" (#68.13).
Subseries B, Pleadings and briefs, 1986-1997, 2002 (#70.46-71.42), includes court documents from litigation in United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois), United States Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court; they are arranged chronologically. A pleadings index (#70.46), 1986-1993, lists five hundred and twenty documents, beginning with NOW's original 1986 complaint. This subseries does not contain all of the pleadings included in the index; cover letters to some 1989 pleadings, however, are included in chronological correspondence (#66.8).
Also included are amicus curiae briefs (#71.30-71.41), both in support of the petitioners and respondents when NOW appealed the United States District Court's dismissal of the case in 1991. There is considerable overlap between this subseries and the NOW v. Scheidler pleadings files in MC 666.
Subseries C, Depositions, 1987-1991, 1994 (#71.43-74.7), contains deposition guidelines and analysis; summaries of some individuals' testimonies; and deposition transcripts. These transcripts are arranged alphabetically and include: Maureen Burke, Sharon Henning, Susan Hill, Jerry Glenn Horn, Samuel Henry Lee, Monica Migliorino Miller, Tim Murphy, Ann O'Brien, Lucy O'Keefe, John Patrick Ryan, Joseph Scheidler, Andrew Scholberg, Randall Terry, and Molly Yard. To indicate affiliation with either the plaintiffs or defendants, each witness's name is followed with either "[NOW et al.]" or "[Scheidler et al.]" Named defendants in the case are also identified this way. There is considerable overlap between these files and the NOW v. Scheidler deposition files in MC 666.
Subseries D, Supporting documents by Bates stamp number, 1975-1993 (#74.8-81.14, 229.3-229.35), contains correspondence, clippings, articles, and other printed material by and about pro-life organizations. "Opposition Clips" from Planned Parenthood Federation of America (#79.54-80.14) and clippings from the Women's Media Project (#77.37-78.9, 80.33-80.35) contain newspaper and magazine articles about the pro-life movement published between 1988 and 1989. To maintain the numerical sequence of the documents, the chronological order of the clippings is not exact. Also included in this subseries are more topically specific clippings, including press about NOW's litigation and other actions (#77.22) and printed material from various pro-life groups (#78.26-78.38).
Documents created by the Pro-Life Action League (PLAL) include Scheidler's communications with clinic arsonists (#74.8-74.9). Files on related litigation (#76.3-77.2) and documentation of clinic attacks (#77.4-77.13) illustrate the range, both in geography and force, of clinic violence.
These supporting documents are arranged in numerical order by number stamped on each page of every document; drafts of document lists and information on NOW's evidence database are in subseries A (#68.30-68.38). Duplicates have been kept since they are stamped with different numbers; discarding duplicates would disrupt the numerical sequence. Missing numbered documents have been noted by the archivist in brackets at the end of each appropriate folder title.
Subseries E, Other supporting documents, 1980-1994 (#81.15-83.32), contains pro-life newsletters and telephone hotline transcripts.
Action News, a monthly publication of Pro-Life Action League, is particularly well represented in this subseries. It also includes various Operation Rescue publications and other pro-life organizations' newsletters. They are arranged alphabetically by title. Transcripts of the telephone hotline "Pro-Life Action News" provided updates on pro-life activities; the frequency seems to have varied, at times providing callers with new reports daily. See also #75.11-75.18 for more Pro-Life Action League hotline transcripts.
Series XLII, PUBLICATIONS, 1966-2002 (#206f+-209.43, 253f+-236), contains publications distributed by NOW. Materials are divided into three subseries.
Subseries A, General Publications, 1966-2002 (#206f+-208.19, 209.1-209.43, 235f+-236), contains national newsletters; brochures concerning membership, ERA, lesbian rights, etc.; and guidelines, kits, etc., published by the national offices (National, Legislative, Public Information, National Action Center). Publications were often written or compiled by other groups and distributed by NOW; they are arranged alphabetically by title.
NOW published several national newsletters. NOW Acts was issued irregularly between 1968 and 1973, and once in 1976. Do It NOW was issued on a mostly monthly schedule beginning in March 1971 through November 1977. Its successor, the National NOW Times (NNT), began in December 1977 and continues to the present. First produced almost monthly, the Now National Times dropped to 10 issues per year in 1981, to an average of 6 issues yearly between 1984 and 1995, and became a quarterly in 1996. In 2001, NOW began distributing 3 issues yearly. The Now National Times appeared in several different sizes and formats, and the number of pages per issue varied. Electric Circle was issued twice in 1975 by the Majority Caucus, following the split in NOW.
An archival set of newsletters is closed to research (#206f+-208.19, 235f+-236).For reference copies of non-newsletter publications, see #209.1-209.43. To use NOW Acts, Do It NOW, Electric Circle, or National NOW Times, researchers should consult Schlesinger Library periodicals.
Subseries B, Task Force (TF) publications, 1969-1987 (#208.20-208.99, 209.44-210.83), contains kits, newsletters, position papers, etc., produced by Task Forces and Conference Implementation Committees. Included in this series are publications that are not clearly attributed to Task Forces, but are filed in this series due to their subject matter. Publications are listed in alphabetical order within the Task Force with which they are associated. Task Forces are listed alphabetically by topic rather than by name (paralleling the arrangement in Series XIII), due to numerous name changes throughout their existence. A master set of duplicates is closed to research (#208.20-208.99). For unpublished materials relating to Task Forces, see Series XIII.
Subseries C, Chapter publications, 1968-1979, 1983, 1988 (#211.1-211.54), contains brochures, newsletters, reports, etc., created by NOW chapters, states, and regions. Folders are arranged with regional publications first, followed by publications arranged alphabetically by state and chapter. For unpublished materials relating to chapters, regions, and states, see Series XIV.
Series XLIII, PRESS RELEASES, TESTIMONIES, ETC., 1966-1998 (#200.1-201.38), contains NOW press releases, testimonies by NOW leaders before United States government bodies, and transcripts of broadcast programs featuring NOW leaders. It is divided into three subseries.
Subseries A, Press releases, 1966-1998 (#200.1-200.46), contains press releases from both NOW's national offices and local chapters. National NOW's press releases sometimes include background briefing papers and issue statements; they are arranged chronologically. Press releases of local NOW chapters follow those of the national office. See Series VIII and X for additional national office press releases and Series XIV for additional local press releases.
Subseries B, Testimonies, 1968-1996 (#201.1-201.35), includes statements made before Congress and various government agencies about various legislation and judiciary appointments. Also included are statements by NOW leaders to professional organizations, and at conferences and symposia.
Subseries C, Speeches and transcripts, 1972-1985 (#201.36-201.38), includes speeches by NOW leaders and transcripts of broadcast programs in which NOW participated. Speeches are arranged alphabetically by author surname. Transcripts of programs focused on discussions of the Equal Rights Amendment's constitutionality, aired in 1978 and 1979, follow these speeches.
Series XLIV, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1966-1997, n.d., contains original photographs removed from previous series; photographs of NOW events, leaders, members, politicians, celebrities and others, taken by professional photographers, as well as snapshots of chapter and state actions taken by NOW members. NOW leaders with individual photograph folders also appear in photographs of meetings, marches, etc. Especially well-documented are ERA and reproductive rights actions.
Included in this series are many photographs relating to NOW v. Scheidler, NOW's reproductive rights case against Joseph Scheidler and other anti-abortion activists. Demonstrations at women's health care clinics in California, Florida, Maryland, Texas, and Washington, D.C., between 1986 and 1990 are especially well documented; both pro-choice and anti-abortion demonstrators are represented. Some actions are "rescues," the term coined by Randall Terry (the founder of Operation Rescue and a defendant in the case) to describe obstructing patients' and health care providers' passage into abortion clinics. NOW members and other pro-choice activists staged counter-demonstrations, acting as facilitators and legal observers.
Photographs of additional actions include Joseph Scheidler and other prominent members of the anti-abortion movement. Also included are demonstrations in Florida: at the Pace Assembly of God Church, the West Pensacola Baptist Church, and the 1984 Action for Life conference.
Many of these clinic demonstration photographs appear to have been used to identify leaders of the anti-abortion movement. In some cases, photographs were given a unique number by which volunteers could identify and describe the people and places therein; volunteers used NOW's "Clinic photograph identification worksheet." These worksheets, along with other descriptive lists of demonstration photographs, were collected in one file and included in this series. In other cases, individuals provided their own photographs of an action, along with descriptive letters and notes. These accounts were left with their corresponding photographs.
Although many events are dated (at least by year), many individuals in the photographs are not identified. Included are color and black and white photographs of various sizes, contact sheets, and a small number of slides.
Series XLV, OVERSIZE (#FD.1-FD.10, F+D.1-F+D.5, OD.1-OD.3, SD.1), is the shelflist for oversize items (posters, calendars, laminated clippings, etc.) throughout this collection. The list below includes "catch-all" folders of large items found loose, or removed from folders in other series. Also included are oversize folders listed in previous series (as cited below), as they contain documents directly related to folders in those series (e.g., ledgers in financial records). There are photocopied reductions of the oversize items in their original folders if they were removed from a group of other materials.
Series XLVI, MEMORABILIA (#213.1m-213.8m, MD.1m+), contains political buttons, campaign buttons, stickers, bumper stickers, banners, bandoliers, etc. For further information, consult the Schlesinger Library memorabilia database.
Series XLVII, CLIPPINGS AND RELATED, 1966-1993 (#214.1-216.50, M-152), contains clippings about NOW's activities and policies, leaders and members, as well as women's issues in general. It is divided into two subseries. Clippings may be duplicated among folders, and on the microfilm. For "NOW in the News" packets of photocopied clippings (and related) compiled by the national office, see Series X, Subseries C.
Subseries A, Clippings arranged by NOW staff, 1970-1993 (#214.1-216.50), contains photocopies and original clippings glued to blank pages or loose. Folders and folder headings were created by NOW staff. THIS SUBSERIES WAS NOT FILMED.
Subseries B, Microfilm of clippings from clipping service, 1966-1982 (M-152, reels 1-9), consists of microfilm of those clippings sent to the NOW headquarters by their clipping service. Clippings were received folded multiple times and stuffed in their original mailing envelopes. Schlesinger Library staff weeded clippings (removing syndicated versions of columns, while maintaining geographic and political diversity; duplicates; and articles from the New York Times and Washington Post, which are available electronically), arranged them chronologically within an alphabetical subject file, and taped loose clippings to paper for microfilming (REQUEST AS M-152, reels 1-9). Microfilmed clippings cover the following topics: abortion rights; ERA; gay and lesbian rights; NOW, and women's issues in general (interfiled); NOW and unionization issues; the 1977 National Women's Conference in Houston (Texas); and rape. Filming targets further demarcate years and/or months within each subject. CLIPPINGS WERE DISCARDED AFTER FILMING.
Folder headings: Notes and folder headings added by the archivists are in square brackets; other headings are those of NOW officers and staff.
A temporary steering committee publicized the group's purpose and recruited members. By the time the organizing conference was held October 29-30, 1966, NOW had more than 300 members. It quickly grew into a group with tens of thousands of members and hundreds of state and local chapters. For the first two years there was no central office; officers performed their NOW-related duties and kept their files at home or in their workplaces. NOW established an office in Washington, D.C., in 1968, and moved it to New York City in 1969, where it operated from two consecutive apartments of NOW Executive Director Dolores Alexander. Subsequently, NOW split the headquarters into three offices, setting up and maintaining operations in New York City (Public Information Office, 1973-1976), Washington (Legislative Office, 1973-1976), and Chicago (National Office, 1973-1976) before centralizing all functions in one national headquarters in Washington, D.C., in January 1976.
From its inception, NOW worked on numerous issues affecting women's lives. The NOW Bill of Rights for 1968 laid out those areas it considered of highest importance:
- 1. Equal Constitutional Amendment [more commonly called the Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA]
- 2. Enforce law banning sex discrimination in employment
- 3. Maternity leave rights in employment and in Social Security benefits
- 4. Tax deduction for home and child care expenses for working parents
- 5. Child day care centers
- 6. Equal and unsegregated education
- 7. Equal job training opportunities and allowances for women in poverty
- 8. The right of women to control their reproductive lives
In the 1980s and 1990s, NOW also devoted its resources to campaigns for reproductive rights; to end violence against women; to eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; to influence judicial selection; and to promote equality and justice in our society. According to its website (URL: http://www.now.org), NOW "achieves its goals through direct mass actions (including marches, rallies, pickets, counter-demonstrations, non-violent civil disobedience), intensive lobbying, grassroots political organizing and litigation (including class-action lawsuits.)" For additional information on NOW's history, see the Scope and Content notes below, and brief histories in #1.1.
- I. Organization and Policy, 1966-1995
- II. Records of Board and Executive Committee, 1966
- III. Conferences, 1966-1999
- IV. National Office, 1966-1976
- V. Membership Records, 1979-1993 (scattered)
- VI. Mailings, 1966-1997 (scattered)
- VII. Legislative Office, 1966-1981
- VIII. Public Information Office, 1970-1981
- IX. National Action Center: Administrative Files, 1973, 1975-1995
- X. National Action Center: Press Office, 1977-1981, 1990-1997
- XI. National Action Center: Subject Files, 1970-1995
- XII. Financial, 1966-1999
- XIII. Task Forces and Conference Implementation Committees, 1964-1991
- XIV. Regions and Chapters, 1967-1991
- XV. Papers of Leaders: Alice S. Rossi, 1966-1967
- XVI. Papers of Leaders: Gene Boyer, 1961, 1966-1976
- XVII. Papers of Leaders: Ann London Scott, 1970-1975
- XVIII. Papers of Leaders: Mary Anne Sedey, 1973-1976
- XIX. Papers of Leaders: Sandra Roth, 1978-1981
- XX. Papers of Leaders: Miscellaneous, 1975-1994
- XXI. Political Actions Committees, 1977-1996
- XXII. NOW Foundation, 1986-1994
- XXIII. ERA Boycott, 1977-1982
- XXIV. ERA Campus Campaign, 1980-1982
- XXV. ERA: Alice Cohan Files, 1976-1984
- XXVI. ERA Events, 1977-1983
- XXVII. ERA Extension, 1977-1982
- XXVIII. ERA Financial, 1973-1982
- XXIX. ERA General, 1969-1994
- XXX. ERA: Idaho v. Freeman, 1967-1983
- XXXI. ERA Message Brigade, 1981-1982
- XXXII. ERA Missionary Project, 1970-1982
- XXXIII. ERA Opposition, 1964-1983
- XXXIV. ERA Ratification, 1959-1982 (scattered)
- XXXV. ERA Rescission, 1962-1983
- XXXVI. ERA: Eleanor Smeal Files, 1972-1982
- XXXVII. ERA: Molly Yard Files, 1973-1983
- XXXVIII. Judicial Selection, 1977-1993
- XXXIX. Legal Issues and Cases (See also Series XXX, XL, XLI), 1968, 1971-1989, 1991?, 1994?
- XL. Minority Women: Johnson v. Hettleman, 1980-1987
- Series XLI. Reproductive Rights: NOW v. Scheidler, 1975-1998, 2002 (#66.1-83.32, 229.1-229.35)
- XLII. Publications, 1966-2002
- XLIII. Press Releases, Testimonies, etc., 1966-1998
- XLIV. Photographs, 1966-1997, n.d.
- XLV. Oversize
- XLVI. Memorabilia
- XLVII. Clippings and related, 1966-1993
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The National Organization for Women (NOW) designated the Schlesinger Library as the official repository for its records in 1971, and began giving its noncurrent files in 1973. The most recent donation included in this finding aid was given in November 2001. Additional materials were given by Muriel Fox in January 1972; Martha W. Gaines in January 1973; Midge Kovacs in April 1974; Alice Rossi in August 1974; Fran Kolb in October 1979 and March 1980; Miriam Burge in January 1981; Bonnie Howard in October 1981 and March 1982; Marie Shear in January 1983; Aleta Styers in March 1983; Jean Faust in October 1986 and March 1991; Mary Eastwood in April 1987; Gene Boyer in November 1992; Ann MacDonald in March 1993; Helene Weitzenkorn in April 1996; and Linda Rogers in August 2001.
By: Cheryl Beredo, Johanna Carll, Katherine Gray Kraft; with assistance from Sarah Dunbar, Samira Mehta, Greg Morrissee, Maggie McNeeley, and Jessica Tanny
Clippings processed and microfilmed in May 2008.
By: Joelle Burdette, Annie Jacob, Lisa Molinelli, and Alina Morris.
Updated: January 2012
By: Johanna Carll and Jenny Gotwals
Updated: July 2013
By: Jenny Gotwals
- Abortion--United States
- Abused women--Moral and ethical aspects
- Abused women--United States
- Affirmative action programs
- Affirmative action programs--Law and legislation
- Associations, institutions, etc.
- Associations, institutions, etc.--Committees
- Do it NOW (Chicago, Ill.)
- Electronic records
- New York times
- Older women--United States
- Web sites
- National Organization for Women. Records of the National Organization for Women, 1959-2002 (inclusive), 1966-1998 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- The records were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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