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COLLECTION Identifier: T-466

Additional audiotapes of the National Organization for Women, ca.1970-2001


Additional audiotapes of the National Organization for Women (NOW), the largest feminist organization in the United States.


  • Creation: 1970-2001


Language of Materials

Materials in English and Spanish.

Access Restrictions:

Access. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

National Organization for Women (NOW) board meetings (#727-936, 981) are closed for 20 years. NOW grievance hearings (#982-983) are closed until January 1, 2048. NOW Political Action Committee (PAC) meetings (#421, 435-442, 456-460, 489-538, 677A-H, 937) are closed pending negotiations between the Schlesinger Library and the NOW PAC. #1069 is closed until January 1, 2027.

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

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. The National Organization for Women retains its copyright in its own records.

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


1171 audiotapes

Series I, NOW National Conferences,1978-1998 (#1-322), includes tapes of those sessions NOW decided to record, and do not represent every session at a given conference. Some national conferences were recorded informally, and some are professional recordings NOW later made available for sale as sets or by individual session. Numbers on the conference tapes do not necessarily correspond with the printed program; rather the numbers correspond just to those sessions which were taped, and available for sale. Numbering schemes were kept, where found. Conferences are organized chronologically by subseries, and in numerical order therein. For printed materials related to the conferences, see MC 666, Series V; and MC 496, Series III.

Series II, Regional and Subject Conferences, 1977-1998 (#323-414), includes informal and professional recordings from the following conferences: National Lesbian Rights Conference. "Power Through Action" (1988); National Young Feminist Conference (1991); Global Feminist Conference. "Celebrating the Past, Committing to the Future" (1992); and Women of Color and Allies Summit (1998). Conferences are organized chronologically by subseries, and in numerical order therein.

Series III, NOW National and Regional Board and Political Action Committee (PAC) Meetings, ca.1970s-2001, n.d. (#415-937), includes informal recordings of national, regional, and Political Action Committee (PAC) meetings. Recordings of many meetings appear to be complete; tapes from the earlier years often fill in gaps where tapes were missing for meetings listed in NOW's audio collection (T-29), processed in 2004. Note that some items with only cities in the title are presumably regional meetings, but may also be meetings of the national board. PAC meetings are noted as such. The series is arranged in chronological order.

Series IV, Miscellaneous Meetings, 1977-2001 (#938-992), contains documentation of organizational meetings, briefings, and workshops on topics such as the ERA and reproductive rights, as well as a retreat and celebratory dinners. The recordings appear to be singular in nature, or their relationship to another larger group of tapes cannot be firmly established.

Series V, Appearances, Interviews, and Public Service Announcements, 1974-1997, n.d. (#993-1039), contains radio interviews and public appearances by NOW representatives, particularly past president Eleanor Smeal, and radio spots promoting the ERA, NOW-sponsored marches, and "Get Out the Vote" campaigns.

Series VI, NOW v. Scheidler Court Case Research and Exhibit Materials, 1977-1999 (#1040-1161), includes audio recordings collected or created by NOW's lawyers during the "discovery" (or research) phase of the lawsuit, or officially submitted as evidence, for the court case filed by NOW in 1986, in an attempt to use federal antitrust and racketeering laws to bar pro-life protesters from blocking entrances to women's health care clinics providing abortion services. Initially NOW named pro-life activist Joseph Scheidler and other members of his Pro-Life Action League as the main defendants, but Randall Terry and his group Operation Rescue were added to the lawsuit in 1988. These recordings document their organizations' activities and the pro-life movement across the United States in the 1980s and 1990s generally. Materials are organized by subseries as close to NOW's organizational scheme as possible, and in chronological order therein. For related material and more detailed information on the court case, see MC 666, Series VII.

Subseries A, Joe Scheidler Radio Interviews and Public Appearances, 1979-1997, n.d. (#1040-1074; 1161), contains appearances by Joe Scheidler on radio programs across the United States and abroad, and public appearances at Pro-Life Action League and similar groups' events.

Subseries B, Pro-Life Action News and Similar Hotlines, 1984-1999 (#1075-1115), contains informal recordings of action alerts and news updates pertaining to the nationwide "pro-life" movement, many of which feature Joe Scheidler as speaker.

Subseries C, Plaintiff's Exhibit Materials, 1982-1997, n.d. (#1116-1148), contains a selection of materal exhibited as evidence in the case: pro-life hotline recordings; radio interviews with, and public appearances by, primarily Joe Scheidler, at pro-life conferences, before religious groups sympathetic to his cause, and at universities. Tapes are identified with the two letters PX identifying who produced the material, followed by a number, which were used to track the materials during the court case.

Subseries D, Miscellaneous Health Care Clinic Violence and Related Research Material, 1977-1998, n.d. (#1149-1160), includes live events and radio programs featuring representatives from NOW and the pro-life movement, both together and separately. Live events include sessions from NOW, West Virginia for Life, and Operation Rescue (including an interview with an attendee) conferences. With the exception of the West Virginia for Life conference, the majority of the content is regarding protests at women's health care clinics.

Titles in quotation marks are transcribed from tape labels; those without are supplied by the cataloger.


The National Organization for Women was formed on June 30, 1966, during the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women in Washington, DC. The Statement of Purpose declares that "the time has come to confront, with concrete action, the conditions that now prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity and freedom of choice which is their right, as individual Americans, and as human beings." At their organizing conference (October 29, 1966), participants established task forces on education, employment, the role of women in the family, women's political rights, and images of women in the media. NOW was incorporated in 1967, and local chapters were formed; by 1975 there were over 600 chapters. As membership increased throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the organization addressed more issues, including a "war on poverty"; the Equal Rights Amendment; child care; sexual harassment; abortion rights/reproductive issues; women and religion; violence against women; eradicating racism, sexism and homophobia; and influencing judicial selection.


The collection is arranged in six series:

  1. Series I. NOW National Conferences, 1978-1998 (#1-322)
  2. Series II. Regional and Subject Conferences, 1977-1998 (#323-414)
  3. Series III. NOW National and Regional Board and Political Action Committee (PAC) Meetings, ca. 1970s-2001, n.d. (#415-937)
  4. Series IV. Miscellaneous Meetings, 1977-2001 (#938-992)
  5. Series V. Appearances, Interviews, and Public Service Announcements, 1974-1997, n.d. (#993-1039)
  6. Series VI. NOW v. Scheidler Court Case Research and Exhibit Materials, 1977-1999 (#1040-1161)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2004-M62, 2005-M98, 2006-M44, 2006-M91, 2006-M217, 2010-M36, 2010-M98, 2010-M112

These addenda to the audiotape collection of the National Organization for Women were given to the Schlesinger Library by the National Organization for Women between August 2004 and December 2010.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see National Organization for Women Records, 1959-2002 (MC 496), National Organization for Women Additional records, 1970-2011 (MC 666), National Organization for Women Videotape collection, 1977-1988 (Vt-25), National Organization for Women Audio collection, 1966-1991 (T-29), and National Organization for Women Moving image collection, 1970-2006 (Vt-241, MP-34, DVD-7).

Processing Information

Processed: April 2013

By: Melissa Dollman

National Organization for Women. Additional audiotapes of the National Organization for Women, ca.1970-2001: A Finding Aid T-466
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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