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COLLECTION Identifier: Pr-17

National Women's Political Caucus, State and local affiliates newsletter collection, 1971-2002


Collection consists of newsletters and printed ephemera from affiliates of the National Women's Political Caucus.


  • Creation: 1971-2002


Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

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


3.63 linear feet ((3 cartons, 1 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 3 folio+ folders)

Collection consists of National Women's Political Caucus affiliate newsletters and ephemera (including pamphlets and brochures; flyers; committee minutes; invitations; membership manuals and directories; conference material; etc.). Newsletters are arranged alphabetically by state, organization, and title followed by ephemera arranged alphabetically by state.


The National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC) is a multi-partisan, multi-cultural, multi-issue grassroots organization dedicated to increasing women's participation in the political process and creating a women's political power base to achieve equality for all women by recruiting, training, and supporting pro-choice women candidates for elected and appointed offices at all levels of government, regardless of party affiliation. State and local chapters provide support to candidates running for all levels of office by helping raise money and providing volunteer assistance. The national office has moved several times, but has always been located within Washington, DC. Many of the original organizers of the Caucus were women who had been lobbying for congressional passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and were frustrated by their inability to influence male members of Congress. They believed their efforts would be more effective if there were more women in Congress and more politicians recognized the importance of women's votes. Goals included increasing the number of women at the local, state, and federal levels in all aspects of political life: as elected and appointed officials, as delegates to party conventions, as campaigners, as lobbyists, and as voters.

The organizing conference was held July 10-11, 1971, in Washington, DC; more than 320 women from more than half the states and the District of Columbia attended. Participants adopted a lengthy statement of purpose that included specific actions and legislative priorities on a wide range of issues (e.g., civil rights, equal pay, tax inequities, poverty, war, health care, environment, dissent, etc.). The statement included the following declarations: "....We believe that women must take action to unite against sexism, racism, institutional violence and poverty.....We recognize the economic burden of such sweeping social change, but we believe that this country's enormous resources could be more than enough. They need only be reordered to pay for life instead of for death." At its founding, the Caucus stated its support for those candidates "whether male or female, who support women's issues and employ women in decision-making positions on their administrative and campaign staffs." Later, however, the Caucus changed its endorsement policy to support only women candidates who were also pro-choice.

The organizing conference also adopted the report of the workshop on the future structure of the NWPC, recommending the formation of an elected National Policy Council representing diverse geographic areas, as well as political, ethnic, and issue groupings, supplemented by an assembly composed of one woman from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia, to act as the governing body of the NWPC. (The conference rejected the suggestion that a constitution and by-laws committee be established.) The Policy Council was to appoint committees, and state and local groups were to determine their own form of organization and financial support. Members of the first Policy Council were: Bella Abzug, Shana Alexander, Virginia Allan, Lupe Anguiano, Evelina Antonetty, Nikki Beare, Lorraine Beebe, Liz Carpenter, Joan Cashin, Shirley Chisholm, Mary Clarke, Myrlie Evers, Brenda Feigen Fasteau, Ronnie Feit, Betty Friedan, Jo-Ann Evans Gardner, Elinor Guggenheimer, Fannie Lou Hamer, LaDonna Harris, Wilma Scott Heide, Dorothy Height, Bobbie Kilberg, Margaret Laurence, Olga Madar, Vivan Carter Mason, Midge Miller, Paula Page, Elly Peterson, Beulah Sanders, Gloria Steinem, Cecelia Suarez, and Carole Ann Taylor.

At its first meeting, the Policy Council established an Operating Committee to make decisions necessary to carry on work between Council meetings. Members were: Bella Abzug, Lupe Anguiano, Sue Ellen Bordwell (Rhode Island), Betty Friedan, Bobbie Kilberg, Ann Lewis (Massachusetts), Virginia McCarty (Indiana), Martha McKay (North Carolina), Gloria Steinem, Carole Ann Taylor, with ex officio members Ronnie Feit and Gwen Cherry. The Operating Committee also acted as the Convention Committee on Rules and Order of Business for the first national convention, held in Houston, Texas, in February 1973. The State and Local Caucuses Committee of the Council established a structure committee at its April 1972 meeting. Members were: Nikki Beare (chair), Ronnie Feit, JoAnne Evans Gardner, Lupe Anguiano, Virginia McCarty, Ann Lewis, Martha McKay and Pam Curtis. Meeting with other members, they held a two-day structure session, and created a proposal for the organizational structure of the NWPC. The Caucus has frequently rewritten its by-laws and adjusted its structures and procedures in response to its members' wishes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Newsletters and ephemera (including pamphlets and brochures; flyers; committee minutes; invitations; membership manuals and directories; conference material; etc.) were removed from the records of the National Women's Political Caucus and from other collections.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see the National Women's Political Caucus Records, 1970-2006 (MC 522).

Processing Information

Processed: July 2013

By: Julie Siefert and Mark Vassar

National Women's Political Caucus, State and local affiliates newsletter collection, 1971-2002
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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