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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 688

Papers of Barbara Hays, 1973-2009


Correspondence, NOW national conference files, memorabilia, etc., of NOW activist and staff member Barbara Hays.


  • Creation: 1973-2009

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, except researchers must have the written permission of the National Organization for Women for access to folders in Series I, subseries A, and folders #23.6-23.8, 24.1-24.3, 24.5, 24.11-24.12, 25.7-25.12, 25.14, 26.1-26.2, 26.4, and 26.10-27.3 for 20 years from the date of the most recent document in the folder. The following folders are closed as per the NOW legal agreement: #1.8, 2.2, 2.14-2.15, 4.4, 5.10-5.12, 6.1, 23.10, 24.4, 24.6.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Barbara Hays while an employee of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is held by NOW. Papers created by Barbara Hays outside of her responsibilities as a NOW employee are held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

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


15.39 linear feet ((27 + 1/2 file boxes, 1 folio+ box, 1 oversize box, 2 card file boxes) plus 2 folio+ folders, 4 photograph folders, 5 objects, 1 archived web site)

The collection contains correspondence, notes, conference materials, training materials, printed material, etc., documenting Barbara Hays's work for the National Organization for Women at the chapter and national levels, as well as her participation in other feminist activities. Original folder headings were maintained; titles in brackets were created by the archivist. Files were arranged by the archivist.

Series I, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN (NOW), 1974-2007 (#1.1-11.7, PD.1), includes correspondence, mailings, notes, printed material, etc., documenting Hays's work as Legislative Liaison (1987-1989), Chapter and State Development Director (1989-2005), and Organizational Development Director (2005-2007) for NOW, as well as her attendance at the NOW national conference from 1977 to 2005. It is arranged in two subseries.

Subseries A, General, 1974-2007 (#1.1-7.10), includes correspondence, notes, training materials, drafts of printed material, etc., documenting Hays's work as Legislative Liaison (1987-1989), Chapter and State Development Director (1989-2005), and Organizational Development Director (2005-2007) for NOW. A majority of materials relate to Hays's work as Chapter and State Development Director, where she developed training materials, coordinated trainings, and managed chapter eligibility and chapter delegate counts for the national conferences. Materials are governed by the Schlesinger Library's agreement with NOW. Under the agreement, researchers must obtain written permission from NOW to access materials that are less than 20 years old; board meeting materials are closed for 20 years, and membership records containing member addresses are closed for 50 years, or as specified by the President of NOW. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, National conferences, 1977-2005 (#8.1-11.7, PD.1), includes programs, schedules, announcements, notes, flyers for candidates running for NOW office, nametags, advertisements for other feminist events, brochures for local places of interest to feminists, etc. Files reflect Hays's role as conference participant and do not contain materials relating to her role as a NOW employee. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online. Files are arranged chronologically.

Series II, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN REGION AND CHAPTER FILES, 1976-2006 (#11.8-14.3), includes correspondence, notes, conference materials, materials sent to chapters by national NOW, etc. Files document Hays's involvement in NOW at the chapter, state, and regional levels, particularly in Michigan and Maryland, but do not provide much insight into her work for those organizations. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Series III, EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT (ERA), 1973-1996 (#14.4-16.20, F+D.1, PD.2), includes correspondence, printed material, information packets, etc., documenting Hays's involvement in the effort to ratify the ERA. Materials include mailings and information packets distributed by NOW as well as other groups, focusing mainly on activities in the Midwest. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Series IV, OTHER FEMINIST ACTIVITIES, 1977-2002 (#17.1-20.2, E.1), includes mailings, printed material, clippings, etc., on topics relating to women and feminist events Hays attended. Files may contain mailings and printed materials produced and widely distributed by NOW, but generally contain materials produced by other organizations or from published sources. Also included is Hays's web site, which is being captured periodically as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program. Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Series V, MEMORABILIA, 1977-2007 (#20.3-22.3m, F+D.2m, Mem.1-Mem.5), includes buttons, stickers, bumper stickers, tote bags, etc., commemorating Hays's involvement in NOW and her participation in feminist events, including those sponsored by NOW. Additional objects received in 2018 can be found in Series VI, Subseries B. Objects are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Series VI, ADDENDA, ca.1974-2009 (#23.1-30CB.3m, PD.3-PD.4), includes correspondence, mailings, financial and membership reports, buttons, t-shirts, etc., mostly relating to Hays's involvement in NOW. Materials were received in 2018 and are arranged in two subseries.

Subseries A, General, 1977-2009 (#23.1-27.6, PD.3-PD.4), includes correspondence, mailings, financial and membership reports, etc., mostly documenting Hays's work as NOW's Chapter and State Development Director. Files also document Hays's involvement in NOW administrative issues, particularly a project to write a NOW history. Rebecca Davison began work on the project, completing drafts of several chapters, but never completed the proposed book. Files document cooperation with the project by many NOW members as well as strong opposition from Toni Carabillo and Judith Meulli, who held many of NOW's early records. Files are arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Memorabilia, ca.1974-2006 (#27.7m-30CB.3m), includes buttons, stickers, bumper stickers, tote bags, t-shirts, etc., documenting Hays's involvement in NOW, particularly NOW-sponsored marches and rallies, as well as her support for women candidates for political office and other feminist causes, including the ERA. Objects are arranged alphabetically.


Barbara Hays was born in 1946 in southern Indiana. She attended Indiana University and Saginaw Valley State University before earning a BA in political science from Central Michigan University in 1986. She also took graduate level courses in public law and political participation at the University of Maryland. She joined the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1975 and served as recording secretary, newsletter editor, chapter delegate to national NOW conferences, and president of the Midland, Michigan, NOW chapter. In 1987, she began working for national NOW, serving as Legislative Liaison (1987-1989), Chapter and State Development Director (1989-2005), and Organizational Development Director (2005-2007). In 2007 Hays left NOW to start Organizational Chemistry, a resource for small non-profits, chapters of larger national groups, independent organizations, or small progressive businesses seeking to improve their productivity, structure, or day-to-day function.


The collection is arranged in six series:

  1. Series I. National Organization for Women (NOW), 1974-2007 (#1.1-11.7, PD.1)
  2. Series II. National Organization for Women region and chapter files, 1976-2006 (#11.8-14.3)
  3. Series III. Equal rights amendment (ERA), 1973-1996 (#14.4-16.20, F+D.1, PD.2)
  4. Series IV. Other feminist activities, 1977-2002 (#17.1-20.2, E.1)
  5. Series V. Memorabilia, 1977-2007 (#20.3-22.3m, F+D.2m, Mem.1-Mem.5)
  6. Series VI. Addenda, ca.1974-2009 (#23.1-30CB.3m, PD.3-PD.4)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2010-M36, 2018-M198

The papers of Barbara Hays were given to the Schlesinger Library by Barbara Hays in March 2010 and in November 2018.


Donors: Barbara Hays

Accession number: 2010-M36

Processed by: Johanna Carll

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection:

  1. Coalition Update. Michigan ERAmerica, January/February 1985 - September 1988
  2. HERA. Homemaker's Equal Rights Association, Urbana, Illinois, Winter 1982
  3. Mormons for ERA Newsletter. Mormons for ERA, June 1980 - Winter 1985

The following items have been transferred to the Women's Newsletter and Periodical Collection (Pr-4):

  1. Detroit Women's Voice. Detroit Women's Voice Collective, Volume 1, Number 4, June 1982

Processing Information

Processed: August 2011

By: Johanna Carll, with assistance from Camille Torres.

Additional materials added: December 2018

By: Johanna Carll

Hays, Barbara, 1946- . Papers of Barbara Hays, 1973-2009: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Jeannette Ward Fund.

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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