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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 607: T-470

Records of the Project on Equal Education Rights, 1966-1991


Records of PEER, a project of the National Organization for Women Legal Defense & Education Fund (NOW LDEF), established in 1974 to monitor the government's progress in enforcing federal laws against sex discrimination in the public schools.


  • Creation: 1966-1991

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, with the exception of #18.11, which is closed until January 1, 2044; #3.4, #18.3, #18.12, and #40.14, which are closed until January 1, 2046.

#17.11-18.2 and #18.4-18.10 are closed for 50 years to all, except the individual involved, the current President or her designee, and the current Executive Director of NOW LDEF.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Project on Equal Education Rights and NOW Legal Dense & Education Fund is held by NOW LDEF. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

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


23.56 linear feet ((56 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1/2 file box and 3 folders of publications, 1 folio folder, 2 folio+ folders, 1 oversize folder, 4 photograph folders, 4 audiotapes)
32.64 Megabytes (31 files)

The collection contains the records of PEER's analysis of the enforcement of Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments. Included are copies of Title IX complaints for 1972 through 1976; legislative hearing files; interviews with the staff of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW, which was responsible for enforcement), students, parents, teachers, and school administrators; forms; and information on the study's methodology. This investigation is documented in PEER's publication, Stalled at the Start: Government Action on Sex Bias in the Schools. The collection also documents PEER's other work, including projects on computer equity, and efforts to encourage teenage girls to stay in school, and includes grant applications, reports, and conference proceedings. The majority of folder titles were created by the processors; those created by PEER appear in quotation marks. Some grant files and related material were transferred to the records of PEER from other NOW LDEF records. Additional material from the records of NOW LDEF was added to the collection in 2012. Listed in the finding aid where they belong intellectually, these folders are boxed separately.

Electronic records were received on 182 5.25" disks. Disks were imaged using FTK Imager and Duke Data Accessioner. Selected data has been converted to PDF/A for preservation and delivery.

Series I, ADMINISTRATION AND ORGANIZATION, 1973-1990, undated (#1.1-19.17, 57.1- 57.10, E.1-18, PD.1), contains the seven subseries described below.

Subseries A, Meetings and program planning, 1974-1988, undated (#1.1-2.5, 57.1-57.2, E.1-E.2), includes PEER staff and program planning minutes, proposals for specific programs and for PEER's future, and staff work plans. The subseries is arranged with advisory boards and meeting minutes appearing first, followed by program proposals.

Subseries B, Correspondence, 1974-1990, undated (#2.6-3.11, 57.3-57.6, E.3-E.4), includes correspondence with NOW LDEF, HEW, and other organizations. The internal correspondence primarily concerns budgets, planning, and staffing matters, while external correspondence includes announcements of PEER projects, letters to participants in PEER events, correspondence with funding agencies, and some letters asking for information or assistance. Of note is the Wildfire magazine material, which includes a copy of the magazine and a letter from a mother expressing dismay at the type of publication produced by Scholastic Book Services (#3.6-3.7).

Subseries C, Chronological file, 1983-1989 (#3.12-9.10, E.5-E.12), contains files of outgoing correspondence arranged chronologically and thereafter by staff member. Included are PEER's statements on education legislation; press releases; grant and state PEER progress reports; memos re: budgetary and other internal matters; and a small amount of incoming correspondence. Some correspondence is on letterhead of groups with which PEER was involved (e.g., the Coalition on Women and the Budget and the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education.)

Subseries D, Grant proposals and reports, 1973-1988 (#9.11-16.17, 57.7-57.8, E.13-E.16), contains applications and reports for a variety of funding sources and includes PEER's original proposal to the Ford Foundation, and narrative and financial reports on their first and second years. The subseries is arranged chronologically. Ford Foundation and Carnegie Corporation grants provided PEER's principal funding; other requests were for specific projects, such as "Educational Equity for Girls and Women in the 1980s" and "Non-Sexist School-Based Child Care." Background and other project material for many of the grants are included. Grants which are documented more fully are located in Series IV.

Subseries E, Financial, 1975-1988 (#17.1-17.10, 57.9, E.17), includes budget planning and other financial documents.

Subseries F, Personnel, 1974-1990, undated (#17.11-18.16, PD.1), includes personnel files with some position descriptions and material on a proposed intern program.

Subseries G, Silver Snail and Golden Gazelle awards, 1978-1989 (#18.17-19.17, 57.10, E.18), consists of nominations, correspondence, memoranda, and reports regarding the two awards. The Golden Gazelle awards were created to recognize the contributions of individuals, schools, and organizations that demonstrated an active commitment to educational equity for all. The Silver Snail awards recognized individuals, schools, and organizations that demonstrated spectacularly sluggish progress towards equal education for girls and boys. PEER used these events for fundraising, as well as for raising public awareness regarding Title IX. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Series II, TITLE IX, 1972-1988, undated (#20.1-22.7, 57.11, E.19), contains draft regulations (some of which are annotated); notes and position statements; memoranda prepared for PEER by the Center for National Policy Review; correspondence; testimony before Congressional committees and subcommittees; HEW's summaries of comments on Title IX; and comments by PEER and other organizations (including the National Education Association, the Women's Coalition for the Third Century, the Women's Equity Action League, and the United States Commission on Civil Rights) on proposed regulations for the enforcement of Title IX. The series also contains information on the National Title IX Break-the-Red-Tape Rally and Run in 1978. It is arranged chronologically.

Series III, START: GOVERNMENT ACTION ON SEX BIAS IN THE SCHOOLS, 1966-1979 (#22.8-43.2, E.20-E.21), consists of two subseries. PEER's landmark study of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's handling of Title IX complaints began in 1976. In the publication's foreword PEER states that "HEW officials in Washington could not answer our questions. Nor could the agency's 11 regional offices where day-to-day enforcement takes place. The government did not have the most basic information about its own work under Title IX...Title IX enforcement was stalled at the start." The report, published in 1977, was funded by grants from the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation.

Subseries A, Case files, 1966-1979 (#22.8-36.3), consists of case files, most of which are from school districts. They are arranged alphabetically within the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's regional boundaries: Region I - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont; Region II - New Jersey and New York; Region III - Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia; Region IV - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee; Region V - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin; Region VI - Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas; Region VII - Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska; Region VIII - Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming; Region IX - Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada; Region X - Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. During their investigations, PEER received copies of correspondence, memoranda, and other files from HEW's Office of Civil Rights, and others in HEW, relating to individual cases. Because access to information in these copies would constitute an invasion of privacy, processors removed such copies per instructions from the National Archives and Records Administration. Documents sent to PEER directly by individuals and accompanied by PEER questionnaires giving PEER permission to divulge names were retained, and are open to research.

Subseries B, Report preparation and background, 1972-1978 (#36.4-43.2, E.20-E.21), includes drafts and background material, including survey methodology, for Stalled at the Start: Government Action on Sex Bias in the Schools. Some of the background material is organized into sections (e.g., "Beyond complaints") roughly corresponding to sections of the published report: documents were labeled with coding stickers by PEER (see #38.8 for a list of coding categories). Much of this material was not included in the final report. The subseries is arranged with a pre-publication copy of the report appearing first, followed by drafts (including a version titled "A Few Facts about Title IX Complaints," followed by material designated as "printer ready"; documents requested from HEW; logs of Title IX complaints; other data; and finally by additional background material. For a copy of the published report, see Series V, Subseries A (#55.7).

Series IV, OTHER PROJECTS, REPORTS, AND SURVEYS, 1975-1990, undated (#43.3-54.10, 57.12-57.15, E.22-E.27), consists of five subseries.

Subseries A, Computer equity, 1982-1989, undated (#43.3-44.17, E.22), documents PEER's efforts to ensure that girls and minorities were taught computer skills, and includes grant applications, correspondence, reports, and action kits. The subseries is arranged chronologically. See also the published computer equity reports in Series V, Subseries A (#55.3).

Subseries B, Equal Education for Girls is Poverty Prevention for Women, 1985-1988, undated (#45.1-47.11, E.23), consists of material on PEER's 1988 research seminar on education and includes correspondence, reports to the Ford Foundation, the conference packet, attendees list, session proposals, and papers presented. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries C, Project SISTER (Stay in School to Earn Rewards) and related programs, 1975-1988, undated (#47.12-50.10, E.24), includes material on PEER's grant-funded programs to encourage girls to stay in high school, and teen pregnancy prevention. The subseries consists of advisory board lists; correspondence; grant applications; financial records; transcripts, questions and findings of focus group meetings with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, high school girls; reports of site visits to alternative high schools; and PEER's report "Keeping Girls in School: A Handbook for Teachers and Counselors." The subseries also contains some material on "In Her Own Voice: A Dropout Prevention Videotape Program," PEER's follow up to Project SISTER and PEER's pregnancy prevention programs. Project SISTER materials, arranged alphabetically, appear first, followed by the video project and pregnancy prevention materials. See Series V, Subseries A for In Their Own Voices: Young Women Talk About Dropping Out, a report based on the focus group discussions (#54.18).

Subseries D, State PEER affiliates, 1978-1984, undated (#50.11-53.6, 57.12), consists of files on PEER's branch offices in Connecticut, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, as well as material on proposed PEER affiliates in California and Ohio. The subseries includes grant applications and reports, and correspondence (including correspondence with organizations interested in continuing PEER's work). The subseries is arranged alphabetically by state and thereunder chronologically. For published reports by Connecticut and Michigan PEER affiliates, see Series V, Subseries A (#54.14-54.15, #54.19, and #55.8).

Subseries E, Other, 1975-1990, undated (#53.7-54.10, 57.13-57.15, E.25-E.27), contains material on a variety of projects conducted by PEER. Of particular note is a proposed collaboration with DC Comics. See Series V, Subseries A for published reports.

Series V, PUBLICATIONS AND PUBLICITY, 1974-1989 (#54.11-55.16, 57.16-58.5, T-470.1-T-470.4, E.28-E.31), contains two subseries.

Subseries A, Publications, 1977-1989 (#54.11-55.8, 57.16-58.3, E.28-E.29, E.31), consists of an alphabetical run of PEER publications, including Stalled at the Start: Government Action on Sex Bias in the Schools; reports on computer equity and high school drop-outs, and by the Connecticut and Michigan PEER affiliates; advertisements and brochures; and newsletters. Many of these publications were the culmination of grant-funded projects and correspond to materials in Series IV. The subseries also includes advertisements and brochures. PEER and its affiliates published several newsletters: PEER Perspective (1975-1982), Michigan PEER Perspective (1979-1983), Equal Education Alert (ca.1982-1989), and PEER Report (1981-1987). The archival masters of PEER Perspective and PEER Report are closed to research; for access to reference copies, consult the library's catalog. There are no separate reference copies of Michigan PEER Perspective and Equal Education Alert; their archival masters are open to research. Consult the library's catalog for holdings.

Subseries B, Publicity, 1974-1987 (#55.9-55.16, 58.4-58.5, T-470.1-T-470.4, E.30), consists of clippings about PEER and materials used to publicize its activities. Included are fact sheets, a press kit, and speeches. Press releases include an announcement of PEER's creation. Some press releases are also interfiled with the chronological file in Series I, Subseries C; they may or may not duplicate those in this subseries.

Series VI, PHOTOGRAPHS AND OVERSIZED, 1975-1983 (#PD.2-PD.4, FD.1, F+D.1-F+D.2, OD.1), contains two subseries.

Subseries A, Photographs, 1975-1980 (#PD.2-PD.4), includes photographs of PEER events, career women, children in education and sports, and individuals who supported PEER and NOW LDEF. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database.

Subseries B, Oversized, 1979-1983 (#FD.1, F+D.1-F+D.2, OD.1), contains oversized items removed from elsewhere in the collection.


The Project on Equal Education Rights (PEER) was establish by NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund in 1974 to realize the promise of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Funded mainly by grants from the Carnegie Corporation and Ford Foundation, it published a newsletter and other material on equal access to education. In 1974, they completed a landmark study exposing sex role stereotypes in elementary school texts, and published Stalled at the Start, documenting a consistent pattern of neglect by the federal government in enforcing Title IX. In 1978, they published Cracking the Glass Slipper, a guide for parents seeking to ensure equal education for their daughters. In 1985 they published reports and action kits focused on the theme Equal Education for Girls Is Poverty Prevention For Women. That same year, PEER announced its Silver Snail Awards to spotlight sluggish performance in bringing about gender equity in education. In 1992, its last year of operation, PEER launched Project TEAM-The Education of Adolescent Mothers.


The collection is arranged in six series:

  1. Series I. Administration and organization, 1973-1990, n.d. (#1.1-19.17, 57.1-57.10, E.1-18, PD.1)
  2. Series II. Title IX, 1972-1988, n.d. (#20.1-22.7, 57.11, E.19)
  3. Series III. Stalled at the Start: Government Action on Sex Bias in the Schools , 1966-1979, n.d. (#22.8-43.2, E.20-E.21)
  4. Series IV. Other projects, reports, and surveys, 1975-1991, n.d. (#43.3-54.10, 57.12-57.15, E.22-E.27)
  5. Series V. Publications and publicity, 1974-1989 (#54.11-55.16, 57.16-58.5, T-470.1-T-470.4, E.28-E.31)
  6. Series VI. Photographs and oversized, 1975-1983 (#PD.2-PD.4, FD.1, F+D.1-F+D.2, OD.1)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 82-M210, 84-M198, 90-M158, 91-M117, 92-M125, 92-M174, 93-M71, 93-M83, 93-M84, 2012-M51

The records of the Project on Equal Education Rights were given to the Schlesinger Library by NOW Legal Dense & Education Fund between October 1983 and June 1993. Additional material was transferred from the records on NOW LDEF in March 2012.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund Records, 1968-2008 (MC 623), NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund videotape collection, 1984-1990 (Vt-67), and Legal Momentum Records, 1978-2011 (MC 727).


Donors: NOW LDEF

Accession number: 93-M71

Processed by: Susan Earle and Cat Lea Holbrook

Correspondence, grant material, and requests for legal advice were transferred to the records of NOW LDEF.

Processing Information

Processed: January 2010

By: Susan Earle and Cat Lea Holbrook

Updated: April 2018

By Cat Lea Holbrook

Project on Equal Education Rights. Records of the Project on Equal Education Rights, 1966-1991: 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 gifts from the Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund, the Steiner Book and Manuscript Processing Fund, and the Zetlin Sisters 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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