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MC 495

Heide, Wilma Scott, 1921-1985. Papers, 1968-1985: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America


These papers were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
February 2003

© 2003 President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 495
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Wilma Scott Heide, 1921-1985
Title: Papers, 1968-1985
Quantity: 24 1/2 file boxes, 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder, 2 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 2 photograph folders
Abstract: Papers of Wilma Scott Heide, sociologist and chair and president of the National Organization for Women.

Processing Information:

Processed: February 2003
By: Johanna Carll

Acquisition Information:

Accession numbers: 72-120, 74-32, 74-233, 80-M168, 80-M233, 82-M10, 82-M98, 83-M133, 84-M155, 86-M54, 86-M66
These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Wilma Scott Heide between 1972 and 1984. Additional papers were donated by Boston National Organization for Women in 1983 and by her daughters, Tamara and Terry Heide, in 1986.


Access. Unrestricted except that access to folders #5.1-22.20 is governed by a legal agreement between NOW and the Schlesinger Library and requires the written permission of NOW. Folder #12.1, which is closed until January 1, 2052.

Use Restrictions:

Copyright. Copyright is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in papers created by Wilma Scott Heide while an officer of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is held by NOW. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the director of the Schlesinger Library before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


Wilma Scott Heide, daughter of William Robert and Ada Catherine (Long) Scott, was a sociologist and chair and president of the National Organization for Women. She was born February 26, 1921, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She obtained her R.N. from Brooklyn State Hospital (1945), her B.A. in sociology (1950) and a Litt.M. (1955) from the University of Pittsburgh, and her Ph.D. in feminist theory and public policy from the Union of Experimenting Colleges and Universities (1978). She was married to Eugene E. Heide from 1951 to 1972; they had two children, Tamara and Terry.
WSH was a resident nurse at Chatham College (1948-1950), nursing instructor at the State University of New York, Oswego (1950-1951), teacher and director of nursing education at Pennsylvania State University (1957-1967), research assistant and project director for the American Institutes for Research (1967-1971), behavioral scientist and human resources and education consultant (1970-1985), and professor of women's studies and innovative and experimental studies and director of women's studies at Sangamon State University (1980-1982). She held visiting professorships at the University of Massachusetts (1974-1976), Wellesley College (1974-1975) and Goddard College (1978-1980). She was chair of the education committee of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Committee (1969-1971). From 1970 to 1971, WSH was the chair of NOW, and served as president of the organization from 1971 to 1974. In 1973, she helped form the Women's Coalition for the Third Century and served as the organization's vice president.
WSH died from a heart attack on May 8, 1985. Prior to her death, WSH interviewed by Frances (Arick) Kolb in preparation for a book on the history of the National Organization for Women. This interview was later included in the Tully-Crenshaw Feminist Oral History Project (see T-301), and is administered as part of that collection.


This collection contains correspondence, minutes, agendas, printed material, notes, clippings, and photographs relating to WSH's work as a feminist leader, with the bulk of the materials relating to her role as chair and later president of the National Organization for Women. The papers are arranged in thirteen series.
Series I, Personal, Biographical, and Professional (#1.1-2.3), contains correspondence, resumes, and clippings. They are arranged with resumes first, followed by clippings, personal correspondence, and correspondence relating to her professional activities.
Series II, Writings, Speeches, and Related (#2.4-4.17), is arranged in three subseries.
Subseries A, Writings and Speeches, contains texts of articles, papers, and speeches, filed mainly by the year in which they were written. When a writing or speech is listed by its title, it is filed at the end of the year in which it was written.
Subseries B, Correspondence, contains thank-you letters, and letters concerning local arrangements for WSH's appearances. They are arranged chronologically.
Subseries C, Programs, contains brochures and agendas from events at which WHS spoke. They are arranged chronologically.
Series III, NOW Correspondence (#5.1-11.11), contains correspondence mainly related to WSH's role as chair and president of NOW, although it also documents WSH's involvement with various other feminist activities. Most of the correspondence was found loose and unorganized. It has been arranged chronologically.
Series IV, National NOW (#11.12-16.4), contains correspondence, memos, printed material, notes, etc. It is arranged in three subseries.
Subseries A, General Administrative, contains correspondence, memos, notes, and printed material relating to administrative issues during WHS's term as chair and president of NOW. Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.
Subseries B, Financial, contains correspondence, budgets, and notes relating to fundraising and budget issues. Much of the material in this subseries was created by Gene Boyer and Madeline Rast, NOW treasurers. Folders are arranged chronologically.
Subseries C, Conferences, contains correspondence, printed material, and notes relating to NOW's annual national conferences.
Series V, NOW Chapters and Chartering (#16.5-18.14), contains correspondence and completed chartering forms from various chapters. Completed chartering forms contain the name of the chapter, the year of incorporation, and the names of at least ten members. The correspondence relates to chartering issues as well as various internal troubles within individual chapters. There are also two folders of correspondence, notes, and printed material from the Pittsburgh chapter of which WSH was president prior to becoming the chair of national NOW in 1970. Materials are arranged with general chartering correspondence first, followed by files relating to various states arranged alphabetically.
Series VI, NOW and Compliance (#18.15-20.12) contains correspondence, notes, printed material, etc., relating to the NOW Task Force on Compliance and Enforcement. It includes correspondence, etc., with various companies and agencies NOW pressured to comply with rules regarding the hiring or membership rights of women, as well as with agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), which NOW lobbied to create and enforce equal opportunities for women. Agencies and companies NOW found in violation of equal opportunity laws include AT&T, NASA, and the Jaycees. Materials are arranged with general compliance correspondence and NOW task force material first, followed by files relating to specific agencies or companies, arranged alphabetically by name.
Series VII, NOW and Women in Health Professions (#20.13-21.7), contains correspondence, notes, and printed material relating mostly to women in the nursing profession. Issues addressed in this series include the superior attitude evidenced by doctors toward nurses, dress codes for nurses, attempts to get more women to become doctors, and gaining acceptance of women doctors. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series VIII, NOW and Women and Religion (#21.8-22.1), contains correspondence, printed material, and writings not by WHS. This series addresses issues concerning female churchgoers as well as women wishing to hold positions in religious institutions. Of particular interest are three folders of correspondence and sermons (#21.12-22.1) from a women's liberation sermon contest WHS judged in 1971.
Series IX, Other NOW Task Forces and Related (#22.2-22.20), contains correspondence, notes, and printed material relating to general administrative details involved with arranging task forces as well as the activities of individual task forces. Particularly well represented is the International Task Force headed by Patricia Burnett, which helped educate women around the world about women's liberation. Materials are arranged with general materials first, followed by individual task forces arranged alphabetically.
Series X, NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund (#23.1-23.8), contains correspondence, memos, and notes relating to administrative issues concerning the formation and early years of operation of NOW LDEF. It is arranged chronologically.
Series XI, Women's Coalition for the Third Century (#24.1-25.7), contains correspondence, press releases, notes, minutes, and printed material. The Women's Coalition for the Third Century was an organization formed in 1973 in response to a meeting of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission held in 1971. The coalition of 14 women's organizations was created to promote women's history, especially in relation to the Bicentennial, and to promote women as creators and leaders in all dimensions of American life. Folders are arranged chronologically.
Series XII, Other Organizations and Interests (#25.8-25.15), contains correspondence, notes, and printed material relating to organizations--other than NOW and the Women's Coalition for the Third Century--in which WSH was active.
Series XIII, Oversized Items and Photographs (#25.16f-PD2), contains letters, charts, and posters, most of which were removed from other folders in this collection. This series also contains WSH's B.A. and M.A. diplomas from the University of Pittsburgh as well as additional loose posters. The photographs in #PD1 were removed from various folders in the collection. The photographs in #PD2 consist of photographs from various events WSH attended, as well as a portrait of WSH.
Folder headings are those of WSH unless otherwise noted; archivist's headings and notes are in square brackets. All printed material by or about WSH, as well as all printed material with annotations, has been kept in the collection. Other NOW publications and reports, except those created by WSH, were transferred to the NOW records in the Schlesinger Library. Non-NOW printed material produced by mainstream organizations and publications was discarded; leaflets and other ephemera of small, transient organizations were retained.


Additional catalog entries

The following catalog entries represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. An entry for each appears in the Harvard On Line Library Information System (HOLLIS) and other automated bibliographic databases. THIS IS NOT AN INDEX.
Adams, Whitney
Abzug, Bella S., 1920-
Alexander, Dolores
Allan, Virginia R.
American Civil Liberties Union
American Nurses Association
American Revolution Bicentennial Commission
American Telephone and Telegraph Company
Armistead, Betty
Association of Feminist Consultants
Barth, Ramona
Bayh, Birch, 1928-
Benton, Suzanne
Bernard, Shirley, 1928-
Berry, Betty Blaisdell
Boulder, Nancy O.
Boyer, Gene
Brown, William H., III
Burch, Dean, 1927-
Burnett, Patricia Hill
Bush, George, 1924-
Carabillo, Toni
Ceballos, Jacqueline Michot, 1925-
Champagne, Emily
Clarenbach, Kathryn F.
Collins, Mary Jean, 1939-
Collins-Robson, Jim
Coolman, Karen
Crater, Flora
Darcy, Lynne
DeCrow, Karen
East, Catherine, 1916-1996
Eisler, Riane Tennenhaus
Farians, Elizabeth
Farrell, Warren
Fox, Muriel, 1928-
Friedan, Betty
Gardner, Jo-Ann Evans
Goldsmith, Judith
Grasso, Ella
Griffiths, Martha Wright, 1912-
Guggenheimer, Elinor C., 1912-
Hacker, Sally, 1936-
Haney, Eleanor Humes
Height, Dorothy I. (Dorothy Irene), 1912-
Hernandez, Aileen C.
Holman, Nancy Ann
Hosken, Fran P., 1919-
Hull, Joan
Jaycees International
Kaw, Esther
Kennedy, Edward Moore, 1932-
Kepler, Patricia Budd
Kolb, Frances Arick
Komisar, Lucy, 1942-
Koontz, Elizabeth D. (Elizabeth Duncan), 1919-
Kovacs, Midge
Lightfoot, Judith
Luce, Clare Boothe, 1903-1987
MacLeod, Jennifer S. (Jennifer Selfridge), 1929-
Matossian, Mary Allerton Kilbourne
Meskill, Thomas J., 1928-
Mitchell, Joyce Slayton
Murray, Pauli, 1910-
Muskie, Edmund S., 1914-
Myers, Mary Lynn
National Organization for Women
National Organization for Women. Task Force on Compliance and Enforcement
National Organization for Women. Task Force on Marriage, Family Relations, and Divorce
Newcomb, Betty
Norman, Eve
Northcutt, Poppy
NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund
Notman, Malkah T.
Paschall, Eliza
Patel, Marilyn
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
Perkins, Carl Dewey, 1912-1984
Plitt, Jane
Pollock, Mordeca Jane
Pride, Anne
Rast, Madeline
Rawalt, Marguerite, 1895-
Roberts, Sylvia
Scott, Ann London, 1929-1975
Scott, Arlie
Seidenberg, Faith
Smeal, Eleanor
Sommers, Tish
Spalding, Elizabeth Coxe
Tennov, Dorothy
Theodore, Athena
Tietze, Christopher, 1908-
Tobias, Sheila
Tully, Mary Jean
Tunney, John V. (John Varick), 1934-
United States. Commission on Civil Rights
United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
United States. Federal Communications Commission
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
West, Anne Grant
Witter, Jean
Women's Coalition for the Third Century
Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace & Justice
Wood, Nan Elizabeth, 1942-
X, Laura
Abortion--United States
Affirmative action programs--Law and legislation-- United States
College teachers--United States
Equal pay for equal work--United States
Equal rights amendments--United States
Feminism--International cooperation
Feminism--United States
Feminism--United States--States
Feminist consultants--United States
Feminist theology--United States
Feminists--United States
National Organization for Women--Charters
National Organization for Women--Employees
National Organization for Women--Finance
Nurses--United States
Office politics--United States
Pay equity--United States
Peace movements-United States
Sermons, American--Women authors
Sermons, American--20th century
Sex discrimination against women--United States
Sex discrimination in employment--United States
Sexism in religion--United States
Women--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States
Women--Education--United States
Women in medicine--United States
Women and religion--United States
Women--Religious aspects
Women's rights--United States
Women's studies--United States
Young Socialist Alliance (U.S.)