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MC 495

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

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

These papers were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 495
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Wilma Scott Heide, 1921-1985
Title: Papers of Wilma Scott Heide, 1968-1985
Date(s): 1968-1985
Quantity: 10.22 linear feet (24+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder, 2 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 2 photograph folders)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of Wilma Scott Heide, sociologist and chair and president of the National Organization for Women.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

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 Heide and Terry Heide, in 1986.

Processing Information:

Processed: February 2003
By: Johanna Carll


Access. Unrestricted with the exception of folder #12.1, which is closed until January 1, 2052.
As of November 2015, written permission of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is no longer required for access to folders #5.1-22.20.

Conditions Governing Use:

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

Preferred Citation:

Wilma Scott Heide Papers, 1969-1985; item description, dates. MC 495, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


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.
Heide 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, Heide 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.
Heide died from a heart attack on May 8, 1985. Prior to her death, Heide 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.


The collection is arranged in 13 series:


This collection contains correspondence, minutes, agendas, printed material, notes, clippings, and photographs relating to Heide'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 Heide's appearances. They are arranged chronologically.
Subseries C, Programs, contains brochures and agendas from events at which Heide spoke. They are arranged chronologically.
Series III, NOW Correspondence (#5.1-11.11), contains correspondence mainly related to Heide's role as chair and president of NOW, although it also documents Heide'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 Heide'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 Heide 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 Heide. 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 Heide 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 Heide 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 Heide'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 Heide attended, as well as a portrait of Heide.
Folder headings are those of Heide unless otherwise noted; archivist's headings and notes are in square brackets. All printed material by or about Heide, as well as all printed material with annotations, has been kept in the collection. Other NOW publications and reports, except those created by Heide, 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.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

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
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 and religion--United States
Women--Education--United States
Women in medicine--United States
Women--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States
Women--Religious aspects
Women's rights--United States
Abzug, Bella S., 1920-1998
Adams, Whitney
Alexander, Dolores
Allen, Virgininia R.
American Civil Liberties Union
American Nurses' Association
American Revolution Bicentennial Commission
Armistead, Betty
American Telephone and Telegraph Company
Association of Feminist Consultants
Barth, Ramona
Bayh, Birch, 1928-
Benton, Suzanne
Bernard, Shirley, 1923-
Berry, Betty Blaisdell
Boulder, Nancy O.
Boyer, Gene
Brown, William H., III
Burch, Dean, 1927-1991
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 W. (Martha Wright), 1912-2003
Guggenheimer, Elinor C., 1912-2008
Hacker, Sally, 1936-1988
Haney, Eleanor Humes
Heide, Wilma Scott, 1921-1985
Height, Dorothy I. (Dorothy Irene), 1912-2010
Hernandez, Aileen C.
Holman, Nancy Ann
Hosken, Fran P., 1919-2006
Hull, Joan
Jaycees International
Kaw, Esther
Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009
Kepler, Patricia Budd
Kolb, Frances Arick
Komisar, Lucy, 1942-
Koontz, Elizabeth D. (Elizabeth Duncan), 1919-1989
Kovacs, Midge
Lightfoot, Judith
Luce, Clare Boothe, 1903-1987
MacLeod, Jennifer S. (Jennifer Selfridge), 1929-
Matossian, Mary Allerton Kilbourne
Meskill, Thomas J., 1928-2007
Mitchell, Joyce Slayton
Murray, Pauli, 1910-1985
Muskie, Edmund S., 1914-1996
Myers, Mary Lynn
National Organization for Women
National Organization for Women--Charters
National Organization for Women--Employees
National Organization for Women--Finance
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
Notman, Malkah T.
NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund
Paschall, Eliza
Patel, Marilyn
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
Perkins, Carl Dewey, 1912-1984
Plitt, Jane
Pollock, Mordeca Jane
Pride, Anne
Rast, Madeline
Rawalt, Marguerite, 1895-1989
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
Wood, Nan Elizabeth, 1942-
X., Laura
Young Socialist Alliance (U.S.)