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National Organization for Women. Videotape collection of the National Organization for Women: 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

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: Vt-25
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: National Organization for Women
Title: Videotape collection of the National Organization for Women, 1977-1988
Date(s): 1977-1988
Quantity: 24 linear feet (24 cartons containing 283 videotapes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Videotapes of interviews, marches, press conferences, etc., of the National Organization for Women, the largest feminist organization in the United States.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 72-8--93-M44
These videotapes were given to the Schlesinger Library between 1972 and 1993 by the National Organization for Women,Mary Eastwood, and Lulu Lopez.

Processing Information:

Processed: June 1995
By: Katherine Herrlich


Access. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the videotapes created by the National Organization for Women is held by the National Organization for Women. Copyright in other videotapes in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Videotapes may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

National Organization for Women Videotape collection, 1977-1988; item description, dates. Vt-25, reel #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

here is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see National Organization for Women Records, 1959-2002 (MC 496), National Organization for Women Additional records, 1970-2011 (MC 666), National Organization for Women Audio collection, 1966-1991 (T-29), Additional Audio Collection of the National Organization for Women, ca.1970s-2001 (T-466), and National Organization for Women Moving image collection, 1970-2006 (Vt-241, MP-34, DVD-7).


The largest feminist organization in the United States, NOW began when a group of representatives attending the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women (June 28-30, 1966) became angered by their unsuccessful attempts to force the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to enforce federal regulations ending sex discrimination. Meeting with Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique and a guest speaker at the conference, the invited group of 28 women and men decided to establish a civil rights organization for women. The group included Gene Boyer, Kathryn Clarenbach, Mary Eastwood, Dorothy Haener, Anna Roosevelt Halsted, Esther Johnson, Pauli Murray, Inka O'Hanrahan, and Caroline Ware. On the last day of the conference, they drafted their statement of purpose: "to take action to bring women into full participation in the main-stream of American society now, exercising all the privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men."
A temporary steering committee publicized the group's purpose and recruited members. By the time the organizing conference was held October 29-30, 1966, NOW had more than 300 members. It quickly grew into a group with tens of thousands of members and hundreds of state and local chapters. For the first two years there was no central office; officers performed their NOW-related duties and kept their files at home or in their workplaces. NOW established an office in Washington, D.C., in 1968, and moved it to New York City in 1969, where it operated from two consecutive apartments of NOW Executive Director Dolores Alexander. Subsequently, NOW split the headquarters into three offices, setting up and maintaining operations in New York City (Public Information Office, 1973-1976), Washington (Legislative Office, 1973-1976), and Chicago (National Office, 1973-1976) before centralizing all functions in one national headquarters in Washington, D.C., in January 1976.
From its inception, NOW worked on numerous issues affecting women's lives. The NOW Bill of Rights for 1968 laid out those areas it considered of highest importance:
NOW set up task forces and committees to address these and other issues. In the 1970s, NOW began to devote more and more time to passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which was finally passed by Congress on March 22, 1972, almost 50 years after it was first introduced. In 1977, NOW declared ratification of the ERA to be their "top national priority," and in February 1978 declared a "State of Emergency...in which [we] turn all [our] resources to the ratification effort and to extension of the deadline for ratification an additional seven years." The United States Congress, however, only approved an extension of three years, three months, and nine days. In spite of a massive national campaign, carried out by NOW organizers and members in states across the country, the ERA expired in 1982, three states short of ratification. NOW has continued to work for passage of a federal amendment, and for enforcement of the various state ERAs.
n the 1980s and 1990s, NOW also devoted its resources to campaigns for reproductive rights; to end violence against women; to eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; to influence judicial selection; and to promote equality and justice in our society. According to its website (URL: http://www.now.org), NOW "achieves its goals through direct mass actions (including marches, rallies, pickets, counter-demonstrations, non-violent civil disobedience), intensive lobbying, grassroots political organizing and litigation (including class-action lawsuits.)" For additional information on NOW's history, see the Scope and Content notes below, and brief histories in #1.1.


These videotapes include NOW conference proceedings, press conferences, and marches, news coverage of NOW activities and women's issues, promotional television spots produced for NOW, educational programs, and television talk shows and interviews featuring NOW representatives and others.
Tapes are listed in chronological order by the date on which the material was aired or produced, with the following exceptions:
Television program titles appear in quotation marks except when part of a compiled and edited videotape (Newsclip tapes #1-5). Quotation marks also indicate a title given by the donor to a videotape.
All are 3/4" videotapes, with sound and color, unless otherwise noted.


Each subject is followed by the reel number of an item that is known to document that topic. The list is not conclusive, however, as the processor has not viewed every videotape in its entirety. There may be more subjects and corresponding reel numbers than are listed here.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Abortion--United States
Abortion services--Employees--Crimes against--United States
Abused women--United States
Affirmative action programs--United States
Anti-feminism--United States
Beauty contests--California
Child support--United States
College students--Political activity--United States
Divorced women--Legal status, laws, etc.
Equal rights amendments
Father and child--United States
Feminism--United States
Gay liberation movement
Gays--Legal status, laws, etc.--Georgia
Hispanic Americans--Social conditions
Judges--Selection and appointment--United States
Labor--United States
Lesbians--United States
Nurses--United States
Pay equity--United States
Pro-choice movement--United States
Pro-life movement--United States
Processions--United States
Rape--Massachusetts--New Bedford
Sex discrimination against women--Law and legislation.
Sex discrimination in employment--United States
Sex discrimination in insurance--United States
Sex role
Sexual harassment--United States
Sexual revolution
Surrogate motherhood--United States
Teenage mothers--United States
United States. Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX
Women--Crimes against--United States
Women--United States--Economic conditions
Women--Employment--United States
Women--Health and hygiene--United States
Women--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States
Women--United States--Social conditions
Women--Political activity--United States.
Women in the Mormon Church--United States
Women political activists--United States
Women's rights--United States
World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Female
Youth--Sexual behavior
Abzug, Bella S., 1920-1998
Alda, Alan, 1936-
Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906
Barr, Noreen
Berry, Mary Frances
Bork, Robert H.
Buchanan, Patrick J.
Chavez, Linda
Clark, Karen, 1945-
Clute, Sylvia
Constanza, Midge
Cranston, Alan MacGregor
Crisp, Mary Dent, 1923-2007
Dole, Elizabeth Hanford
Falkenberg, Nanette
Falwell, Jerry
Ferraro, Geraldine
Foat, Ginny
Ford, Betty, 1918-2011
Friedan, Betty
Glenn, John, 1921-
Goldsmith, Judith
Hart, Gary, 1936-
Hollings, Ernest F., 1922-
Honegger, Barbara
Johnson, Sonia
Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009
Lewis, Ann
Michelman, Kate
Mikulski, Barbara
Mitchell, Pat
Mondale, Walter F., 1928-
National Women's Political Caucus (U.S.)
Near, Holly
O'Connor, Sandra Day, 1930-
Packwood, Bob
Pendleton, Clarence
Pepper, Claude, 1900-1989
Reagan, Maureen, 1941-2001
Reagan, Ronald
Reckitt, Lois
Rehnquist, William H., 1924-2005
Rolle, Esther
Scalia, Antonin
Scheidler, Joseph
Schlafly, Phyllis
Schroeder, Pat
Smeal, Eleanor
Smith, William French, 1917-
Stapleton, Jean, 1923-2013
Steinem, Gloria
Stern, Melissa, 1986-
Streisand, Barbra
Thomas, Marlo
Viguerie, Richard A.
Wattleton, Faye
Whitehead, Mary Beth
Willke, J. C. (Jack C.)
Wilson, Kathy
Yard, Molly