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MC 845

Plitt, Jane R.. Papers of Jane R. Plitt, 1964-1998 (inclusive), 1964-1976 (bulk): 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.: MC 845
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Plitt, Jane R.
Title: Papers of Jane R. Plitt, 1964-1998 (inclusive), 1964-1976 (bulk)
Date(s): 1964-1998
Date(s): 1964-1976
Quantity: 3.34 linear feet (8 file boxes) plus 4 photograph folders, 20 slides)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of Jane R. Plitt, Executive Director of the National Organization for Women from 1973 to 1975.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 2005-M118, 2006-M17
The papers of Jane R. Plitt were given to the Schlesinger Library in September 2005 and January 2006 by Jane R. Plitt.

Processing Information:

Processed: December 2015
By: Katherine Gray Kraft, with assistance from Johanna Carll.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Written permission of Jane R. Plitt is required. Folder #8.8 is closed until January 1, 2025.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright in papers created by Jane R. Plitt 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:

Jane R. Plitt Papers, 1964-1998; item description, dates. MC 845, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Jane Plitt served as executive director of the National Organization for Women from September 1973 until her resignation in August 1975. She had previously served as president of the Genesee Valley Chapter (New York) of NOW (1972-1973), the employment coordinator for that chapter (1970-1972), a member of the National NOW Compliance Task Force (1970-1972), a NOW representative to the Women's Media Coalition (summer 1973), and a NOW convenor of the Monroe County Women's Legal Caucus (1972-1973). She was also active in the New York State Women's Political Caucus and the New York Democratic Party.
A graduate of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Plitt worked for the Rochester Telephone Corporation as staff assistant (July 1969 - January 1972), personnel manager (January 1972 - June 1973), and staff manager (June 1973) before being hired by NOW.


Most of the papers in the collection are stamped "MATERIAL RECEIVED N.O.W. NATIONAL OFFICE," with the date, and document Plitt's service as executive director, particularly during and after the split in NOW in 1974-1975. (At the December 7-8, 1974 board meeting, held in New Orleans, 12 members of the board--led by NOW president Karen DeCrow--walked out during the discussion of Jane Plitt's job performance, which earlier had been called into question by DeCrow and placed on the agenda. Designating themselves "the Majority Caucus," this group declared that the time had come for NOW to move "out of the mainstream, into the revolution": the attack on Plitt was part of a much larger philosophical divide within the organization. Board members who remained in the meeting passed resolutions of support for Plitt, including a demand that DeCrow issue her an apology, and that NOW pay her legal fees.) These papers contain board minutes and notes; affidavits and testimonials on behalf of Plitt; letters from chapters supporting or attacking Plitt; correspondence with Karen DeCrow, Jo-Ann Evans Gardner and Esther Kaw; records of membership services documenting agreements with and work of C-R Office Programs and KNOW, Inc.; photographs and slides of national office staff and board meetings, 1973-1974; an oversize volume created by Kathy Rand for Plitt's 50th birthday; an issue of Plitt's high school literary magazine, with an article by Plitt; and other miscellaneous items.
Although there is much overlap with the records of NOW (MC 496), many of the documents (notably incoming correspondence and Plitt notes) are originals, and the executive director notebooks may contain reports not included in MC 496 (e.g., the Women in Poverty Task Force report, November 20, 1966). Most folder headings are those of Plitt; notes in square brackets, and the alphabetical arrangement, were provided by the archivist.
Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Feminism--United States
Sex discrimination against women--Law and legislation
Women political activists
Women's rights--United States
DeCrow, Karen
Gardner, Jo Ann Evans
Kaw, Esther
National Organization for Women
Rand, Kathy
Sears, Roebuck and Company