The collection consists of letters and
documents which formed a portion of the Business Women's Legislative Council of
California's records. The items in the collection pertain to the organization,
maintenance and activities of the Council. The records span the years from 1927 to
1943, although there is a general gap in the files before 1929 and from 1936 through
1938. Grouped into folders, by document type, the folders are in alphabetical order
by and files within every folder are arranged chronologically. Notable
correspondence includes letters from elected officials as well as candidates in
California and the governors of nearly all states in response to questions about
their positions on "equal rights for women wage-earners."
Founded in 1927 under the leadership of Sue Brobst, the Business Women's Legislative
Council of California worked to bring about and maintain equal rights for women in
the workplace until the group folded in the mid 1940s. In its own words, the BWLCC’s
purpose was to bring about and maintain equal opportunity under the law for men and
women in the business world; and to oppose discriminatory legislation against women
engaged in gainful occupations." At its start, the organization principally
advocated against "protective laws" limiting women’s work hours to the daytime and a
maximum of eight hours per day. Passed to help wage workers, the BWLCC took offense
on principal to the law’s apparently unequal treatment of women and men. They also
argued that the law prevented women engaged in business and the professions from
putting in the long hours required for success. Like their counterparts nationally,
they received support from business interests like the Los Angeles Chamber of
Commerce and Merchants and Manufacturers Association and eventually the Republican
Party. Opposition came from those in the "labor-liberal" and "social feminist" camp
such as Franklin Roosevelt, his wife Eleanor Roosevelt, and his Secretary of Labor
Frances Perkins, who saw protective legislation for women as a key stepping stone to
legislation protecting all laborers.
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual
materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the
Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as
owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain
permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the
Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights.
Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the
Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site.