Scope and Content
Title: National Organization for Women, San José/South Bay Chapter Records
Collection number: MSS-2008-03-02
National Organization for Women, San José/South Bay Chapter.
2.92 linear feet
San José State University. Library.
San José, California 95192-0028
Abstract: NOW is the largest organization of feminist
activists in the United States. The South Bay Chapter was founded in 1970, followed by the San José Chapter in 1972. The San
José Chapter absorbed the South Bay chapter in 1978, creating the San José/South Bay Chapter which operated until 2006. The
collection consists of administrative files, correspondence, publicity, outreach, publications, reports and photographs. It
is arranged into two series: Administrative Files, 1971-2007, and Outreach and Publicity, 1971-2005.
Physical location: Vault 1, Range 26B
Languages represented in the collection:
The collection is open for research.
Copyright has been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections &
Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in
writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the
San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items
and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained
by the reader.
National Organization for Women, San José/South Bay chapter, MSS-2008-03-02, San José State
University Library Special Collections & Archives.
Donated to the San Jose State University library by the National Organization for Women, San José/South Bay Chapter in March
The National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded on June 30, 1966 during the "Third National
Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women." It was founded by Betty Friedan and twenty seven other women.
The organization swelled to 300 members by October 26, 1966, when NOW held its first conference,
where the statement of purpose was adopted. During this conference the structure of the organization was
created and Betty Friedan was elected president.
The Statement of Purpose declares,
The purpose of NOW is to take action to bring
women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all the privileges
and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.
According to NOW, the organization concentrates on seven priorities:
constitutional equality amendment,
reproductive rights, racism, lesbian rights, violence against women, and economic justice.
Now takes on such causes as affirmative action, child care, custody and
family law issues, disability rights, education equity/title IX, exposing the radical right, global feminism,
health and body image, media activism, peace, social security, welfare, and women in the military. NOW is
also active in lobbying, educating the public and media, organizing rallies and protests, registering voters,
and recruiting new feminists. NOW is currently the largest feminist advocacy group in the United States.
The South Bay Chapter of the National Organization for Women was founded in 1970. Due to the large area
that this Chapter covered, transportation to meetings and events became time consuming and expensive. Thus,
the San José Chapter was founded in 1972 to cater to women in that area. Seven other chapters in Santa Clara
County started during this time as well. In 1978 the South Bay Chapter disbanded, and their members were absorbed
by the San José Chapter, thence forming the San José/South Bay Chapter (SJ/SB).
The SJ/SB Chapter enjoyed high levels of memberships and activities during the 1970s and 1980s, due to
events such as the defeated
Equal Rights Amendment and election of Ronald Reagan as president. Other events
at this time included the
"Alice Doesn't" Women's National Strike Day,
Chicken Little for the San
José Jaycee's Woman of the year, hosting local appearances of Gloria Steinem, boycotting states that did not
ratify the ERA, protesting the Gag Rule, supporting abortion rights and affirmative action, and sending members
to the March on Washington for Abortion Rights.
The SJ/SB Chapter began to suffer from internal conflicts in their chapter board during the early 1990s, and
from low membership. However, the chapter remained active, and protested the
Anti-Choice Group Operation Rescue,
the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, and rejoiced in the election of President Bill Clinton.
The SJ/SB Chapter disbanded in 2006 and as of 2008 there are no active NOW chapters in Santa Clara County.
However, NOW is still active at the national level and chapter level throughout the United States.
California still has many active chapters, though many have disbanded.
Prominent and active members of the chapter include: Lillian Gay Moore, Janet Camagna, Christine Klemmer,
Dot James, Nona Tobin, Lillian Thompson, Sharri Le Page, Meredith Mazur, Sue Clarry, Jana Cunningham, Suzanne Hicks,
Katy Kay, Nansea Levy, May Ann May-Pumphrey, Melissa Moore, Pat Sanders, Angel Shepard, Joyce Sogg, Connie F.
Springer (Stallings), Sandy Spaulding, and Robin Yeamans.
Scope and Content
The National Organization for Women, San José/South Bay Chapter, consists of administrative
files, correspondence, publicity, outreach, publications, reports and photographs. The collection records
the day-to-day functions of the organization and illustrates the Chapter's involvement in local and national
politics and the influence of a grassroots movement in local government. The Chapter worked as
a proponent to women's rights in the "Feminist Capital of the World" and it promoted women's rights through
support for the Equal Rights Amendment. Other lobby activities included: reproductive rights, child care, child
support, equality in the work place,
"Alice Doesn't" Women's National Strike Day, support for Anita Hill, end
to racism, convention to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, amongst others. In addition to their
various activities the chapter also supported local women politicians and maintained correspondence with
local and national politicians and legislators.
The collection is organized into two series: I. Administrative Files, 1971-2005. II. Outreach and Publicity, 1971-2007.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
National Organization for Women -- California
National Organization for Women -- History
National Organization for Women -- Periodicals
National Organization for Women -- Silicon Valley (Calif.)
Women's Rights Advocates
Women's rights -- San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.)
Women's rights -- Silicon Valley (Calif.)
Women's rights -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Women's rights -- United States -- California
Author Unknown. (undated )
History of NOW.Retrieved from http://www.now.org/history/ on July 8, 2008.
Klawuhn, Kimberly. (August 20, 2002)
San José/South Bay NOW celebrates 30 uppity years.San José, CA: African American Community Services Agency.