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National Organization for Women, San José/South Bay Chapter Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: National Organization for Women, San José/South Bay Chapter Records
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2008.03.02
    Physical Description: 4 boxes 3.33 linear feet
    Date (inclusive): 1971-2007
    Abstract: This collection consists of administrative files, correspondence, publicity, outreach, publications, reports and photographs of the San Jose/South Bay chapters of the National Organization for Women. It is arranged into two series: Administrative Files, 1971-2007; and Outreach and Publicity, 1971-2005.


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    National Organization for Women, San José/South Bay Chapter Records, MSS-2008-03-02, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the San Jose State University library by the National Organization for Women, San José/South Bay Chapter in March 2008.

    Organizational History

    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 also 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, nominating 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 Records consist 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.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Women's rights -- San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.)
    Women's rights -- Silicon Valley (Calif.)
    Women's rights -- United States -- California
    Women's rights -- United States -- History -- 20th century
    Women's Rights Advocates
    National Organization for Women -- California
    National Organization for Women -- History
    National Organization for Women -- Periodicals
    National Organization for Women -- Silicon Valley (Calif.)