Guide to the National Organization for Women, San José/South Bay Chapter Records MSS.2008.03.02

Trista Raezer, 2008. Updated by Natalie Sanchez, March 2016.
SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
San José State University
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0028

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.)


Series I: Administrative Files 1971-2005

Physical Description: 1 Box0.42 linear feet

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series documents the daily operation of the San José/South Bay Chapter; this includes member and board meetings, correspondence with NOW members, politicians, local media, and National NOW. The documents record the development and the founding of the San José Chapter, the later joining with the South Bay chapter, and the termination of the chapter. Documents in this series highlight the interaction between local government and grass roots movements as well as materials that focus on local political trends that affected women, minorities and the women's rights movement.
Items of interest include correspondence with Governors Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown Jr., and George Deukmejian, local politicians Norman Y. Mineta, Don Edwards, Janet Gray Hayes, Albert Alquist, Leona Egeland, Rod Diridon, City Council members, Congress and State Assembly members, and the local media including radio station KXRX, the Mercury News, and KQED-TV.


This series is arranged chronologically.
Box 1, Folders 1-3

South Bay Chapter 1971-1973

Box 1, Folder 4

Sunnyvale/South Bay Chapter 1974–1978

Box 1, Folders 5-13

San José Chapter 1972–1979

Box 1, Folders 14-37

San José/South Bay Chapter 1980–2005


Series II: Outreach and Publicity 1971-2005

Physical Description: 3.0 boxes
Box 2, Folder 38

South Bay Chapter 1971–1973

Box 2, Folder 39

Sunnyvale/South Bay Chapter 1974–1978

Box 2, Folders 40-48

San José Chapter 1972–1979

Box 2, Folders 49-74

San José/South Bay Chapter 1980–2001

Box 3, Folders 75-78

San José/South Bay Chapter 2002-2005

Box 3, Folder 79

Outreach for Women Inc. 1977–1979

Box 3, Folder 80

National Organization for Women Statement of Purpose 1966 (printed 2008)

Box 3, Folders 81-86

San José/South Bay Chapter Photographs 1976–2002

Box 4, Folders 87-95

Publications and Reports 1973-2002

Box 4, Folder 87

Child Sexual Abuse 1977

Box 4, Folder 88 A Handbook on divorce for Santa Clara County Women 1979

Box 4, Folder 89

Revolution in Women's Sports September 1974

Box 4, Folder 90

Survey on the Status of Women at San José State University 1973–1974

Box 4, Folder 91

To Form a More Perfect Union 1976

Box 4, Folder 92

The Virginia Slims American Women's Opinion Poll, Vol. III 1974

Box 4, Folder 93

Women's Job Rights Handbook 1974

Box 4, Folder 94

Women's Studies 1972–1982 1982

Box 4, Folder 95

Women's Workers Today 1976