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Guide to the Tish Sommers Papers
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Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical Information:
  • Access Terms
  • Administrative Information
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Scope and Contents

  • Overview of the Collection

    Collection Title: Tish Sommers Papers
    Dates: 1970-1985
    Creator: Sommers, Tish
    Physical Description: 62.50 linear ft
    Language of Materials: English
    Repository: Special Collections & University Archives
    5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
    San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
    URL: http://library.sdsu.edu/scua
    Email: scref@rohan.sdsu.edu
    Phone: 619-594-6791

    Biographical Information:

    Tish Sommers was most known as an advocate of women's rights, especially older women's rights. She chaired NOW's Task Force on Older women in the 1970s, and in 1980 founded the Older Women's League (OWL). OWL is an advocacy organization with chapters across the country which has had political influence on many issues of importance to older women such as Social Security, pensions, health care and health insurance.
    Sommers spent the majority of her life as a homemaker, though she was always active in volunteer work which involved a cause, such as poverty, or civil rights. After her divorce at the age of 57 she worked primarily for the rights of older women. She was influential in the founding of the Alliance for Displaced Homemakers which was responsible for taking many older women's issues to the White House, and for establishing a federal program for "displaced homemakers," a term she coined which describes the status of women who have lost their financial support through divorce or illness, and whose skills are not easily marketable.

    Access Terms

    This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

    Genre/Form of Material:

    Audio Recordings
    Personal Papers
    Video Recordings

    Personal Name:

    Sommers, Tish -- Archives

    Topical Term:

    Feminists -- United States
    Older Women’s League (U.S.)
    Older women -- United States
    Social reformers -- United States
    Women's rights -- United States

    Administrative Information


    1988, 1990, 1991

    Conditions Governing Use:

    The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    This collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation:

    Identification of item, folder title, box number, Tish Sommers Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

    Related Materials:

    Older Women's League Collection

    Arrangement of Materials:

    I. Pre-1973 Issues
    II. Pre-1972 Projects
        1. Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP)
        2. School for Community Action (SCA)
        3. Join Hands
        4. Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)
    III. NOW and NOW Task Force on Older Women, 1971-78
    IV. Women's Action Training Center (WATC) and Jobs for Older Women (JOW), 1974-76
         1. WATC Correspondence
         2. WATC Topical Folders
         3. JOW
    V. Alliance for Displaced Homemakers, 1975-78
    1. Displaced Homemakers (DH) Center, Oakland
    2. Alliance for DH / NOW Task Force
    3. DH Network, Washington D.C.
    4. ADH Hearing Transcripts, Congressional Records
    5. Donahue and Family Weekly Responses, 1976-77
    6. Women's Day Article Responses, 1978
    7. Over Easy Responses, 1978
    VI. Older Women's League Education Fund (OWLEF), 1978-
    1. Correspondence
    2. Topical Files
    VII. Older Women's League (OWL), 1980-
    1. Correspondence
    2. Board of Directors
    3. Executive Committee
    4. Financial
    5. Public Relations
    6. Topical Files
    7. Social Security
    VIII. Newspaper Clippings, 1973-88
    IX. Coalition Organizations
    1. California Commission on Aging
    2. Gray Panthers
    3. Western Gerontology Society
    X. Conference Packages
    1. California State House Conference on Aging
    2. Gray Panthers
    3. National Council on Aging
    4. OWL National Convention, Louisville, 1982
    5. OWL National Convention, Washington D.C., 1984
    6. OWL
    7. Western Gerontological Society
    XI. Research
    1. Track Record
    2. Speeches, Testimonies, Course Material, Radio Commentaries
    3. Articles, Papers, Outlines for Book Proposals
    4. The Not-so-Helpless Female Publication Files
    5. Growing Older Female Project & Interview Files
    6. China Study Tour, 1978
    7. Generations-Older Women's Issue, Spring 1980
    XII. Personal
    1. Birthday Celebrations
    2. River Trips
    3. Cancer Support Group
    4. Sommers' Death
    5. Financial, Will, Properties
    XIII. Audio-Visual
    1. Photographs
    2. Slides
    3. Cassette Tapes
    4. Film and Videotapes
    XIV. Publications
    1. Books
    2. Periodicals

    Scope and Contents

    The Tish Sommers Papers include speeches and working papers, extensive correspondence with legislators and women's movement activists from 1970 to 1985. It also includes: photographs, drafts of published and unpublished manuscripts and research papers, newspaper clippings and publicity materials, organizational papers (correspondence, reports, fund raising and financial records), audio-visual material, awards, personal items, books and periodicals, and other miscellaneous items.