National Organization for Women (NOW), New York State Chapter Records, 1961-2011
- The New York State chapter of NOW aims to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society in order to exercise all privileges and responsibilities in an equal partnership with men. Working close with the Senate, political candidates,other women organizations, and community activists, NOW-NYS members work to defend women from inequality.
- 55.09 cubic ft.
- English .
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, National Organization for Women (NOW), New York State Chapter Records, 1966-1988. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as NOW, New York State Chapter Records).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to membership and mailing lists in Series 5 is restricted. All other series are unrestricted. Consult a staff member for further details.
The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to the University Libraries. NOW, New York State retains copyright to its own records.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
Includes State Council Meetings, Subject Files,Issues Files, Lobbyists' Files, Mailing Lists, Chapter Newsletters, Feminist Publications, and Correspondence. Conspicuously absent from the records are files from the early years of the organization. NOW-NYS has concentrated on educational and political activities both for and on behalf of women and women's rights.
The activities of the New York Chapter include, but are not limited to, such areas as lobbying at the State Capitol; monitoring the State Education Department to insure compliance with Title IX which forbids sex discrimination in schools; working in the area of domestic violence and battered women; monitoring the Division of Human Rights to determine whether women are fairly represented in employment discrimination complaints; working to preserve historic sites which have significance to women; helping women enter the work force for the first time; and lobbying for lesbian and reproductive rights.
NOW-NYS consistently shows concerns about the education system. Concerns include equality, sexism, discrimination in textbooks, programs such as Project Move or Project Voice (1981) and the displaced homemaker's programs of the later 1980s.It appears that the educational focus expanded from white collar to blue collar issues in the 1980s. The organization has a two-pronged education plan: to inform its members, and other women and men, about women's issues and rights through both educational and political avenues; and to prepare women to exercise those rights through job training programs.
Womens's rights, in the areas of health care, marriage, divorce, child custody, reproduction, and domestic relations are topics of concerns for NOW-NYS. In the area of employment, the organization has pursued job discrimination, sex discrimination, and pay inequalities. In various years NOW-NYS has tackled social issues including women against women, toys and toymakers, television portrayals of women, prostitution, lesbian and gay rights, pornography, sexual assault and battering, and divorce.
- Biographical / Historical:
The New York State Chapter of the National Organization for Women, the first state chapter to be chartered in the United States, was founded on February 6, 1967. The New York State Chapter has the same purpose as the National Organization: to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society in order to exercise all privileges and responsibilities in an equal partnership with men. This purpose includes equal rights and responsibilities in all aspects of citizenship, public service, employment, education, and family life, as well as freedom from discrimination because of age, marital status, sexual preference, and parenthood [NOW-NYS Chapter By-laws, 1976].
In 1974 NOW-New York State adopted by-laws defining the constituent element of its structure which consisted of members, member chapters, State Council, State Executive Committee, State Council Committees, State Task Forces, and the State Convention. The New York Chapter is overseen by the Executive Committee, made up of bi-annually elected officers who are composed of the President, Executive Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and three members whose portfolio was to be determined [NOW-NYS Bylaws, adopted November 1974]. The revised 1976 by-laws defined the responsibilities of the three additional Executive Committee members and created two new positions: Vice-President of Membership, Vice-President for Legislation, Financial Vice-President, Vice-President of Public Information, and the Chairperson of the State Council. The Executive Committee forms the decision-making body at State Council meetings. The State Council is made up of two delegates from each local Chapter of the New York State Chapter, the Executive Committee Officers, and State Task Force heads. The State Council meets at least three times a year in Albany. The Albany Area Chapter was formed in January 1972, and subsequently became the central office for New York State. Bylaw changes are usually made at yealy National Conventions.
The State Convention is the general membership assembly of New York, responsible for formulation of general policy and program priorities. State Task Forces are approved and appointed by the Executive Committee. [NOW-NYS Chapter By-laws, 1976].
NOW-New York State Presidents
Eileen Kelly, 1974-1977
Zelle Andrews, 1977-1979
Sheila Molnar Feiger, 1979-1982
Theresa Bergen, 1982-1984
Noreen Connell, 1984-1988
Marilyn Fitterman, 1988-1992
Sharon Fawly, 1992-1996
Lois Shapiro Canter, 1996-2000
Kathryn Lake Mazierski, 2000-2004
Marcia Pappas, 2004-2012 Zenaida Mendez, 2013-2014
Sonia Ossorio, 2015-present
- Acquisition information:
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives by NOW-NYS in 1987. Additional accessions were received from the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America in 1996, 1999, and 2004. Additional accessions were received from NOW-NYS in 2005, 2009, and 2014.
The collection is organized as follows:
Series 1: State Council Meeting Files, 1974-2011
Series 2: Subject Files, 1968-1988
Series 3: Issues Files, 1961-2011
Series 4: Lobbyist Files, 1974-2011
Series 5: Mailing Lists, 1982-1984
Series 6: Chapter Newsletter File, 1971-2008
Series 7: Feminist Publications Collection, 1970-2008
Series 8: Correspondence, 1975-2010
- Processing information:
Processed by K. Kiebuzinski and A. Lewis (1988); C. Morrison (1990); A. Stillman (1995); Dorothy Christiansen, Rita Mignacca, Mary Osielski and Geoffrey Williams (1997); and Sheri Sarnoff (2018).
Human Sexuality and Gender Identity
Athletics and Sports
Birth control--New York (State)
Abortion services--Law and legislation--New York (State)
Equal rights amendments.
Womens rights--New York (State)
Homosexuality--Law and legislation--New York (State)
Lobbying--New York (State)
- National Organization for Women.