Committee For Progressive Legislation Records, 1950-1993
- The Committee for Progressive Legislation records document the efforts of the group in bringing attention to issues important to many New Yorkers, especially abortion, family planning, welfare rights, and the attack on separation of church and state.
- 1.2 cubic ft.
- English .
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Committee For Progressive Legislation Records, 1950-1993. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Committee For Progressive Legislation Records).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
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:
This collection contains the papers of the Committee for Progressive Legislation from 1950-1993. It follows the group from its origins as the project of a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Albany. The collection documents the organization's activity in lobbying the New York State Legislature for various social issues, but shows their main interests were repealing the New York State abortion law and advocating family planning. Included in the collection are administrative files, records of the group's legislative interests, and research of social issues.
Documentation on family planning matters as well as other social welfare issues is abundant in the collection. The numerous news clippings on abortion rights and family planning articles as well as the correspondence between chairperson Kay Dingle and New York State legislators is a strong point of the collection. The legislative correspondence gives an idea of the lobbying methods of the Committee for Progressive Legislation as well as their stance on specific bills.
The collection does not give any specific information on the personal lives of the committee members or the effect that their passionate involvement in the organization had on their family lives. One letter does imply that a group member resigned due to pressure from her husband, but not much additional information is available. Founding member Kay Dingle's last correspondence with the organization was from her Arizona home on May 10, 1993. This letter can be found in Series 2: Issue Files.
- Biographical / Historical:
The Committee for Progressive Legislation began when Kay Dingle, a wife and mother living in Delmar, New York, took the initiative to create a religious liberal voice that would bring attention to social issues important to many New Yorkers. She organized a group of Unitarian women to discuss ways in which they could be effective in supporting or opposing state legislation. They would raise a religious liberal voice in politics by enlisting other members of the Albany and Schenectady First Unitarian Universalist Societies and working together with other organizations interested in dealing with social problems. That group of women became the Committee for Progressive Legislation.
In 1969, the organization became widely known for lobbying in favor of the repeal of New York State's abortion law, which dated back to the early nineteenth century. The group's main concerns were abortion, welfare rights, and the attack on separation of church and state. As time passed however they discovered that trying to tackle several issues at once was difficult and they began to concentrate mainly on the repeal of New York State's abortion law and state funds for family planning clinics.
Members of the Committee for Progressive Legislation donated their time telephoning legislators, designing posters, and conducting research to support their stance on social issues. Political workshops were held training members and other volunteers to be effective lobbyists as well as in dealing with disadvantaged communities. Lobbying sessions were also held in which members learned about legislative bills and how to find legislative allies.
After the amendment of New York's abortion law in April 1970 the group focused on family planning issues. In their correspondence to legislators, members advocated state sponsored family planning clinics. They also lobbied the state to pay abortion fees for low-income women.
In 1977 as membership and commitment to the issues dwindled the group elected to disband.
- Acquisition information:
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Loren Broc of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany in October 2001.
Series 1: Administrative Files, 1969-1978, .55 cubic ft., Arranged alphabetically by subject. Series 2: Issue Files, 1950-1978, .40 cubic ft., Arranged alphabetically by subject. Series 3: Legislative Files, 1966-1978, Arranged alphabetically by subject.
This collection is arranged into three series.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2003 by Kenyetta Russell.
Social Activists and Public Advocates
Schenectady, New York
Medicine and Health Care
Albany, New York
Women--Societies and clubs
Women in nonprofit organizations
Women in religion
Abortion--Government policy--United States--Citizen participation.
Abortion--Law and legislation--New York (State)
Family planning--Law and legislation--United States.
Criminal justice, Administration of--United States--Citizen participation.
Social Welfare--United States--Legislation.
Social Welfare--New York.
Buttons (information artifact)
- The Committee for Progressive Legislation
First Unitarian Society of Albany (Albany, N.Y.)
First Unitarian Society of Schenectady (Schenectady, N.Y.)
- Albany (N.Y.)