University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The University of Wisconsin Collection

Interview #466: Clarenbach, Kathryn F. (September, 2009)

Previous Previous section

Next section Next



 

First Interview

Tapes 1-12 Length: 14 hours

Family background; Early education; Experiences at UW; Reactions to WWII; Work at War Production Board in Washington, D.C.; Graduate school; Marriage; Teaching at Purdue; Work on Henry Wallace's 1948 political campaign; Teaching and daily life at Olivet College in Michigan; Work at Encampment for Citizenship; Experiences at Edgewood College and on Board of Trustees at Alverno College; Work with Martha Peterson's continuing education program for women; Formation of Wisconsin's Governor’s Commission on Status of Women and important accomplishments during tenure as chair; Foundation of National Organization for Women (NOW); Early conflicts and problems in NOW, including issue of lesbians and her working relationship with Betty Friedan; Importance of state commissions on status of women for development of women's organizations like NOW; Changes in NOW; Tenure as executive director of 1977 International Women's Year Conference in Houston; International travels, including Cuba and Virgin Islands; Advances and setba

First Interview Session (September 15, 1987): Tapes 1-2

Listen to First Interview Session (September 15, 1987): Tapes 1-2

00:09

KC peruses a family photo album. She talks about her mother, who was born in Sparta, Wisconsin. The family lived for a time in Kendall, Wisconsin, where her mother, a schoolteacher, settled with her father, a preacher. Her father was stationed in Little Rock, Arkansas during World War I.

Listen to this section

03:39

KC's mother was not college-educated. She taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Summit, Wisconsin. Her parents moved in 1920 to Sparta, where KC was born. Her mother volunteered as a “Gray Lady” in hospitals during World War II.

Listen to this section

07:05

Her father has a B.A. and M.A. from the UW and a law degree from Georgetown, as well as an honorary doctorate from Little Rock College. Both of her parents valued education very much and encouraged their children to take advantage of as much schooling as possible. Her parents financed their children's education through the M.A.; all of them went on for an advanced degree. It was expected they would attend college. KC always wanted to attend the UW. As a child, she visited Madison frequently.

Listen to this section

12:15

KC's parents instilled a sense of history in their children. She shares memories from family trips to the East and West Coasts and Chicago.

Listen to this section

20:47

She discusses her father's occupations. He was a Methodist country preacher. He was also a country lawyer, doing mostly pro bono work, and a state humane officer. He would sometimes combine calls with family fishing/camping trips. His job as a parole and probation officer was his main source of income; he had his office at home.

Listen to this section

28:40

KC's father was a political person. He had served in the state legislature and unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Congress in the mid-20s.

Listen to this section

29:40

KC's mother was a housewife. She did the expense accounts for her husband's state parole and probation job and kept track of reports that were due. She did not function as the typical minister's wife. She participated in some capacity in all of her husband's activities. She had many outside interests and was very community-oriented. She was elected to the school board in the early 20s.

Listen to this section

35:45

KC's parents were both very calm people. She explains how her mother created a team system for chores at home.

Listen to this section

38:31

Enjoying and caring about other family members is a trait from KC's upbringing that has carried over into her own family life. There were no assigned duties in the Clarenbach home; each family member just did what he could when a job needed to be done. Concern for others in the community is another family trait. The Clarenbach family is a good example of equality in the household.

Listen to this section

45:43

KC's mother tried to engage in as many of her own activities as she could, and encouraged KC to do the same. She shares advice her mother gave her. Her parents used to take trips and engage in activities separately.

Listen to this section

49:30

From time to time KC's father received voluntary payment for the ministerial services he rendered. She received part of the “take” when she provided musical accompaniment. All of the family members were musical except her mother.

Listen to this section

52:08

KC did not discuss politics with her mother but did with her father. Whenever a woman did anything of special note, her father used to call it to her attention. KC grew up with many female role models. Every year, her mother invited teachers to dinner to get to know them personally.

Listen to this section

58:00

KC explains why she and her brothers went to Sunday school at the Congregational instead of the Methodist Church. It was more of a social science course than anything else. She also attended a Sunday evening youth group, sang in the choir, and ushered.

Listen to this section

1:01:43

End of tape.

Listen to this section

Tape 2

Listen to Tape 2

00:03

The children usually attended one of their father's Sunday morning services. KC talks about Sunday pursuits. Sundays were hectic for her mother.

Listen to this section

04:48

KC's father did not recognize how much energy her mother expended on housework. When she had her own family, KC did not spend as much time doing domestic chores as her mother had. During her first years in Madison, KC did not have much time with her children because domestic chores took up so much of the weekend. As soon as she had enough money, she hired a housekeeper. She did not realize how hard her mother's life had been while she was growing up.

Listen to this section

10:41

KC discusses religion. After she came to UW, she did not attend church often. She was sometimes involved in activities that were religiously-oriented, such chairing the University Youth Federation, but she does not know how religious she was or is. She thinks it is important to follow one's conscience.

Listen to this section

13:23 Second Interview Session (September 22, 1987): Tape 2

KC met many ministers and missionaries from other countries in her parents' home. She and her father entered into political discussions, and disagreed with each other at times. KC valued the leadership that Roosevelt provided on important issues, such as racial discrimination. She was very excited when she met the latter in an elevator in the national museum. KC gives an example of how her father changed with the times. [Note: this interview session ends around 19:15. ]

Listen to this section

19:28

KC talks about her mother, who had a very full life though in some ways she remained dissatisfied. She was a very warm and motherly person. She was a schoolteacher when she met KC's father, who was a state legislator and local preacher. She tutored her children. She was an avid reader and had played basketball during high school.

Listen to this section

26:23

By the time KC started high school interscholastic sports for girls had been discontinued. Her brothers were all involved in athletics. KC also engaged in many athletic activities during her high school years. Due to time constraints, she had to forgo athletics and other free time activities after she moved Madison.

Listen to this section

28:57

KC's mother took trips separately from her father. They had many different interests. Her mother loved to visit relatives and close friends. It was a “state occasion” when KC's parents came to visit her; she recalls some of these visits.

Listen to this section

35:48

KC's mother quit teaching after she got married. She talks about her mother's influence on her development. There was never a sense of class in her family. In her own family, she celebrates holidays and birthdays the same way as her birth family. KC inherited some of her mother's organizational skills.

Listen to this section

43:22

KC discusses her education in the public school system. She started kindergarten at age 2½ and finished up with a Ph.D. at age 25.

Listen to this section

47:26

KC took first and second grade in the same year. At the junior and senior high schools, "A" students were exempt from final exams, a practice she finds regrettable. She had never taken a final exam until she came to UW. Her first exam was a shock for her. KC's mother let her take one day of her choice off per semester.

Listen to this section

51:31

Throughout life, KC has tried to lighten the load when it became too much. She talks about things she eliminated and things she kept in her life.

Listen to this section

59:14

KC's husband Hank took an interest in the school activities of their children. They were co-presidents of the West High PTA. There was a role reversal because she was so busy with the women's movement: her husband did the behind the scenes work, and she gave the reports.

Listen to this section

1:01:27

Until she was a junior in high school, KC did not view school as a place to learn, but as an arena to show what she knew. She particularly enjoyed physics and German Club.

Listen to this section

1:05:52

KC sold tickets at the movies and worked at a gift shop to make spending money for college. When she was in high school, she did some practice teaching at the junior high. She was comfortable because she did a lot of public speaking in school. When she was a freshman in high school, she went out for extemporaneous speaking. After two years she joined the debate team and participated in extemporaneous reading. Her college major was political science. Her father felt she should be preparing for a practical career, such as teaching.

Listen to this section

1:14:21

KC was valedictorian of her class. She talks about having the lead in the senior class play.

Listen to this section

1:16:20

End of interview session 2

Listen to this section

Third Interview Session (September 29, 1987): Tape 2-3

Listen to Third Interview Session (September 29, 1987): Tape 2-3

00:00:10

KC enrolled in UW in 1937.  Since two of her brothers were planning to attend UW, her mother moved to Madison and established an apartment. Her father remained in the house in Sparta.

Listen to this section

00:04:19

KC joined the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, her brother Gordon the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Though they were ambivalent about this move, they needed a place to stay. She made many good friends at the sorority. She was corresponding secretary of the sorority her junior year, and president her senior year. KC was very active in the International Club, chaired the University Peace Federation for four years, and was vice-president of the YWCA.  She had many friends who were not traditional Greek WASPs.

Listen to this section

00:06:41

KC and some of her sorority sisters became politicized through conversations at the dinner table. Table conversation at the sorority was so boring and superficial that she and some of her friends set out to improve it. One of her friends, Ruth Thompson, came from a very politically aware family.

Listen to this section

00:09:38

Initially, KC did not know what her major would be. In an attempt to sample different subjects, she deliberately avoided courses that were easy for her in high school.

Listen to this section

00:13:57

KC received many B+s because of her lack of experience with final exams. She felt conspicuous at the UW—“country” and “overgrown.” Her sorority sisters were better off financially. Her parents paid for tuition, room and board, and season tickets to athletic events and theater concerts at the Union Theater. [Note: there is a brief pause from 00:16:25 to 00:16:32 as cassette tape 2 ends and tape 3 begins.]

Listen to this section

00:16:32

KC continues to discuss her experiences at the UW. She encountered new ideas. She was required to study for the first time, a task she undertook in the Paul Bunyan Room in the Union because women were not allowed in the Rathskeller, a fact that irked her. In earlier days, there was a special back door for women to enter the Union building.

Listen to this section

00:18:38

KC usually found another good student in her classes with whom she could study. She characterizes the classroom situation as “rather nice.” She talks about her study partners in a geography course, among them a Supreme Court justice, a local lawyer, and a progressive left-winger who taught her much about politics and persuaded her to join the University Peace Federation (UPF), of which she was elected president. While in the UPF, KC got funding from President Clarence Dykstra to get Harold Laske to address the UW student body.

Listen to this section

00:22:30

KC spent her free time in extracurricular activities. Every year a staff member at the YWCA tapped five promising freshmen leaders and groomed them. KC and Bob Lampman were among the chosen five from their class.

Listen to this section

00:24:45

KC spent some time working with an open housing committee. The black actor Paul Robson was not allowed in hotels in Madison when he gave a performance in Othello. KC's friends in Madison were drawn from many different groups: intellectually-active graduates and undergraduates, sorority sisters, the international club membership, and left-wing progressive, peace and housing types.

Listen to this section

00:29:20

KC took many social science courses. She declared political science her major because it had the fewest required courses of all the subjects in which she was interested.

Listen to this section

00:36:36

KC was not conscious of sex discrimination. Most of her professors were male. She had one female professor, Helen Clarke, a social work professor, whom she discusses. There were about a half a dozen female professors on campus, including Gladys Borchers and Helen C. White. Louise Troxell was the Dean of Women.

Listen to this section

00:37:04

After Pearl Harbor, there were more women than men on campus.

Listen to this section

00:38:50

Since political science had the fewest requirements, it gave KC more of an opportunity to take other courses, such as Clarke's social work class on group work theory and practice. Women faculty were paid less than male faculty. This was one of the first problems tackled by the Faculty Women's Association, which KC helped organize.

Listen to this section

00:42:40

KC continues talking about her courses and instructors. She enjoyed English with Warner Taylor, whose course helped her to think about things in an analytic way.

Listen to this section

00:46:46

KC did not plan in advance to go on for graduate work. She paid for her first year in graduate school through a $400 cash reward from the political science department and by working as a house fellow in Elizabeth Waters Hall. She discusses her job as house fellow and dorm rules. Female students had “hours,” but male students did not.

Listen to this section

00:52:23

There was a separate Women's Self-Government Association (WSGA) in existence to make rules specifically for women, to encourage mature behavior, and to protect the interests of women living off-campus and give them a voice in student government. Some of KC's friends were involved in the WSGA.

Listen to this section

00:54:29

The house fellows met with a female psychiatrist from the Medical School, Annette Washburn, who educated them as to what types of student behaviors merited analysis by an expert. She had progressive views about sexuality.

Listen to this section

00:55:55

There was not a problem with violence against women on campus. Public transportation was adequate; bicycles were not a common means of transportation.

Listen to this section

00:57:00

End of interview session 3

Listen to this section

Fourth Interview Session (October 13, 1987): Tapes 3-4

Listen to Fourth Interview Session (October 13, 1987): Tapes 3-4

00:00:06

The summer before graduate school (1941), KC was a counselor at a Girl Scout camp in Bear Mountain Park, New York. The job did not pay very much, but the setting was beautiful and she had a good time. Recruitment billboards posted at that time brought the war home to her. She had been active in efforts to forestall the war while at UW. Clarenbach continued to discuss her camp counselor experience and her experiences going to New York City during breaks from camp.

Listen to this section

00:05:40

KC talks about activities around and social events in Sparta. She also describes other school events, such as a boys’ basketball tournament, and dances, held out at a camp near Sparta. KC and her family hosted social events quite often, which she describes. This memory leads KC to discuss how her parents participated in a lot of the events that KC held at their house.

Listen to this section

00:18:13

These social activities prepared KC for her work at the Girl Scout camp in New York. She talks about the first year she and her husband worked at Olivet College. The following summer, the family was hired to work at a camp: her daughter as mascot, her husband as handyman, and herself as a crafts teacher. [From 00:40:32 to 00:40:47, tape 3 ends and tape 4 begins.]

Listen to this section

00:22:43

KC talks about life at the camp, including an experience she and her husband had with a prowler. She says that this experience taught her that she could be less timid when necessary.

Listen to this section

00:26:42

KC begins talking about World War II and her first year in graduate school in the fall of 1941.

Listen to this section

00:32:29

KC describes the changes on campus that occurred because of World War II and her personal responses to the war, especially her horror at the concentration camps and the U.S. internment of the Japanese.

Listen to this section

00:38:00

After taking the civil service exam, KC got a call to Washington to come and start work. She had her master's degree at this time. She describes her living situation and life in Washington. The job turned out to be a “fishing license,” with no real job offer. KC talks about the ensuing job search and tells the story of her interview with David Levine, who hired her to work in the Office of Policies and Procedures for the War Production Board. She describes her work in the office and talks about the “dollar-a-year” men, on loan to government from industry. She was hired as part of an experiment to see how well women would be received by these industry men. The office was almost 50% female when she left.

Listen to this section

00:46:38

KC mentions some of her negative experiences on the job. She tells what happened when the office workers were forbidden from going out for coffee and describes how they developed a nonsexist, non-classist procedure for making coffee in the office. There was a wide variety of people in the office.

Listen to this section

00:50:31

KC made a lot of good friends while working in Washington.

Listen to this section

00:52:27

There was great congeniality in the War Production Office in Washington when KC worked there. KC made as much money as the men. Reflecting on an encounter with the director of that office many years later, KC sees that having a staff that included women and minorities was important to him. Both the New Deal and the war, she says, created many opportunities for women and minorities. KC talks briefly about the racial divide in DC during WWII.

Listen to this section

00:58:09

There were many bright, college-educated women in Washington when KC worked there. There were many social gatherings of UW people. KC tells how she was voted Miss Big 10 at one of these gatherings.

Listen to this section

01:00:38

KC worked with the War Production Board for two years. During that time, she decided to end a five-year relationship because the man was not “good husband material,” which was part of the reason she left Washington before the end of the war. KC shares some of her thoughts on war in general and on the experience of her brothers in particular, one of whom was killed.

Listen to this section

01:02:43

KC explains how she ended up in graduate school. Because there were few applicants to graduate school, she was offered fellowships almost everywhere she applied. She decided to come to the UW because it was familiar and she felt she would finish more quickly. She returned to Madison in 1944 and finished her Ph.D. in two years.

Listen to this section

01:05:19

KC had the smoothest graduate school experience imaginable. She had no commitments other than her work. Her living arrangement turned out to be wonderful. KC describes her roommate and their morning routine.

Listen to this section

01:09:33

There were two or three women in the political science department when KC was a graduate student there. It was in this program that KC met Hank, her husband. She discusses how one of her professors introduced him to her.

Listen to this section

01:14:15

There were no female professors in the political science department, although Helen Clark was in sociology and Elizabeth Brandeis was in economics. KC was a teaching assistant during her first year of graduate school, but she did not do a lot of teaching. The closer she got to getting her degree, however, the more she thought she wanted to teach. Her thesis did not mention sexism or the suffrage movement at all.

Listen to this section

01:17:50

KC describes writing her Ph.D. thesis, a process she enjoyed. Focusing on native fascist movements, she argued that if fascism were ever to become powerful in the U.S., it would do so through accepted institutions. KC believes we have come close to that already. Comparing the women in the fascist movements of the past to contemporary fundamentalists, KC says that women do not have a monopoly on virtues.

Listen to this section

01:22:51

End of interview session 4

Listen to this section

Fifth Interview Session (October 20, 1987): Tape 5

Listen to Fifth Interview Session (October 20, 1987): Tape 5

00:08

KC discusses the summer of 1946, during which she received a Ph.D. in political science, got married, and got a job. She describes her habits as a writer. She later lied to the Ethical Society in New York about her typing abilities so she could get a secretary of her own.

Listen to this section

03:42

KC and Hank Clarenbach were married in Sparta on September 5, 1946. She then went to Purdue to teach and he went to Columbia for graduate school. KC describes their wedding in some detail and discusses her feelings about marriage in general.

Listen to this section

09:01

When she was offered jobs at both Purdue and Bryn Mawr, KC chose Purdue because she thought she would be more comfortable in a Midwest coeducational institution than in a private, Ivy League women's college. She describes her feelings about being alone in a new place, but says it wasn't long before she began enjoying herself.

Listen to this section

11:40

KC discusses teaching at Purdue, which she enjoyed, in some detail. She discusses the life of female students on campus and compares them to male students. She left because she was tired of a commuting marriage. She describes her first trip to Europe with her husband Hank. Though she encourages her kids to live it up, she hasn't done that very well herself.

Listen to this section

18:28

KC describes her life in New York after her return from Europe. She went on a job search but did not look for academic work. She describes life in Shanks Village, the university housing for married student veterans, where she and her husband lived from 1947 until 1950.

Listen to this section

25:36

KC discusses working for Henry Wallace's presidential campaign in the fall of 1948. She discusses her reasons for working on the campaign and her views on third-party candidates in general. The campaign consisted mainly of liberal Democrats, communists, and socialists; it was often accused of being communist.

Listen to this section

31:19

KC talks in detail about the successful campaign in Shank's Village to win students the right to vote in state and local elections. She also discusses the residency rules that “disenfranchised” her in two presidential elections. KC doesn't remember much more about Shank's Village except the “sameness” of it, which she didn’t like.

Listen to this section

38:33

KC briefly discusses the Wallace campaign again. She's an “organizational” person, but political campaigning was a new experience for her. She found a great deal of camaraderie and support among those who were radicals. Women were on an “equal footing” with the men in the campaign.

Listen to this section

42:03

After the Wallace campaign, KC gave birth to her daughter Sarah. After the child was born, she tried to do too much. She and Hank had to change their schedule to accommodate the baby.

Listen to this section

45:57

KC discusses the births of her children. Just before Sarah was born, she realized the enormity of what was going to happen and the obligation she had assumed. It was a horrible moment. She talks about some of the medical practices at the time.

Listen to this section

50:58

KC talks about her children when they were young and discusses her child-rearing philosophies. Her third child, Janet, was not planned, but KC was not unhappy to be pregnant. She explains why she thought Janet might break some stereotypes.

Listen to this section

53:47

In the fall of 1950 KC and her husband found jobs at Olivet College in Michigan, where they were on the faculty for two years. KC did no paid work until Sarah was a year and a half. She describes her adjustment to having children. She believes she might have done everything better if she had fewer things on her schedule.

Listen to this section

56:26

KC talks in detail about child care when her children were young. She did not feel guilty about leaving her kids when she went to work but did worry about the expenditure. She explains how she balanced work and child rearing in Olivet.

Listen to this section

1:03:02

KC describes her egalitarian marriage with Hank. Many things were easier for her than for Hank; she wondered about his teaching ability because he seemed to have difficulty answering the questions of their own children.

Listen to this section

1:07:10

KC discusses her child-rearing philosophies in more detail and mentions the types of advice she found helpful. She describes her children's school life in New York and her involvement in various school organizations, and explains why they sent their son to a private school despite their firm belief in public education. KC's work with the Girl Scouts made her conscious of class distinctions and discrimination on Staten Island. She describes her efforts to combat this discrimination.

Listen to this section

1:19:40

KC discusses life as a female faculty member at Purdue. When she joined the UW faculty, she was insulted by invitations for meetings of university women, which consisted of the wives of male faculty plus female faculty. She tells about her stint on the planning committee for a meeting of “gubernatorial spouses” that was organized by Sheila Earl.

Listen to this section

1:26:24

End of interview session 5

Listen to this section

Sixth Interview Session (October 27, 1987): Tape 6

Listen to Sixth Interview Session (October 27, 1987): Tape 6

00:07

KC describes her experiences as Executive Secretary with the Encampment for Citizenship, a special project of the Ethical Society and mentions Hank Herman, who hired her to work there. As she describes the experiences that led to finding this job, she explains her philosophies on choosing a career, especially for women. She remembers two women who waged a successful lawsuit to stop the Federal government from requiring recipients of Social Security to sign a loyalty oath.

Listen to this section

10:20

KC discusses how her support of Wallace affected her work and relationships at the Ethical Society. She talks about her friendship with Hank Herman and his wife Gertrude, both of whom moved to Madison after 1960.

Listen to this section

13:59

KC describes the financially difficult year and a half between leaving the Ethical Society and moving to Michigan to work at Olivet College. She explains how both she and her husband got jobs at Olivet.

Listen to this section

18:01

The B'hai family who cared for Sarah made a strong impression on KC. She explains why the courses she taught at Olivet were some of the best she's ever had and shares some of her theories on teaching. She also tells how she helped “turn around” one UW student.

Listen to this section

24:38

KC discusses the details of small-town life in Olivet, which she enjoyed, and mentions her mother's encounter with movie star Van Johnson. She tells about her first meeting with her lifelong friend Ruth Engel and her husband Paul and shares stories from their “marvelous” friendship.

Listen to this section

36:12

Returning to life in Olivet, KC discusses the position of women and some of the activities she enjoyed. She explains why they left and begins to talk about the farewell parties that were held in their honor.

Listen to this section

46:00

KC continues to discuss the farewell activities held in their honor before they left Olivet. After leaving Olivet, the Clarenbachs stayed with KC's mother in Sparta.

Listen to this section

49:15

KC describes in detail the family's cross-country trip to California, where they stayed with their friends Bob and Irene Bland for a couple of months while they searched for jobs. She talks briefly about life in Los Angeles and explains their reasons for moving.

Listen to this section

54:39

KC's husband Hank finally found a job with the American School, which offered private, home-study correspondence courses in St. Louis, and the family hurried back east.

Listen to this section

59:08

KC discusses the four years the family spent in St. Louis, particularly her experience with the League of Women Voters and her position on their State Board. Her son David was born in September of 1953.

Listen to this section

1:03:57

KC describes the family's move to Staten Island when Hank was offered a promotion with the American School, including their efforts to find a house and to sell their car.

Listen to this section

1:06:34

KC talks about life in New York, where she still did not work and where Janet was born. Hank obtained a job application for her at a local college in an effort to encourage her to start teaching again. Staten Island wasn't their kind of life because of the disparity between rich and poor and the lack of community.

Listen to this section

1:11:13

Returning again to her life in St. Louis, KC focuses on the impact of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was prominent at that time.

Listen to this section

1:13:13

End of interview session 6

Listen to this section

Seventh Interview Session (November 3, 1987): Tape 7

Listen to Seventh Interview Session (November 3, 1987): Tape 7

00:10

In 1960, the Clarenbachs left Staten Island for Wisconsin. Even though KC's husband had an excellent job, they both wanted to leave New York's rat race. Madison was closer to where they had both grown up and had the right political environment. KC tells how they found a house.

Listen to this section

06:35

KC describes the move in more detail. The neighbors in Madison made them feel welcome. She chronicles Hank's efforts to find a career, including work in the real estate company of Pat Lucey, until Hank opened his own real estate office.

Listen to this section

14:44

KC returned to teaching in the fall of 1961; she explains how Edgewood College persuaded her to take a job. She loved teaching at Edgewood and describes her experiences in more detail.

Listen to this section

20:34

KC tells how she came to teach an evening course in American Government at the University Extension during the same semester she was teaching at Edgewood. She describes the students and tells some stories about the class itself.

Listen to this section

26:32

KC describes her experience as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Alverno College and tells how she got elected. As chair, she made one of her primary contributions to the women's movement when she got a woman to take over the college's presidency.

Listen to this section

32:36

KC talks about the positive impact that an all-women's college can have on its students. She explains why she believes that women's institutions should not have to admit men.

Listen to this section

36:11

Alverno is still a women's college; it is an acknowledged and admittedly feminist institution. KC helped develop training sessions to raise the consciousness of the faculty in the early days of feminism. She describes some of the practices that keep the quality of education there high, and explains why she slightly envied the nuns who taught there. Returning briefly to her students at Edgewood, KC says they were not spectacular.

Listen to this section

40:02

Soon after she moved to Madison, KC did at-home clerical work with neighborhood women. This job led her to become a proofreader/editor for Shirley Abramson, who was compiling the constitution of every state into one volume. The second-class position of women in these constitutions was noticeable to KC.

Listen to this section

44:42

KC stopped teaching at Edgewood because she had begun heading UW's continuing education project for mature woman.

Listen to this section

45:25

After the local paper printed an article on the “gang” of working women that KC was a part of, some people from UW Extension asked her to help devise a continuing education program for women. Though KC did not respond to this initial offer, she eventually told Martha Peterson about it. That summer KC worked as an intern in Peterson's office, where they tried to decide on a University program for women.

Listen to this section

48:44

The whole idea of continuing education seemed absolutely natural to KC. When Peterson's office conducted a survey of older women in the Madison area to see if there was any interest in a continuing education program, they were flooded with requests from women who wanted to be interviewed. KC lists some of the women who were working in Peterson's office at the time.

Listen to this section

51:25

Because they couldn't handle the number of interview requests, Peterson' office decided to host a conference for all the women who returned the questionnaires. UW President Fred Harrington gave them money for it and suggested they hire someone to work on it full-time.

Listen to this section

54:17

Once the conference was over, Peterson asked KC to develop a plan for the University Extension. KC was worried about finding child care, but her husband insisted she take the job. He scheduled his real estate work so that he could be home when the children returned from school. KC describes how they divided up tasks and calls their marriage a “partnership.”

Listen to this section

58:52

Once KC accepted the job for Extension, she got into the bad habit of bringing work home. Peterson was a flexible employer. KC and Ruth Doyle were hired as an experiment in offering flexible hours to married women with children. It worked out well. Though Peterson insisted her staff take time off, she was a firm taskmaster. KC illustrates this point by describing Peterson's reaction when KC failed to meet a deadline.

Listen to this section

1:02:00

Once the Extension program got started, KC worked full-time interviewing women who were thinking about making major life changes. She urged women to think through the range of skills and interests they had and to create a job from that. She describes some of the adjustment she and her family had to make to accommodate her work. Her neighbors helped with child care because they believed she was doing work for women.

Listen to this section

1:06:56

KC often encountered husbands who did not appreciate her efforts to find jobs for their wives. Some of the women were looked on as freaks. The men who were upset by the continuing education program weren't all male chauvinists or oppressors. KC explains how she tried to get them to take pride in their wives' work.

Listen to this section

1:10:22

KC saw some dramatic changes in the women she worked with. She taught an evening class for women in collaboration with Peterson and her staff. KC describes the speakers they brought in and the assignments they gave to the students. There were 150 women from all over the state enrolled the first year. KC still hears from women whose lives were changed by that course.

Listen to this section

1:14:09

KC gives examples of some dramatic changes she saw in women in continuing education.

Listen to this section

1:17:11

MA comments that KC was empowering women at a time when most parts of society were telling them they should be at home. KC points out this was happening at other institutions, like Minnesota, Sarah Lawrence and Rutgers.

Listen to this section

1:18:28

The second conference organized by Peterson's office was on professional opportunities for women. Esther Peterson, the director of the Women's Bureau of the Labor Department, was the keynote speaker.

Listen to this section

1:19:26

End of interview session 7

Listen to this section

Eighth Interview Session (November 10, 1987): Tape 8

Listen to Eighth Interview Session (November 10, 1987): Tape 8

00:07

KC returns to the subject of the second statewide conference organized by Martha Peterson's office. Esther Peterson agreed to speak at the conference if they would assemble the statewide chairs of women's organizations to tell them about President Kennedy's commission on the status of women and discuss the possibility of having one at the state level. About fifty came to the meeting.

Listen to this section

02:16

There was unanimous approval for the state-wide commission at the meeting. Before Peterson's speech, KC had suggested to Martha Peterson that they might be doing a disservice to women by encouraging them to broaden their horizons when the outside world was so hostile to them; if there was a state-sponsored commission, they could do something for women that the University couldn't.

Listen to this section

05:15

The experience at the conference changed KC's life. Soon afterward, she and two others met with Governor John Reynolds to propose a state commission on the status of women. He was supportive and agreed to hold a statewide conference on the status of women before naming the commission.

Listen to this section

08:01

In July 1963 Governor Reynolds called for the conference on the status of women and asked KC to chair the planning commission and the conference itself. KC had a marvelous planning committee. She is sure that they were responsible for the seriousness with which the press and public took that conference. This type of committee was about to become very unusual in the women's movement. It was representative of the population, not just handful of radical feminists.

Listen to this section

11:06

KC was depicted as a radical woman, but in Wisconsin the women's movement wasn't subject to ridicule. Wisconsin’s Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women Zion’s finally put together in May of 1964. At the first national conference of these commissions, KC was one of two chairwomen who didn't report that they were ridiculed in the press or given the silent treatment. KC thinks this is because of Wisconsin's enlightened press and progressive tradition, and also because its commission emerged under different circumstances.

Listen to this section

13:03

The conference before the establishment of the Wisconsin commission on the Status of Women began on the day President Kennedy was assassinated, so the conference was postponed. The rescheduled conference took place in January 1964; all of the original participants came in spite of the cold weather.

Listen to this section

15:12

KC was glad they had the conference before the official designation of a commission on the status of women. By the time the commission was named they had a very good notion of the important issues in the state and how they wanted to organize themselves. They had good publicity and the top people in the state leading the discussion groups at the conference.

Listen to this section

16:57

The conference familiarized KC with new issues. She had believed women had legal equality in the U.S., but over the years they uncovered more inequities in state and federal law. KC cites some examples of unfair laws. The Commission on the Status of Women watched for those laws and tried to do something about them.

Listen to this section

21:51

The Governor asked KC to chair Wisconsin’s Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women after their second conference.

Listen to this section

23:42

KC was delighted with the appointment. It was the first time she'd been tapped by a governor to do anything. She was 44 at the time; she explains why she thinks a lot of the women in leadership were around that age and why more young women today aren't as involved in the women's movement.

Listen to this section

27:35

The planning committee helped the governor decide who would be on the commission on the status of women. Warren Knowles, who replaced Reynolds, continued the commission during his tenure as governor. The commission tried to be helpful to the governor after each election. In those days, party affiliation had less effect on the choice of the commission members.

Listen to this section

30:38

KC describes in detail the commission's successful effort to convince the Unemployment Compensation Board to change a ruling prohibiting pregnant women from collecting unemployment benefits. KC thinks that a lot of discriminatory policies are made out of ignorance or because times change.

Listen to this section

36:11

KC always thought that one of the greatest obligations of the commission was public education. She remembers the hostility of school counselors when they were told that their advice to girls foreclosed certain options to them. Sometimes the hostility came from women; KC gives an example.

Listen to this section

39:17

KC explains how she got an audience to identify with her whenever she spoke to a group. She was not the “bra burner” described by the press. KC tells how she misjudged one women's group in South Dakota. She also discusses a meeting in Appalachia for the National Advisory Commission on Women's Education Programs, where she met some wonderful people. Meeting such people has been a bonus in her work.

Listen to this section

44:50

By the early 1970s, all fifty states had commissions on the status of women; cities and counties were also starting commissions. At one point there were over 200 of these. KC points out that around 1980 there were over sixty-five women mayors in cities with populations of over 50,000.

Listen to this section

45:56

Pointing out that twenty or thirty of the U.S. cities with women mayors were in locations that had had county commissions on status of women, KC suggests that there was political development as a result of these commissions.

Listen to this section

46:20

In the Wisconsin Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women, women in the labor movement were active participants. KC briefly describes her own participation in unions.

Listen to this section

48:08

Every two years, the membership of Wisconsin’s Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women changed, but they had continuity of leadership because KC chaired the commission for 15 years. They tried to give the governor direction by offering him a list of the people they did and did not want for the commission. The governors usually paid attention to this list. KC explains how the commission managed to function on almost no budget because of the University resources that were available to her.

Listen to this section

51:11

KC discusses men on the state commission. She lists some of the outstanding men and describes some “lemons.” There were not so many “lemons” among the women.

Listen to this section

54:25

Toward the end of his last term, Warren Knowles named a number of conservative Republican women to the commission.

Listen to this section

58:10

KC says that the Commission on the Status of Women made incremental changes that were not as overwhelming to the powers that be and begins to talk about the formation of NOW in 1966. Both Pauline Murray and Betty Friedan claim that KC held out against them during these initial meetings. KC agrees and explains why.

Listen to this section

1:02:11

End of interview session 8.

Listen to this section

Ninth Interview Session (November 17, 1987): Tape 9

Listen to Ninth Interview Session (November 17, 1987): Tape 9

00:09

At the national conference where NOW was started in June of 1966, KC wanted to propose two resolutions concerning the EEOC. She describes the resolutions and says they were never brought up because they were too critical of the federal government. This gave KC some real insight into some warnings her friends had given her about dealing with the federal government. She was appalled. At the closing session of the conference, KC, Friedan and others gathered at a table while the session was going on and came up with the name, acronym, and statement of purpose for NOW; KC describes the scene in detail. By the end of the meeting twenty-seven people had signed up and paid $5 to join. KC was appointed temporary chair for the summer and appointed a steering committee as soon as she returned to Madison.

Listen to this section

07:33

KC wanted to form NOW because she recognized the need for external pressure, particularly on the federal establishment. At that time, they weren't thinking of the organization that eventually developed, with local, state and regional levels. They had to decide whether they wanted to focus on leadership or mass membership. Of the original twenty-seven members, eight or ten were from Wisconsin.

Listen to this section

11:45

KC lists the members of the temporary steering committee to form NOW. They communicated often to set a date for an organizing conference and to put together some bylaws. KC discusses the meeting where she, Betty Friedan and several others drafted the bylaws of NOW. Friedan's lack of organizational experience made it difficult to work together with her, although she is a brilliant woman with a great deal of vision and insight. A lot of shouting occurred at the meetings. In KC's four years of chairing the board of NOW, it was filled with prima donnas, most of whom had no organizational experience.

Listen to this section

13:59

At the Washington meeting, they hammered out a draft of some workable bylaws and set a date in October 1966 for their official organizing conference. Some of the conflicts over the bylaws reflected the different organizational styles of individuals; others were just honest differences. But they were organized enough to write a draft of the bylaws for the temporary steering committee.

Listen to this section

15:38

KC did not attend the October 1966 NOW conference. When she persuaded Milwaukee journalist Dorothy Austin to cover the activities of the meeting, Pauline Murray and Betty Friedan called her several times to protest Austin's presence because they were suspicious of any journalist. From the conference, Pauline Murray called her twice about the original bylaws. It was natural that Friedan be elected president of NOW, but her lack of organization caused concern. So they structured NOW along corporate lines, with KC serving as board chairman to see that everything moved along. Though KC accepted this position with reluctance, one part of her was pleased.

Listen to this section

20:08

Anyone who had paid dues to NOW was invited to the first conference. By that time there were 300 paid members, of which 120 or so were in Wisconsin. Members heard about the organization through word of mouth. One sociologist wrote to twenty or thirty women she was sure would want to join, but none did because NOW seemed too radical. At that time no one even used the word “discrimination,” much less “oppression.” There were not any self-identified lesbians in NOW; the first time that question was formally brought to the floor was at the 1970 national conference in Chicago.

Listen to this section

22:39

Initially, NOW did not use the term “feminist,” and KC does not know to what extent people identified themselves as such. KC recounts the first time she used the word “sexist,” at a 1969 APA conference.

Listen to this section

24:55

KC turns to the first board meeting of NOW, where they decided to ask for an audience with the EEOC. Friedan called Washington, told them about the meeting, and got them into the news. KC explains the techniques that Muriel Fox, a “public relations genius,” used to get good press coverage for NOW.

Listen to this section

26:59

When Friedan called the EEOC at the November 1966 NOW meeting, someone offered to meet with them the next day. The NOW people had come from all over the country and were planning to leave, but agreed to meet. By calling the EEOC's bluff, NOW began discussion with them. The goal of the meeting was to let the EEOC know people cared about sex discrimination. KC mentions some the issues that NOW raised before the EEOC.

Listen to this section

29:27

It took a long time for KC and Betty Friedan to develop a harmonious relationship. KC describes some of their differences.

Listen to this section

30:47

KC explains why the director of the Women's Bureau was miffed when NOW started.

Listen to this section

32:32

Betty Friedan was suspicious of KC because KC had had such warm relationships with people in the establishment. NOW had good reason to be suspicious of organizations like the FBI and CIA, but KC doesn't know that NOW was actually monitored. KC had to prepare herself for Friedan's calls and often had her family screen them.

Listen to this section

34:27

Others had difficulty working with Betty Friedan, but KC developed a good working relationship with her. They came to respect each other. KC describes some of their differences in working style.

Listen to this section

35:27

At NOW's 1970 conference in Chicago, KC and Friedan stepped down from their positions. KC was exhausted from NOW's board meetings. The NOW board was a motley collection of people, with many prima donnas. Later, the feminist ideology that de-emphasized stars, procedures, and rules began to affect meetings. KC was happy to leave the chair. At the same 1970 Chicago meeting, Friedan declared Women's Equality Day in her retirement speech, and people celebrated it all over the country.

Listen to this section

39:22

KC doesn't think there was disunity in NOW over their goals, but at the 1967 annual conference in Washington, there was controversy over endorsing the ERA. KC describes the problem in some detail; when NOW voted to endorse the ERA, the UAW members were forced to walk out because the national UAW had not approved. One friend of KC's was so personally hurt by this that it was close to three years before they could renew their friendship. But NOW still had the support of the AFL-CIO women, and the UAW women came back after the national UAW endorsed the ERA. KC didn't see the necessity of taking a stand on the ERA at the moment they did.

Listen to this section

46:08

In 1972, NOW had a significant hand in pressuring Congress to support the ERA, which was passed by both houses. The vote to support the ERA in 1967 was probably part of all that. By 1970, the AFL-CIO had also endorsed ERA, and KC points out that Wisconsin’s Commission on the Status of Women had a significant hand in that.

Listen to this section

47:01

KC remembers the difficult decision to raise NOW dues at a 1968 board meeting in Chicago. Alice Rossi led the discussion against raising them; she did not want to keep low-income people out of the organization. But NOW needed more money. They decided to raise dues but offer special rates for students and low-income people.

Listen to this section

49:07

KC credits Catherine Conroy for trying to structure NOW's national conferences and for instituting the system of delegates. At first, the annual conference and board meeting moved around the country and were held every eighteen months; KC lists some of the places where these events were held. KC did not go to the Los Angeles conference because her husband had just been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. At that time, they also had no set procedure for chartering local chapters of NOW. Today NOW uses the delegate system proposed by Conroy.

Listen to this section

52:50

KC discusses in detail Betty Boyer's formation of WEAL (Women's Equity Action League), a group that concentrated on employment and education but avoided the issue of abortion. KC describes how NOW members reacted and talks about what WEAL has done over the years. The formation of WEAL may have been the first split in NOW. Not long after that, Mary Eastwood started Human Rights for Women, but KC is not sure why.

Listen to this section

56:07

Another big problem in NOW involved the establishment of the Legal Defense and Education Fund. KC lists some of the landmark cases they handled before they had the legal defense fund. At that time, the legal committee would only take cases that would be landmarks and would affect the law. KC describes a shouting match between attorney Grace Cox and Betty Friedan at an Atlanta conference over getting a legal charter for the fund. Getting this charter took several years. There were lots of fireworks in NOW from time to time.

Listen to this section

1:00:09

KC discusses the issue of lesbians in NOW. Though KC was neutral on the subject, she hesitated to support a plank for lesbians because NOW was having enough difficulty getting established. At the 1970 NOW conference, women were asking for a plank in the platform that extended non-discrimination to lesbians. There never had been any question of sexual preference in NOW before. There were a number of lesbians in the organization. At the Chicago conference, the issue was voted down.

Listen to this section

1:03:32

KC describes in detail the only time in her life that one of her rulings as chair was contested and defeated, which occurred at the 1970 NOW conference in Chicago. Much later she realized that she was challenged so that if the issue of sexual preference came up it could be ruled out of order.

Listen to this section

1:06:05

At the next annual conference, the issue of sexual preference was put on NOW's bill of rights. KC isn't sure what led to the change. The idea was new to people, just as ERA and abortion were. KC had always thought abortion was a usurpation of government authority, but she did not see it as a political issue until she was on the board of NOW.

Listen to this section

1:07:40

KC encountered a number of new ideas through her work with NOW and the Wisconsin state commission, like the whole notion of sexual preference as a right. The few lesbians she knew were people she mostly liked, but there were others she didn't want to spend time with. She tells a story about an encounter in which she and Betty Friedan were threatened by some lesbian NOW members. Friedan was also at odds with some of the many NOW lesbians in New York City. It wasn't until the International Women's Year Conference in 1977 that Friedan spoke on behalf of a motion regarding sexual preference. That was considered a real turning point.

Listen to this section

1:11:47

KC discusses some of the reasons for the changing platform of NOW, especially factors that made it more radical. The literature that characterizes NOW members as well-educated, white, middle-class women is not terribly accurate, and KC explains why. She quotes from Barbara Ehrenreich's responses to those who say that the women's movement was primarily white, middle-class and educated. NOW's original bill of rights was not a conservative document. The only thing in it today that wasn't in the original was the issue of sexual preference.

Listen to this section

1:15:37

At a 1967 conference, Alice Rossi gave a position paper on the subject of reproductive freedom, which made KC look at the question in new ways. She briefly describes the impact of Rossi's speech on Mary Jean Collins, who is now with Catholics for Choice.

Listen to this section

1:17:10

KC discusses her relationship with Alice Rossi, who she met in 1965 at a conference on women in science where Rossi was the keynote speaker. They were both on a panel on married couples in science. Like KC and Rossi, a lot of women in NOW were married with children, including Betty Friedan and Muriel Fox.

Listen to this section

1:20:41

Gloria Steinem was not in NOW during the first two or three years. KC briefly discusses a recent interview with Steinem and Bella Abzug. KC agrees with their thoughts on the rebirth of the women's movement, but notes that neither of them mentioned the Kennedy commission or the state commissions on the status of women.

Listen to this section

1:23:11

KC explains why she thought the state commissions on the status of women were important and describes some of their activities. Their research laid the necessary groundwork for what came later, and they tried to counteract the tendency of the press to ridicule the women's movement, which was something NOW never did. The women's commissions were seen as “establishment” by radicals, but they had the same program; they just purveyed it in a way that was more acceptable.

Listen to this section

1:26:22

KC remembers the surprisingly affirmative response she received at a luncheon of the Catholic diocese. As always, she tried to be honest but said things in a way that would not alienate people.

Listen to this section

1:28:58

In 1966, KC was voted “Woman of the Year” by the Madison Business and Professional Club. KC's family and her neighbors approved of her involvement with the women's movement. She credits her involvement in NOW to her work with the women's commission in Wisconsin. In 1967, the Milwaukee Sentinel named KC “Wisconsin Woman of the Year,” and in 1970 Beta Sigma Phi voted her “Doer of the Decade.”

Listen to this section

1:31:56

End of interview session 9

Listen to this section

Tenth Interview Session (December 1, 1987): Tape 10

Listen to Tenth Interview Session (December 1, 1987): Tape 10

00:06

KC says that there are many different perspectives on NOW and that many articles on its history are based on hearsay. She uses a draft of a recent book as an example and details some of the specific errors it contained.

Listen to this section

02:53

KC offers a detailed explanation of the complications involved in electing Eileen Hernandez, then working on the EEOC, to the vice-presidency of NOW. Betty Friedan was even summoned to court. Hernandez was elected president of NOW in 1970.

Listen to this section

08:08

KC again discusses the issue of lesbians in NOW and explains why she and other members dragged their feet in supporting the issue. There were many others who were unaccustomed to talking about homosexuality, and there was a great deal of ignorance. There were quite a few people in NOW who were “out,” but there was no isolation or shunning of them. KC says that the organization was very united and offers an example.

Listen to this section

11:53

KC isn't sure why people say NOW is more radical and explains why. She points out that some issues, like prison reform and racial discrimination, aren't new. There were black men and women on the first national board of NOW and the original statement of purpose insists on non-discrimination on any grounds. Responding to the argument that the successful incorporation of lesbians into other women's liberation groups led NOW to support lesbian rights, KC says that was not part of her experience and explains why.

Listen to this section

16:31

KC discusses her personal response to the issue of lesbians in NOW in some detail. She remembers discussing the issue with women like Mary Eastwood, who called herself a “theoretical lesbian.” Though she didn't understand what it was like to be homosexual, she was open to the idea of accepting lesbians. But the leap to putting sexual preference on NOW's agenda was a long one.

Listen to this section

21:46

It was only at the International Women's Year Conference that Betty Friedan spoke in favor of lesbians. She did not support lesbian rights at first because she didn't think it ought to be an agenda item and she wouldn't be pushed into acquiescing.

Listen to this section

23:04

KC supposes NOW became more radical along with the rest of the women's movement and briefly suggests why. There were halcyon years in the 1970s when legislative and public policy changes did take place. KC says they were living in a dream world.

Listen to this section

27:29

KC discusses in detail the six regional meetings held by the Wisconsin Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in 1974 on the topic “Homemaking and the Family: Changing Values and Concerns.” She lists the major speakers and mentions some of the important changes brought about by the meetings, particularly the conversion of Mary Lou Munts, a Wisconsin state legislator who was later responsible for some important legal changes.

Listen to this section

33:44

The results of these Wisconsin meetings were carried to Houston and the planning of the International Women's Year. KC lists the Wisconsin people who participated. Eventually KC was asked to be the conference coordinator, but at first she took a half-time job as deputy conference coordinator under Jill Ruckelshaus; later, Bella Abzug pressured KC into accepting the job of executive director. Pointing out that Gloria Steinem divides her life into before and after Houston, KC says she didn't regret taking the job, despite having to commute between Washington and Wisconsin for two years.

Listen to this section

37:15

KC outlines some of her duties as executive director of the International Women's Year Commission, under Bella Abzug as chair. It was an exciting and fun job.

Listen to this section

39:23

At the International Women's Year Commission, there was a high degree of anxiety because of right-wing harassment. KC explains how she learned to respond quickly to the large numbers of hostile letters. That kind of continuous harassment was going on all around the country. There was also anxiety because of this throughout the conference itself; KC gives a humorous example.

Listen to this section

46:39

Housing for the Houston conference was poorly arranged; a fear that the right wing might try to take up all the rooms meant that all housing decisions were made out of the Washington office. There were a lot of bad decisions made out of fear and anxiety. KC explains how she and her staff got “free therapy” from a friend to help them cope.

Listen to this section

48:26

There was a lot of turnover on the International Women's Commission; KC lists the three different chairs and tells some of the problems they had. One of them had shouting matches with Bella Abzug over the phone. KC tried to stay out of it.

Listen to this section

50:22

The International Women's Year Commission was appointed by the government, and those who served on the commission were unpaid. They included celebrities like Alan Alda and Jean Stapleton, members of Congress, presidents of national organizations, and editors of well-known magazines, who were good at promoting the commission. They were high-powered, hard-working people who came to the meetings and did their homework. They made the policy and the paid staff carried it out.

Listen to this section

53:03

Through working on the International Women's Year Commission, KC learned a lot about staff work, especially from Katherine East. She explains what she learned and says they were successful because they had some remarkably good staff people.

Listen to this section

55:57

On her weekends in Madison, KC did laundry and made sure her husband had food in the house. She explains the system of packing she developed. It was very tiring.

Listen to this section

57:52

KC said she met magnificent people during her work at the International Women's Year Commission. She describes her management style, which she characterizes as laid-back, in some detail, and contrasts it with that of Katherine East. KC generally had good relations with her staff.

Listen to this section

1:02:18

At the International Woman's Year Conference itself, there were all kinds of snafus. The hotel was not prepared for their arrival and there was also a high level of anxiety because of right-wing activists like Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum. KC describes some of the problems they had because of poor planning. To illustrate the degree of anxiety at the conference, KC says that one commission staff member removed Braille signs from the elevators because she thought they were symbols of the Eagle Forum.

Listen to this section

1:05:58

When MA points out that Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum got about a third as much publicity as the International Women's Year conference did, KC says this continued throughout ERA because the media wanted to make it look like a cat fight. KC briefly describes the Eagle Forum's activities at the Houston conference itself, and talks about the security preparations they had to go through for the former First Ladies (Betty Ford, Lady Bird Johnson, and Rosalyn Carter) who attended. All the First Ladies were gracious, friendly people. Pat Nixon and Jackie Kennedy were invited but didn't come.

Listen to this section

1:09:04

Describing the participation of “ordinary” women at the International Woman's Year Conference, KC says it is the most representative meeting that has ever taken place. KC explains in detail how they managed to get equal representation of people of different races, religions, and economic status. The most under-represented group was white, middle-class, elderly women.

Listen to this section

1:12:20

KC and MA discuss the efforts of conservative groups, particularly the Mormons, to take over the state meetings for the International Women's Year conference, particularly in the states of Washington and Utah.

Listen to this section

1:13:21

Phyllis Schafly and the Eagle Forum still exist and are having a heyday with the Reagan administration, but KC says Schlaffly cares more about Cold War politics than about ERA and abortion. Her ilk are in constant communication with Congress; she's become more mainstream.

Listen to this section

1:14:59

The Commission for the International Woman's Year conference went out of existence on April 1, 1978. The publication of theSpirit of Houston” didn't occur until later. KC briefly discusses her current efforts to get it reprinted.

Listen to this section

1:17:58

End of interview session 10

Listen to this section

Eleventh Interview Session (January 13, 1988): Tape 11

Listen to Eleventh Interview Session (January 13, 1988): Tape 11

00:12

KC describes some of her travels outside the U.S.; she mentions a 1970 visit to the Virgin Islands; her four trips to Hawaii; her 1977 visit to West Berlin at the invitation of the Aspen Institute for a week-long seminar on employment discrimination against women; and her three or four trips to Canada.

Listen to this section

02:23

KC discusses in detail her trip to Cuba in 1978. While there, KC and other U.S. women met with the delegation of Cuban women who had been at the International Women's Year Conference in Houston. KC describes what they saw. She was particularly impressed by the new family law code in Cuba, which called for men to help women around the house. KC saw a great many changes in Cuba that were beneficial to women. She gives some examples of successful programs, like the elimination of prostitution and the literacy campaign. She briefly discusses the visit of the delegation of Cuban women to the U.S. in the early 1980s.

Listen to this section

14:36

In Cuba, KC saw no extremes of rich and poor. People were proud of their level of living because it was better than it had been before, but it was still crowded and meager.

Listen to this section

16:29

KC moves on to her tour of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. She was impressed by the degrees of wealth and poverty there. She stayed with another Clarenbach, who was very wealthy and unpopular among progressive people. It was hard for KC to stay in his beautiful house because she knew he was exploiting the land and the people.

Listen to this section

20:04

At the meeting KC attended in St. Thomas, the important issue was bringing together native black people and “imported” white people. The class and race distinctions were very apparent. It was a coup to get black women from all the islands to participate.

Listen to this section

22:34

KC discusses feminism as a world-wide movement. U.S. women are very ignorant of the rest of the world and a lot of this ignorance is being broken down by world-wide women's movements. KC thinks the U.S. should be educated about this. There's awareness in the women's movement that U.S. women didn't start it; there are many radical women's groups in European countries and in the Third World.

Listen to this section

26:59

KC describes what the women's movement is doing for older women. But young single mothers are now the most impoverished women in the country and this has changed public policy. There are needs along the continuum of the life span. Young children are the most oppressed. KC is eager to hear more from Donna Shalala on this issue and finds it hard to understand how public officials can think only of mothers on welfare instead of the children who rely on it. Returning to the issue of older women, KC says that not enough is being done for them and explains why.

Listen to this section

32:15

KC discusses the importance of education in the women's movement. She thinks education is part of any political job. The role of the women's movement is also to educate. KC offers some examples of this educational role.

Listen to this section

38:39

KC briefly discusses NOW's sometimes negative attitude toward coalition, including that of President Molly Yard, and her attitude toward reviving efforts to pass the ERA. KC thinks the women's movement shouldn't push for it unless there's an instant chance of ratification because such efforts take up too much energy; even if the amendment passed, it doesn't mean everything would open up. [Note: between 38:23 & 38:34, tape 11 side 1 ends and tape 11 side 2 begins.]

Listen to this section

38:34 Twelfth Interview Session (January 20, 1988): Tapes 11-12

KC describes some of the most important gains of the women's movement in her time. She sees these changes reflected in women's improved self-esteem, which leads to greater participation in politics and various careers. Changes in attitudes are also occurring at the grass-roots level. Within the women's movement itself, KC sees a more international outlook. Feminists still have a long way to go in getting women into real decision-making positions, like foreign policy; KC describes some efforts that are being made to change this.

Listen to this section

45:34

KC explains why foreign policy will change if women are in higher positions. Right now, only women who imitate accepted mores get anywhere; it will take time before policy differences will emerge. According to KC, there is a difference between feminists and females. Unless people make that distinction, having women in decision-making won't matter.

Listen to this section

48:40

KC briefly outlines some of the major setbacks for women in the last five to ten years, like federal cutbacks in health care. She sees these changes as part and parcel of the militarization of society and explains why. Mentioning the decline in civil rights and increases in gay bashing as examples, KC says one can't separate sex-based discrimination from other kinds of discrimination.

Listen to this section

54:27

KC believes feminism opens one's eyes to other issues. Sometimes the connection between issues needs to be pointed out; KC, for example, learned that rape was a political issue. She describes some of the changes the women's movement has made in that area.

Listen to this section

01:00:02

KC sees efforts to juggle home and family as the next big issue for young women, but she doesn't know how far they'll get in getting men and women to redefine their goals. She questions why certain levels of achievement are considered desirable and thinks men are reluctant to change because family men are not seen as being achievers.

Listen to this section

1:05:28

KC is ambivalent about whether she could have achieved more without the constraints of family. She thinks being a parent is good for adults. But she wonders if she is rationalizing her enjoyment of her role as parent.

Listen to this section

1:07:39

KC explains what she has learned from her children. She describes the political beliefs of her husband and children and discusses the influence of her feminism on her children.

Listen to this section

1:17:18

KC discusses what she might do differently as a social activist now. She wonders that she didn't entertain the option of not marrying. She's sorry she didn't have legal training, but part of the excitement about the feminist movement was learning about such things. Because her work at the university has been very self-defined, she has had the opportunity to have new experiences and to learn. KC has also met many wonderful women through her work. She was often prodded to apply for work in Washington, but she didn't; she explains why.

Listen to this section

1:24:45

End of tape 11

Listen to this section

Tape 12

Listen to Tape 12

00:07

KC discusses why she never actually applied for jobs in more detail. She isn't ambitious. When she returned to graduate school, it was not because of job opportunities; she really wanted to learn something. KC got through the program quickly. Her professors told her the real learning would start when she began teaching, and she found this to be true. KC does not use her title; she finds the classism in this society annoying.

Listen to this section

06:09

KC mentions some things she might have done differently, like taking the Bryn Mawr job, not getting married, and attending the international meetings of the International Woman's Year.

Listen to this section

08:05

KC talks about the importance of balance in life. She wishes she'd had more of a social life and interaction with friends, but she had work, her children, and housework, and then her husband became too ill for them to socialize; she didn't want to leave him alone.

Listen to this section

12:30

KC is beginning to think she should retire, but doesn't want to rush into the decision because she's been sick and is tired.

Listen to this section

13:36

There's no one activity that KC is proudest of, but she feels good about the Wisconsin Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women and starting NOW. Without the commissions on the status of women, there never would have been NOW. The continuing education programs for women were also very important.

Listen to this section

16:01

KC has learned that life is not a popularity contest. Her parents never asked, “What will people think?” but, “Can you live with yourself?”

Listen to this section

17:55

Of all the work she's done, KC has enjoyed writing and delivering speeches the most. She loves to write and used to give as many as thirty major addresses a year. She never delivered the same speech twice because her own views were always changing.

Listen to this section

20:20

KC briefly discusses her own writing process. Her husband loved to read what she wrote and always thought it was wonderful. KC has confidence because her husband and family were supportive. Her neighbors could hear her let out a sigh of fatigue whenever she got home from work. She used to have discipline, but has less of it now.

Listen to this section

26:52

End of interview session 12

Listen to this section

Previous Previous section

Next section Next




Go up to Top of Page