Wisconsin Society for the Equal Rights Amendment Records, 1945-1962

Summary Information
Title: Wisconsin Society for the Equal Rights Amendment Records
Inclusive Dates: 1945-1962

  • Wisconsin Society for the Equal Rights Amendment
Call Number: Mss 130

Quantity: 0.8 c.f. (2 archives boxes)

Archival Locations:
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Records of the Wisconsin branch (1947-1962) of the National Woman's Party which sought to raise the status of women primarily through the adoption of an equal rights amendment to the constitution. Present are correspondence (including letters to and from Alice Paul and other members of the party), a constitution, minutes, financial records, speeches of founder Mabel Griswold, convention materials, clippings, and printed matter. Personal papers of Griswold include items concerning Frank Lloyd Wright and the First Unitarian Church of Madison, Wisconsin.

Language: English

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-whs-mss00130
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The Wisconsin Society for the Equal Rights Amendment, the Wisconsin branch of the National Woman's Party, was founded January 4, 1947, by Miss Mabel E. Griswold. Its purpose as stated in the constitution was to raise the status of women and its activities centered on promoting adoption of a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal rights to women.

Its parent, the National Woman's Party, was organized by Miss Alice Paul in 1916 to achieve a woman's suffrage amendment. When that was accomplished in 1922, the Party turned to the more general problem of raising the status of women. The World Woman's Party, organized by Miss Paul in 1939, was dedicated to the achievement of this same goal on an international level. The National Woman's Party soon concentrated on securing Constitutional equal rights for women. The proposed United States amendment specified that “equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Miss Griswold, the Wisconsin Society founder, was an active member of the National Woman's Party and secretary of its National Executive Council. Under her leadership, the Wisconsin Society engaged in lobbying with Wisconsin Congressmen and with other organizations; printed and distributed literature; presented radio and personal speeches; participated in National Woman's Party conventions and activities; and encouraged education on the inequities faced by women. However, after Miss Griswold's death in January 1955, the Society quickly became inactive. It officially disbanded February 7, 1962, and transferred its remaining funds to the National Woman's Party which continued to work for adoption of an equal rights amendment.

Scope and Content Note

The Wisconsin Society for the Equal Rights Amendment Records, 1945-1962, consist of correspondence, a constitution, secretary and treasurer records, speeches made by Miss Griswold, Wisconsin clippings, and a variety of other documents such as press releases, information sheets, voting records, and convention materials. The collection includes much material directed to Mabel E. Griswold as National Secretary and therefore contains extensive information about the National Woman's Party, some information about the World Woman's Party, and details on activities of the Wisconsin Society. A few items concerning Miss Griswold's personal interests are also included, particularly her involvement in the erection of a church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the First Unitarian Society of Madison. (See Correspondence, September 30 and October 9, 1950, and Miscellaneous Papers, September 8, 1951). The Records are organized by type of document, and chronologically thereunder.

The greatest quantity of material is correspondence, 1946-1962. Almost all of the exchanges are with Miss Griswold but included are many copies of letters to or from Alice Paul and prominent members of the National Woman's Party. Miss Griswold corresponded with other members of the Wisconsin Society and the National Party, with state and national political leaders and representatives, and with other organizations, seeking their support of the women's rights amendment. Correspondence concerns the progress of the amendment and plans for promoting that progress, internal factional disputes of the national party, and financial problems of the national party. Information on Wisconsin activities is included in Miss Griswold's letters to national headquarters.

The contents of the remainder of the collection are clearly described in the folder titles listed on the following page. The Minutes are present partially in final typed form and partially in rough notes. The Treasurers' Records consist of reports and ledger sheets recording receipts and disbursements. The Miscellaneous Papers, mainly concerning national activities, include press releases, convention materials, information bulletins, and other items not included in the previous categories.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

The largest portion of these records was presented by Mrs. Ray Wiggen, June 3, 1958; these were processed as the National Woman's Party Papers. Additions were presented by Elsie M. Wood, July 21, 1964; these materials were integrated with the others and the collection name changed to Wisconsin Society for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Processing Information

Processed by Karen Baumann, December 6, 1971.

Contents List
Box   1
Folder   1-7
Box   2
Folder   1-3
1954-1962; undated
Box   2
Folder   4
Minutes, 1947-1955, 1962
Box   2
Folder   5
Constitution, Membership Lists, Treasurers' Records, 1947-1962
Box   2
Folder   6
Speeches by Mabel Griswold, 1946-1953, undated
Box   2
Folder   7
Wisconsin Clippings, unsorted
Miscellaneous Papers
Box   2
Folder   8
Box   2
Folder   9
Box   2
Folder   10