National Organization for Women. Kenosha Chapter: Records, 1973-1987

Summary Information
Title: National Organization for Women. Kenosha Chapter: Records
Inclusive Dates: 1973-1987

  • National Organization for Women. Kenosha Chapter (Wis.)
Call Number: Parkside Mss 68; PH 3778; Tape 1194A; EA 58-59

Quantity: 0.6 c.f. (2 archives boxes), 7 tape recordings, 16 photographs, and 2 films (8mm)

Archival Locations:
UW-Parkside Library / Parkside Area Research Ctr. (Map)
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Records of the Kenosha, Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization for Women consisting of newsletters, other local publications, and subject files on activities such as consciousness raising events, ERA Countdown, and a Mr. Equal Rights beauty pageant. On tape is a 1975 Institute of Women at Mount St. Mary College in Milwaukee and a speech to a Kenosha audience by Mary Jean Collins-Robson regarding discriminatory employment practices of the Sears company. Available on film and as black and white and color snapshots is visual documentation of the organization's male beauty pageant and participation in various Equal Rights Amendment rallies.

Language: English

URL to cite for this finding aid:
 ↑ Bookmark this ↑


The Kenosha chapter of the National Organization for Women was formed in 1972 and chartered in 1973. At its peak, membership averaged about 50 members. The purpose of the organization was to make men and women aware of sexism in contemporary society. Kenosha NOW sponsored consciousness raising sessions, sponsored public lectures, organized a task force on rape, spearheaded local support for the Equal Rights Amendment, and worked for legislators who supported women's issues. Two specific programs included Advance weekends and a Mr. Equal Rights Beauty Pageant. Advance weekends were retreats devoted to raising women's consciousness on topics such as personal appearance, personal time structure, and raising feminist children. The male beauty pageant held in 1976 was aimed at showing that NOW members did not hate men and to demonstrate ironic role reversal. Other activities focussed around the ERA. These included ERA Countdown, a national program on June 30, 1981, and participation in the Illinois boycott for that state's failure to ratify the ERA.

Scope and Content Note

The Kenosha NOW records are a small, incomplete collection. Basic organizational documentation such as chapter minutes, a constitution, officers' correspondence, financial records, and membership records are almost entirely missing, but the collection does include a large number of newsletters and other publications published or distributed by the local chapter, newspaper clippings, and activity files. Together, these materials provide good coverage of the organization's history. The primary exception is the absence of records from the early years. As a result, there is very little information on the circumstances that led to the chapter's formation in 1972. Furthermore, the earliest newsletter is the November, 1973 issue and the next in the file is dated May, 1975. Thereafter, the newsletter coverage is relatively complete through 1987. Coverage in the clippings is also spotty. Other publications include pamphlets printed or distributed by the local chapter. Of special interest is “The Personal Side of...,” which includes personal biographies by several members written during the early 1970s. Basic organizational records that are present include by-laws, meeting agendas (1982-1985 only), and fragmentary officers' correspondence.

The activity files include handouts for the Advance weekends of 1976 to 1978 and other retreats for planning and consciousness raising. This file also contains a survey about the attitudes of Kenosha NOW members taken at an undated Advance meeting. There are also scripts, an 8mm film, clippings, and publicity materials concerning the 1976 Mr. Equal Rights Beauty Pageant, and correspondence with the La Crosse NOW chapter about how to conduct such an event. Also included are mayoral proclamations for several equal rights days. Photographs received with the collection include color snapshots of participation in various unidentified rallies.

On tape is a talk by Mary Jean Collins-Robson of the national NOW organization regarding NOW's actions in opposing the discriminatory employment policies of the Sears company. This talk is undated but it appears to have been presented to an audience that included Kenosha area NOW members. Also included on 6 tapes is a 1975 institute on women's issues held at Mount St. Mary College in Milwaukee. The relationship of the Kenosha organization to this conference is unknown.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by Kenosha NOW via Angel Zophy, Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1987 and 1990. Accession Number: M87-150, M90-227

Processing Information

Processed by Catherine Thorne (FGH student) and Carolyn Mattern, 2002.

Contents List
Parkside Mss 68
Box   2
Folder   1
Agendas, 1982-1985
Box   2
Folder   2
“Advance” weekends, 1976-1978, undated
Box   2
Folder   3
By-Laws, undated
Box   2
Folder   4
Clipping extracts from scrapbooks, primarily 1975-1985
Box   2
Folder   5
Correspondence, 1975-1985
Box   2
Folder   6
ERA Countdown
EA 59
8mm footage of participation in equal rights rally in Chicago, circa 1980
Tape 1194A
Institute of Women, Mount St. Mary College, July 11-12, 1975
No.   1
Sexism and Education, Margaret Carroll and Kaye Rockwood
No.   2
Sexism and Education, Continued
No.   2
Psychology of Woman, Regina Rosenstein and Ann Heilman
No.   3
Psychology of Woman, Continued
No.   4
Theology of Women, Sr. Dorothy Donnelly
No.   5
Theology of Women, Continued
No.   5
Women and the Law, Mary Sfacietti
No.   6
Women and the Law, Continued
Parkside Mss 68
Box   2
Folder   7
Mr. Equal Rights Beauty Pageant, 1976
EA 58
Film of pageant (8mm)
Parkside Mss 68
Box   2
Folder   8
Miscellaneous publications
Box   1
Folder   1-11
Newsletter (Knowledger), 1973, 1975-1987
Box   2
Folder   9
“Personal Side of...,” circa 1976
Box   2
Folder   10
PH 3778
Original prints in Visual Materials Archive
Parkside Mss 68
Box   2
Folder   11
Tape 1194A
No.   7
Sears activity reports, Mary Jean Collins-Robson, undated