Women in Politics: women's rights

In the 1960s the second wave of feminists focused more on economic and social issues. Among the collections of the Bentley Historical Library that document this aspect of women's history are the papers of Patricia Hill Burnett of Detroit, who convened Michigan's first chapter of the National Organization for Women in 1969. The Bentley also has the records of NOW's Michigan Conference and some NOW local chapters. Other collections contribute to the history of NOW in Michigan: the papers of Elizabeth Giese, Barbara Hays-Hamilton, Monica Smiley and Judy Skog.

Baby holding a sign

Equal Rights Amendment March on
Washington, D.C., 1978. Jane E.
Myers photograph collection.

One of the issues that feminists fought for in the 1960s and 1970s is the Equal Rights Amendment. In the 1920s, women's rights activists had tried, but failed, to get through an equal rights amendment. The ERA was introduced in every session of Congress, in vain ?" until the House and Senate finally adopted it in 1972, at the initiative of Representative Martha Griffiths (who had become the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress from Michigan for the Democratic party in 1954). Michigan women played a prominent role in the national movement for an Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. ERAmerica, a national bi-partisan coalition to win support for the Equal Rights Amendment was founded in 1975 by Elly Peterson of Charlotte and Liz Carpenter, who became the first national co-chairs. The following year, a Michigan ERAmerica was founded in Michigan by Helen W. Milliken of Traverse City, with Elly Peterson and Martha Griffiths as Honorary co-Chairs. The papers of Virginia Allan, Laura Carter Callow and Lorraine Beebe also provide information about ERAmerica and the Equal Rights Amendment debate. Anti-ERA advocates are represented by the papers of Elaine Donnelly.

Another important issue for feminist supporters and opponents is that of reproductive rights. This issue is well-represented in the collections of the Bentley Historical Library, especially the debate on abortion reform in the Michigan 1972 election, through the papers of Lorraine Beebe, Patrice Elms, Elizabeth Lemmer, Joan Mulligan and Katharine Tennyson, as well as the records of the Michigan Abortion Referendum Committee. Anti-abortion rights advocates are represented in the papers of Paul Blanshard, Elaine Donnelly, as well as the records of Lifespan, Inc. and Right to Life of Michigan.

Note: For additional sources on reproductive rights, see the Suggested Research Topics page on this topic.

Allan, Virginia R.


Bach, Barbara.


Barney, Jane Lockwood.


Beebe, Lorraine B.

Lorraine Beebe.

Lorraine Beebe, Lorraine B.
Beebe Papers, Box 3, Folder
"Portraits: Formal".



BenDor, Jan.



Blanshard, Paul


Patricia Burnett speaking at the First International Feminist Conference in Paris

Patricia H. Burnett at the First
International Feminist Conference
in Paris. Patricia H. Burnett
Papers, Box 6.

Burnett, Patricia


Callow, Laura Carter


Curtin, Jessica.


Portrait of Katherine Moore Cushman, n.d.

Katherine Moore Cushman, n.d.
Katherine M. Cushman Papers,
box 4, Folder "Photographs".

Cushman, Katherine M.


DeLeon, Linda.


Donnelly, Elaine


Elms, Patrice I.


Enyon, Bret


Federbush, Marcia.


Giese, Elizabeth H.


Griffiths, Martha Wright

Portrait of Martha Griffiths on July 1, 1961.

Martha Griffiths, July 1, 1961.
Martha W. Griffiths Papers, Box
60, Folder "Portraits."


Hays-Hamilton, Barbara


Sign for the International Women's Year meeting, 1977

Sign at the International Women's
Year meeting, 1977. Shirley Monson
Papers, Folder "Photographs".

International Women's Year Conference


Kefauver, Lee


King, Jean


Kinnucan, Michelle.


League of Women Voters of Allen Park


League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties


League of Women Voters of Dearborn-Dearborn Heights


League of Women Voters of Mount Clemens-Clinton Area


Lifespan, Inc.


Lemmer, Elizabeth


Senator Gilbert Bursley, R., Ann Arbor, and Helen Milliken with petition for Abortion Law reform 1972.

Senator Gilbert Bursley, R., Ann
Arbor, and Helen Milliken with
petition for Abortion Law reform,
1972. Michigan Abortion Referendum
Committee, Box 3, Folder 73.

Michigan Abortion Referendum Committee


Michigan Veteran Feminists Oral Histories Project


Michigan Women's Assembly


Milliken, Helen W.


Monson, Shirley


Mulligan, Joan Elizabeth



Equal Rights Amendment March, Washington, D.C., 1978.

Woman at the Equal Rights
Amendment March, Washington,

D.C., 1978. Jane E. Myers

collection.

Myers, Jane E.


National Organization for Women. Michigan Conference

National Organization for Women, Oakland County Chapter


National Organization for Women, Western Wayne County Chapter


Neuenfelt, Lila


Peterson, Elly


 Lana Pollack at the signing of the anti-corporal punishment bill, 1989.

Lana Pollack at the signing of the
anti-corporal punishment bill, 1989.
Lana Pollack Papers, Box 15, Folder
"Photographs".

Pollack, Lana


Power, Sarah Goddard


Ravitz, Allyn


Republican Party (Mich.). 14th Congressional District Republican Committee


Right to Life of Michigan


Old lady at the pro-Equal Rights Amendment March on Washington, D.C., 1978.

Pro-Equal Rights Amendment March on Washington,
D.C., 1978. Judy Skog photograph collection.


Skog, Judy






Smiley, Monica


Tashian, Jeanne


Tennyson, Katharine


Varonich, Linda.


Developed by Dominique Daniel, a graduate student at the School of Information, June 2008.