Preferred Citation: Harrison, Cynthia. On Account of Sex: The Politics of Women's Issues, 1945-1968. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1988 1988.


1 The Equal Rights Amendment and the Ambivalent Legacy of World War II

1. For a fuller discussion on the experiences of women during and immediately after World War II, see William Chafe, The American Woman: Her Social, Economic, and Political Roles, 1920-1970 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972); Susan M. Hartmann, The Home Front and Beyond: American Women in the 1940s (Boston: Twayne, 1982); Leila Rupp, Mobilizing Women for War: German and American Propaganda, 1939-1945 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978); D'Ann Campbell, Women at War with America: Private Lives in a Patriotic Era (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984); Eleanor Straub, "Government Policy Toward Civilian Women During World War II" (Ph.D. diss., Emory University, 1973); Karen Anderson, Wartime Women (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981); and Maureen Honey, Creating Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda During World War II (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1984).

2. It is worth noting that federal funding for childcare was grossly inadequate and that the National War Labor Board did not enforce its equal pay ruling with any enthusiasm. The measures were designed to support the manufacture of military goods, not the advancement of women (Straub, "Government Policy Toward Civilian Women," 22, 181-194, 240-250).

3. Honey, Creating Rosie the Riveter , 7 (quote), 78-80, 117-123, 211-214.

4. Hartmann, Home Front , 86; Valerie Oppenheimer, The Female Labor Force in the United States: Demographic and Economic Factors Governing Its Growth and Changing Composition (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1976), 8; Chafe, American Woman , chaps. 6 and 7.

5. Honey, Creating Rosie the Riveter , 6-7, 54, 76, 79, 97-113, 124, 167-172, 177, 181. See also Rupp, Mobilizing Women for War.

6. A poll taken by the United Automobile, Aircraft, and Agricultural Implements Workers of America--Congress of Industrial Organizations indicated that 85 percent of UAW women members planned to continue working after the war; Women's Bureau studies found that almost 80 percent of women working in the Detroit area and in Erie County, New York, hoped to keep their jobs ( CIO News , 30 July 1945, 10, clipping, in folder "S. 1178," box H1, Wayne Morse papers, University of Oregon).

7. Straub, "Government Policy Toward Civilian Women," 307-331; Chafe, American Woman , chap. 8.

8. Frieda Miller, "What's Ahead for Women Workers," Women's Bureau press release, 6 January 1946, in folder "Press Releases," box "Women's Bureau Statements and Press Releases; Correspondence,'' Frieda Miller papers, SL.

9. Chafe, American Woman , 175-186; U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau, Employment of Women in the Early Postwar Period , bulletin no. 211, 8 October 1946, 2; U.S. Department of Labor, Annual Report of the Secretary of Labor for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1945, 6.

10. Lois Scharf, To Work and to Wed: Female Employment, Feminism and the Great Depression (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980), 140-149.

11. Hartmann, Home Front , 6-7.

12. Susan Hartmann, "Prescriptions for Penelope: Literature on Women's Obligations to Returning World War II Veterans," Women's Studies 5 (1978): 223-239.

13. Donald R. Makosky, "The Portrayal of Women in Wide-Circulation Magazine Short Stories, 1905-1955" (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1966), 97; Hartmann, Home Front, 164-165, 181.

14. "Statement by the president," 17 October 1945, file 63, box 145, President's Personal File, HSTL.

15. J. Stanley Lemons, The Woman Citizen: Social Feminism in the 1920s (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975), 25-30; U.S. Congress, Senate, Labor Bureau Report on Condition of Women and Child Wage-Earners in the United States, S. Doc. 645 (19 pts.), 61st Cong., 2d sess., 1910; Judith Sealander, As Minority Becomes Majority: Federal Reaction to the Phenomenon of Women in the Workforce (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1983), chap. 3.

16. This is much the same group that William O'Neill has called "social feminists" (O'Neill, Everyone was Brave: The Rise and Fall of Feminism in America [Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969]).

17. Susan D. Becker, "An Intellectual History of the National Woman's Party, 1920-1941" (Ph.D. diss., Case Western Reserve University, 1975), iii, 11, 166-169; Leila Rupp and Verta Taylor, Survival in the Doldrums: The American Women's Rights Movement, 1945 to the 1960s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 183, 349 (typescript MS).

18. Rupp and Taylor, Survival in the Doldrums, 171, 180, 188 (typescript MS); Nancy F. Cott, "Feminist Politics in the 1920s: The National Woman's Party," Journal of American History 71 (June 1984): 43-68; Leila J. Rupp, "The Women's Community in the National Woman's Party, 1945 to the 1960s," Signs 10 (Summer 1985): 718.

19. Scharf, To Work and to Wed, 134.

20. "Notes on proposed so-called 'Equal Rights Amendment' (for women) to the Constitution," by Constance Daniel, attached to Elizabeth Christman to Mary McLeod Bethune, 25 October 1944, folder 349, box 23, series 5, NCNW papers; Women's Joint Legislative Committee, minutes of meeting, 28 February 1946, folder 4, and "Report of the Convenor," 1943, folder 2, Katharine Norris papers, SL; Leila J. Rupp, "American Feminism in the Postwar Period," in Reshaping America: Society and Institutions, 1945-1960, ed. Robert H. Bremner and Gary W. Reichard (Columbus: Ohio University Press, 1982), 33-65.

21. Rupp and Taylor, Survival in the Doldrums, 383-404 (typescript MS).

22. William H. Chafe, The Unfinished Journey: America Since World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 17-22.

23. Chafe, American Woman, 129.

24. Sealander, As Minority Becomes Majority, 1.

25. Rupp and Taylor, Survival in the Doldrums, 73-83 (typescript MS).

26. Becker, "National Woman's Party," chap. 7.

27. New York Times, 7 October 1938.

28. The four senators who opposed the amendment in the Senate committee were Tom Connally (D-Tex.), Abe Murdock (D-Utah), Pat McCarran (D-Nev.), and John Danaher (R-Conn.), a political combination of no particular significance. "Pro: Should Congress Approve the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution?" Congressional Digest 22, no. 4 (April 1943): 107-110; Loretta J. Blahna, "The Rhetoric of the Equal Rights Amendment," (Ph.D. diss., University of Kansas, 1973), 53; Equal Rights, January-March 1949, 7; Thomas C. Pardo (ed.), The National Woman's Party Papers, 1913-1974: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition (Sanford, N.C.: Microfilm Corporation of America, 1979), 116-119; Mary Anderson to Dean Acheson, 8 June 1943, in folder "ERA, 1938-1943," box 1, Dean Acheson papers, HSTL; New York Times, 12 May 1942, 7 January 1943, 22 January 1943, 13 April 1943, 25 May 1943, 6 October 1943, 8 October 1943, 25 October 1943; Chafe, American Woman, 187-188.

29. Pardo, National Woman's Party Papers, 113-115.

30. Mary Anderson, Woman at Work: The Autobiography of Mary Anderson as Told to Mary Winslow (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1951).

31. Douglas B. Maggs to Mary Anderson, 29 June 1943, in folder "Bills, Equal Rights Amendment, S.J. Res. 25," box 89, RG 174 (Perkins), NA.

32. Frieda Miller to Frances Perkins, 23 September 1944, in ibid.

33. Frieda S. Miller, biographical notes, August 1956, SC 1104, WSHS; Frieda S. Miller to Frances Perkins, 23 September 1944, in folder "Bills, Equal Rights Amendment, S.J. Res. 25," box 89, RG 174 (Perkins), NA.

34. Eleanor Roosevelt to Rose Schneiderman, 11 February 1944, and Eleanor Roosevelt to Frances Perkins, 11 February 1944, folder 51, Mary Anderson papers, SL; Sara L. Buchanan to Frieda Miller and Miss Plunkett, 20 November 1945, in folder "Women's Bureau, U.N. Subcommittee on the status of Women," box "Committees--WB," Frieda Miller papers, SL.

35. Mabel Griswold, "Homemaker's Program--WHA, The Equal Rights Amendment," 22 June 1946, folder 2-6, NWP papers, WSHS.

36. New York Times, 27 June 1940.

37. New York Times, 7 May 1944, 27 June 1944, 19 July 1944, 21 July 1944; Pardo, National Woman's Party Papers, 120-125; Democratic National Committee, Office of Women's Activities, History of Women at Democratic National Conventions, in folder "Papers re: the 1964 Democratic National Convention," box 21, Margaret Price papers, BHL; 1940 Democratic Party Platform, in folder "ERA 1960-61," box "Women," Esther Peterson papers, SL; Frances Perkins to Dorothy McAllister, 8 July 1944, and L. Metcalfe Walling to Theodore Green, 14 July 1944, in folder "Bills, Equal Rights Amendments, S.J. Res. 25," box 89, RG 174 (Perkins), NA; ''Memorandum Concerning the Two Major Political Parties and the Equal Rights Amendment,'' reel 103, NWP papers (microfilm ed.); Chafe, American Woman, 187-188; Alice Paul, "Conversations with Alice Paul: Woman Suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment," an oral history conducted 1972-1973 by Amelia R. Fry, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1976, p. 516. Courtesy of The Bancroft Library.

38. Labor organizations included the AFL, the CIO, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America (National Committee to Defeat the UnEqual Rights Amendment, 28 September 1944, folder 21, box 3, Hattie Smith papers, SL).

39. National Committee for the Defeat of the UnEqual Rights Amendment, memorandum, 20 June 1945, folder 7, box 12, Helen Gahagan Douglas papers, Albert Archives, University of Oklahoma; National Committee for the Defeat of the UnEqual Rights Amendment, memorandum, 29 June 1945, folder 20, box 3, Hattie Smith papers, SL; New York Times, 19 November 1944.

40. Rupp and Taylor, Survival in the Doldrums, 398 (typescript MS).

41. The seven minority members included six Democrats and one Republican. Representative Louis Ludlow (D-Ind.) introduced the ERA as H.J. Res. 1 ( Equal Rights, January-March 1949, 6-7; Pardo, National Woman's Party Papers, 128; New York Times, 17 July 1945). The majority report was written by Fadjo Cravens (D-Ark.).

42. New York Times, 29 September 1945; Pardo, National Woman's Party Papers, 129-130; Mary Anderson to Maud Park, 2 October 1945, folder 60, Mary Anderson papers, SL.

43. "Alice W." to William Hassett, 22 March 1947, file 120-A, WHCF, HSTL. Franklin Roosevelt had never openly committed himself on this issue, although Alice Paul claimed that the death of FDR eliminated the "greatest opposition" (Edwin M. Watson, secretary to the president, to Sen. William Langer, 9 September 1943, file 120-A, WHOF, FDRL; Alice Paul oral history, p. 511).

44. David Niles to William Hassett, 1 February 1946, and Matthew J. Connelly to Dorothy McAllister, 18 February 1946, file 120-A, WHCF, HSTL. Truman ultimately did change his mind on the ERA. In 1963 he wrote to Emma Guffey Miller, in response to a letter from her, that he did not favor too many constitutional amendments and that the goals of ERA advocates could be achieved by legislation (Harry Truman to Emma Guffey Miller, 17 May 1963, reel 108, NWP papers [microfilm ed.]).

45. Ella M. Sherwin to Each Member of the 79th Congress, 9 May 1946, folder 7, box 12, Helen Gahagan Douglas papers, Albert Archives, University of Oklahoma.

46. U.S. Congress, Senate, Letter to the Senate, S.J. Res. 61, 79th Cong., 2d sess., 18 July 1946, Congressional Record 42: 9401; Blahna, "Rhetoric of the Equal Rights Amendment," 64-65.

47. "Republican Record on Equal Rights Amendment," and "Democratic Record on the Equal Rights Amendment," June 1948, folder 2-8, NWP papers, WSHS; Equal Rights, July-August 1946, 1-2.

48. Carl Hayden to Pauline Brown, 29 July 1946, and Carl Hayden to Warda Hulsey, 4 August 1946, folder 5, box 119, Carl Hayden papers, Arizona State University.

49. National Committee for the Defeat of the UnEqual Rights Amendment, newsletter, 31 July 1946, folder 20, box 3, Hattie Smith papers, SL.

50. New York Times, 20 July 1946.


Preferred Citation: Harrison, Cynthia. On Account of Sex: The Politics of Women's Issues, 1945-1968. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1988 1988.