Cott, Nancy F. "Feminist Politics in the 1920s: The National Woman's Party." The Journal of American History (June 1984): 7.

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Feminist Politics in the 1920s: The National Woman’s Party by Nancy F. Cott

Some day the story of the working of the National Woman’s Party machine will be told. It will be an interesting story, full of strange contradictions. It will tell of valiant self-sacrifice and magnificent defiance coupled with an incongruous willingness to appeal to the tradition of feminine weakness. It will be full of idealism and steadfast purpose and yet of a readiness to use any trick or pretense that might bring that purpose nearer to fulfillment. It will tell of independence and individual heroism existing side by side with obedience bordering on subservience. It will show sympathy and ruthlessness walking together. --Freda Kirchwey

Alice Paul does not belong to the revolution, but her leadership has had a quality that only the revolution can understand. --Crystal Eastman

The National Woman’s Party (NWP) is not well known. For a long time it has stood under a pall, its history obscured by being recounted from its opponents’ point of view when recounted at all. The minority faction among suffragists, it became an even more embattled minority among activist women in the 1920s because of its invention of the equal rights amendment. Insofar as it is known, the party has a paradoxical image. In histories of the suffrage movement in the 1910s, it appears as the militant, “left” wing; in histories of women’s reform movements of the 1920s, it appears as a clique of prosperous business and professional women, repellent to the Left. The one organization of women that openly declared itself feminist, it has attracted most of historians’ blame for the “demise” of feminism after woman suffrage was obtained. The whole story of feminism’s fate after 1920 is more interesting than ever because of possible parallels between the 1920s and the 1980s and an internal examination of the NWP and a clearer interpretation of it are necessary if we are to begin to understand the earlier decade [1].

The NWP grew from the Congressional Union, the suffrage organization Alice Paul and Lucy Burns founded when they broke with the leadership of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) early in 1913. Paul and Burns distinguished their approach from the mainstream in several ways that persisted as the Congressional Union evolved into the Woman’s Party (1916) and the NWP (1917). A group of, by, and for women, it concentrated on the federal (rather than state) government and aimed to amend the United States Constitution to gain woman’s rights; it used flamboyant publicity tactics, including street marches, open-air meetings, and eventually picketing of the White House and the Capitol; and it employed a “political” (rather than simply educative) strategy, attempting to marshal women’s votes (in the states where women were enfranchised) to punish “the party in power,” the Democratic party, until a woman suffrage amendment was passed. Between 1914 and 1919 the group took risks; it stood as “the party of youth” regardless of its members’ chronological age; its leaders did not fear and did not fail to rankle the stalwarts of the mainstream suffrage association. The party appealed to working-class women and inadvertently to left-wing women with its militant tactics, opposition to the government during wartime, and sidestepping of gentility at the same time it appealed to wealthy socialites with its newworthiness and its strategy of lobbying the president and national legislators in addition to exhorting the man on the street. In 1914 Alva Belmont (widow to Vanderbilt and Belmont millions) became the party’s financial angel and an important voice [2].

Only a fractional craft on the postsuffrage sea, the NWP made waves beyond its size because of the variety, devotion, and vigor of its organizers and members [3]. The organization charted a course with no contingencies, its orientation constantly toward a constitutional amendment for woman suffrage; and its heterogeneous membership worked toward that goal under control from above. “There is no difference of opinion in regard to Alice Paul in the Woman’s Party,” wrote Inez Haynes Irwin, the group’s historian. “With one accord, they say ‘She is the Party.' They regard her with an admiration which verges on awe.” Paul seems never to have imagined any other than a tightly knit, ideologically pure, vanguard party. Though V.I. Lenin was probably far from her ken or sympathy, Paul’s leadership style might be called “Leninist”; indeed, NWP organizer Doris Stevens thought in 1919 that Paul “must possess many of the same qualities that Lenin does, according to authentic portraits of him--cool, practical, rational, sitting quietly at a desk and counting the consequences.” By virtually all accounts of the 1910s, Paul was charismatic. Sara Bard Field, a West Coast radical admired for oratory, addressed her not untypically as “dear, wonderful Alice Paul with your great, moist violets of eyes that always make me want to be good and with your high daring soul that makes me want to achieve--not so much for my own sake as for the sake of the race”; and Stevens declared, “I have seen her very presence in headquarters change in the twinkling of an eye the mood of fifty people. It is not through their affections that she moves them, but through a naked force, a vital force which is indefinable but of which one simply cannot be unaware [4]." Paul hewed to a narrow course with superb determination, letting other considerations fall aside. “The point is first, who is our enemy,” she enunciated in August 1914, initiating the policy of “holding the party in power responsible,” “and then, how shall that enemy be attacked?” “To count in an election you do not have to be the biggest Party; you have to be simply an independent Party that will stand for one object and that cannot be diverted from that object,” she clarified two years later [5]. So long as Paul’s object commanded as much fervor as the constitutional route to woman suffrage did, she was highly effective in inspiring and leading a vanguard party.

The NWP’s 1917 strategy of picketing the White House (to persuade President E Woodrow Wilson to lead the Congress to pass woman suffrage) and carrying the "strike" to jail when pickets were arrested was its most daring media ploy, but its decision in 1917 to decline any organizational declarating regarding the United States entry into the World War was equally indicative of its course. While the pledged women's patriotism to the war effort, the NWP in recognition of its members varying points of view, refused commitment. In consequence of that negative policy and the party's persistent attacks on Wilson, the became a haven for socialist and pacifist suffragists and a de facto proponent of civil liberties during the war and postwar years 1917-1919. Although the direct action remained nonviolent, defensible as a form of free speech, some NAWSA loyalists decried the NWP as "the I.W.W. of the suffrage movement"; the police who held back demonstrators at Wilson's 1919 embarkation for Europe called them "cannibals" and "Bolsheviks." Despite the NAWSA leadership's conviction that actions were traitorous and counterproductive, and despite scorn for the NAWSA's distrust, the different approaches of the two organizations seem to have complemented one another. The endowed women suffrage with high drama, and the NAWSA insistently pursued its legislative plan to increase through state victories the number of states whose senators and congressmen would support a constitutional amendment for woman suffrage. If the NWP was wrong about Wilson’s power over senators’ votes, they were nonetheless convinced, more rightly, that their agitation had kept woman suffrage a national issue despite war and demobilization [6].

The year 1920 was a crucial one for every woman suffrage organization, not only because the principal goal was attained, but also because that attainment was conditioned by world-historical events--the World War, the Russian Revolution, labor unrest on an unprecedented scale, the Red Scare, economic recession--that made contemporaries sense that one era had ended and another had begun. NWP members’ opinions ranged from those who were “looking forward to the forming in this country of an historic feminist group--women who will go out to fight the forces of reaction as only they can fight them” to those who felt that “if the Woman’s Party dissolves, it will part of the general scheme--if it goes on, it will be a miracle [7].

By July 1920, a month before the final ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, Belmont was stressing the need for the NWP to continue as an organization to “obtain for women full equality with men in all phases of life and make them a power in the life of the state,” and Paul had enunciated as a worthy goal some form of “blanket” legislation that would remove all legal discriminations against women [8]. From September 1920 through February 1921, the party’s inner circle, the National Executive Committee, met monthly to hash our resolutions to present at the grand convention in February, where the future forms and goals (if any) of the party were ostensibly to be decided by the delegates present. While Paul gave many of her followers the impression that she was too exhausted to go on leading them, her predilections guided preparations. In December she told the National Executive Committee that Sue Shelton White (a lawyer and vigorous party worker since 1917), who had been surveying sex discriminations in state legal codes, had drawn up a “blanket bill” that “could be introduced in Congress and each legislature to sweep away these discriminations” and “could be offered at the final convention as a possible piece of work for the future.” Despite the contrary efforts of a few who wished for a broader-ranging program--especially Edith Houghton moved undeviatingly toward the majority resolution offered at the convention: that the NWP disband but immediately regroup under the same name, with its “immediate work” being “the removal of the legal disabilities of women [9]."

Hundreds of women arrivd at the February convention expecting to vent their opinions on the future of the organization. The minority report of the National Advisory Council (a second, broader tier of leadership below the National Executive Committee) produced the largest debate: it resolved that the party devote its efforts to disarmament. “Great masses of women do feel that the conservation of life, that the saving of the race from destruction is a feminist movement,” asserted Belle LaFollette (wife of Robert LaFollette), a delegate from Wisonsin. Many--but not sufficient to prevent that goal from being quashed--agreed with her and subsequently left the NWP to form and join pacifist groups [10]. Next, Crystal Eastman, a feminist-pacifist-socialist lawyer and cultural radical who had been among the inner circle since CU days, presented her program: to remove legal and customary barriers to women’s self-realization, to remake marriage laws and public opinion to eliminate the homemaker-childbearer’s economic dependence, to end laws prohibiting birth control, and to renovate the laws of inheritance, divorce, child custody, and sexual morality on the basis of sexual equality. Eastman predicted that “nobody that has a thread of modern feminism will care a rap” for the NWP if it adopted the “old fashioned” aim to remove legal disabilities. Her proposals were voted down, nonetheless, almost two to one [11].

The convention had been planned to include both ceremonial and political features: the first, a parade of banner-waving, wreath-bearing representatives of more than a hundred women’s organizations, attendant on the installation of marble sculptures of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott in the Capitol rotunda; next, the presentation of other women’s organizations’ legislative programs to inform and warm the NWP delegates’ debate and decision about their own future. The ceremony became political, however, since the NAWSA’s alienation from the NWP kept it and its successor, the League of Women Voters, from sending representatives to join in reverence for the suffrage pioneers [12]. And the political debate was ceremonial, at least in the eyes of disaffected delegates who saw it as a rubber stamp of the central leadership’s decision.

The votes in support of the majority resolution--to disband, to regroup immediately under the same name, and to adopt the program of ending women’s legal disabilities--were strong enough to suggest that the convention willingly supported Paul, although Eastman protested that the five hours left for actual discussion after all the speakers had had their turns were too short a time to allow the group to hammer out a program. Eastman, in the Liberator, and Freda Kirchwey, in the Nation, wrote acerbic articles characterizing the NWP leadership as a “steamroller” and a “machine.” Party members who identified themselves with the political Left, as Eastman and Kirchwey did, were generally disappointed with the convention’s outcome. Rebecca Hourwich of Chicago had “wanted the Woman’s Party to do something more radical”; Agnes Leach of New York objected that legal disabilities were “felt chiefly by women of property,” who could take care of themselves; Sylvie Thygeson of California “fail[ed] to see how women are to be liberated unless you get at the root of the matter [13]."

Once a new initiation fee of ten dollars and annual dues of ten dollars were set, more were alienated. Beulah Amidon of South Dakota refused to recruit members at so high a fee, which she felt made the party “at once a conservative, property-holding, upper-crust group” with whom she was “out of sympathy.” Emma Bancroft of Delaware likewise did not want to belong to the new party if it was to be an “aristocratic affair.” The temporary chairman of the new party, Elsie Hill of Connecticut who had joined as an organizer in 1913, remonstrated that both the Socialist party and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) asked for one dollar per month, or twelve dollars per year, from their members, that the nominal membership fee required by the NWP during the suffrage campaign had made Paul and others into “beggars” of rich women, and that the organization now had to be self-supporting. “The work must be supported by those who feel the need, and direction of it must be in the hands of those who really care [14]."

Hill’s response to a convention delegate displeased with the dismissal of disarmament shed additional light on the party’s stance at that transitional moment. “The only peculiar merit of the NWP in the past” was “its unswerving concentration on its aim and the spiritual daring of its tactics,” she believed, and all the competing resolutions at the convention would have diluted that. In Hill’s view the “natural thing” for women was “always to be drawn hither and thither and give their feeble undominating support to many very appealing issues,” but experience--she citedwomen’s pacifism in 1914-1916--showed her “that women have got to be more powerful in society before they can aid conclusively the real issues which affect them vitally.” Though antimilitarist, Hill felt strongly that “the greatest work” for the NWP was “to stick to the fight to increase the power of women, and their daring to use what power they have in securing immediate results, instead of merely announcing many beliefs.” Having seen her during her eight years as an organizer “the absorption of women in ever interest excepting that of their own class,” Hill was “not surprised that these interests still absorb them” but was “glad the National Woman’s Party remains a workshop in which those women who wish to work for women can at any time come back to the fight [15]."

The machinations surrounding the convention made it clear that the NWP’s single-issue politics and top-down control were intentional preferences of its leadership, not merely artifacts of the suffrage battle’s intensity. In 1916 the party had determined to align women voters against Wilson purely because of the suffrage question, not weighing in the calculation potential benefit to the Republican candidate Charles Evan Hughes, who had endorsed the idea of a woman suffrage amendment but whose views on preparedness and social legislation were repulsive to many women. In 1917 the party had refused to take an organizational stand on the World War, to avoid committing its membership to anything but woman suffrage. In 1920-1921 the goal of woman suffrage having been won, the party’s leadership moved to define a new single issue. To “remove all remaining forms of the subjection of women” became the party’s new rallying cry; but since, in Paul’s view, people needed “a simple, concrete object” to be mobilized, the removal of legal disabilities was to be the immediate work. Women who stayed with the party in the 1920s accepted the conditions that Paul’s leadership imposed. As Josephine Bennett, a wealthy Connecticut woman with radical politics, aptly summarized in a post-convention letter to Paul, “the group gathere there... wanted you and no one else to lead them ultimately and under those circumstances it was only right that they should adopt your program.” Though herself “not stirred over the removal of the ‘legal disabilities’ of women except as a part of a program of much larger scope,” Bennett was “no obstructionist” and believed “it was the one program that they could all unite upon [16]."

The NWP’s new priorities, Paul’s ruthlessness in paring away “diversions,” were clarified in a little-known controversy over black women voters at the convention. Despite early links between the woman’s rights and the antislavery movements, the suffrage movement after 1890 failed to take a stand against the oppression of blacks, knuckling under to the racism of the surrounding society, sacrificing principle and the interests or pride of black people, it seemed advantageous to white women’s obtaining the vote. Whether the NWP was more honorable on that score than was the NAWSA is debatable. The NWP’s insistence on the constitutional route to woman suffrage seemed especially aimed against the South, where racist fears of the black vote combined with archaic notions of white womanhood and the concern of textile manufacturers for a manipulatable female labor force to stymie woman suffrage attempts at the state level. During its “militant” years the NWP sought and gained the support of some black women, including two outstanding leaders, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell. Nonetheless, the NWP may have deserved the bitter assessment early in 1919 of Walter White, director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), following a wrangle with Paul, that “if they could get the Suffrage Amendment through without enfranchising colored women, they would do it in a moment [17]."

When the February 1921 convention was announced, Mary White Ovington, a white socialist, feminist, and founding member of the NAACP, wrote to all members of the NWP National Advisory Council whom she knew personally, urging them to arrange for a black woman to address the group. Describing how prospective black voters in the South were being terrorized, Ovington stressed that black women would never vote unless their rights were upheld by all other women. She urged that the convention appoint a committee to investigate and take action on this issue. Although several National Advisory Council members endorsed Ovington’s proposal, the response from the NWP headquarters was negative. Headquarters secretary Emma Wold, writing for Paul, explained that the convention could give the podium only to groups with legislative programs for women or with feminist aims. The point was to ensure that the NWP, in choosing its goals, did not duplicate another group’s work. Since Mary C. Talbert of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, the speaker whom Ovington recommended, represented a group with a “racial,” not a “feminist,” intent, she could not be featured. Wold emphasized concern about blacks that caused this refusal. She encouraged the appointment of black women as delegates who could speak from the floor. Headquarters did make efforts to facilitate the inclusion of blacks in state delegations, and when a black woman from Virginia, probably fearing segregation, inquired “how will the arrangements be for the colord delegates in this convenchion,” Wold replied for Paul that black delegates would have exactly the same arrangements as white delegates and would be seated with their state delegations. Paul also conferred with Hallie Brown, Terrell, and other black women leaders about representation of the National Association of Colored Women’s clubs at the ceremony unveiling the sculptures and reached agreement on a “representation of their race” satisfactory to the black women, according to Paul [18].

Black women’s formal presentation of their concerns at the convention was more significant, however, and here there was no satisfaction. Talbert, appreciating Ovington’s efforts, confessed, “I do not believe that Alice Paul is at all sincere, I doubt her very much on the color line.” Ovington herself, while trying to reverse the decision, judged that “Miss Paul unquestionably is more influenced by her southern white constituency than by those northerners who believe in working for the colored woman.” When Florence Kelley, leader of the National Consumers’ League and a member of the NWP National Executive Committee, intervened on behalf of Ovington’s plea, Paul gave her a more complicated explanation. Next on the NWP’s agenda, Paul said, and “by far the most important item of their immediate program” was to push for legislation “enforcing” woman suffrage by means of federal penal sanctions against any state registration or election official who discriminated against women. The proposed legislation was presumably aimed at southern states that disfranchised back women. Paul gave Kelley the impression that she feared Talbert’s “inflaming” the southerners at the convention, once the enforcement bill became known. Kelley concluded that “Miss Paul, as a Quaker woman is of course entirely in sympathy with Mrs. Talbert and her work” but “as a tacitician” denied the request for Talbert to speak from the podium. The NWP did in fact have an enforcement bill introduced to Congress, on December 30, 1920, by Wesley Jones, Republican senator from Washington [19]."

A group of black women subsequently took up the second part of Ovington’s request, for an investigation of voting rights violations. Early in February a large delegation claiming to represent five millioni black women in fourteen states called on Paul to point out violations of black voting rights in 1920 and to ask for opportunity to call the NWP’s attention to that travesty of the Nineteenth Amendment. Paul gave them only the same opportunity other individuals had--to speak as delegates from the convention floor. At the convention Ella Rush Murray, a white delegate from New York and member of the National Advisory Council, managed to present a minority resolution directing the NWP to form a committee to pressure Congress to investigate violations of the Nineteenth Amendment. (Mysteriously, her resolution, first moved at the National Advisory Council’s meeting on January 28, was left out of that meeting’s minutes and did not appear in the convention issue of the party’s newspaper, the Suffragist.) The resolution was voted down. In the Nation Kirchwey asserted that “Miss Paul was indifferent to” the appeal of the black women and “resented the presence of the delegation.” Kirchwey reported that black delegates were denied use of the elevator at the convention; moreover, she voiced a rumor that the NWP had agreed not to raise the race issue as a price for the ratification of woman suffrage in the South [20].

Paul’s view of the matter differed entirely. In a lengthy letter to the Nation (never printed and perhaps not even sent) and in letters to her intimates, Paul denied all of Kirchwey’s damaging allegations. The elevator story was a mistake: black women had been asked by the elevator boy to use the stairs but so had all the white women, until someone complained, whereupon everyone was allowed to use the elevator. Paul asserted, more significantly, that the NWP had never made a “deal” to ignore the racial question in the South but always as a general policy ignored all issues outside the woman suffrage amendment. She maintained that she had made sure, after receiving the black delegation, that they had the same opportunity everyone else did to present their views from the convention floor, although she anticipated southern white delegates’ hostility. Indeed, the entire white delegation from North Carolina at first refused to register, in protest against the black women’s presence, and only with difficulty were persuaded to attend at all; they stayed away from the ceremonial dinner, where they would have had to eat with black women, and one member refused to receive her “picket pin” because Terrell was awarded one at the same ceremony [21]. In Paul’s view no discrimination and no “machine” had operated. The convention had passed over black voting rights, as it had passed over disarmament and birth control, because its consensus genuinely formed around another goal, that of eliminating women’s legal disabilities [22].

Complaints surfaced from a few. Kelley expressed chagrin that the party had “welshed on the Negro question.” Agnes Chase joined the reorganized party with the caustic protest that its circulars ought to have said “for white women” rather than “women.” Murray declined to serve on the party’s new National Advisory Council, “in view of certain phases of the recent convention,” and ended her subscription to the party newspaper. After the convention the issue of the enforcement bill slipped from sight and was dropped entirely at a meeting of the National Executive Committee in May 1921 attended only by Hill and three southerners [23].

It was a great credit to Paul and her immediate lieutenants that they asserted the ongoing need for an association dedicated to women’s power, not to social service or to good government, but to “the removal of all remaining forms of subjection” of the female sex. The treatment of black women’s concerns at the convention forewarned, however, that the party’s interpretation of equal rights would narrow, rather than expand, its purview and its constituency. Paul presumed that equality of legal rights was, like woman suffrage, a “purely feminist” program on which women could unite regardless of their disagreements on other issues. Instead of encompassing the issue of black women’s voting rights in the circle of women’s legal equality, Paul regarded it as a diversion, and she regarded it as a diversion because black women were suffering an injustice imposed, not by sex, but by race--black men were similarly disfranchised. A diversion on which there might be controversy could not be taken up, for fear of compromising the goal on which presumably all women could agree. That Paul’s outlook was at least as much due to her conception of the viability of single-issue politics as it was to racism is strongly suggested by her similar attitude at the convention toward birth control as a “diversion” from the principal route. The party’s refusal to declare on any issue besides the woman suffrage amendment had been consistent with heterogeneity among its membership during the suffrage campaign, and Paul envisioned no difference in procedure for the future. But in the case of black women’s voting rights, Paul’s newly defined “simple, concrete object” excluded a group of women. The black women’s question at the convention was the first clear indication that in claiming to make equal rights--intrinsically so much thornier to define and to pursue than suffrage was--stand for and speak to all women, the NWP would stand for and speak to fewer and fewer women [24].

Besides those who did not join the reorganized NWP because their principal goal, suffrage, had been achieved, many women more strongly committed to black rights, pacifism, birth control, or social revolution departed. “I do not feel the interest in the new Woman’s Party which seems to fill the hearts of some of the old group,” wrote Jessie Hardy MacKaye, deserting to pacifism. Anne Martin, first president of the Woman’s Party when it was formed in the western states in 1916, resigned from the National Advisory Council “with all good wishes”; Lilla Day Monroe, president of the Kansas Women Lawyers’ Association, though “inordinately proud” of her past NWP involvement, could not consider herself “part and parcel of the new organization.” “The old crowd has scattered never to gather in the same way again,” a former organizer wrote presciently after a stay at headquarters in March. Two months after the membership total between 35,000 and 60,000 at its height in 1919-1920. By dunning people for earlier pledges as small as $1, by selling whatever was salable from the old headquarters, by enlisting new “founders” at $1000 apiece, and charging $10 for new members to join, the NWP paid off its $12,000 debt from the suffrage years in fairly short order, nonetheless. Small and large donations--the latter mainly from Belmont--kept the group far below--the party’s claim of 10,000 during the 1920s. Recognizing the motivation toward feminism among women at work, especially those in professional and semiprofessional fields, the NWP recruited members by structuring occupational councils: the Government Workers, Industrial Workers, Physicians, Homemakers councils, and so on, headed whenever possible by famous women such as Ruth Hale (Journalists), Zona Gale (Authors), Lavinia Dock (Nurses), and Ethel Barrymore (Actresses) [26].

To translate “the removal of legal disabilities” into legislation was the prime task. Paul had been experimenting with forms for a constitutional amendment to end sex discrimination in law even before the convention gave its mandate. As a sequel to their strategy in the suffrage campaign, NWP leaders clearly preferred the “clean sweep” approach of amending the Constitution. (It should be noted, of course, that many reformers who did not support an equal rights amendment in the 1920s sought the route of constitutional amendments to accomplish other reforms, from the abolition of child labor to the outlawry of war.) Party leaders began surveying state legal codes for sex discriminations, conferring with lawyers, drumming up attendance for a delegation to President Warren G. Harding, and drafting numerous versions of equal rights legislation and amendments for the state as well as the federal level [27].

When the issue of laws that protected women’s hours, wages, and conditions of work came up, as it immediately did, NWP leaders at first made exceptions to their blanket legislation plans. For example, in March 1921 Paul advised the chairman of the Massachusetts NWP

to be very certain that none of the legislation which you introduce in any way disturbs any protective legislation that may have been passed in your state for the welfare of women. I do not think we want to interfere in any way with the so called welfare legislation that has been passed at the instance of the Consumers League and other organizations for the purpose of protecting women from night work and from too long hours of labor, even though this legislation may not be equal for men and women. That is, it seems to me when there is an equality in which the position of women is better than that of men, we do not want to bring the standard for women down to that of men, but want, on the contrary, to bring that of men up to the standard existing for women.

Early in 1921 NWP member Mabel Raef Putnam led a coalition in Wisconsin that succeeded in getting passed a state bill to grant women the same rights and privileges as men, exempting “the special protection and privileges which they now enjoy for the general welfare.” Nonetheless, members of women’s groups who had led in creating sex-based protective legislation were becoming nervous and distrustful, suspecting that the NWP was less interested in preserving labor laws than in attaining “equal rights” and fearing that any blanekt legislation, even with safeguarding clauses, would endanger welfare provisions for women and would throw the question of industrial protection into the reactionary courts [28].

Meanwhile, differences of opinion within the NWP were surfacing. A few members had for some time seen sex-based protective legislation as only another form of sex discrimination and opposed it. One was Harriot Stanton Blatch (daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton), a New York State suffrage leader whose views had formed under the influence of Fabian socialists in England about 1900. Paul seems to have favored such legislation early on. Before the suffrage campaign she (like many other suffragists) had worked in settlement houses and with wage-earning women. Her letters of 1920-1921 affirming her desire to preserve labor legislation for women sound sincere. During 1921, however, Gail Laughlin, a prickly lawyer, NWP suffragist, and first president of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs (1919-1920) who like Blatch opposed labor legislation restricted to women, seems to have exerted greater influence on Paul. Laughlin chaired the NWP Lawyers Committee that in the fall of 1921 drew up drafts of state bills and a federal amendment lacking the exempting clause. By late November the handwriting appeared on the wall as Paul explained to a New York member, Jane Norman Smith, “Personally, I do not believe in special protective labor legislation for women and men alike in a trade or in a geographical district and not along sex lines. I think that enacting labor laws along sex lines is erecting another handicap for women in the economic struggle.” The NWP was still trying to draft an amendment that would preserve special labor legislation, nonetheless, and continued to introduce state equal rights bills with safeguards through the following spring [29].

At Kelley’s behest, Paul and three other NWP members met in December 1921 with leaders of the League of Women Voters, the National Women’s Trade Union League, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs to discuss the amendment now proposed by the NWP: “No political, civil or legal disabilities or inequalities on account of sex, or on account of marriage unless applying alike to both sexes, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Kelley asked Paul to hold the amendment back until the saftey of the labor laws could be assured; she proposed that “civil” and “legal” be removed from the wording. Having been betrayed on the “Negro question,” Kelley seemed entirely distrustful of Paul. Kelley disapproved of blanket equal rights measures, regardless of safeguards, thinking they were “as dangerous as anything can possibly be” in the hands of the courts. At the meeting Paul was her one-issue self, asserting that pursuit of equal legal rights, not concern for other legislation was her organization’s mandate. The NWP had no particular intention to dislodge protective laws, she said, but had not (in twenty-six drafts) been able to arrive at language that would preserve such legislation without compromising the amendment’s intent. Evading direct questions about her own opinions, Paul conceded that several members of the National Executive Committee, especially Laughlin, opposed labor or welfare laws based on sex. Two other NWP members present, however--Dora Lewis and Maud Younger--said they strongly supported the eight-hour day and minimum wage for women. (They, like many other NWP members, had devoted themselves to establishing such laws early in the century.) Paul refused Kelley’s suggestion about wording because, she said, it would render the amendment worthless, but she welcomed others. Ethel Smith of the Women’s Trade Union League and Maud Wood Park of the League of Women Voters left the meeting very worried about “a cleavage among women... which would be most deplorable and harmful to women’s interests” though not at all willing themselves to temper their opposition to an equal rights amendment. Kelley was deeply distressed about the threat to welfare legislation. All felt that compromise was unlikely. By mid-1922 Kelley’s, Ethel Smith’s, and Park’s organizations, and the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the American Home Economics Association besides, had gone on record opposing blanket equal rights legislation [30].

Already, each side on the question of an equal rights amendment though the other intransigent, although debate within the NWP went on. At the February meeting of the National Advisory Council, Caroline Spencer of Colorado introduced an amendment worded, “Equality of the sexes shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex or marriage.” She argued that the NWP should not be concerned with the fate or special labor legislation. Younger countered her, but the tide was turning. Younger was one of the last holdouts. How the lack of flexibility or cooperation shown by other women’s organizations affected that (seemingly inevitable) evolution is impossible to judge. In April, Laughlin communicated her views, which became definitive. She mollified those who still favored sex-based labor legislation by reasoning, lawyer-like, that the equal rights amendment declared women’s freedom of contract no more strongly than did the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments, already on the books and more than once overridden in the name of the state’s police power. Laughlin herself strongly opposed sex-based legislation. “If women can be segregated as a class for special legislation along any line,” she asserted, “the same classification can be used for special restrictions along any other line which may, at any time, appeal to the caprice or prejudice of our legislatures.” If sex-based laws were not abolished and prohibited, “the advancement of women in business and industry will be stopped and women relegated to the lowest, worst paid labor [31]."

The “clean sweep” approach seemed all the more appealing to NWP leaders as their lobbyists working on state legislatures made little headway between 1921 and 1923 in eliminating specific sex discriminations. By analogy with the suffrage struggle, frustration at the state level fueled the rationale for a constitutional amendment. At a grand conference staged in Seneca Falls, New York, in November 1923 to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of Stanton’s Declaration of Sentiments, the NWP introduced an equal rights amendment stating, “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” The amendment was introduced into Congress on December 10, 1923 [32].

Forging ahead, the NWP cut its links with most women connected to the labor movement, who remained convinced of the need for sex-specific protection. The few NWP members with strong labor attachments, such as Blatch, insisted that trade union organizing, not special legislation, should protect women workers’ interests. The NWP presented its opposition to sex-based legislation as a positive program of industrial equality, but only a handful of working-class activists agreed. Representatives of the AFL and of several international unions as well as a lengthy list of women’s groups voiced opposition at the first Senate subcommittee hearings on the equal rights amendment. Mary Anderson, director of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor, fiercely opposed the NWP and threw the bureau’s weight against the amendment [33].

The arguments against the equal rights amendment offered by the various groups overlapped. They assumed that an amendment would invalidate sex-based labor laws or, at least, throw them (and welfare laws designed for mothers and widows) into the courts for protracted argument, during which time women would lose needed benefits. They argued that sex discriminations would be more efficiently and accurately removed from legal codes by attacking each case. Opponents of the amendment asserted that women workers, wary of employers’ freedom to exploit them, valued sex-based labor legislation and that maximum-hour laws for women had benefited men, too, in factories where male workers could not continue operations since female employees had left for the day. If protective laws hampered job opportunities for some small occupations, not to eliminate the laws altogether. They declared that only the elite who did not have to work at all or professional women whose conditions of work were entirely different could possibly denigrate the benefits of protective laws. They regularly accused the NWP of being the unwitting tool (at best) or the paid servant of rapacious business interests, although no proof was ever brought forward [34].

In the NWP’s view the equal rights amendment was the logical sequel to woman suffrage, the fulfillment of Susan B. Anthony’s vision. The many differences in state codes and practices in sex discriminations made a constitutional amendment the most direct route to equal rights. Protective laws that classed women with children as “the industrial and political wards of the state” only manifested women’s long history of economic dependence and served to preserve the most lucrative and interesting jobs for men. (With reason the NWP accused the AFL of supporting sex-based protective legislation in order to keep women from competing for men’s jobs.) By eliminating “anachronism” in the law, the amendment would encourage women to become self-respecting citizens, to slough off their history of subservience and their embedded psychology of the unpaid worker. Women workers’ real interests lay in obtaining equal access to job opportunities and to trade union organization, the NWP maintained. The party became the champion of working women materially hurt by protective legislation, such as printers or railroad conductors or waitresses hampered by hours limitation, or cleaning women fired and replaced by men after the passage of minimum-wage laws. At the same time, the NWP expressed no opposition to protective labor legislation as such or to protection of motherhood, so long as neither legally treated women “as a class” [35].

This is not the place to analyze the controversy over the equal rights amendment in its full complexity, except to say that the opponents’ attempts to portray the amendment as “class” legislation were simplistic, just as the proponents’ attempts to portray it as legislation affecting only sex equality understated the case. Neither side acknowledged the real ambiguities and complications of the workings of sex-based protective legislation at the time. While the antiamendment side was right, in that protective laws had improved conditions for he great majority of women in industry, the proamendment side was also right, in that the laws had limited women’s opportunities in the labor market and had helped to sustain the notion that women were dependent and secondary wage earners [36]. Supporters of protective legislation did not see that their expectations of women, rooted in biological and customary notions of women’s place and purpose, helped to confirm women’s second-class position in the economy. Nor did advocates of the equal rights amendment recognize the need protective legislation addressed or acknowledge that their program of equal rights would not in itself free women’s economic opportunity from the stranglehold of the domestic stereotype.

When the Supreme Court in 1923 used reasoning consonant with the NWP’s to invalidate the minimum-wage law covering women in the District of Columbia, the party’s newspaper, Equal Rights, applauded but deferred: “It is not within the province of the Woman’s Party, as a purely feminist organization, to discuss the constitutional question involved or to discuss the merits of minimum wage legislation as a method of bettering labor conditions. On these points we express no opinion [37]." Just as black voting rights had been judged outside the “purely feminst,” so was the betterment of labor conditions. That single-mindedness made the NWP virtually anathema to labor and the Left. In the 1920s context of Republican domination, with business in the saddle and with labor interests losing out in both trade union organization and state protection, to express no policy but equal rights for women was to affirm the status quo in every other respect. Although NWP members did not hold consistently laissez-faire views, the single-mindedness of their espousal of equal rights made them appear to. While the NWP was able to hold on through the 1920s to a few of its longtime members who had vital interests in changing conditions for the working masses, it could not recruit new ones with its insistence on “purely feminist” claims.

The NWP followed its exclusion-in-effects of blacks and of labor interests--though in the case of the latter the process was certainly not one-sided--with a decision in 1928 that alienated its adherents and potential adherents among Democrats. Standing on its head the earlier policy of “holding the party in power responsible” for failure to pass the desired amendment, the NWP formally endorsed the Republican ticket. Herbert Hoover’s vice-presidential running mate, Charles Curtis, had been responsible for introducing the equal rights amendment in the Senate. The NWP had sent speakers to exhort equal rights planks to both the Republican and the Democratic conventions in the summer of 1928, with mixed results. The Democratic party adopted a straddling plank that linked women’s welfare with children’s; the Republican party endorsed the notion of women’s equality but not the amendment. At a special conference at headquarters early in September, the NWP under the chairmanship of Jane Norman Smith decided to endorse Hoover and Curtis.

The rationale was that the Republican ticket, with Curtis on it, offered the best likelihood of success for the equal rights amendment. Alfred E. Smith, the Democratic candidate, had made clear his support for sex-based protective legislation. The Socialist candidate, Norman Thomas, had stated his opposition to the amendment. The Prohibitionist candidate endorsed the amendment, but he was not on the ballot in every state. NWP publicity emphasized that solely the parties’ positions relative to the amendment dictated its endorsement; its intent was to make the amendment an election issue. Formally and informally the NWP reminded all that it was following its characteristic mode of pressure on whatever party needed pressing: in 1916 it had thrown its weight against the Democrats; in 1920 it had picketed the Republican convention to speed ratifications of the woman suffrage amendment by recalcitrant Republican-controlled state legislatures; in 1924 it had supported independent and third-party female candidates for Congress (all running against Republicans). The 1928 position was another instance of “remaining independent to use our votes in the way that we decide will be of greatest help to Equal Rights [38]."

That decision aroused immediate--and in some cases fatal--remonstrance from some leading members, both old and new. Lavinia Dock, one of the party’s remaining socialists, most picturesquely objected, “I could no more cast a vote for the Republican Party than I could swallow a large, smooth, green caterpillar”; Sue Shelton White, a Tennessee Democrat, disavowed the party’s choice and never came back to the fold; Emma C. Johnson, a founder six or seven years earlier, saw the decision as “a fair piece of ‘railroading,’” judged that the organization had “grossly betrayed women,” and tendered her resignation. Most objectors made the point that Curtis would not be president and that Hoover--who had appointed Margaret Dreier Robins, a National Women’s Trade Union League leader and clear opponent of the equal rights amendment, head of his campaign among industrial working women--promised no brighter prospects for the amendment than Alfred E. Smith. The basis for the endorsement seemed even flimsier when on October 26, 1928, Hoover made a statement opposing any change in protective labor laws applying to women. Ruby Black, a member who had never liked the endorsement, now protested that the NWP would be a laughingstock. Not as a Democrat, but as “a Feminist first of all,... not greatly interested in any other issue,” she implored a change. A special meeting of seven members of the National Council led by Jane Norman Smith affirmed the decision a few days later, however [39].

Paul was not present during official moves toward the endorsement, but the action had her hallmarks: the decision was made at the top, the focus on the equal rights amendment was single-minded, and much more sympathy for the Republican than for the Democratic party was manifest. Although Paul usually avoided high office in the NWP during the 1920s, there is little question that her wishes determined major policy decisions. In 1928 Paul saw the opportunity to repeat the strategy of 1916, regardless that true parallels were lacking. Jane Norman Smith shared Paul’s point of view on the Hoover candidacy and handily led the NWP’s action. Jane Norman Smith, a longtime Republican and director of the NWP’s “industrial equality” (that is, anti-protective legislation) activities, had behind her several years of head-to-head battling in New York State with proponents of sex-based labor legislation who were favored by the administration of Gov. Alfred E. Smith. She also believed entirely in Paul’s “Leninist” structure. “The only reason the Woman’s Party has been able to get anywhere is because it hasn’t been hampered by an organization along the lines of the League of Women Voters, and hasn’t been confronted with an endless amount of red tape when action was necessary,” she wrote to Alma Lutz, a Boston members. In 1933 Jane Norman Smith came into direct conflict over this question with Edith Houghton Hooker, who had consistently advocated broadening the base and the compass of the NWP. Not only did Jane Norman Smith not want to move in the direction of democratization and decentralization advocated by Hooker, she even wanted to dissolve the occupational councils, lest the NWP become like the League of Women Voters or women’s clubs, and “the tail will begin to wag the dog!” [40].

The authoritarian character of the NWP leadership became obvious to any who really participated in its work. As several women who were invited to serve on the National Advisory Council in 1921 commented, even that second-tier group had never been “advisory” nor been asked for “council” [41]. In 1928 not only the endorsement of Hoover but also the NWP’s turn toward international work for equal rights gave evidence that the ruling coterie ruled, regardless of whether any mass base supported their aims. The NWP’s international efforts had begun in 1926, when the League of Women Voters’ successful endeavor to keep the NWP from membership in the International Woman Suffrage Alliance joined the battle between equal rights advocates and protective legislation supporters across the seas. The presence of women allies in Europe and South America (where also opinion was divided between pro-and antiprotectionists) encouraged the NWP’s greater emphasis after 1928 on international treaties incorporating equal rights provisions, as did, too, a domestic political atmosphere hostile to (NWP) efforts once Franklin D. Roosevelt became governor of New York and then president of the United States. Paul, studying international law in the 1920s, framed her aims more and more abstractedly and legalistically; her interest in international organization was spurred by Belmont’s grandiose visions of an “International Parliament of Women.” Belmont lived in France from 1920 until her death in 1933, and Paul constantly curried her favor to keep financial support flowing. Although the extent of Belmont’s power over NWP decisions is not clear--some members regarded her as an old crank--she held the office of president for years and unquestionably had her greatest influence in fostering the party’s international efforts. Here she not only goaded Paul but also kept Doris Stevens, a shrewd and effective activist, at her beck and call. At the Sixth Pan American Conference in Havana, Cuba, in January 1928, Stevens interjected the NWP point of view into the discussions of the Inter-American Commission on Women and continued to serve vociferously on the commission for more than ten years [42].

Hooker’s dispute with Jane Norman Smith in 1933-1934 and an interparty schism that shortly resulted manifested a crisis that had been building since 1928 because of such factors as action at the top, disreguard for inviting or involving membership participation, and more distant and more legalistic application of the concept of equal rights. Those practices dimmed the beacon of the NWP’s feminist ideas, beset anyway by the depression economy. Hooker noted early in 1924 that the treasury for the previous year showed five or six hundred paid members. But Hooker’s attempts at that point to build up the state organizations and to collaborate with other women’s groups on aims they shared were flattened by “the most spectacular exhibition of autocracy,” Hooker herself said. “The steam roller plied back and forth.” Another member who saw galvanizing more women as a priority also had practically no hope that it will be given any serious thought by any considerable group of the leaders; for these leaders are too largely made up of pioneers who are gripped by conservatism. They will not face facts... One’s having been ‘jailed for the CAUSE’ seems to make one an oracle.” In forming a vanguard party, Paul seems to have been oblivious to Lenin’s warning, “Be it remembered that in order to become the vanguard, we must attract other classes.” Or, as Hooker editorialized in not-so-veiled language in the throes of the 1934 crisis, “the leaders are powerless unless they have massed behind them ever-growing and evermore insistent followers... If the rank and file of women do not realize their subjection, how can they be expected to struggle to free themselves [43]?"

Although it was not so obvious before 1928, the NWP neglected what had been, historically, a crucial element in building the woman movement: the process of grass-roots participation. The neglect was not fatal during the suffrage movement, since the party entered rather late and, as Carrie Chapman Catt later bitterly said, “played the cuckoo, and laid its eggs in nests that had cost too much to build [44]." In the 1920s the NWP continued its reputation for working at the top, lobbying presidents and members of Congress; it staged brilliant events attended by notable people and carried out daring exploits for publicity; it attracted some individuals of artistic and professional renown, such as poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and aviator Amelia Earhart. The ideas, researches, and perceptions of its small number of proponents were outstandingly acute: Equal Rights tracked instances of sex discrimination and of women’s accomplishments around the world, editorialized about sex-role conditioning and the hypocrisies of gender hierarchy, published historical, autobiographical, and speculative essays on women’s condition, and recorded the legislative progress of equal rights. Yet party leaders, who call themselves “Feminists,” never recognized that cumulative grass-roots movement, as historian Ellen DuBois points out, was essential to the woman’s rights legacy they saw themselves heir to [45].

The significance of the suffrage movement, DuBois emphasizes, is that it was a movement, in which “increasing numbers of women would be transformed through the process of acting deliberately and collectively to achieve the equality and independence that enfranchisment seemed to promise.” Sara Evans’s history of the beginnings of the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s likewise emphasizes the importance of deliberative and collective process in the transformation of consciousness on an effective scale. DuBois’s argument for the mid-nineteenth century applies to the much more recent period as well: that “it was women’s involvement in the movement” itself that “created the basis for new social relations between men and women.” The NWP, however, left out process entirely and focused single-mindedly on its goal of equal rights, conceived ever more abstractly. The equal rights amendment, supposed to be the first step in an agenda to end women’s subjection, became itself the panacea. Stevens recognized this when in an acid critique of 1946 she wrote, “To my way of thinking the NWP in its direction since 1923 has lost more [and] more of that great feminist tradition handed on to our care from the 18th century. We are bogged down in legal formalism.” The “dead hand” of Paul prevented anyone from “revitalizing the feminist climate”: “the sad, bleak truth is that AP [Alice Paul] dislikes people... can’t be bothered with members... No sooner does a struggling state org[anization] show signs of life than, I am told, AP picks off their best workers for money and ‘lobbying’... men on whom they have no claim... One of our pioneers said lately, ‘If AP had died 25 years ago, we’d now have the amendment [46].'"

The failure to ratify the equal rights amendment in the 1980s indicates how obstacle-ridden the path of the amendment has been and thus how wrong, in one respect, that commentator on Paul was; yet Stevens’s lament had a firm basis. Certainly a mix of historical factors in the 1920s conditioned the NWP’s fate: the impasse over sex-based protective legislation was one; the defensive antisocialist trend of American politics was another; the panache of self-seeking in the younger generation was a third--not to speak of the deeprootedness of gender hierarchy in the culture at large. But the NWP just as certainly had its dynamic, forged in the suffrage struggle and applied and misapplied obsessively after that. Though a full and fair treatment of the NWP would require richer detailing of its members, leaders, and activities, that dynamic is clear. It is not to dismiss the NWP’s efforts--its carrying the banner of equal rights at state, federal, and international levels, its sustenance of a community of interest among its members, its serving as a resource for women seeking feminist affiliation--to acknowledge that after 1928 its once-envisioned vanguard role was no more. Considering its very small numbers and the odds against it, one can be amazed at what the NWP did in fact accomplish toward equal rights legislation in the interwar period, all the while it became less and less able or likely to lead a movement of women.

Initiated in a vision of inclusiveness, a stand for all women, the NWP campaign for equal rights devolved into a practice of exclusiveness and a defense of the status quo with regard to everything but the gender question. That devolution owed in great part to Paul’s assumption that equal rights (like suffrage, in her view), a demand relevant to all women, was separable from all other issues. Paul posed women’s political options in either-or, rather than both-and, terms: “work for women” (which meant equal rights) or something else. Within that framework NWP loyalists chose equal rights. Women who had any other priority were “followers of men, worms of the dust,” in the vitriolic words of Caroline Spencer, “who cannot see that the tyranny of half the race over the half is the first wrong to be righted, and its overthrow, the greatest revolution conceivable [47]."

As a result of its construction of the gender imperative, the NWP made equal rights an abstract goal, because placing it in the context of social reality would have required stands on social and political issues that affected women but that were not strictly gender questions. (The suffrage battle might have provided a different lesson, regarding the separability of women’s rights from politics in general, but perhaps only long retrospect allows us to see that feminist movements flourish best in the midst of other reforming politics and in alliance with other reforming aims.) With some justice Mary Anderson accused the NWP of putting the “woman question” first and of demanding that “the solution of all others should be determined solely by what is done with women’s problems [48]." A tremendous irony lies here. The NWP set out to erase legislation that treated women “as a class” but predicated its feminism on construing women as a class, that “other half” of the human race. Its dilemma was the dilemma of twentieth-century feminism, that it required gender consciousness for its basis while it aimed for the dissolution of prescribed gender roles.

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End Notes

1. Historians’ neglect or distortion of the National Woman’s Party (NWP) owes much to the fact that in compiling their massive documentary history of woman suffrage, leaders of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) systematically documented their own efforts and not those of other suffrage groups. See Ida Husted Harper, ed., The History of Woman Suffrage, vols. 5 and 6, 1900-1920 (New York, 1922). For information on the Congressional Union (CU) and the NWP, see Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States (Cambridge, Mass., 1959), 261-70, 275-77, 282-89. For NWP and NAWSA leaders, see Aileen S. Kraditor, The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1890-1920 (New York, 1965), esp. 231-48. For the CU-NWP stance during the suffrage movement, see William P. O’Neill, Everyone was Brave: The Rise and Fall of Feminism in America (Chicago, 1969), 126-30, 166-67, 201-04. For treatments of the NWP during the 1920s, see ibid., 273-94; William Henry Chafe, The American Woman: Her Changing Social, Economic and Political Roles, 1920-1970 (New York, 1972), 112-26; and J. Stanley Lemons, The Woman Citizen: Social Feminism in the 1920s (Urbana, 1973), 49, 54, 118, 181-204. The most thorough study of the NWP after 1920 is Susan D. Becker, The Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment: American Feminism between the Wars (Westport, Conn., 1981). This is a work of useful scholarship but relies on the NWP newspaper Equal Rights, rather than on the archives, and thus inevitably overstates the approach of Edith Houghton Hooker, editor of Equal Rights, and underestimates the behind-the-scenes power of Alice Paul. The National Woman’s Party Papers, now deposited at the Library of Congress, are available in two microfilm sets, “National Woman’s Party Papers: The Suffrage Papers, 1913-1920” (Microfilming Corporation of America, 1982); and “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974” (Microfilming Corporation of America, 1979). The NWP correspondence appears in chronological order, without diversion into container or file, on the microfilm.

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2. For the CU-NWP history before 1920, see Loretta Ellen Zimmerman, “Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party, 1912-1920,” (Ph.D. diss., Tulane University, 1964); Sidney Roderick Bland, “Techniques of Persuasion: The National Woman’s Party and Woman Suffrage, 1913-1919” (Ph.D. diss. George Washington University, 1972); and Christine A. Lunardini “From Equal Suffrage to Equal Rights: The National Woman’s Party, 1913-1923” (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1981). The major accounts by participants are Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom (New York, 1920); Inez Haynes Irwin, The Story of the Woman’s Party (New York, 1921); and Caroline Katzenstein, Lifting the Curtain: The State and National Woman Suffrage Campaigns in Pennsylvania as I Saw Them (Philadelphia, 1955).

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3. Mabel Vernon agreed with the NAWSA claim to 98 percent of the suffrage army and stressed the vigor of NWP organizers. Mabel Vernon interview by Amelia R. Fry, 1976, “Mabel Vernon: Speaker for Suffrage and Petitioner for Peace,” pp. 190-91, Suffragists Oral History Project (Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley). Paul claimed 5 percent for the CU and allowed NAWSA 95 percent. Alice Paul interview by Amelia r. Fry, 1976, “Conversations with Alice Paul: Woman Suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment,” p. 327, Suffragists Oral History Project. Loretta Ellen Zimmerman finds that the group had no more than 20,000 members in 1917, when Paul claimed 40,000. Zimmerman, “Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party,” 243. The acting chairman of the NWP in 1921 said the national membership in 1919 stood at “about 40,000.” Elsie Hill to Mrs. Dorothy C. Rice, March 30, 1921, reel 7, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 191301974.” Inez Haynes Irwin, official historian of the NWP, claimed no more than 50,000 for the NWP at the height of the suffrage fight when NAWSA had about 2 million members. Inez Haynes Irwin, Angels and Amazons: A Hundred Years of American Women (Garden City, N.Y., 1933), 392.

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4. Irwin, Story of the Woman’s Party, 15; Stevens, Jailed for Freedom, 17, 10-11; Sara Bard Field to Alice Paul, Jan. 7, 1921, reel 5, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.” For another reference to the NWP as “Leninist,” see Marjory Nelson, “Ladies in the Streets: A Sociological Analysis of the National Woman’s Party, 1910-1930” (Ph.D. diss., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1976), 315, 320-21. The top-down control exercised early in the CU is emphasized in Bland, “Techniques of Persuasion,” 78-79, 178. See also Lunardini, “From Equal Suffrage to Equal Rights,” 118. Lavinia Dock referred tongue-in-cheek to “our Comrade Alice Paul Lenin.” Lavinia Dock to Emma Wold, Jan. 1921, reel 6, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.”

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5. Irwin, Story of the Woman’s Party, 75-151.

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6. New York Times, Feb. 10, 1919, p.4; Stevens, Jailed for Freedom, 332. For antiwar suffragists and woman suffrage, see Mari Jo Buhle, Women and American Socialism, 1870-1920 (Urbana, 1981), 237-38. An excellent study revealing the NWP’s joining with radical politics in 1917-1919 is Carole A. Nichols, “A New Force in Politics: The Suffragists’ Experience in Connecticut” (M.A. essay, Sarah Lawrence College, May 1979), esp. 39-43. For conjunction of NWP and NAWSA strategies, see Stevens, Jailed for Freedom, 250-51; Bland, “Techniques of Persuasion,” 134-38; Flexner, Century of Struggle, 290-92; David Morgan, Suffragists and Democrats: The Politics of Woman Suffrage in America (East Lansing, 1972), 121-23; and Anne F. Scott and Andrew M. Scott, One Half the People: The Fight for Woman Suffrage (Philadelphia, 1975), 40-42.

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7. Mary Heaton Vorse to Florence Brewer Boeckel, May 5, 1920, reel 4, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Harriet Brewer to Miss [Mabel] Vernon, Jan. 18, 1921, reel 5, ibid. Cf. Rebecca Hourwitch Reyher interview by Amelia R. Fry and Fern Ingersoll, 1973, “Search and Struggle for Equality and Independence,” p.23, Suffragists Oral History Project; and Alice Park to Suffragist, Nov. 30, 1920, reel 5, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.”

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8. National Executive Committee, National Woman’s Party, minutes, July 9, 1920, reel 114, part A, series 2, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; New York Times, July 18, 1920, sec. 6, p. 6; Peter Geidel, “The National Woman’s Party and the Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920-1923,” Historian, 42 (Aug. 1980), 562.

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9. National Executive Committee, National Woman’s Party, minutes, Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 16, Dec. 10, 1920, Jan.22, Feb. 14, 1921, reel 114, part A, series 2, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.” The words “if desired” were added by hand after “introduced” and “offered” in the portions of the minutes quoted.

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10. National Woman’s Party Convention, transcript, Feb. 15-18, 1921, p. 117, folder 18, Alma Lutz Collection MC182 (Schlesinger Library, Cambridge Mass.). For Former suffragists’ peace activism in the early 1920s, see Charles DeBenedetti, Origins of the Modern American Peace Movement, 1915-1929 (Millwood, N.Y., 1978), 86-97; and Charles Chatfield, For Peace and Justice: Pacifism in America, 1914-1941 (Knoxville, 1971), 147-50.

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11. National Woman’s Party Convention, transcript, Feb. 15-18, 1921, pp. 129-34. The vote against Crystal Eastman’s proposal was 170-95. Many years later Paul described Eastman’s proposal as “a very involved feminist program...embracing everything that Russia was doing and taking in all kinds of things that we didn’t expect to take in at all...[W]e didn’t give a second thought to it.” Paul interview, 259.

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12. For invitees, arrangements, and charges for the ceremony, see correspondence Jan.-Feb. 1921, reel 6, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; National Executive Committee, National Woman’s Party, minutes, Jan. 14, 1921, reel 114, part A, series 2, ibid.; and Geidel, “National Woman’s Party and the Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment” [Historian], 563.

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13. Crystal Eastman, “Alice Paul’s Convention,” Liberator, 4 (April 1921), 9-10; Freda Kirchwey, “Alice Paul Pulls the Strings,” Nation, March 2, 1921, pp.332-33. Rebecca Hourwich to Hill, May 6, 1921, reel 8, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Agnes B. Leach to Paul, March 25, 1921, reel 7, ibid.; Leach to Mrs. [Elizabeth] Rogers, Feb. 25, 1921, reel 6, ibid.; Sylvie Thygeson to Hill, March 30, 1921, reel 7, ibid.

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14. Beulah Amidon to National Woman’s Party, n.d. [April 1921], reel 7, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Emma C. Bancroft to Hill, March 24, 1921, ibid.; Hill to Bancroft, March 26, 1921, ibid. The NWP was $12,000 in debt when the suffrage amendment was ratified. To raise money, Paul charged each women’s organization the inflated sum of $25 for banners and wreaths at the convention ceremony. See Dock’s complaints in LLD [Dock] to Miss [Emma] Wold, n.d. [Jan. 1921], reel 6, series 1, ibid.; LLD [Dock] to Alice [Paul], n.d. [feb. 1921], ibid.

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15. Hill to Willystine Goodsell, April 1, 1921, reel 7, series 1, ibid.

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16. National Executive Committee, National Woman’s Party, minutes, Jan. 22, 1921, reel 114, part A, series 2, ibid.; Josephine Bennett to Paul, Feb. 23, 1921, reel 6, series 1, ibid. For Josephine Bennett’s role during the suffrage campaign in Connecticut, see Nichols, “New Force in Politics,” 37-43.

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17. Kraditor, Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, 163-18; Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, “Discrimination against Afro-American Women in the Woman’s Movement, 1830-1920,” in The Afro-American Woman: Struggles and Images, ed. Sharon Harley and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (Port Washington, N.Y., 1978), 17-27; Angela Y. Davis, Women, Race, and Class (New York, 1981), 118. On the race issue in the CU, see Bland, “Techniques of Persuasion,” 53-55. Regarding Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s “picket-pin,” see Ida B. Wells-Barnett to Paul, March 21, 1921, reel 7, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; and Paul to Wells-Barnett, March 24, 1921, ibid. Though she mentioned the Alpha Suffrage Club, which she founded, Wells-Barnett did not record her NWP participation in her autobiography. Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells, ed. Alfreda M. Duster (Chicago, 1970). Mary Church Terrell recalled joining the NWP pickets in Mary Church Terrell, A Colored Woman in a White World (Washington, 1940), 316-17. See also National Woman’s Party headquarters to Mary Church Terrell, April 24, 1919, item 631, container 5, Mary Church Terrell Papers (Library of Congress); National Woman’s Party headquarters to Terrell, [Jan. 1921], item 214, container 6, ibid.; and Walter White to Terrell, March 14, 1919, item 615, container 4, ibid.

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18. Mary White Ovington to Harriot Stanton Blatch, Dec. 3, 1920, “National Woman’s Party 1920-21” folder, container 384, series C, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Papers (Library of Congress); Ovington to National Woman’s Party Advisory Council members, Dec. 6, Dec. 23, 1920, ibid.; Wold to Blatch, Dec. 29, 1920, appended handwritten note by Blatch to Ovington, ibid.; Ovington to Lucy Burns, Dec. 17, 1920, with appended handwritten note by Burns to National Woman’s Party headquarters, reel 5, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Wold to Burns, Jan. 14, 1921, ibid.; Hallie Brown to Paul, Jan. 22, 1921, ibid.; [Wold] to McPherson, Feb. 4, 1921, ibid.; McPherson to Wold, Feb. 11, 1921, ibid.; Paul to Mrs. William Spencer Murray, Jan. 24, 1921, ibid.; Paul to Hallie Brown, Jan. 24, 1921, ibid.; Hallie Brown to Paul, Jan. 31, 1921, ibid.

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19. Mary Talbert to Ovington, Jan. 15, 1921, “National Woman’s Party 1920-21” folder, container 384, series C, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Papers; Ovington to Mrs. William Spencer Murray, Jan. 12, 1921, ibid. Vernon much later reported that Paul was prejudiced against blacks and Jews, though always polite to individuals of both groups. Vernon saw Paul’s intimacy with Anita Pollitzer, a Jew, as an exception. Vernon interview, 157-58. Florence Kelley to Ovington, Dec. 22, 1920, “National Woman’s Party 1920-21” folder, container 384, series C, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Papers; clipping sent by Mary Talbert to Ovington, ibid.; Anna A. Clemons to Secretary of the National Woman’s Party, Oct. 10, 1920, reel 5, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Headquarters Secretary [Wold] to Miss Clemons, Oct. 20, 1920, ibid.; Clemons to Wold, Oct. 24, 1920, ibid; Wold to Clemons, Oct. 28, 1920, ibid.; and Wold to Clemons, Nov. 2, 1920, ibid. Anna A. Clemons, a black woman from Southport, N.C., wished to register to vote.

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20. Inez Richardson to Paul, Feb. 2, 1921, reel 6, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Paul to Mrs. Lawrence [Dora] Lewis, March 23, 1921, reel 7, ibid.; Paul to Mrs. John Rogers, March 24, 1921, ibid.; Ella Rush Murray, “The Woman’s Party and the Violation of the 19th Amendment,” Crisis, 21 (April 1921), 259-61; National Woman’s Party Convention, transcript, Feb. 15-18, 1921, p. 61; Kirchwey, “Alice Paul Pulls the Strings,” 333. NWP members, mostly unaware of the black delegation’s visit to Paul, were shocked by Freda Kirchwey’s snide and condemnatory tone; even Ella Rush Murray and Florence Kelley, who disapproved of what had happened, found Kirchwey’s report too “flippant” and one-sided. Kelley to Mrs. [Dora] Lewis, Feb. 28, March 7, 1921, reel 6, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Ella Rush Murray to editor, Nation, March 23, 1921, p.434.

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21. Paul to Mrs. Lawrence [Dora] Lewis, March 23, 1921, reel 7, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-74”; Paul to Mrs. John Rogers, March 24, 1921, ibid.; Dora Lewis to Mrs. Brannon, March 9, 1921, ibid; National Chairman [Elsie Hill] to Olympia Brown, March 8, 1921, ibid.; Dora Lewis to “Dearest Paulie” [Paul], April 11, 1921, ibid.

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22. Kirchwey also took Paul severely to task for hedging on granting the convention podium to birth control advocates. Kirchwey, “Alice Paul Pulls the Strings,” 332, 333. Paul did try to suppress the appearance of both Margarget Sanger’s American Birth Control League and Mary Ware Dennett’s Voluntary Parenthod League because they were “too controversial,” but under great pressure she allowed them limited time to present their aim. See Juliet Barrett Roublee to Paul, Feb. 5, 1921, reel 6, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; National Woman’s Party headquarters secretary to Roublee, Feb. 8, 1921, ibid.; Marion May to Paul, Feb. 9, [1921], ibid.; Wold to Ethel McC. Adamson, Feb. 12, 1921, ibid.; Wold to Dennett, telegram, Feb. 14, 1921, ibid.

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23. Kelley to Mrs. Lawrence [Dora] Lewis, Feb. 28, 1921, ibid.; Agnes Chase to Hill, April 2, 1921, reel 7, ibid.; Ella Rush Murray to Temporary Secretary, April 7, 1921, ibid.; National Executive Committee, National Woman’s Party, minutes, May 16, 1921, reel 114, part A, series 2, ibid.

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24. Marjory Nelson sees the resolution of the black women’s issue as the NWP’s first step toward elitism. Nelson, “Ladies in the Streets,” 201-06. “Purely feminist” is Caroline Spencer’s phrasing of Paul’s intentions. Caroline Spencer to Paul, Oct. 10, 1920, reel 5, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.”

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25. Jessie Hardy MacKaye to Hill, March 21, 1921, reel 7, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Anne Martin to Miss [Anita L.] Pollitzer, March 4, 1921, ibid.; Lilla Day Monroe to headquarters, March 30, 1921, ibid; Katherine B. Day to Paul, March 22, 1921, ibid.; Pollitzer to Mrs. [Dora] Lewis, April 13, 1921, ibid. For April 1921 membership, see ibid. For 1919-1920 membership figures see Hill to Rice, March 30, 1921, ibid.; Irwin, Angels and Amazons, 392-93. For NWP debt, see Dora Lewis to Mrs. Alva Belmont, March 9, 1921, reel 7, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; and dunning letters to redeem pledges on reels 7 and 8, ibid. For detailed information on NWP finances in the 1920s, see Becker, Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment, 38-41.

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26. The New York Times, reporting that NWP membership had doubled during the three months preceding the dedication of a new headquarters in April 1922, stressed the New York society women who were enlisting as “founders.” New York Times, May 29, 1922, p. 10. In the mid-1920s, the NWP claimed 10,000 members, but its opponents in the National Women’s Trade Union League and the League of Women Voters thought such claims were exaggerated by a factor of ten. Ethel Smith to Belle Sherwin, May 10, 1926, folder 42, National Women’s Trade Union League Papers (Schlesinger Library); Mary Anderson to Mary Mundt, Sept. 24, 1926, folder 11, Mary Anderson Papers (Schlesinger Library). Dora Ogle, business manager, reported in Dec. 1927 that the NWP newspaper Equal Rights had 1,425 subscribers, but this may have been in addition to members, for Ethel Adams Crosby wrote to Alma Lutz, May 23, 1926, folder 68, Lutz Collection. Lutz who became national organization chairman for the NWP in 1930, concluded after a survey that “our 9000 members are a myth”; “Report of Organization Chairman,” draft, folder 23, Lutz Collection. Activities of the occupational councils can be followed in Equal Rights.

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27. Katherine Fisher to Paul, Nov. 8, 1920, reel 5, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Paul to Hill, telegram, Jan. 4, 1921, reel 6, ibid.; Eva Espstein Shaw to Paul, Jan. 4,1921, ibid.; Boeckel to Mr. Brigham, Jan. 28, 1921, ibid. For the deputation that met President Warren G. Harding and for state legislation, see correspondence of March 1921, reel 7, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.” For drafts of an equal rights amendment, see reel 116, part F, series 3, ibid.

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28. Paul to Katherine Morey, March 20, 1921, reel 7, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.” Similar sentiments are in Hill to Kelley [early 1921], reel 6, ibid.; Hill to Mrs. Florence Kennedy [Kelley], March 21, 1921, reel 7, ibid.; Temporary Secretary to Shippen Lewis, April 1, 1921, ibid.; Hill to Shippen-Lewis, April 7, 1921, ibid.; rough draft of Paul to Florence Sanville, April 2, 1921, reel 7, ibid. For the Wisconsin Equal Rights Bill, see Edwin E. Witte, “History and Purposes of the Wisconsin Equal Rights Law,” typescript, Dec. 1929, Mabel Raef Putnam Collection (Schlesinger Library); and Peter Geidel, “The National Woman’s Party and the Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment” (M.A. thesis, Columbia University, 1977), chapter 3.

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29. Paul to Jane Norman Smith, Nov. 29, 1921, folder 110, Jane Norman Smith Collection (Schlesinger Library). Paul much later recalled that Gail Laughlin had alerted her to the dangers of sex-based protective labor legislation. Paul interview, 476-78.

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30. “Conference on So-called ‘Equal Rights’ Amendment Proposed by the National Woman’s Party [Dec. 4, 1921],” typescript, reel 116, part L, series 2, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Kelley to Hill, March 23, 1921, reel 7, series 1, ibid. Ethel Smith reported that no consensus had been reached, and it was believed none could be, “largely because of the known opposition of several members of the Executive Board of the National Woman’s Party to the very laws we desire to protect.” Ethel Smith to Members and friends, Dec. 12, 1921, folder 378, Consumers League of Massachusetts Collection (Schlesinger Library). For NWP difficulty with safeguarding clauses, see Pollitzer to Jane Norman Smith, Jan. 5, 1922, folder 110, Jane Norman Smith Collection.

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31. National Council, National Woman’s Party, minutes, Feb. 14, 1921, reel 114, part C, series 2, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-174.” See also National Council, National Woman’s Party, minutes, Dec. 17, 1921, ibid. (The National Council replaced the National Executive Committe as of March 1921.) For Maud Younger’s eventual change of heart, see her unpublished autobiography, Maud Younger, “Along the Way” [c. 1936], reel 114, part I, series 1, ibid. Gail Laughlin to Fellow Members of National Council, April 7, 1921, National Council, National Woman’s Party, minutes, April 11, 1921, reel 114, part C, series 2, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.” To NWP loyalists Laughlin’s point was proved in 1923 by the Wisconsin attorney general’s ruling that the state Equal Rights Bill did not invalidate a 1905 law prohibiting women from becoming legislative employees, since legislature service required “very long and often unreasonable hours,” making the prohibition akin to an hours limitation law. Geidel, “National Woman’s Party and the Origin of the Equal Rights Amendment” [Historian], 576-577. Paul read this case as “an extremely effective argument against including such a welfare provision” as the Wisconsin Equal Rights Bill had. Paul to Jane Norman Smith, Feb. 20, 1923, folder 111, Jane Norman Smith Collection.

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32. To emphasize the need for a federal equal rights amendment, Equal Rights contrasted thirty-nine equal rights bills passed by fourteen states with more than twice that number defeated. Equal Rights, July 21, 1923, p. 183; ibid., Dec. 29, 1923, pp. 364-65; National Council, National Woman’s Party, minutes, June 19, 1923, reel 114, part C, series 2, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.” Before 1923 the equal rights amendment went through scores of drafts. Reel 116, part F, series 3, ibid. Not until 1943 was the wording changed to “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

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33. Equal Rights, Dec. 22, 1923, p. 358; Mary Anderson, Woman at Work: The Autobiography of Mary Anderson as Told to Mary N. Winslow (Minneapolis, 1951), 159-72; Becker, Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment, 198-234; Judith Anne Sealander, “The Woman’s Bureau, 1920-1950: Federal Reaction to Female Wage Earning” (Ph.D. diss., Duke University, 1977), 196-220. Blatch gave up her membership on the National Advisory Council in 1921 because she could not support the NWP’s proposal to exempt protective labor legislation in the blanket bill for the District of Columbia. Blatch to Hill, March 22, 1921, reel 7, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974” Blatch to Headquarters, April 8, 1921, ibid.

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34. The controversy over an equal rights amendment sparked an enormous outburst of writing, public and private. Sources for my summary of antiamendment opinion include Florence Kelley, “Shall Women Be Equal before the Law? No,” Nation, April 12, 1922, p. 421; Florence Kelley, “The Equal Rights Amendment: Why Other Women Groups Oppose It,” Good Housekeeping, 78 (March 1924), 19, 162-65; Kelley to Mrs. (Dora) Lewis, March 7, 1921, reel 6, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Kelley to Freda Kirchwey, Jan. 16, 1922, “Equal Rights Amendment Correspondence” folder, box C4, National Consumers’ League Papers (Library of Congress); Silas Bent, “The Woman’s War,” New York Times, Jan. 14, 1923, sec. 4, pp. 4, 15; Ethel M. Smith, “Working Woman’s Case against ‘Equal Rights,’” New York Times, Jan. 20, 1924, sec. 8, p.12; Ethel M. Smith, “What Is Sex Equality and What Are the Feminists Trying to Accomplish,” Century Magazine, 118 (May 1929), 96-106; Mary Van Kleeck, “Women and Machines,” Atlantic Monthly, 127 (Feb. 1921), 250-60; Alice Hamilton Collection (Schlesinger Library); Alice Hamilton, “The Blanket Amendment--A Debate: II--Protection for Women Workers,” Forum, 72 (Aug. 1924), 152-60; Elizabeth Glendower Evans, “The Woman’s Party--Right or Wrong? I. The Woman’s Party is Wrong,” New Republic, Sept. 26, 1923, p. 123; Mary Anderson, “Should There Be Labor Laws for Women? Yes,” Good Housekeeping, 81 (Sept. 1925), 53, 166, 169-70, 173-74, 176, 179-80; Clara Mortenson Beyer, “Do Women Want Protection? What is Equality?” Nation, Jan. 31, 1923, p. 116.

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35. For NWP views, see Elsie Hill, “Shall Women Be Equal before the Law? Yes!” Nation, April 12, 1922, pp. 419-20; Doris Stevens, “The Blanket Amendment--A Debate: I--Suffrage Does Not Give Equality,” Forum, 72 (Aug. 1924), 145-52; Harriot Stanton Blatch, “Do Women Want Protection? Wrapping Women in Cotton-Wool,” Nation, Jan. 31, 1923, pp. 115-16. Secondary sources on the conflict include Lemons, Woman Citizen, 184-99; Chafe, American Woman, 112-32; O’Neill, Everyone Was Brave, 274-94; Becker, Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment, 121-51; Geidel, “The National Woman’s Party and the Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment” (M.A. thesis); Sheila M. Rothman, Woman’s Proper Place: A History of Changing Ideals and Practices, 1870 to the Present (New York, 1978), 153-65; Alice Kessler-Harris, Out to Work: A History of the Wage-Earning Women in the United States (New York, 1982), 194-95, 205-12, Josephine Goldmark, Impatient Crusader (Urbana, 1953), 180-88.

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36. Kessler-Harris, Out to Work, 200-05, 212-14. For contemporary labor and management attitudes toward protective labor legislation in general, see also James Weinstein, The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918 (Boston, 1968), 43-45; Elizabeth Faulkner Baker, “At the Crossroads in the Legal Protection of Women in Industry,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 143 (May 1929), esp. 277. Recently historians have stressed the regressive potential of sex-based protective laws. See Rothman, Woman’s Proper Place, 162-64; Nancy Schrom Dye, As Equals and as Sisters: Feminism, the Labor Movement, and the Women’s Trade Union League of New York (Columbia, Mo. 1980), 159-60; Olive Banks, Faces of Feminisim: A Study of Feminism as a Social Movement (New York, 1981), 115; and Judith A. Baer, The Chains of Protection: The Judicial Response to Women’s Labor Legislation (Westport, Conn., 1978).

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37. Equal Rights, April 21, 1923, p. 76.

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38. Equal Rights, June 23, 1928, p. 155; ibid., July 7, 1928, p. 171; ibid., July, 14, 1928, pp. 181-82; ibid.; Sept. 29, 1928, p. 269; ibid., Nov. 3, 1928, p. 306; National Council, National Woman’s Party, minutes, Sept. 11, 1928, reel 114, part C., series 2, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Jane Norman Smith to Member of the Woman’s Party, Oct. 8, 1928, reel 40, series 1, ibid.; Vernon to Mrs. Rilla Nelson, Sept. 17, 1928, box 1, Lucia Voorhes Grimes Collection, Michigan Historical Collections (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor). Vernon’s letter says that the decision was taken at a conference at headquarters, 34 to 8, with all except two of those “who take a really active part in our work” in favor. Susan D. Becker says the decision was made by a margin of 4 to 1. Becker, Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment, 94. However, when the issue was brought up and discussed favorably at the National Council meeting, Sept. 11, 1928, only ten people besides Jane Norman Smith were present, and no record remains in the NWP papers of another conference at headquarters before Sept. 17.

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39. Sue Shelton White to Member of the Woman’s Party, Nov. 20, 1928, box 1, Grimes Collection; Sue S[helton]White to Miss Lucia V. Grimes, Dec. 28, 1929, ibid,.; Sue Shelton White to Jane Norman Smith, Sept. 15, 1928, folder 35, Sue Shelton White Collection, (Schlesinger Library); Dock to Party, Oct. 2, (1928), reel 40, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; Emma C. Johnson to NWP, Oct. 18, 1928, ibid.; Ruby Black to Mrs. [Jane Norman] Smith and Mabel [Vernon], Oct. 26, 1928, ibid.; National Council, National Woman’s Party, minutes, Oct. 31, 1928, reel 114, part C, series 2, ibid. See also Florence Bayard Hilles to Hooker, Oct, 21, 1928, reel 40, series 1, ibid.; NWP Nebraska organization to Jane Norman Smith, Oct. 21, 1928, ibid.; and Becker, Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment, 93-96.

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40. NWP correspondence through the 1920s makes Paul’s leadership clear. For Paul’s thought about 1928, see Vernon interview, 87-88. Jane Norman Smith to Lutz, Feb. 6, 1932, folder 58, Lutz Collection; Jane Norman Smith to Lutz and Marguerite Smith, Dec. 9, 1933, folder 98, ibid. Jane Norman Smith’s activities in New York in the 1920s can be followed in her correspondence in box 2, Jane Norman Smith Collection. For the New York network of antiamendment social reformers in the 1920s, see Susan Ware, Beyond Suffrage: Women in the New Deal (Cambridge, Mass., 1981), 33-38; and Clarke A. Chambers, Seedtime of Reform: American Social Service and Social Action, 1918-1933. (Minneapolis, 1963), 260-61. There was reason for former suffragists to feel kindly toward the Republicans, for Republican state legislators and congressmen had overall better records than Democrats on votes for woman suffrage. Flyer [c. 1920], “Republican Party Record on Woman Suffrage,” folder 12, Margaret S. Roberts Collection (Schlesinger Library); and Stevens, Jailed for Freedom, 250.

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41. Adamson to Hill, March 18, 1921, reel 7, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974”; MacKaye to Hill, March 21, [1921], ibid. Ethel McC. Adamson suggested “patroness” as a more appropriate designation for a member of the Advisory Council.

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42. For the NWP’s international work, see Becker, Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment, 161-86. For the NWP’s difficulties under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administrations, see Jane Norman Smith to Paul, Feb. 26, 1933, folder 115, Jane Norman Smith Collection. For the National Council’s positive and ingratiating response to Alva Belmont’s query whether she was the head of international as well as domestic work of the NWP, see National Council, National Woman’s Party, minutes, Oct. 9, 1928, Jan. 15, 1929, reel 114, part C, series 2, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.”

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43. Hooker to Lutz, Jan. 5, 1924, folder 66, Lutz Collection; Mary Wilhelmine Williams to Lutz, April 22, 1934, folder 76, ibid.; Hooker to Stevens, Nov. 19, 1934, folder H, box IV, Stevens unprocessed agenda no. 76-246 (Schlesinger Library); James Weinstein, Ambiguous Legacy: The Left in American Politics (New York, 1975), 31; Equal Rights, June 23, 1934, p. 162. See also Hooker to Lutz, March 13, 1935, folder 67, Lutz Collection; Jane Norman Smith to Lutz, Feb. 6, 1932, folder 58, ibid.; Jane Norman Smith to Lutz and Marguerite Smith, Dec. 9, 1933, folder 98, ibid.

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44. Carrie Chapman Catt to Margaret Corbett Ashby, Oct. 20, 1925, “International Woman’s Suffrage Alliance, 1925” folder, series 2, box 52, League of Women Voters Papers (Library of Congress).

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45. Ellen Carol DuBois, Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women’s Movement in America, 1848-1869 (Ithaca, 1978), 18-24.

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46. Ibid., 201; Sara Evans, Personal Politics: The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left (New York, 1979); Doris [Stevens] to Betty [Gram Swing], Jan. 8, 1946, box IV, Stevens unprocessed adenda no. 76-246. This letter seems never to have been folded or mailed.

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47. Spencer to Pollitzer, April 30, 1921, reel 7, series 1, “National Woman’s Party Papers, 1913-1974.” Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, who admired the diversity among NWP members early on, recalled that “as time went on, there is no question but that the Woman’s Party had a hard core of very conservative, very conventional women, and there is no doubt in my mind that Miss Paul was more comfortable with such women.” Reyhder interview, 221.

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48. Anderson, “Should There Be Labor Laws for Women?” 53.

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