Women Among Feminists Who Changed America
no surprise that in a comprehensive directory published this
month, titled Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-75,
Smith College figures prominently.
This massive volume of 2,220
thumbnail profiles of influential people in the “second
wave” feminist movement, was compiled over seven years
and edited by Barbara J. Love, a journalist and author of
Foremost Women in Communications.
Love worked closely with Sherrill
Redmon, head of the Sophia Smith Collection (SSC), in researching
and collecting data for the book.
“Barbara consulted with
us extensively early in her thinking about doing the survey
and book, and at every stage,” Redmon said, including
constructing databases and administering questionnaires, even
in settling on a title for the book. Materials in the SSC
were consulted for many of the book’s entries, says
“Many of the entries end
with the notation that the woman’s papers are coming
to the SSC,” Redmon notes. “While I haven’t
counted, it appears that more are set to come to Smith than
to any other archives.”
In addition, Love’s papers,
as well as the questionnaires that provided the book’s
content, will become part of the SSC holdings. Redmon and
the SSC are mentioned high in the book’s acknowledgements.
Among the entries, Smith women
are well-represented. First of all, the book begins with 1963
precisely as the year the second wave of feminism kicked off,
spurred in part by the publication of The Feminine Mystique,
the history-changing book by Betty Friedan ’42, who
was also a founder and the first president of the National
Organization for Women.
Of course, Gloria Steinem ’56,
who entered the women’s movement with her first address
to feminists in 1970, warrants a sizeable biography. Co-founder
and editor of Ms. Magazine, Steinem became a leader
of the movement as co-founder of the Ms. Foundation for Women,
NWPC, the Women’s Action Alliance, and Voters for Choice.
Other Smith women profiled in
the book include Catharine MacKinnon ’69, a law professor,
writer and activist; Claire Goldberg Moses ’63, a professor
of women’s studies and editorial director of Feminist
Studies; Martha Ackelsberg, professor of government at Smith
and a founding member of the New York Women’s Health
Collective in 1970; and several more.
“This book had to be written,”
writes Love in the introduction. “More than any other
social revolution in history, ours grew from the struggles
of thousands of individuals to erase thousands of separate
forms of discrimination in every sector of society.”
Feminists Who Changed America
is the most comprehensive directory to profile the women responsible
for that historical movement, according to the publisher.
The book will soon be available
in Neilson Library’s reference section. In the meantime,
a copy is available at the SSC reading room, Alumnae Gymnasium.
To order a copy, call the Chicago distributor at 800-621-2736.