Guide to the Jean Witter Papers, 1953-2007 AIS.2008.06

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Jean Witter Papers
Creator
Witter, Jean
Collection Number
AIS.2008.06
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1965-1984
Date [inclusive]
1953-2007
Extent
13.0 linear feet (10 records center boxes, 1 photograph box)
Abstract
This collection documents the activism of Jean Witter, a Pittsburgh lawyer, who was heavily involved with the National Organization for Women (NOW) and an advocate for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. This collection contains correspondence, meeting minutes, promotional material, personal notes and writings, and ephemera related to the women's rights movement.

Preferred Citation

Jean Witter Papers, 1953-2007, AIS.2008.06, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Biography

Jean Witter was born Jean Peindl on July 23, 1927, and was raised in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. She earned a degree in crystallography from Duquesne University during World War II, which was rather rare for the time period. She worked as a chemical librarian until she was able to get a research position at the University of Pittsburgh. She married DuWayne Witter and had two sons.

During the 1960s, Witter became interested in the women's rights movement, and became one of the first presidents of the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW). She was interested primarily in the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and was appointed Chairperson for NOW's ERA Committee. In order to strengthen her arguments and credibility, Witter attended law school at Duquesne in the early 1970s. After passing the bar exam, Witter threw herself into promoting the ratification of the ERA. One of her most significant contributions to the campaign was a legal opinion she authored that prompted Congress to extend the deadline for ratification by three years. After the ERA failed to pass, Witter still remained active as a lawyer, mostly by advocating women's issues, particularly in regards to sexual discrimination and equal employment rights.

Witter passed away in 2008, at the age of 80.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Jean Witter Papers include correspondence, legislative material relating to the Equal Rights Amendment, meeting minutes and organizational information on the National Organization for Women (specifically the Pittsburgh chapter), promotional material for both the ERA and NOW, personal records, a sampling of articles and notes on general women's issues, Witter's personal writings (both notes and essays), and ephemeral material relating to the women's rights movement. The primary focus of the collection is on Witter's involvement in NOW and the foundations of the Pittsburgh chapter, and her work on the passage of the ERA. The collection also contains several audio cassettes, which include speeches and interviews given by Witter, as well as material relating to the overall movement for equality for women.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, February 3, 2010

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Raymond and David Witter on August 5, 2008.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Ashley Taylor in January 2010. The material in the collection was weeded heavily, as a large portion of the material originally received by the ASC had little or no relevance to the collection. Material that was removed included a large amount of duplicate material, personal memorabilia, previously published resources such as magazines and congressional proceedings, information on general legal matters not relating to women's liberation, the Equal Rights Amendment, or Jean Witter, information on legal cases arbitrated by Jean Witter that contained personal information on clients and was not applicable to women's issues, a large amount of personal tax forms, and a substantial amount of unrelated mailings.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • National Organization for Women. Pennsylvania Chapter.
  • National Organization for Women. Pittsburgh Chapter.
  • National Organization for Women.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Evansgardner, JoAnn
  • Heide, Wilma Scott, 1921-1985
  • Judd Hill, Cindy
  • Schlafly, Phyllis
  • Witter, Jean

Subject(s)

  • Equal rights amendments -- United States
  • Feminism -- United States
  • Feminists -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Personal papers
  • Social action
  • Women
  • Women -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States
  • Women's rights -- United States
  • Women's studies -- United States

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Previous Citation

Jean Witter Papers, 1953-2007, AIS.2008.06, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Correspondence, 1953-2003 

Scope and Content Notes

Series I consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence for the years 1953 through 2003. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by subject/correspondent, and chronologically within each subject.

  BoxFolder
Heide, Wilma Scott, 1968-1975 11
  Folder
Heide, Wilma Scott, 1976, undated 2
  Folder
Kestner-Lang, Carol Anne, 1976-1978 3
  Folder
Kestner-Lang, Carol Anne, 1979-1985 4
  Folder
Kestner-Lang, Carol Anne, 1986-1999 5
  Folder
General, 1953-1997, undated 6
  Folder
Women's Issues, 1968-2003, undated 7

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Series  II. Equal Rights Amendment, 1966-2007 

Scope and Content Notes

Series II consists of materials relating to the attempts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a cause which Witter was heavily involved in. This series includes promotional material, legislative material, memos, newsletters, correspondence, notes, and reports. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

  Folder
Ad-Hoc Committee, 1970-1972 8
  Folder
Alabama, 1975-1977 9
  Folder
Anti-ERA 1976-1979, undated 10
  Folder
Arkansas 1974-1978 11
  Folder
"The Best Kept Secret," 1969-1974 12
  Folder
Blatt, Genevieve, 1968-1969, undated 13
  Folder
Bulletins 1969 14
  Folder
Business and Professional Women's Club, 1968-1973 15
  Folder
California, 1968-1969 16
  Folder
Carswell, 1970 17
  Folder
Cartoons, 1970-1977 18
  Folder
Civil Rights, 1968-1970 19
  Folder
Conformance Project, 1973-1975 20
  Folder
Congressional Material, 1969-1971 21
  Folder
Congressional Material, 1970-1971 22
  Folder
Constitutionality, 1970 23
  Folder
Correspondence, undated 24
  Folder
ERA Summit, 1996-2002 25
  Folder
ERA Workshop, 1978 26
  Folder
Essays, 1968-1970 27
  Folder
Fact Booklet, undated 28
  Folder
Felton, Walter, 1994 29
  Folder
Florida, 1977 30
  Folder
Human Rights, 1969 31
  Folder
Idaho, 1975-1977 32
  Folder
Illinois, 1977 33
  Folders
Indiana, 1976-1978 34-35
  Folder
Kennedy Correspondence, 1970 36
  Folder
Ladies Home Journal, 1970 37
  BoxFolder
Legal Opinions, 1975, undated 21
  Folder
Legislator Correspondence, 1968-2000 2
  Folder
Letters Seeking Support, 1969-1970 3
  Folder
Mississippi, 1976-1977 4
  Folder
National Women's Conference, 1977 5
  Folders
NOW ERA Committee, 1969-1971 6-7
  Folder
NOW ERA Convention, 1968-1969 8
  Folder
NOW Legislative Program, 1969 9
  Folder
Nevada, 1977 10
  Folder
News Clippings, 1968-2007, undated 11
  Folder
Newsletters, 1967-1978 12
  Folder
Newsletters, 1992-1997, undated 13
  Folder
North Carolina, 1975-1977, undated 14
  Folder
Notes, 1993-1994, undated 15
  Folder
Opinions, 1966-1980 16
  Folder
Pennsylvania ERA, 1969-1974 17
  Folder
Pennsylvania ERA, 1976-1980, undated 18
  Folder
Pennsylvania ERA Ad-Hoc Committee, 1970-1972 19
  Folders
Pennsylvania ERA Cases, 1971-1975 20-21
  Folder
Pennsylvania ERA Effects, 1973 22
  Folder
Pennsylvania Women's Meeting, 1977 23
  Folder
Precedents, 1970 24
  Folder
Pro-ERA Organizations, undated 25
  Folder
Projects, 1968-1969 26
  Folders
Promotional Material, 1968-1996 27-28
  BoxFolders
Promotional Material, 1968-1996 31-2
  Folder
Publications, 1977, undated 3
  Folder
Ratification Attempts, 1971 4
  Folder
Ratification Attempts, 1972 5
  Folder
Ratification Attempts, 1972-1973 6
  Folder
Research, 1977 7
  Folder
Scott, Hugh, 1970 8
  Folder
Scrapbook Material, 1967-1970 9
  Folder
Senate Hearings Material, 1967-1970 10
  Folders
Senate Hearings Material, 1970 11-12
  Folder
Senate Hearings Material, 1970-1973 13
  Folder
Senate Resolution 61, 1968-1969 14
  Folder
Seven Year Provision, 1970-1977 15
  Folder
Seven Year Provision, 1977-1978 16
  Folder
South Carolina, 1977-1978 17
  Folder
South Carolina, 1977-1981 18
  Folder
Sponsorship Letters, 1969 19
  Folder
States' Rights, undated 20
  Folder
Strategies, 1969-1979 21
  Folder
Supporting Organizations, 1972 22
  Folder
Television/Radio Campaign, 1968-1970 23
  Folder
Tennessee, 1975 24
  Folder
Testimony, 1970-1972 25
  BoxFolder
Testimony Against the ERA, 1970 41
  Folder
Tibbs, Marjorie, 1969 2
  Folder
Utah, 1975-1977 3
  Folder
Virginia, 1973-1993 4
  Folder
Virginia, 1993-1994 5
  Folder
Virginia Military Institute, 1996 6
  Folder
Wisconsin, 1970 7
  Folder
Woman Activist, 1998-2002 8
  Folder
27th Amendment, 1993-1994 9
  Folder
103rd Congress, 1992-1995 10

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Series  III. National Organization of Women, 1966-1998 

Scope and Content Notes

Series III consists of material relating to the National Organization for Women (NOW), to which Witter belonged. This series contains newsletters, meeting minutes, conference information, promotional material, memos, and news clippings. The series is divided into three subseries. Subseries 1 is Board of Trustees, Subseries 2 is National, and Subseries 3 is Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh Chapters. These three subseries are each arranged alphabetically by subject.

Subseries  1. Board of Trustees, 1969-1971 

  Folder
Atlanta Meeting, 1971 11
  Folder
Chicago Meeting, 1970 12
  Folder
Denver Meeting, 1971 13
  Folder
Houston Meeting, 1971 14
  Folder
Milwaukee Meeting, 1971 15
  Folder
New Orleans Meeting, 1969 16
  Folder
Notes, 1969 17
  Folder
Pittsburgh Meeting, 1970 18
  Folder
San Francisco Meeting, 1969 19
  Folder
Syracuse Meeting, 1970 20
  Folder
Washington, DC Meeting, 1969 21

Subseries  2. National, 1966-1990 

  Folder
Activity, 1966-1969 22
  Folder
Activity, 1970-1971 23
  Folder
Activity, 1972 24
  Folder
Activity, 1973-1975 25
  Folder
Activity, 1976-1977 26
  Folder
ACTS, 1969-1971 27
  Folder
Bell Telephone, 1971 28
  Folder
By-Laws, 1969-1971 29
  Folder
Chapters, 1966-1969 30
  Folder
Colgate-Palmolive, 1968 31
  BoxFolder
Committee on Administrative Procedures, 1970 51
  Folder
Conferences, 1975 2
  Folder
Detroit Conference, 1977 3
  Folder
Do It Now, 1973-1976 4
  Folder
Eastern Regional Conference, 1972 5
  Folder
Equal Employment Opportunity, 1969 6
  Folder
Federal Communications Commission, 1970-1971 7
  Folder
Financial Information, 1967-1968 8
  Folder
Foundations, 1978 9
  Folder
Forms, 1970 10
  Folder
Fundraising, 1971-1976 11
  Folder
Group Ruling, 1968 12
  Folder
Heide, Wilma Scott, 1970-1973 13
  Folder
Legal Defense and Education Fund, 1977 14
  Folder
Legal Issues, 1975 15
  Folder
Legislation, 1968 16
  Folder
Lobbying Information, 1975 17
  Folder
Los Angeles Conference, 1971 18
  Folder
Members, 1969-1970 19
  Folder
Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, 1977 20
  Folders
Miscellaneous, 1969-1977 21-22
  Folder
Newsletters, 1977 23
  Folder
Newsletters, 1977-1988 24
  Folder
Notes, 1971 25
  Folder
October 17th Movement, 1968 26
  Folder
Organizational Information, 1966-1969 27
  Folder
Press Releases, 1971 28
  Folder
Proposed Resolutions, 1975 29
  Folder
Publications, 1970-1990 30
  BoxFolder
Public Schools, 1971 61
  Folder
Purpose, 1966 2
  Folder
Religion, 1969-1970 3
  Folder
Reports, 1970 4
  Folder
SMOKE Campaign, 1969 5
  Folder
Women and the Law Conference, 1978 6

Subseries  3. Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh Chapters, 1966-1998 

  Folder
Agenda, 1970-1971 7
  Folder
Archives, 1970-1971 8
  Folder
Bott, Margaret, 1971 9
  Folder
By-Laws, 1970-1971 10
  Folder
Committees, 1971 11
  Folder
Elections, 1970-1971 12
  Folder
Guests, 1970-1971 13
  Folder
Leadership Information, 1982 14
  Folder
Legislation, 1969 15
  Folder
Literature Committee, 1970 16
  Folder
Meetings, 1968 17
  Folder
Members, 1971 18
  Folder
Minutes, 1969-1970 19
  Folder
New Chapter Information, 1966-1971 20
  Folder
Newsletters, 1969-1971 21
  Folder
Newsletters, 1972-1976 22
  Folder
Notes, 1971 23
  Folder
Organizational Information, 1977-1984 24
  Folder
Pennsylvania NOW Times, 1974-1975 25
  Folder
Pennsylvania NOW Times, 1976-1978 26
  Folder
Pennsylvania NOW Times, 1980-1998 27
  Folder
Pennsylvania State Conference, 1976 28
  Folder
Programs, 1970-1971 29
  Folder
Promotional Material, undated 30
  Folder
Public Relations, 1970-1971 31
  Folder
Reports, 1968-1971 32
  Folder
South Hills Chapter, 1971 33
  BoxFolder
Speakers, 1970-1971 71
  Folder
Sports, 1975 2
  Folder
Treasurer, 1970-1971 3

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Series  IV. Personal Records, 1970-1992 

Scope and Content Notes

Series IV consists of Witter's personal records. This series includes wills, resumes, and campaign materials. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

  Folder
Campaign Materials, 1970-1982 4
  Folder
Resumes, 1978, undated 5
  Folder
Will and Final Wishes, 1975-1992 6

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Series  V. Women's Issues, 1965-2003 

Scope and Content Notes

Series V contains a sampling of information related to women's issues that Witter was interested in but not involved with. The material for this collection was chosen for representation because it was the most common or because it was previously categorized by subject by Witter. This series includes articles, reports, and notes. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

  Folders
Abortion, 1968-1989 7-9
  Folders
Affirmative Action, 1969-1971 10-11
  Folder
Articles, 1968-1969 12
  Folder
Black Women's Conference, 1972 13
  Folder
Bulletins, 1967-1968 14
  Folder
Child Care, 1968-1970 15
  Folder
Coalition to Unite Women, 1969 16
  Folder
Contract Compliance, 1970 17
  Folder
Court Cases, 1969 18
  Folder
Custody, undated 19
  Folder
Daly, Mary, 1969-1974 20
  Folder
Divorce, 1970-1972 21
  Folder
Divorce Reform, 1969-1971 22
  Folder
Equal Employment, 1971-1989 23
  Folder
Fahnestock, Betty, 1969 24
  Folder
Fair Labor Standards Act, 1966-1968 25
  Folders
Family, 1968-1988 26-27
  Folders
Federally Employed Women, 1969-1972 28-29
  Folder
Friedan, Betty, 1968-1969 30
  Folder
Gardner, Jo-Ann Evans, 1969-1971 31
  Folder
Hill, Cynthia Judd, 1970-1993 32
  BoxFolders
Hill, Cynthia Judd 1970-1993 81-2
  Folder
Homemakers, 1973-1974 3
  Folder
International Women's Year, 1975-1976 4
  Folder
Lobbying, 1971-2003 5
  Folder
Maternity Leave, 1968 6
  Folder
Medicine, 1968-1969 7
  Folder
Menopause, 1970-1976 8
  Folder
Men's Liberation, 1970-1971 9
  Folder
Mental Health, 1969 10
  Folders
Miscellaneous, 1971-1999 11-12
  Folder
Music, 1970 13
  Folder
Office of Federal Contract Compliance, 1969 14
  Folder
Older Women, 1968-1972 15
  Folder
Parent Teacher Association, 1969 16
  Folders
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, 1966-1974 17-19
  Folder
Pennsylvanians for Women's Rights, 1969-1971 20
  Folder
Pittsburgh Plate Glass, 1969 21
  Folders
Pittsburgh Press, 1969 22-23
  Folder
Post Office Employment, 1970-1972 24
  Folder
Poverty, 1971 25
  BoxFolder
Standby Tax, 1985 91
  Folders
Statistics, 1965-1980 2-4
  Folder
Swanton, Mary Ellen, 1970 5
  Folders
Television and Radio, 1969-1972 6-7
  Folder
University of Pittsburgh, 1971 8
  Folder
Women's Equal Rights Commission, undated 9
  Folder
Women as Property, undated 10

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Series  VI. Writings, 1955-2003 

Scope and Content Notes

Series VI consists of Witter's personal writings, including material on the women's movement, the ERA, and her own personal reflections. This series contains notebooks, essays, and articles. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject.

  Folder
Articles about Witter, 1970-1977 11
  Folder
"Courage To Be," 1994 12
  Folder
Equal Rights Amendment, 1969-1978, undated 13
  Folder
Equal Rights Amendment, "The Best Kept Secret of the 20th Century," 1970, undated 14
  Folder
Equal Rights Amendment, "Extending Ratification Time for the ERA," 1978 15
  Folder
Equal Rights Amendment, "Fear and Fallacy," undated 16
  Folder
Equal Rights Amendment, "Dyer v. Blair," 1976 17
  Folder
Equal Rights Amendment, "Fourteenth Amendment Approach," undated 18
  Folder
Equal Rights Amendment, "The Privacy Problem," undated 19
  Folder
Equal Rights Amendment, "Why a Constitutional Amendment?," undated 20
  Folder
General Issues, 1955-1967 21
  Folder
Legal Issues, 1972-1982 22
  Folder
Miscellaneous Notes, undated 23
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1964-1970 24
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1973-1974 25
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1974-1975 26
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1975 27
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1975-1977 28
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1977 29
  BoxFolder
Personal Notebooks, 1978-1983 101
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1983 2
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1985-1987 3
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1987 4
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1987-1993 5
  Folder
Personal Notebooks, 1994-2003 6
  Folders
Personal Notebooks, undated 7-8
  Folder
Poems, 1968-1979 9
  Folder
Poems, 1980-1987 10
  Folder
Poems, undated 11
  Folder
Women's Issues, 1968-1972, undated 12
  Folder
Women's Issues, "Oppression in Women," 1970 13
  Folder
Women's Issues, "Pittsburgh Press v. PHRC," 1973 14
  Folder
Women's Issues, "Protective Labor Laws," undated 15
  Folder
Women's Issues, Women's Liberation Sermon, 1971-1972 16
  Folder
"Why I Lost the Election," 1970 17

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Series  VII. Women's Movement Material, 1971-1992 

Scope and Content Notes

Series VII consists of assorted material relating to the women's rights movement, particularly the passage of the ERA. The majority of this material is propaganda and audio/visual material geared to promote recognition of women's issues. This series includes LPs, posters, buttons, jewelry, audio cassettes, and a VHS videotape. The series is arranged by type of material.

  Record
"Ballad of the ERA/Farmer," 1977 1
  Record
"Liberation NOW", undated 2
  Volume
Sexism Board Game, 1971 1
  Volume
Equal Rights Amendment Timeline, 1970s 2
  BoxFolders
ERA Buttons, undated 111-3
  Folder
ERA Pendant, undated 4
  Folder
ERA YES Button, undated 5
  Folder
International Women's Year Badge, 1975 6
  Folder
International Women's Year Jewelry, 1975 7
  Folder
Lobbying Buttons, undated 8
  Cassette
Community Treatment Centers Talk, 1971 1
  Cassette
Equal Rights Amendment Broadcast, 1971 2
  Cassette
Goldsmith, Judy, on Women's Rights, 1984 3
  Cassette
Schlafly, Phyllis, Testimony Against the ERA, 1973 4
  Cassette
Sermon on Women's Rights, 1971 5
  Cassette
Women and Religion Broadcast, 1971 6
  Videotape
"We Won't Go Back!," 1992 1

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