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Boise NOW collection


MSS 204


The Boise NOW collection consists of papers collected and generated by members of the Boise Chapter of the National Organization for Women during the final years of the campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, 1976-1982.  They document both the chapter’s efforts to rally support for ratification and a number of issues surrounding the ratification campaign, including the extension of the ratification deadline, the Idaho legislature’s vote to rescind its approval of the amendment (1977), the suit to settle the legality of  recision (Idaho v. Freeman), and calls for U.S. District Judge Marion Callister to step down from the case.  Secondary topics include the role of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in opposing the ERA and the excommunication of ERA advocate Sonia Johnson by the LDS Church.  The papers reveal the tension between the local chapter and the national office over strategy inIdaho v. Freeman, particularly the national office’s calls for Judge Callister to disqualify himself because of his position of leadership in the LDS Church, which officially opposed the ERA. 

The collection contains letters, speeches, and documents reflecting NOW activities in Idaho in support of the amendment, clippings from Idaho newspapers about the ERA-related issues, and documents emanating from the national NOW office.  Also included are copies of legal briefs, petitions, and motions filed in the case of Idaho v. Freeman and a small file of papers on the Boise chapter’s role in moving and restoring the historic City Hall Fountain in Boise.  Persons represented in the collection include Beverly Crogan, Beverly A. Miller, Anne Pasley-Stuart, and Lois Warner.

More information about the Boise chapter and the statewide NOW organization can be found in their newsletters,  From NOW On and Idaho NOW Times, located in the Special Collections Department’s periodical collection.

The Boise NOW collection was presented to Boise State University Library in 2001 by Beverly A. Miller.  


                                                            Collection number: MSS 204
                                                            Inclusive dates:  1976-1987
                                                            Collection size: ca. 1 ft. (in 3 boxes)
                                                            Processed by: Kimberly Hoff, 2001, and Alan Virta, 2004

Series descriptions and Box and folder lists

The collection is divided into four series, described below

Series I: Local activities

Chiefly documents relating to activities of Boise NOW and the statewide organization in Idaho in support of the ERA, along with photocopies of clippings from Idaho newspapers (chiefly the Idaho Statesman, in Boise), reporting on ERA support and opposition, the case of Idaho v. Freeman, calls for the disqualification of Judge Marion Callister, and the excommunication of pro-ERA Mormon Sonia Johnson.  Also includes papers relating to the restoration of the Boise City Hall Fountain, a project spearheaded by Boise NOW.  Originally presented to the city of Boise by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1910, the outdoor drinking fountain was restored by NOW and moved to the site of the new city hall in 1980.

Box 1: Local Activities

Folder    1            Correspondence, Writings, Speeches: Beverly Crogan  (1978)
Folder    2            Correspondence: Beverly Miller (1980-1981)
Folder    3            Boise NOW: Minutes (1979-1980)
Folder    4            Boise NOW: History (one brochure)
Folder    5            Boise NOW: Miscellaneous
Folder    6            ERA Benefit Rally, Boise, 1980 (1979-1980)
Folder    7            Idaho ERA Task Force newsletter (1976)
Folder    8            Idaho State NOW
Folder    9            Boise City Hall Fountain Restoration project (1979-1981)
Folder 10            Boise City Hall Fountain restoration project: photos (1979-1981)
Folder 11            300 Main Street (Women’s Club): Clippings (1981)
Folder 12            Newspaper clippings (Photocopies) (1977-1978)
Folder 13            Newspaper clippings (Photocopies) (1979)
Folder 14            Newspaper clippings (Photocopies) (1980 Jan-June)
Folder 15            Newspaper clippings (Photocopies) (1980 Jul-Dec)
Folder 16            Newspaper clippings (Photocopies) (1981)
Folder 17            Newspaper clippings (Photocopies) (1982)
Folder 18            Newspaper clippings (Photocopies) undated

Series II: Idaho v. Freeman

As the March 1979 deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment approached, it appeared that the requisite number of states would not ratify in time.  Proponents of the amendment convinced Congress to extend the deadline until June 30, 1982.  At the same time, opponents of the amendment in several states (including Idaho) convinced their state legislatures to rescind earlier ratifications.  The Carter administration (through the General Services Administration, the federal agency responsible for certifying ratification) maintained that once a state had approved the amendment it could not reverse itself, and refused to remove those states from the list of ratified states.  In April 1979, Idaho Attorney General David Leroy filed suit in federal district court against the administrator of the GSA, Admiral Rowland G. Freeman, to test the validity of  the Idaho legislature’s recision and to question the constitutionality of the Congressional vote to extend the ERA ratification deadline as well.  In December 1981, after hearing arguments in federal district court in Boise, Judge Marion Callister ruled in favor of Idaho’s suit, declaring that states could indeed rescind approvals and that Congress could not extend a pre-ordained deadline.  The National Organization for Women, in NOW v. Idaho, appealed Callister’s decision. The U.S. Supreme Court took up the appeal and stayed implementation of Callister’s decision until the extended deadline passed.  After the new deadline passed without any more states ratifying the amendment, the Supreme Court dismissed the case as moot and did not rule on the merits of Judge Callister’s decision.

Box 1: Idaho v. Freeman

Folder 19            Chronology of lawsuit
Folder 20            Clippings from National NOW Times (1980)
Folder 21            Boise Chapter dissent from NOW strategy (1979)
Folder 22            First-person description of hearing, by Beverly A. Miller (1981)
Folder 23            ERA Press kit releases (NOW)
Folder 24            Documents from Lipman and Hart law firm (1979-1981)
Folder 25            National NOW memos (1979-1981)
Folder 26            Miscellaneous (1980-1981)

Box 2: Idaho v. Freeman

Folder    1            Resolution by Idaho NOW
Folder    2            Court documents (1979 May-Aug)
Folder    3            Court documents (1979 Sept)
Folder    4            Court documents (1979 Oct)
Folder    5            Court documents (1979 Nov)
Folder    6            Court documents (1979 Dec)
Folder    7            Court documents (1980 Jan-Mar)
Folder    8            Court documents (1980 Jun-Dec)
Folder    9            Court documents (1981)
Folder  10            Appellate court case (1980-1981)

Series III: National activities

This series consists chiefly of mailings and information sheets from the national NOW office on issues surrounding the Equal Rights Amendment.  Also included is a document from the Mountain States Legal Foundation stating the case against the constitutionality of extending the ratification deadline (Box 3, Folder 4).

Box 3: National activities

Folder    1            ERA brochures and handbills
Folder    2            ERA: Miscellaneous (1976-1981)
Folder    3            Economic boycott of unratified states (1978)
Folder    4            Extension of ratification deadline  (1977-1978)
Folder    5            Mormons for ERA (1978-1979)
Folder    6            Mormons:  Sonia Johnson paper, “Patriarchal Panic…”  (1979)
Folder    7            Mormon opposition to ERA (1977)
Folder    8            National March for ERA Ratification, Chicago (1980)
Folder    9            National NOW Action Center mailings (1977)
Folder  10            National Organization for Women Policy Manual (1979)

Series IV: Miscellaneous

Box 3: Miscellaneous

Folder 11            Memorabilia: Potholders made by Boise NOW members
Folder 12            Stationery samples, Idaho NOW

Special Collections • 1910 University Drive • Boise, ID 83725-1430 • Phone: 208-426-1204 • Email: Archives