Five College Archives and Manuscript
UMass Amherst seal
Mary B. Stinson Collection, 1974-1981
2 boxes (1.25 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 824

Throughout the 1970s, Mary B. Stinson (formerly Lindblom) was an active member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in California and served as a delegate to the First National Women's Conference in Houston.

The collection includes several ephemeral objects reflecting Stinson's activism including IWY pendant necklaces and an ERA license plate frame, along with published reports and articles relating to the IWY and a 1979 NOW conference in California.

Terms of Access and Use:

The collection is open for research.

Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Biographical Note
NOW membership card

NOW membership card

Mary B. Stinson (formerly Lindblom) was an activist involved with the National Organization for Women (NOW) in California. She served as a delegate from California at the First National Women's Conference in Houston and attended the 1979 NOW conference in California.

The National Women's Conference (NWC) was a result of a series of actions in observance of International Women's Year (IWY) in 1975. On January 9th, 1975, President Ford issued Executive Order No. 11832, establishing the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year with the objectives of recognizing the contributions of women and promoting equality of the sexes. The Commission was responsible for orchestrating events in celebration of IWY, as well as investigating discrimination and other issues affecting women and submitting recommendations for action to the President and Congress. Originally intended to dissolve at the end of 1975, the Commission was extended for a second year by President Ford.

In 1975, a bill proposing the National Women's Conference was passed by Congress. When it was finally held in 1977, it was the first federally commissioned and funded event of its kind. The conference was an opportunity for leaders, delegates and guests to come together from all over the country, from different socio-economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds, of all ages and political views alike. The three day event was a venue for speeches from speakers such as Gloria Scott, Bella Abzug, Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford, Liz Carpenter and Barbara Jordan, as well as lectures and workshops on topics such as business, law, and history.

In addition to being a platform for bringing the nation's women together, one of the main goals of the conference was the creation and ratification of a National Plan of Action. The National Plan of Action was a set of recommendations for combatting inequality, handed off to the President and Congress. It consisted of 26 planks, core areas or issues affecting women in the United States which were agreed upon by delegates of the convention: arts and humanities, battered women, business, child abuse, child care, credit, disabled women, education, elective and appointive office, employment, Equal Rights Amendment, health, homemakers, insurance, international affairs, media, minority women, offenders, older women, rape, reproductive freedom, rural women, sexual preference, statistics, welfare and poverty and the committee of the conference. Each of these topics was researched and outlined in the official report.

A central issue to the NWC and the women's movement during the 1970s was the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA was proposed to constitutionally guarantee equality of the sexes under U.S. law, protecting against discrimination and insuring equal opportunities and benefits. Opponents of the amendment believed it would be used to legalize gay marriage and abortion, remove legal protections for women from law, subject women to military draft, force religious bodies to disobey the laws of their religions, and prohibit unisex bathrooms, clubs or sports teams. The ERA was passed by both the House and the Senate with votes of 354 to 23 and 84 to 8, respectively, however it was only ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states for it to be passed into law.

Besides being a conference delegate, Stinson also served as coordinator for her local National Organization for Women chapter. NOW was founded in 1966 in response to the growing women's rights movement and is still active to this day.

Scope and contents of the collection

The Stinson collection consists of documents and articles related to the women's movement in the 1970s, including the final report from the IWY California Conference, a copy of the proposed National Plan of Action, a program from the 1979 NOW Conference in California, an issue of the NOW Times newsletter and an assortment of newspaper clippings and magazines. The collection also contains memorabilia such as NOW membership cards, pro-ERA and women's rights stickers, a signed banner, IWY and ERA pendants and an “ERA NOW” license plate frame.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Mary B. Stinson Collection (MS 824). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Mary B. Stinson, May 2014.

Processing Information

Processed by Catie Heitz, July 2014.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Special Collections and University Archives
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9275

Phone: (413) 545-2780
Fax: (413) 577-1399
Link to SCUA

Contents List
ERA NOW license plate frame
ca. 1975

Box 2
ERA pendant necklace
ca. 1975

Box 2
IWY California Conference Final Report
1977 June

Box 1:1
International Women's Year Dove pendant necklace
ca. 1977

Box 2
IWY Dove pendant necklace
ca. 1977

Box 2
IWY Dove pendant necklace
ca. 1977

Box 2
IWY Dove pin
ca. 1977

Box 2
Ms. Magazine: The Ultimate Invasion of Privacy
1981 Feb

Box 1:2
News Clippings

Box 1:3
NOW Membership Cards

Box 1:4
Now more than ever: 1979 NOW conference program

Box 1:5
NOW Times: Sentinels for Extention
1978 Apr

Box 1:6
Poster: American Women on the Move (IWY, Houston, Tex.)
1977 Nov 18-21

Map case 4
Pro-ERA, Women's rights stickers
ca. 1975

Box 1:7
Proposed National Plan of Action

Box 1:8
Signed banner from ERA Walkathon
1978 Aug 26

Box 2
Time Magazine: The Ordeal of Political Wives
1974 Oct 7

Box 1:9
Time Magazine: After Houston
1977 Dec 5

Box 1:10

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Equal rights amendments
  • Feminism--United States
  • International Women's Year Conference
  • National Organization for Women
  • Women's rights--United States

  • Stinson, Mary B.

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