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National Organization for Women (Quad Cities Chapter) records

Identifier: MSS 310

Scope and Contents

The National Organization for Women (Quad Cities Chapter) records, 1966-2004 and undated, is arranged into four series: Quad Cities NOW, State and Regional NOW, National NOW, and videorecordings.

The Quad Cities NOW series (1968-2004 and undated) contains materials pertinent to the organization at the local level, including the chapter's administrative records and newsletters, subject files, and press clippings, as well as photographs and artifacts. It has been arranged into nine subseries: Administrative (1972-1992 and undated), Contact Lists (undated), Newsletters (1970-2000 and undated), Miscellaneous Chapter Documents (1970-1994 and undated), Subject Files (1971-2004 and undated), Press Clippings (1970-2000 and undated), Photographs (1976-1989), Artifacts (undated), Texts (1968-1980), and Scrapbooks. The Administrative subseries contains board and business meeting minutes and financial and membership records. The Contact Lists subseries contains the contact information of current, former, and prospective members, as well as legislators and media contacts. The Newsletters subseries contains QC NOW chapter newsletters. The Miscellaneous Chapter Documents subseries contains materials generated by the chapter at the local level. The Subject Files subseries consists of subject files containing information about issues for which NOW advocates. The Press Clippings subseries contains clippings and publicity surrounding QC NOW campaigns and events. The Photographs subseries contains photographs of QC NOW members and events. The Artifacts subseries contains buttons, sashes, stationary, stickers, posters, and other items produced by the QC NOW chapter. The Texts subseries contains facsimile title pages from various books that have been separated from the collection and cataloged. The Scrapbooks subseries contains two scrapbooks from the 1980s pertaining to NOW activities and general Quad Cities news clippings.

The State and Regional NOW series (1974-1989 and undated) consists primarily of materials from various conventions and council meetings held throughout Illinois and the Midwest.

The National NOW series (1966-1995 and undated) includes some administrative papers in addition to materials from national conventions and national newsletters. It has been arranged into four subseries: Administrative (1966-1993 and undated), National Conferences (1972-1995), National NOW Times (1974-1994), and ERA Campaign (1972-1985 and undated). The Administrative subseries contains bylaws and policies, newsletters, financial reports, and other documents. The National Conferences subseries consists of meeting minutes and reports from various national conferences. The National NOW Times subseries contains copies of the national newsletter. The ERA Campaign subseries contains document related to the campaign for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, including ERA Subject Files and Press Clippings.

The Video Recordings series (1995) consists of one video recording that contains two public service announcements titled, "Affirmative Action" and "Violence Against Women". The tape is dated 21 July 1995.


  • 1966-2004 and undated


Conditions Governing Access

Administrative records and contact lists (material in boxes 1-5) closed to researchers 40 years from the date of creation, unless prior consent from the chapter is granted. Audiovisual materials may be inaccessible pending reformatting. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

The Quad Cities chapter of the National Organization for Women (QC NOW) began in August 1970 with a few women who organized a teach-in on women's rights. The teach-in was well attended, and a small group of the women began holding regular meetings at the Omega House in Rock Island. In December 1970, the women officially formed a local, independent organization called Women for Equality (WE). WE soon decided to affiliate with a national organization, and in May 1971, with the minimum ten members, it became the second chartered chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in Illinois. QC NOW directed one of its earliest campaigns toward local newspapers, encouraging publishers to stop separating their classfiied advertisements into "Jobs for Men" and "Jobs for Women."

In 1973, QC NOW co-sponsored the Women’s Counseling Service and the Quad City Women’s Center, a symposium on women’s liberation. QC NOW also campaigned for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution (ERA). Throughout 1974, QC NOW continued lobbying for the passage of the ERA, investigating claims of sex discrimination, and organizing public meetings on reproductive rights. A major event for QC NOW in 1975 was the “Alice Doesn’t Day” strike and rally to demonstrate women’s contribution to the work force.

In 1976, QC NOW helped establish the Rape Crisis Center and participated in a major ERA rally in Springfield, Illinois, the state capital. The group also organized a panel on domestic abuse in 1977 which led to the establishment of a women's shelter. QC NOW worked intensely on the ERA campaign in 1978 as the original deadline for passage approached. An ERA fundraiser featuring Maureen Reagan and Midge Costanza as guest speakers was very successful. Several members traveled to Washington, D.C. for the ERA Extension March. In 1979, QC NOW held its first “Get-Acquainted Night,” its first ERA Walkathon, and a “Take Back the Night” demonstration protesting the prevalence of sexual violence in the Quad Cities. QC NOW’s push for the ERA continued during 1980 with an emphasis on Iowa’s state Equal Rights Amendment and the 1980 march for the ERA in Chicago, Illinois.

New developments in 1981 included the formation of a Lesbian Rights committee and the renewal of consciousness raising discussion groups. On 14 January 1982, an ERA rally was held at the Moline Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) with Lily Tomlin among the speakers. QC NOW members participated in door-to-door canvassing for the ERA and actively volunteered in the campaigns of local pro-ERA candidates for office. When the ERA failed to pass in 1982, QC NOW’s focus shifted to reproductive rights and other women’s issues. In 1986, QC NOW elected its first male president, Dave Stewart. In 1987, QC NOW was the host chapter for the first bi-state (Iowa-Illinois) NOW convention in NOW history.

As of 2015, the group continues to meet regularly, though membership has declined. Its activities focus on general issues of gender equality, sexual assault prevention, advocacy for progressive political candidates.


8.5 Cubic Feet (/ 24 boxes, 1 AV box, 1 oversize folder, and 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials



The Quad Cities chapter of the National Organization for Women (QC NOW) began in August 1970 with a few women who organized a teach-in on women's rights. The group has campaigned for a variety of feminist and women's rights issues, including the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution, legalization of abortion access and preservation of reproductive rights, and sexual assault prevention. The National Organization for Women (Quad Cities Chapter) records, 1966-2004 and undated, contains administrative records, clippings, flyers, realia, videorecordings, and other papers related to local, state, and national chapters of the National Organization for Women.


The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject within each series. Newsletters and photographs are arranged chronologically. Undated documents are organized alphabetically by title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials related to the Quad Cities chapter of NOW were donated by Kathleen Gibson. Additional materials were donated in 2013 by David Stewart.

Processing Information

Processed by Lisa Beane, 2002. Revised by Helen Reinold, 2011; Elizabeth Mayer, 2013; Samantha Crisp, June 2014; Caroline McPherson, February 2015; and Atticus Garrison, October 2015.

National Organization for Women (Quad Cities Chapter) records, 1966-2004 and undated.
Atticus Garrison
October 2015
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Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States