The Amelia Roberts Fry Collection

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  • The Alice Paul Institute has scanned items of interest from the Amelia R. Fry Collection in the Alice Paul Archives located within the Barbara Haney Irvine Library at Paulsdale.  These documents include brochures, pamphlets, articles, photographs and letters.  While there are some items from the National Woman’s Party’s (NWP) campaign for the right to vote (1913-1920), much of the scanned documents feature the NWP’s very active campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the United States from 1921-1970 and the World Woman’s Party’s international efforts for women’s rights (1930-60).

Finding aid for this collection

Items Selected from the Amelia R. Fry Collection in the Alice Paul Archives
located within the Barbara Haney Irvine Library at historic Paulsdale

“Jailed for Freedom: Some Phases in the Front Line of a War for Democracy Not Quite Won.” National Woman’s Party Document. 1919.

This 1919 special report shows photographs and news on the campaign for the passage of a woman’s suffrage amendment.  The report details the NWP’s picketing campaign in front of the White House, arrests and experiences in the DC jail and the Occoquan Workhouse.  As of this date, the House of Representatives had passed the amendment but the Senate had rejected it.  In January 1919, the NWP began watch fire demonstrations, in front of the White House and Lafayette Park, burning speeches made by President Wilson to exert pressure on him to secure the last two votes needed in the Senate to pass the amendment.  In 1920, suffragist Doris Stevens published her book, Jailed for Freedom, detailing the NWP’s picketing and jail experiences.

Box 1- Oversize; Folder 270

League of Nations: Nationality of Women (Report by the Secretary-General), 1931

Note the number of organizations working on behalf of women’s nationality on page 1. The NWP worked closely with the Inter-American Commission of Women to promote an equal nationality treaty.  Nationality rights were a contested issue for women who fought to maintain citizenship and custody rights through international marriage/divorce proceedings. In 1938, Alice Paul founded the World Woman’s Party, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to work to include sex legislation in the Charter of the United Nations in addition to international equal rights.

Box 17; Folder 350

The Inter-American Commission of Women Reports at Montevideo, 1933

This pamphlet written in 1933 is an example of the ways that the National Woman’s Party (NWP) envisioned women’s rights beyond the United States. The Montevideo conference was one of a series of conferences that took place between US and South American nations.  

Box 19; Folder 381

Buck, Pearl S. “Pearl Buck Favors a Constitutional Guarantee Now.” The New York Times 28 Mar. 1943. Print.

This article shows author Pearl S. Buck’s support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).  The article highlights to debate between “special protections” provided to working women (weight-limits, breaks, and maximum allowed hours worked daily) and the “blanket” legislation of the ERA.  Many people, including women’s labor organizations and Eleanor Roosevelt, opposed the ERA because it would wipe out these special provisions.  Buck dispels the notions of chivalry and encourages her readers not separate men’s and women’s legal rights but apply them equally.  Alice Paul acknowledged that the ERA might eliminate special protections but argued that both men and women needed protection in the workplace and argued against “women’s special protections” because it could be used as a basis for discrimination, particularly unequal wages.     

Box 18; Folder 370

Armstrong, Florence A. “Women as Persons under the Constitution.” National Woman’s Party Document. 1944. Print.

This pamphlet was one of thousands of promotional materials produced by the National Woman’s Party for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.  This pamphlet addressed women specifically and highlights legal arguments including the right to fair wages and property rights.  The document also states that women would gain the dignified status of “person” if they had legal rights in the Constitution beyond the vote. 

Box 2-Oversize; Folder 370

Walker, Amelia Himes. “1848-1948,” Equal Rights. Vol. 34, No. 4. Sep-Dec 1948. Print.

Equal Rights was the periodical of the National Woman’s Party from 1921-1970s.  The magazine followed the success of the monthly The Suffragist printed by the National Woman’s Party from 1913-1921.  This article pays homage to U.S. women’s suffrage founders Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in a centennial historical overview.

Box 2-Oversize; Folder-Equal Rights Magazine

National Woman’s Party History Purpose Program, 1952

This c. 1952 brochure shows the mission and accomplishments of Alice Paul’s National Woman’s Party (NWP).  Since the passage of the 19th Amendment, the NWP reorganized to focus on the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, written in 1923.  What is interesting in this pamphlet is the see the incredible amount of work the organization and the World Woman’s Party (WWP) undertook in the years from 1923-60,  a time historians often think of as a relatively quiet period for women’s rights advocacy.

Box 19; Folder 381

“Women’s Planks Praised,” Los Angeles Times, Aug 31, 1956. Print.

In the 1950s, this article shows support for the Equal Rights Amendment in both Republican and Democratic planks.  Both Parties would continue to include the ERA in their campaign platforms until 1980.   

Box 19; Folder 382

Roll of Honor, Congressional Record, 1956. 

This document from the Congressional Record shows the names of sponsors of the Equal Rights Amendment in the House of Representatives in 1956.  The proceedings show a dedication to Susan B. Anthony’s birthday connected to the discussion on the Equal Rights Amendment.

Box 19; Folder 381

Press Comments on Presidents Message on Equal Rights Amendment, January, 1957.

These press clippings show media coverage of President Eisenhower’s speech to Congress to support the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Some articles note that though the ERA had been introduced to every session of Congress since 1923, this is the first time a President has urged its passage.

Box 19; Folder 386


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  • This resource was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this oral history interview do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

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