1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island Records

 Women's Rights Activists at Brown University in Providence, RI

 Papers, 1970-1984

 Size: 1.75 ft.

 Catalog number: MSS 156

 Processed by: Kim DiGianfilippo, June 1993

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:


            The Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island was formed in 1970 by a group of women concerned with improving the status of females in our society. The ideas of the Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island were a result of student activism in the civil rights movement, US involvement in the Vietnam War, and the publication of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mysteries (1963). Similar to activism that began on college campuses, the WLURI began in the fall of 1969 with a group of women associated with Brown University. Eventually the Union grew in size which caused some difficulty as a result to members sharing different political views. This problem was never completely solved, but as tension lessened the group was able to concentrate on issues that concern women.

            The Union used various means to achieve their goals, including union-filled lawsuits, organized protests, handing out literature, and working with other agencies to promote women's issues. These women worked hard to achieve equal rights for women and socialist programs to aid women and their children. Their ideas included: equal pay for equal work, maternity leaves, availability of contraceptives, repeal of abortion laws, the establishment of day-cares and women's centers, self-defense classes, teaching of women in history, and other things that would benefit women. The organization continued to exist until 1984.


Fausto, Anne and Christina Simmons, "Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island: A History." [Rhode Island: The Union, 1977]

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Scope and content:

            The Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island Collection includes newspaper clippings, newsletters, minutes from meetings, government policies, documents from legal cases on sexism, magazine articles, written correspondences, health service reviews, and university movements. The records date from 1970 to 1984. The collection includes not only the accomplishments of the organization, but other women groups that it supported: the National Organization of Women (NOW), Ecumenical Committee on Basic Human Needs, Lesbian Collection (LC), Rhode Island Permanent Advisory Commission On Women, Rhode Island Women's Political Caucus, Rhode Island Working Women, Citizens United to Reclaim Freedom for Every Woman (CURFEW), and other groups. There is a written narrative regarding the history of the Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island. Important members of the Union were Christina Simmons and Ann Fausto. Arrangement is alphabetical, by subject.

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            The Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island material was donated by the organization in 1977 and again in 1993.

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Processing note:

            The papers were sorted, staples and paperclips removed, and item were put in acid-free boxes and folders. Some, but not all, of the newspaper clippings were photocopied onto acid-free paper and discarded. A finding aid was written.

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Box 1

            Abortion                                                                                             1970-1973

            Abortion                                                                                             1974-1982

            Abortion                                                                                             n.d.

            Abortion newspaper clippings                                                            1972 and misc

            Abortion newspaper clippings                                                            1973

            Abortion newspaper clippings                                                            1973

            Abortion newspaper clippings                                                            1973

            Abortion newspaper clippings                                                            1974

            Abortion newspaper clippings                                                            1975

            Athletics                                                                                             1974-1977

            Brown University                                                                               1971-1977

            CETA (Comprehensive Employment Training Act)/OTJ

                        (on-the-job) and other employment training                          1980s

            Comiso, Italy                                                                                      1983

            Correspondences                                                                                1970-1981

            CURFEW (Citizens United to Reclaim Freedom for Every Woman)1983

Box 2

            Ecumenical Committee On Basic Human Needs/Rhode Island

                        Commission For Human Rights                                             1971-1973

            Education (SWAS-School Within A School)/Transportation            1971-1982

            ERA (Equal Rights Amendment)                                                       1972-1982

            Family Planning/Day-Care                                                                 1972-1983

            Food Stamps/Family assistance plans                                                1970s-1980s

            Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights/Lesbian women's groups                    1970s-1980s

            Greenhouse                                                                                         1983-1984

            Health service council to Women and Infants Hospital                     1982

            Labor Organizations                                                                           1974-1982

            Legal Cases                                                                                        1977-1983

            Mailing Lists to the Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island      1973-1983

            Misc                                                                                                    1975-1983

            Misc magazine articles                                                                       1970s-1980s

            Misc rough notes                                                                                1970s-1980s

Box 3

            National Welfare Rights Organization/Socialists-Feminists

                        Movement                                                                              1970-1981

            Newspaper clippings                                                                          1974

            Newspaper clippings                                                                          1975

            Newspaper clippings                                                                          1976, 1977, 1983, n.d.

            NOW (National Organization for Women)                                        1974-1980

            Paste Up

            Policies of Employment for Women/Minorities                                1977-1983

            Reagan administration ideas/responses                                              1980s

            Rough copies of newsletters                                                               1978-1979

            Rough copies of newsletters                                                               1983-1984

            Rhode Island Women's Health Collective                                          1974-1983

            Rhode Island Permanent Advisory Commission On Woomen          1970s

            Rhode Island Women's Political Caucus                                            1970s

            Rhode Island Working Women and other women's organizations

                        newsletters                                                                              1970s

            Special events                                                                                     1971-1983

            Speeches                                                                                             1970s

Box 4

            University Christian Movement in New England/Quaker                  1972

            Violence against women (raped/battered women)                             1970-1983

            WEAL (Women's Equity Action League)                                          1980s

            Women's centers (YMCA, URI, and public library)                          1970s

            Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island minutes                        Jun 1971-Feb 1972

            Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island minutes                        Jan 1976-May 1975

            Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island minutes (notebook)      Mar 1975-Sep 1977

            Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island minutes                        Sep 1973-Feb 1975

            Women for a Non-Nuclear Future                                                      1980s

            Written Narrative of the Women's Liberation Union of RI                1969-1979

            Written Narrative of the Women's Liberation Union of RI                1970s-1980s


            Proclamation-Women's History Week                                               Mar 1982

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Abortion - Law and legislation - United States.

Birth control.

Brown University.

Civil rights movements - United States.

Fausto, Ann.

Feminism - United States - Twentieth century.

Feminism - United States - Societies, etc.

Maternal and infant welfare - Law and legislation.

Simmons, Christina.

Student movements.

Welfare rights - United States.

Women - Social conditions - Twentieth century.

Women's rights.

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