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Guide to the Stewardesses for Women's Rights Collection WAG.061

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Jessie Wilkerson, 2005. Preliminary processing by Stephanie Muntone, 1987.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 29, 2018
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Stewardesses for Women's Rights
Source: Stewardesses for Women's Rights
Title: Stewardesses for Women's Rights Collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1966-1987
Dates [bulk]: 1972-1976
Abstract: Stewardesses for Women's Rights (SFWR) was founded in 1972 after two flight attendants, Sandra Jarrell and Jan Fulsom, took Eastern Airlines to court on discrimination charges. The organization grew nationwide and worked to inform the public and other flight attendants about airline companies' sexist advertisements, company discrimination, and airline health and safety hazards. This collection includes correspondence, the constitution and by-laws, membership lists, and agendas. Along with general records, there is extensive research material from each of the SFWR task forces, records from affiliated unions, updates from regional offices, photographs, and papers from SFWR national conferences.
Quantity: 3 Linear Feet in two record cartons, one oversize flat box, and one folder.
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: WAG.061

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Historical/Biographical Note

In the winter of 1972 two Eastern Airlines flight attendants, Sandra Jarrell and Jan Fulsom, took Eastern Airlines to court on charges of discriminatory weight and grooming regulations. These regulations, enforced against female flight attendants but not against their male co-workers, led both women to leave their jobs, claiming their working conditions were unreasonably stressful. Consequently, the two women joined with other flight attendants to address working conditions and discrimination within the airline industry to form Stewardesses for Women's Rights (SFWR). The response from flight attendants was immediate and substantial. The SFWR national headquarters (opened in early 1974) was at Rockefeller Center in New York City, and there were regional offices throughout the United States. The first national conference of SFWR, held in March 1973, was addressed by Gloria Steinem, who had recently founded Ms. Magazine. Steinem continued to be a strong supporter of the organization throughout its brief existence.

As part of its services, the organization published a newsletter (Stewardesses for Women's Rights) ten times yearly. In it SFWR informed its members of sexist advertising, company discrimination, and health and safety hazards in the airline industry. SFWR also wrote and produced a counter-commercial that emphasized the flight attendant as a responsible professional within the airline industry rather than a glamour girl. Also, SFWR served as a legal liaison, linking stewardesses who had been discriminated against by airline companies to lawyers who could successfully defend them. Many stewardesses were restored to their jobs with full back pay and benefits as a result of asking SFWR for help. A number of individuals were reinstated in their jobs and won considerable back pay judgments after approaching SFWR for help. SFWR also helped change discriminatory policies of airline companies. In time tensions developed within the organization; some members saw their struggle primarily in feminist terms, and others were interested in traditional labor organizing. Some left to devote their time more exclusively to union activity. Due to declining membership and lack of funding, SFWR folded in the spring of 1976.

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Scope and Content Note

This artificial collection is made up of materials on the Stewardesses for Women's Rights, donated by multiple former members of the group. This collection includes correspondence, the constitution and by-laws, membership lists, and agendas. Along with general records, there is extensive research material from each of the SFWR task forces, records from affiliated unions, updates from regional offices, photographs, exhibit materials, textiles, and papers from SFWR national conferences.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into four series:

Series I: Correspondence
Series II: Subject Files
Series III: Task Forces
Series IV: Visual Materials and Artifacts

Files in each series are alphabetized.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Welmers, Nan Frost
  • Jarrell, Sandra.

Document Type

  • Reports.
  • Correspondence.
  • Fliers (printed matter)
  • Clippings (information artifacts)

Subject Organizations

  • Eastern Airlines, inc.--Employees
  • Transport Workers Union of America
  • Stewardesses for Women's Rights

Subject Topics

  • Sex discrimination against women -- United States.
  • Flight attendants -- United States.

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

The materials making up this collection were donated by various former members of Stewardesses for Women's Rights after an SFWR reunion was held at the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, NYU, in the summer of 1987. The reunion was organized and the collection assembled by Wagner archivist Brenda Parnes. The majority of the records were donated by former SFWR National Coordinator, Nan Frost Weimers.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by the Stewardesses for Women's Rights was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Stewardesses for Women's Rights Collection; WAG 061; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Related Archival Materials

Stewardesses for Women's Rights Oral History Collection (OH 012)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by various former members of the Stewardesses for Women's Rights, 1987. The accession numbers associated with these gifts are 1987.019, 1987.020, and 1987.021.

Processing Information

Photographs were separated from this collection during initial processing and were established as a separate collection, the Stewardesses for Women's Rights Photographs (PHOTOS 178). In 2013, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Stewardesses for Women's Rights Collection (WAG 061) as Series IV. A later accession was also repatriated to the collection and incorporated into Series IV.

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Container List

Series I: Correspondence, 1973-1975

Scope and Content Note

This series includes general correspondence between the Stewardesses for Women's Rights (SFWR) main office and other labor and feminist organizations. There are letters to and from Sandra Jarrell, co-founder and former national coordinator of SFWR, including letters from other SFWR members and organizers. These letters detail organizing tactics as well as the SFWR leadership's responsibilities. Also contained are letters to former SFWR national coordinator Nan Frost Welmers from members and other organization leaders. The Legal Task Force correspondence includes letters from flight attendants seeking legal assistance as well as responses and advice from the task force. Membership correspondence consists of letters from flight attendants to SFWR.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence: General
1973-1975
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Jarrell, Sandra: Correspondence
circa 1973-1967 , 1980-1987
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Legal Task Force: Correspondence
1973-1975
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Membership: Correspondence
1972-1974
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Welmers, Nan Frost: Correspondence
1972-1975

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Series II: Subject Files, 1966-1987

Scope and Content Note

This series contains organizational documents including the constitution, by-laws, membership lists, minutes, agendas, and update reports. Also included are research materials that SFWR staff collected, such as articles, essays, clippings, and handbooks. The series contains documents from flight attendant unions, the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), and various women's organizations.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Applications for Flight Attendants
1972-1973
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Articles and Essays
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Board Members: List
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Booklets and Flyers
undated , 1972-1975
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Brochures: Flight Attendant School
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Clippings
1974-1986
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Constitution and By-Laws
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Financial: Tax Status
1974-1975
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Fundraising
1973-1975
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Handbook: Organizing
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Kane, Paula and Chandler, Christopher: Sex Objects in the Sky (advance copy)
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Magazines: Trade and Professional
1974-1986
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Manual: Pan American Flight Service
1966-1968 , 1975
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Membership Lists
1972-1976
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Minutes and Agendas
1972-1976
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Miscellaneous Publications
1975-1987
Box: 1 Folder : 22 National Conference
Spring 1973
Box: 1 Folder : 23 National Conference
Fall 1973
Box: 1 Folder : 24 National Conference
Spring 1974
Box: 1 Folder : 25 National Conference
Fall 1974
Box: 1 Folder : 26 National Conference
Fall 1975
Box: 1 Folder : 27 Newsletter Updates
1974-1975
Box: 1 Folder : 28 Operations: New York Office
1974-1975
Box: 1 Folder : 29 Planning and Organizing
1972
Box: 1 Folder : 30 Reunion
Apr 22, 1987
Box: 1 Folder : 31 Transport Workers Union: Air Transport Division Local 551
1973-1977
Box: 1 Folder : 32 Transport Workers Union of America (TWU): Labor Protective Provisions
Apr 3, 1975
Box: 1 Folder : 33 Unions: Flight Attendant
1967-1978
Box: 1 Folder : 34 Update Reports: New York Office
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 35 Update Reports: Northeastern Region
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 36 Update Reports: Southern Region
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 37 Update Reports: Western Region
1973
Box: 1 Folder : 38 Wages and Benefits
undated , 1976
Box: 1 Folder : 39 Women's Organizations
1973-1974
Box: 1 Folder : 40 Women's Rights Day
1974

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Series III: Task Forces, 1972-1978

Scope and Content Note

This series contains materials collected by SFWR task forces: the health and safety task force, the legal task force, the public relations task force, and the educational program, Safe Transportation of People (STOP). Each task force obtained articles, essays, notes, and legal case files that could aid the specific task force. All the task force files consist of articles, clippings, and reports on their respective issues. The legal task force files include extensive documents on jurisdiction and complaints filed by flight attendants for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and weight requirements.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Health and Safety Task Force: Crashes
1974
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Health and Safety Task Force: Dysrhythmia
1976
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Health and Safety Task Force: General
1972-1977
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Health and Safety Task Force: Hazardous Cargoes
1974
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Health and Safety Task Force: Hypoglycemia
1973
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Health and Safety Task Force: Menstrual Cycle, Pregnancy
1973
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Health and Safety Task Force: Ozone
1976-1978
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Health and Safety Task Force: Radiation
1974
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Health and Safety Task Force: Smoking/Cabin Ventilation
1976
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Legal Task Force: Cases (1)
1970-1972
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Legal Task Force: Cases (2)
1973-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Legal Task Force: F/A Weight Requirements
1973-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Legal Task Force: Non-Airline Cases
1976
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Legal Task Force: Sex Discrimination/Sexual Harassment
undated , 1975-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 15 Public Relations Task Force: Media Image/Sexist Advertising
1973-1974
Box: 2 Folder : 16 Public Relations Task Force: Membership Recruitment
1974
Box: 2 Folder : 17 Public Relations Task Force: Publicity
1972-1974
Box: 2 Folder : 18 Safe Transportation of People (STOP)
1975
Box: 2 Folder : 19 Task Forces: General
1973

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Series IV: Visual Materials and Artifacts, 1970s-1987

Scope and Content Note

This series contains visual and ephemeral materials on Stewardesses for Women's Rights (SFWR). Approximately half of this series is made up of black-and-white and color photographs and slides, depicting SFWR meetings and demonstrations. A portion of the photographs comes from a disassembled scrapbook of members creating a quilt. Some notable individuals in the photos include Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. The other half of the materials is likely from an 1987 exhibit and reunion of members at Tamiment for the opening of the collection. These materials are made up placards from the exhibit and other materials donated by the members of SFWR, including a t-shirt and other textiles, photographs, letterheads, stickers, buttons, advertisements, fliers, and other ephemera.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 20 "Coffee, Tea, or Fly Me" Ad [Exhibit?]
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 21 [Color Snapshots from disassembled scrapbook]
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 22 Demonstrations and Meetings Photographs
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 23 Exhibit Materials
1987
Box: 2 Folder : 24 Exhibit Materials
1987
Box: OS005 Exhibit Materials and Photograph
Box: 2 Folder : 25 Stewardesses for Women's Rights Stickers and other Ephemera
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 26 Stewardesses Group Slides
undated
Box: 3 Textiles
undated

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