Document 8: Anita Pollitzer to Alice Paul, 20 July 1943, in National Woman's Party Papers, 1913-1974 (Glen Rock, N. J.: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1977-1978), Reel 77.


   Pollitzer's letter expressed the alarm with which NWP members reacted to Kitchelt's independent path within their movement. Anita Pollitzer (1894-1975), born in Charleston, S.C., joined the Congressional Union when she was a student at Columbia University. She served as the NWP's national secretary (1921-1926), vice chairman (1927-1938), chairman (1945-1949), and honorary chairman (1949-1975). A successful photographer, Pollitzer actively participated in the World Woman's Party and promoted women's equal nationality rights internationally.

   Alice Paul (1885-1977) was born in New Jersey, attended Swarthmore College, the London School of Economics, and the University of Pennsylvania, where she completed a Ph.D. in political science in 1912. In England she joined the Women's Social and Political Union and engaged in civil disobedience for which she was arrested and imprisoned. Bringing British suffrage militancy to the United States, she founded the Congressional Committee in 1916 and engaged in radical tactics like picketing the White House, for which she and others were arrested, imprisoned and, when they went on hunger strike, force fed. Her militancy kept Paul on the margins of the suffrage movement before 1920; after 1920 her leadership kept the NWP on the margins of the women's movement by her uncompromising militancy on behalf of the ERA. In 1929 she moved into a house bought by Alva Belmont on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., where she presided over the NWP's single-issue campaign for forty years.

July 20, 1943.

Miss Alice Paul,
National Woman's Party,
144 B. Street, N.E.,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Miss Paul:

   Mrs. Williams, as a member of the Connecticut Committee, felt that she should go up to the meeting called by Miss Phillips at New Haven on the 19th and she did so yesterday. She has just reported to me a few things which she thinks you should know. She says that Miss Phillips is going to write to you and get your advice on this, but Mrs. Williams felt so strongly and took such a firm stand in the meeting on the subject that the name of the group should be the Connecticut State Committee, or Connecticut State Branch, of the National Woman's Party, that she wanted to bring these facts to your attention so that you would be posted.

   Miss Phillips, as Chairman, Mrs. Kitchelt, Miss Annie Goodrich, and Mrs. Williams attended the meeting of the Board. After Miss Phillips' introductory address, Mrs. Kitchelt brought up the question of the name for the Connecticut Committee. Mrs. Williams pointed out, and so did Miss Goodrich, that Mrs. Babcock[A] had come up to organize a state branch of the National Woman's Party, and that to call this branch the Connecticut State Committee for the Equal Rights Amendment would lead to great misunderstanding and would be unfair to the National Woman's Party. Miss Phillips, who was in the chair, agreed. Mrs. Kitchelt, it seems, made a great plea that the group would win many friends and members from those who would be antagonistic to joining the National Woman's Party. In the end the matter was given over to Miss Phillips who would address a letter to you asking your opinion. Mrs. Kitchelt was the only one at the meeting who wanted to leave out the name of the National Woman's Party from the title of the Committee, and Mrs. Williams feels sure that if you write your opinion to Miss Phillips, Miss Phillips will present it to Mrs. Kitchelt in the proper way. In addition to the subject of a visit to Mr. Talbot[B] which you will see on the agenda I enclose, Miss Phillips brought up the three Congressional points you had asked me to speak to her about over the phone and action was taken.

   This is all now. We had a wonderful street meeting yesterday with wholly splendid results. I will write you about it separately.

Much love,
[signed] Anita
Anita Pollitzer

encl. [handwritten] Mrs. Williams says [remainder typed]
Will you kindly show this letter to Mrs. Babcock?


A. Probably Caroline Lexow Babcock, executive secretary of the NWP, 1938-1946. See Document 16 for a letter from Babcock to Kitchelt arguing that the ERA was incompatible with gender-specific labor legislation.
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B. Probably Joseph E. Talbot (1901-1996), Republican congressman from Connecticut's fifth district, which included New Haven, 1942-1947.
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