Document 18: Eleanor Roosevelt to Florence Kitchelt, 5 February 1945, Florence Ledyard Cross Kitchelt Papers, 1885-1961, A-61, Box 8, Folder 219, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


   Eleanor Roosevelt, a committed social justice feminist since her reform days in New York State, had long opposed passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Her letter to Kitchelt did not categorically reject the ERA and Kitchelt's arguments on its behalf, but she clearly preferred other means of ending discrimination against women.

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February 5, 1945.

Dear Mrs. Kitchelt:

    I have your letter and am sorry to say that I still believe the amendment is unnecessary and when it is passed everyone will have to go to work and get all the laws which they want passed just as though there were no amendment. I can not see why the work which must be put into passing the amendment would not be better directed toward passing laws immediately. There is nothing to prevent it now.

    The old laws which discriminate against women could be repealed with far greater ease and would require less work than passing an amendment to the Constitution. The repeal of those laws are practically all that would be needed.

Very sincerely yours,

[signed] Eleanor Roosevelt

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