Document 42: Florence L. C. Kitchelt to Alice Paul, 29 August 1954, in National Woman's Party Papers, 1913-1974 (Glen Rock, N. J.: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1977-1978), Reel 100.


   Kitchelt's 1954 letter to Alice Paul had the tone of a commander to a subordinate. She offered cooperation, but on her terms.

51 Mill Rock Road New Haven II, Connecticut Telephone MA 4-7366

Aug. 29, 1954

Miss Alice Paul
144 B St., N.E.
Washington,2, D.C.

Dear Miss Paul:

   I find myself very critical of the situation in the movement for the Amendment. Devotion is not enough. We need statesmanship.

   It is all very well to have the WCTU [Woman's Christian Temperance Union] endorse the ERA. To win voters in Congress, we need the endorsements of the AFL and the CIO.

   A few old women like you and me and the NWP can no more win than we can lift ourselves by our own bootstraps. Those Congressmen are deaf to and tired of us. They will listen only to delegations of active young women, party workers, representatives of large organizations back home.

   We should have in Washington a Joint Legislative Committee which meets at least monthly, under a chairman of its own selection, and its joint decisions should activate all the member organizations.

   Its chairman should not be one of the N.W. Party leaders. For other organizations complain that NWP does not understand how to cooperate.

   Susan B. Anthony raised up leaders to follow her, tho' she saw their mistakes and was critical of their methods.

   Right now, questionnaires for congressional candidates should come from this Joint Legislative Committee, so that all groups bring their pressure to bear. If we women cannot learn to cooperate to raise our status to the first-class citizenship, there is no hope for us, or the amendment---not in the Congress of the USA. Our Congressmen do not tune their ears to ideals, but to the grass-roots back home.

   Just for an off-hand suggestion, I should like to see NWP devote itself to the Equal Rights Magazine, with a million readers; and the NFBPWC [National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs], with its big membership take leadership for the ERA, but remembering the banner of equal status was raised before you and I were born,

Yours very sincerely,

[signed] Florence L.C. Kitchelt

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