SCPC Research Guide: Equal Rights Amendment

Editor’s note: Our student assistants have been working on compiling lists of collections with material pertaining to various historical research topics.  It was completed by Laura Litwer in fall 2010. This entry is the first of a series of such lists.  Please also see our Research Guides page for other topics!

Equal Rights Amendment

Below are SCPC collections with files on the Equal Rights Amendment. If you know of relevant material in a collection we overlooked, please let us know. List compiled in November 2010.

Collections with a significant amount of ERA material:

South Carolina Coalition for the ERA was founded in 1973 and reorganized two years later as a public interest lobby in support of South Carolina’s ratification of the ERA to the federal constitution.  This collection contains information about the 1975 introduction of the ERA to the SC House and the tabling of that bill later the same year, as well as a variety of research files on related topics including abortion, athletics, divorce, education, religion, and Social Security.

The League of Women Voters (LWV) of South Carolina, founded in 1951, encourages people to become educated about and active in government.  ERA records in this collection include action kits, International Women’s Year materials, brochures and other publications.

The League of Women Voters of Columbia/Richland County is one of three organizations that formed the nucleus of the LWV of South Carolina.  This organization’s records contain a substantial amount of information related to the ERA including research files and materials created by the LVW-Columbia/Richland County and by a variety  of other pro-ERA and women’s equality organizations.

Barbara Moxon (b. 1921) was involved with a number of grassroots efforts in the state, including ERA South Carolina (ERASC).  Relevant materials in this collection include their minutes, literature created by ERASC and other groups, U.S. Senate hearings on the ERA, evidence of lobbying and legislative efforts, speeches, and clippings.

Other collections with ERA material:

Joseph Raleigh Bryson (1893-1953) served in the SC House and Senate in the 1920s and 1930s. In1938, he was elected to the U.S. House, where he served until his death.  This collection contains one folder of material related to the ERA.  Most of the items are letters from organizations voicing support or opposition as Congress debated the ERA in 1950.

The Democratic Party of South Carolina favored ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.  Their records hold some files on the ERA.

Butler C. Derrick, Jr. (b. 1936) represented SC’s Third District in the U.S. House, 1975-1995.  Derrick’s collection includes a number of topical files with ERA-related documents.

Lawrence Marion Gressette (1902-1984) was elected to the SC House in 1925 and the SC Senate in 1936, where he served until his death.  Gressette exercised a considerable amount of power, in part due to his role on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  He was influential in ensuring that the state did not ratify the ERA.  A substantial amount of information related to the ERA is present in this collection, including opinions on the merits and probable effects of the ERA, newsletters from organizations opposed to ratification, constituent letters, and petitions opposing ratification.

Donald H. Holland (1928-2003) served for several decades as a state representative from Kershaw County, as SC District Highway Commissioner, and finally as a state senator.  His collection has one folder related to the ERA, consisting mostly of mail from constituents opposed to ratification.

Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings (b. 1922) served in the SC House, as Lt. Governor and as Governor, 1949-63, and U.S. Senator, 1966-2005.  Hollings favored ratification of the ERA.  His collection contains several folders of material related to the ERA in the Legislative Files series and can be found by looking in the 1966-1976, 1977-1986, and 1987-1996 box lists.

Olin Dewitt Talmadge Johnston (1896-1965) served as SC governor twice and as a U.S. Senator from 1945 until his death.  During his tenure, he sat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Constituent letters on the ERA are found in two files under 1957 and 1959 in the Legislative series.  A folder under 1960 in the Legislative series consists primarily of statements of support or opposition to the ERA from individuals and organizations of national prominence.

Harriet Keyserling (b. 1922) is a former state legislator and long-time supporter of ethical, educational, social, and cultural issues affecting the state of South Carolina.  She favored ratification of the ERA.  Her papers include two folders with mostly correspondence between Keyserling and individuals and organizations concerning the ERA and three folders of ERA-related brochures, articles, and newsletters.

Modjeska Monteith Simkins (1899-1992) was a leading advocate for civil rights in South Carolina.  This collection includes brochures and other documents written in favor or opposition to the ERA, most of which were created by organized groups.

Eugene Noel “Nick” Zeigler, Jr. (b. 1921) served in the SC House and SC Senate, as well as being actively involved in public life outside the Legislature.  Zeigler favored ratification of the ERA and letters from constituents and organizations to Sen. Zeigler about the ERA are included in his papers.

–contributed by Laura Litwer

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