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Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County archives


Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County archives
Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County
Collection number:
0.50 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

The Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County is an organization that works to prevent disrimination against women. Subjects documented in the files include the International Women's Year, equality, Title IX, multicultural issues, education, and domestic violence. The Coalition's records contain minutes, bylaws, newsletters, and the history of the organization.

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Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County archives, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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Historical Note

The impetus for creating the Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County emanated from a 1974 task force of women leaders in Prince George's County, Maryland, chaired by Mary E. (Betty) Turnbull of the Prince George's Federation of Women's Clubs, whose purpose was "to plan and implement a program to bring us a long stride closer to full women's rights in life and on the lawbooks." The task force planned a series of events, including a seminar on getting women into positions of leadership on county boards and commissions, in honor of the United Nations' International Women's Year (IWY) in 1975.

On June 21, 1975, the IWY Task Force hosted a breakfast at the Watkins Nature Center in Largo, Maryland, designed both to celebrate International Women's Year and to honor county women in the fields of education and public and community relations. Over 150 county leaders were present at this event. The IWY Task Force devised the notion as a mechanism for continuing the collaboration of diverse women's groups, the primary outgrowth of the year's projects that had brought them closer together. The entire gathering, by formal motion, made a commitment to establishing a coalition of women within the county.

The embryonic group soon chose the name Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County. Seven members of the original IWY Task Force formed the nucleus for the new organization: Betty Turnbull, Prince George's Federation of Women's Clubs; Mary Ahalt, Business and Professional Women's Clubs of College Park; Jill Moss Greenberg, Prince George's County Women's Political Caucus; Millicent Hutt, Prince George's County Commission for Women; Dolly Packard, Southern Prince George's chapter of the National Organization for Women; Mary Jo Strauss, Oxon Hill Branch of the American Association of University Women; and Alice Wiley, Prince George's County Department of Social Services. This group began to plan and outline the needs of the Coalition. Among issues that they hoped to address were: women as victims; improved health care for women and children; day care availability; establishment of a rape crisis center; voter registration; alcohol and drug problems; and enforcement of Title IX and sex equity in education.

In late 1975, the Women's Action Coalition began holding regular monthly meetings, drafting bylaws, and actively seeking new membership. By March 1976, many prominent local organizations had joined the Coalition, including the Council of Catholic Women, Northern and Southern Prince George's chapters of the National Organization for Women, several local chapters of the American Association for University Women, the Prince George's County Extension Homemakers, and the Federation of Republican Women.

Spousal abuse and day care for children were major priorities during the first months of the Coalition. Members also began to discuss holding an annual Women's Fair, a tradition that began in 1980 and continued through the mid-1980s. In the late 1970s, Title IX became an issue of primary concern, and the Coalition held special training sessions for both members and local area women on the subject. Delta Sigma Theta, an organization of African American women, had been a member of the Coalition from the beginning, but overall, minority membership was limited. In September 1980, the National Hook-up of Black Women responded to the Coalition's initiative intended to increase the number of minority women's organizations included. As a result, several programs geared to minority women, including employment workshops, took place in 1981. The Coalition also worked closely with the University of Maryland, located in Prince George's County, to plan several programs involving the Women's Studies Program at the university; one resulted in an invitation to participate in a panel on "Minority Women" at a regional conference of the National Women's Studies Association.

In January 1981, the Women's Action Coalition, in collaboration with the Commission for Women and the Prince George's County unit of the National Women's Political Caucus, sponsored a daylong legislative briefing for county women. Participants included state legislators: Delegates Pauline Menes and Joan Pitkin and Ann Hull from the office of the governor. These annual legislative briefings at the county level continued through the mid-1980s. The Coalition also began to participate in activities at a broader, statewide level. In 1982, the Coalition initiated the practice of holding annual legislative briefings with Montgomery County groups. It also began to gain national recognition in 1983 when Mary Jo Strauss received an award from the Mid-Atlantic Center for Sex Equity at American University for co-authoring Everywoman's Guide to Colleges and Universities. That same year, the Mid-Atlantic Center recognized Jill Moss Greenberg for her work as a minority equity specialist with the Maryland State Department of Education.

The Women's Action Coalition remains active in Prince George's County. According to its mission statement in 2004: "The Women's Action Coalition (WAC) is a network organization in Prince George's County whose goal is to improve the quality of life for women and girls through continual advocacy efforts." For a more complete history of the organization, please consult "The Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County, Maryland: A History," located in Series I of this collection. Information about the group's current activities is located on the Internet at (June 2004)

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Archives of the Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County consist of minutes, newsletters, fliers, committee notes, correspondence, and research on women's issues that were important to the Coalition, including day care, spousal abuse, and equity for women in athletics (Title IX). The collection dates from 1974 to 2004, with the bulk of material dating between 1976 and 1986, the most active years for the organization. Also included is documentation on various programs and events sponsored by the Coalition, including the Women's Fairs and the Legislative Briefing series.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Virginia Beauchamp donated the archives of the Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County to the University of Maryland Libraries in 1987 and 2004.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Jennie A. Levine, June 2004.

Processing note:

The collection was placed into acid-free folders and placed into acid-free boxes.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Jennie A. Levine, May 2004. Markup checked and verified by Jennie A. Levine, May 2004.

Arrangement of Collection

Organized as two series:

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1974-2004 (0.50 linear feet)

This series consists of correspondence, minutes, newsletters, fliers, and committee notes documenting the day-to-day operations of the Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County. Included are minutes of Coalition meetings, issues of the official newsletter, and copies of bylaws. There is also membership information in this series, as well as files relating to the restructuring of the group in the early 1990s. International Women's Year files provide information on the early formation of the Coalition. Programs conducted by the Coalition, such as the Women's Fairs and the Legislative Briefing sessions, are also documented in this series.

Arrangement is alphabetical by folder heading.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Auditing Committee, 1977 series 1box 1folder 1
Building Bridges Committee -- [Breaking down racial barriers], 1984-1985 series 1box 1folder 2
Bylaws, 1975-1976, 1982-1985, 2003 and undated series 1box 1folder 3
Calendar, 2004 series 1box 1folder 4
FEMNET, 1989 series 1box 1folder 5
Financial Statement, 1979-1980 series 1box 1folder 6
Focus '81: Legislative Briefing, 1981 series 1box 1folder 7
Focus '82: Legislative Briefing, 1982 series 1box 1folder 8
Getting it Together! Handbook on How to Run a Fair (by Shoshana Cardin and JoAnn Orlinsky), 1974 series 1box 1folder 9
International Women's Year (IWY) Task Force, 1974-1977 series 1box 1folder 10
International Women's Year (IWY) Task Force, 1975-1976 series 1box 1folder 11
Membership, 1975-1986 series 1box 1folder 12
Membership -- Flyer, 1977 series 1box 1folder 13
Minutes, 1975-1976 series 1box 1folder 14
Minutes, 1977-1982, 1986-1987 series 1box 1folder 15
Reorganization, 1990-2004 series 1box 1folder 16
Treasurer's Report, 1981 series 1box 1folder 17
White House Conference on Families, 1979-1980 series 1box 1folder 18
Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County: A History, 1985-1986 series 1box 1folder 19
Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County, Maryland, Newsletter, 1977-1987 series 1box 2folder 1
Women's Fair, 1977-1986 series 1box 2folder 2
Women's Legislative Briefing, 1983-1986 series 1box 2folder 3
Women's Studies Assocation, Mid-Atlantic Regional Convention, 1980-1985 series 1box 2folder 4

Series 2: Women's Issues, 1976-2003 (0.15 linear feet)

This series consists of research materials on women's issues of interest to members of the Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County. Included are files relating to spousal abuse, day care, and equity for women in athletics (Title IX).

Arrangement is alphabetical by folder heading.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Abuse/Battered Women, 1976 series 2box 2folder 5
Cavenaugh, Mary Louise -- Opposition, 1979 series 2box 2folder 6
Civil Rights, 1981 series 2box 2folder 7
Clippings, 1978-1981 series 2box 2folder 8
Day Care, 1979 series 2box 2folder 9
Critical Women's Issues, 2003 series 2box 2folder 10
Scheduling of Girls' and Boys' Varsity Basketball Games, 1983 series 2box 2folder 11
Title IX, 1978-1979 series 2box 2folder 12

Related Material

The Archives and Manuscripts Department of the University of Maryland Libraries holds a number of collections relating to women in the suburban Washington, D. C. area. A select listing follows:

The Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County has a website, which may be located at (May 2004).

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Selected Search Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.