Guide to the Harris County Women’s Political Caucus Records
The Harris County Women’s Political Caucus was founded in April of 1972 as one of the local affiliates of the Texas Women’s Political Caucus and National Women’s Political Caucus. The by-laws of the caucus defined its purpose as organizing Harris County women so that “they may unite in political action, especially against sexism, racism, institutional violence, and poverty.” (Bylaws, Folder 1, Box 1). Founding members of the Harris County Women’s Political Caucus included many well-known Harris County activists, business leaders, philanthropists and politicians such as Betty Barnes, Helen Cassidy, Peggy Hall, Ruth Milburn, and Poppy Northcut. Throughout the rest of the 1970s the Harris County Political Caucus was very successful in women’s rights advocacy. It collected data about discrimination against women, lobbied political leaders at the local and state level for pro-women legislation such as the ratification of the state and national Equal Rights Amendments, and supported the political campaigns of women seeking public office. The caucus also successfully lobbied for the creation of a Women’s Advocate for the city of Houston.
By 1981 the Harris County Political Caucus was one of the fastest growing affiliates of the National Women’s Political Caucus in the nation, having increased its membership by 260% (“A brief history” Harris County Women’s Political Caucus). The caucus continued its social and political activism in the 1980s, taking an active role in opposing anti-choice legislation in Texas and supporting the mayoral race of Kathy Whitmire.
This collection is comprised of one box and includes newsletters and correspondence from the Harris County Women’s Political Caucus and the Texas and National Women’s Political Caucuses, brochures, convention related documents and histories and bylaws of the organizations. It also includes a few issues of the Women’s Political Times, a publication of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Materials are arranged regionally, and then by topic within each regional series.
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Harris County Women’s Political Caucus Records. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.
This collection is a compilation of items taken from the Houston Area Women’s Center Collection (1996-005), the Josephine Harris Stewart Papers (2000-001), the Houston Area NOW and Other Feminist Activities Collection (2002-003) and a donation by Barbara Karkabi.
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