i Michelle Nickerson, Mothers of Conservatism: Women and the Postwar Right (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012), 2-3.
ii Presided over by Democratic Senator Lee Slater Overman from North Carolina, this committee was the ancestor to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), 1938-75.
iii Nickerson, Mothers of Conservatism, 6-7. See also Kirsten Marie Delegard, Battling Miss Bolsheviki: The Origins of Female Conservatism in the United States (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 29-30.
iv Annelise Orleck, “‘We are that mythical thing called the public’: Militant housewives during the Great Depression,” Feminist Studies19.1 (Spring 1993): 147.
v Nickerson, Mothers of Conservatism, xv.
vi Ibid., 90.
vii Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (New York: Basic Books, 1999).
viii Leila Rupp and Verta Taylor (eds.). Survival in the Doldrums: The American Women’s Rights Movement, 1945-1960s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).
ix Nickerson, Mothers of Conservatism.
x “National Affairs: More Than Orchid-Bearers,” Time, 24 November 1952, 22. Ivy Baker Priest, Treasurer of the U.S., “The Ladies Elected Ike,” The American Mercury, February 1953, 23-29;Barbara Wendell Kerr, “Opening a Window in the Smoke-filled Room,” The Reporter,12 January 1956, 22-23.
xi “Parties to Woo Women Voters: Feminine Ballots to Decide ’44 Election?” Southeast Missourian, 20 April 1944, 4. “Editorial: American Women,” Life, 29 January 1945, 28. “Potential Women Voters Increasing,” Free Lance-Star, 27 August 1946, 10. “U.S. Counts 151 Million Noses,” Life, 17 April 1950, 48-51. “The Power of Women in Politics,” Prescott Evening Courier, 9 April 1952, 2. “Women Outnumber Men, In Balloting.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 17 July 1956, 9. “Women Can Swing this Election,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 15 August 1956, 7. “Women Voters Believed to Outnumber Males,” Tuscaloosa News, 30 July 1957, 6. Political experts were so interested in women’s voting behavior that some even suggested distributing pink ballots to women and blue ones to men in order to evaluate the gender gap in voting. See Sigrid Arne, “Women Strong Vote Influence,” Spokane Daily Chronicle, 6 November 1950, 2.
xii Barbara C. Burrell, Women and Political Participation: A Reference Handbook, ABC-CLIO Ltd, 2004, p. 92.
xiii Ivy Baker Priest, “The Ladies Elected Ike,” The American Mercury, February1953, 23-29. Sen. Margaret C. Smith, “Figures Show Ike Was Elected by the Women,” Lewiston Daily Sun, 12 May 1953, 4. Jerry Klein (Central Press Association), “Parties Wooing Women Voters,” Kentucky New Era, 24 September 1956, 8. Ray Tucker, “National Whirligig,” Free Lance-Star, 17 October 1956, 4. Ray Tucker, “Women’s Votes Sought,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 2 December 1959, 6.
xiv The German term refers to an informal social gathering where people (usually women) chat or gossip (klatsch) over coffee. The Anglicized form “coffee klatch” is used as well. On the origins and politicizing potential of kaffeeklatsches, see Lorraine Shapiro, “Kaffeklatsch is Pleasant Heirloom,” Los Angeles Times, 8 January 1961, WS18, and “Women Use Coffee Gossip to Advance,” Chicago Defender, 16 January 1960, 11.
xv See Elayne Rapping, “Tupperware and Women,” Radical America 14.6 (1980): 39-50, and Alison J. Clarke, “Tupperware: Suburbia, sociality and mass consumption,” in Visions of Suburbia, ed. Roger Silverstone, (Routledge, 2012), 132-160. Both E. Rapping and A. Clarke consider that Tupperware activities helped empower women by offering them welcome opportunities within and outside the home. A study on French Tupperware salesladies in the late 1960s- 1970s yielded similar results, showing “the potentially emancipating role” of Tupperware home sale parties for working-class and middle-class women. See Catherine Achin and Delphine Naudier, «La libération par Tupperware? Diffusion des idées et pratiques féministes dans de nouveaux espaces de sociabilité féminine,» Clio Histoire, femmes et sociétés 29 (2009) : 131-140.
xvi Peter Edson, “Ladies Sew Bit of Lace on Politics,” Sarasota Journal, 21 March 1956, 4.
xvii See the use of the expression in Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002), 6. See also Steven Gardiner, “Concerned Women for America: A Case Study,” Eserver. Last modified 28 August 2006. http://feminism.eserver.org/activism/cw-of-a.txt
It seems to find its origin in brochures issued by Concerned Women for America (1979- ), a group of Christian conservative women founded by Beverly La Haye in 1979: “How to Lobby from your Kitchen Table.” Accessed June 20 2014. http://www.cwfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/how-to-lobby.pdf
xviii Nelson Richards, “The Bricker Amendment and Congress’s Failure to Check the Inflation of the Executive’s Foreign Affairs powers, 1951-1954,” California Law Review 94.175: 176.
xix See “Bricker Amendment,” The Crisis, August-September 1953, 442. “. . . the so-called Bricker Amendment to limit the treaty-making powers of the executive branch of government . . . is primarily motivated by conservative anti-civil rights forces of the American Bar Association and Dixiecrats.”
xx Republican Party Platform of 1952, July 7 1952. The American Presidency Project, accessed June 14 2014, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25837
xxi Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower, Vol. 2: The President (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), 68.
xxii Bricker cited in Lucille C. Crain, “The Bricker Amendment Battle Is On!” American Mercury,May 1955, 104-105.
xxiii Vigilant Women for the Bricker Amendment (VWBA) Newsletter, May 1955. The organization’s newsletter published in May 1955 comprised Ruth Murray’s statement to the Senate Judiciary Sub-Committee on May 11th, 1955. LCC Papers, Coll 095, Box 71, Folder 6, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
xxiv “Women Support Bricker Bill,” Waukesha Daily Freeman, 21 January 1954: 2.
xxv VWBA Newsletter, May 1955. In a statement given to the Senate Judiciary Sub-Committee, Mrs. Inman (Iowa coordinator for VWBA and director of the National Society of New England Women) reckoned that these two groups totaled about 4,500 members. Statement of Mrs. Gerald O. Inman, VWBA, National Society of New England Women, United States Flag Committee, and the Congress of Freedom, Davenport, IOWA. Review of the U.N. Charter, Hearings before a subcommittee on Foreign relations, U.S. Senate, 83rd Congress, second session on proposals to amend or otherwise modify existing international peace and security organizations, including the United Nations, vol. 5 (U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 1954), 593. Accessed 21 June 2014, http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b5148823;view=1up;seq=11.
xxvi “The Reporter’s Notes: The Brickerettes,” The Reporter, 2 March 1954, 2-4.
xxvii See Nancy Hendrick, “Nutmeg Minute Women Band to Save State, Nation,” Sunday Herald, 11 December 1949: 39. Nancy Hendrick wrote this critical piece on Minute Women of the U.S. Inc. after its creation in Connecticut. She described a meeting attended by 400 women, including “a few Negro women” but no Jewish women as the author made the group’s anti-Semitism quite clear. VWBA was in part the offspring of Minute Women whose newsletter reminded their readers they “welcome[d] members of all races and all creeds who believe[d] in their principles and who wish[ed] to join their Crusade.” The two groups’ memberships overlapped in the early 1950s; yet, I have found no evidence so far that non-white women may have been members of VWBA.
xxviii VWBA Newsletter, May 1955.
xxix “Bricker Law Group Meets: Campaign is Mapped, The Milwaukee Journal, 11 December 1953: 13, pt.2.
xxx Drew Pearson, “Washington Merry-Go-Round: Wiley Stands His Ground on Bricker Amendment,” St Petersburg Times, 2 February 1954, 6.
xxxi “The Brickerettes,” 4.
xxxii “Bricker Plan Loses Backer.” The Milwaukee Journal, 22 January 1954: 3. Frank E. Holman, Story of the Bricker Amendment (The First Phase), New York: Committee for Constitutional Government, Inc. 1954, 87.
xxxiii Lorania K. Francis, “California Women Back Sen. Bricker,” Los Angeles Times, 26 January 1954, 11. James Reston, “‘Vigilant Women’ Endorse Bricker,” New York Times, 26 January 1954, 14.
xxxiv Fulton Lewis, Jr., “New Support for Bricker Bill Seen in Women Voters Action,” The Brownsville Herald [Brownsville, TX], 19 January 1954, 4.
xxxvi Reston, “Vigilant Women.”
xxxvii VWBA Newsletter, November 1955. Lucille Cardin Crain papers, Coll 095, Box 83, Folder 8, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
xxxviii Michael S. Mayer, The Eisenhower Years (NY, New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009), 66.
xxxix LCC papers, Coll 095, Box 70, Folder 11, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
xl The Revere: Alerting America, April 1956, 3. This newsletter was published by Forest Allen Mann (Hinsdale, Illinois) for the far-right Christian Patriots Crusade group under FBI investigation in the mid-1950s.
xli “Watered Down Amendment,” Clovis News Journal, 19 July 1956, 10.
xlii Ruth Murray to Mr. Wayne Smithey, 15 July 1957. Hearing before a subcommittee on the Judiciary U.S. Senate, 85th Congress, first session on S.J. Res. 3, 1957. Hearings Cong. 85 Session 1, vol. 6 (Washington: U.S. Congress, Senate, 1957-1958), 474. Accessed June 21 2014, http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.35112104268109;view=1up;seq=807
xliii On the enduring influence of the Bricker Amendment or “lingering Brickeritis,” see William Korey, “Human Rights Treaties: Why is the U.S. Stalling?” Foreign Affairs, April 1967, accessed June 15 2014, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/23875/william-korey/human-rights-treaties-why-is-the-us-stalling. Lawrence J. LeBlanc, The United States and the Genocide Convention (Duke University Press, 1991), 128-129. Thomas E. Woods, Jr., “Globalism and Sovereignty: A Short History of the Bricker Amendment,” The Freeman46.4 (April 1996): 200-204. Accessed 28 November 2013,http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/globalism-and-sovereignty-a-short-history-of-the-bricker-amendment/.
xliv “The Brickerettes,”4.
xlv “Lobbies in Bitter Bricker Fight,” St Petersburg Times, 4 February 1954, 6.
xlvi VWBA Newsletter, May 1955.
xlvii Katie Louchheim, Speech at the Democratic Convention in Ohio, 21 May 1954.
xlviii Helen Laville, Cold War Women: The International Activities of American Women's Organizations (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2002), 26.
xlix Crain, “A New Political Approach for Women: Notes for talk to Welles Alumni Club,” 22 October 1949. LCC papers, Coll 095, Box 67, Folder 10, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
l Frederick W. La Croix, “A Campaign of Deception,” Milwaukee Journal, 1 February 1954, 14.
li John Bricker cited in Reston, “Vigilant Women.”
lii Charles A Webb. “How to work for the Bricker amendment.” Speech delivered to the Vigilant Women for the Bricker Amendment of Illinois. Chicago, Ill. 24 April 1954. LCC papers, Coll 095, Box 70, Folder 7, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
liii Holman, Bricker Amendment, 65.
liv VWBA Newsletter, May 1955.
lv Frank E. Holman, “Personal Message to the Vigilant and Patriotic Women of America supporting the Bricker Amendment,” Seattle, Washington, January 6, 1954. LCC papers, Coll 095, Box 70, Folder 3, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
lvi Allan J. Lichtman, A White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008), 187.
lvii VWBA Newsletter, May 1955. See also California coordinator Mrs. Walter S. Payne quoted in Francis, “California Women Back Sen. Bricker”: “We have never been any type of formal organization.”
lviii Ellen McClay (Gene Birkeland), In the Presence of Our Enemies (Ellen McClay, 2006), 583.
lix Nickerson, Mothers of Conservatism, 49.
lx Erin M. Kempner, “Women at the Crossroads: Feminists, Conservatives, and Gender Politics in Indiana, 1950-1980” (PhD diss., Purdue University, 2008), 44.
lxi Lucille Cardin Crain and Anne Burrows Hamilton, “Packaged Thinking for Women,” American Affairs supplement, October 1948. Edith Alderman Green, “Are You a Packaged Thinker or Do You Think for Yourself?” The Fort Worth Press, 4 November 1948. Mrs. Walter Ferguson, “Do Your Own Thinking,” The Pittsburgh Press, 11 December 1948, 4. Mrs. Walter Ferguson, “Stop ‘Packaged Thinking.’” The Pittsburgh Press, 17 February 1949, 25. “‘Packaged Thinking’ is Road to Ruin, GOP Women Told,” Chicago Tribune, 17 February 1949.
lxii See Nickerson, Mothers of Conservatism, 53-54. Delegard, Battling Miss Bolsheviki, 209-210.
lxiii Lucille Cardin Crain to Mrs. Henry Fuller, 5 February 1946. LCC Papers, Coll 095, Box 65, Folder 8 (Correspondence), Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
lxv Van Van Praag, “Beware the Militant Ladies,” Anti-defamation League Bulletin, June 1952.
lxvi Don E. Carlton, Red Scare: Right-Wing Hysteria, Fifties Fanaticism (First University of Texas Press, 2014), 120. Nancy Hedrick, “Constitution Savers Pick Name Used by Wallaceites,” Sunday Herald,11 December 1949, 13; “Gals Welcome Hate Expert,” Sunday Herald, 22 April 1951, 14.
lxvii Special edition “Reprinted from The Houston Post: here are all of a series of reports that have caused comment around U.S., including editions from Sunday Oct 11 1953 to Wednesday October 28 1953.” Group Research Inc. Records, 1955-1996, Columbia University, Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, MS# 0525. Box 222, “Minute Women of America” File See also “The Houston Scare,” Time 62.8 (Nov. 2 1953): 51.
lxviii “Bricker and the Vigilant Women,” The Miami News, 3 February 1954, 16A.
lxix U.S. Congress Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Hearings 1955, Vol. 2 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1955), 430-431.
lxx Lichtman, White Protestant Nation, 188.
lxxi “The Brickerettes.”
lxxii “Financed only by husband, Bricker’s supporter insists,” The Milwaukee Journal, 29January 1954, 2.
lxxiii Frank E. Holman, “The Increasing Need for a Constitutional Amendment on Treaties and Executive Agreements,” (Seattle, WA, 1955), 674. In U.S. Congress. Senate Committee on the Judiciary: Hearings 1955, vol. 2. Treaties and Executive Agreements, S.J. Resolution 1, April 27-May 12 1955. Accessed June 21 2014, http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015052818948;view=2up;seq=8
lxxiv Catherine E. Rymph, Republican Women: Feminism and Conservatism from Suffrage through the Rise of the New Right (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006), 121.
lxxv A newsletter published by We the Mothers, Mobilize for America, a Chicago-based group created by Lyrl Clark Van Hyning.
lxxvi Webb, “Work for the BA.”Top of page