Virginia Chapter of the

National Organization for Women

Women's History


y Lee Perkins

Check out this great blog that tells the story
of 26 August 1981, the day the movement
shut down the RNC in DC, with a chain
and determination too strong to cut.

The Virginia legislature of 1982 failed to ratify the ERA by THREE VOTES!!! We hope this archive will serve as a catalyst to, at long, long last, ratify the amendment that would grant women full legal humanity in the US Constitution and assure that no kind of sex-based discrimination will ever be allowed again.

Daughter of No Comment

Mary Jane Peterson Hartzler served an essential role in the demonstrations and civil disobedience of Virginia feminists in the push to ratify the ERA during the 1970s-1980s. She was the "bag lady," the person who held the bail money for any arrestable actions. Mary fundraised at the local Methodist church for their 'bail money'.  (And would you believe the church donated in support of non-violent arrestable actions for the Equal Rights Amendment?)  

As the “bag lady”, Mary remained in charge of the money for the rare occasions in which ERA protesting did result in arrests. Because of her husband’s top secret government position, she felt it would be a rather wise idea not to get arrested.  Instead, she used her savvy business skills to keep the chapter well-funded. 
Mary attended the historic March in Richmond and made sure her fellow ERA advocates were safe by driving along beside them and picking up anyone who was too exhausted to walk any longer.  She provided food, water, bail money, she kept hold of everyone's IDs, personal medications, and she provided any first aid equipment that the ERA marchers may have needed.  Whenever Mary saw her friends being taken away into a police van, she would jump into a taxi and say, "Follow that van!"  Friend and fellow ERA Foremother, Georgia Fuller quotes, "Our lives literally depended on Mary."

Inspired by the NO COMMENT department of Ms. Magazine, Mary wrote Daughter of No Comment, a regular feminist opinion column from 1994-2007.
Originally from Chicago, Mary has lived in Alexandria/Fairfax, Virginia for over 26 years.  Mary was born on May 10th, 1931 and proudly refers to herself as FBFH, "Feminist Bitch From Hell". 

Mary also produces a Community Access TV Show called “On the Go” which is shown on Channel 10, a public access channel in Fairfax County (AKA Fairfax Public Access).


Mary Hartzler Biographical Facts

  • Mary has always been self-employed, living well off in stocks and bonds.
  • Mary learned real estate by working for her father in Chicago as a shadow, he was her only daughter.
  • Mary has lived all over the world - East Coast, Midwest, Europe, lived abroad, and been very happy!
  • Mary was the always the money person.  It was what she could offer.  A fellow ERA Foremother quoted, “Put a dollar sign in front of Mary and she’ll get it right away.”
  • Mary wasn’t fond of chaining herself up to the White House fence back on February 15, 1982, so she offered to be the one to provide money in any situation needed within the ERA movement.
  • Mary was Porsche Rally Driver in Marl Burl.
  • Mary has one son who currently lives in Baltimore.


The ERA Movement in Virginia

Here we link to the ERA Network which promotes our current efforts for the ERA. In future, we will be building in archive of Virginia feminists at the forefront of the first ratification movement.

Women's Rights Movement

History of the American Women's Rights Movement in 1848.


Farmville 1963

An archive of over 400 images of the civil rights protests in Farmville, VA in 1963 -- a critical moment in Virginia's history. The archive is available on-line from the special collections of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Flora Crater's Papers


Flora Crater was one of Virginia's intrepid second wave activists. She deeded her papers to the University of Virginia Library upon her death, and the archive is both extensive and rich. Included are her journals, newspaper clippings, records of votes in the General Assembly (a one-woman Richmond Sunlight!), and her feminist newsletter that was a national resource. Some of Flora Crater's work is also archived with her daughter-in-law's papers. The Frances Mae Kubitz Crater's papers are archived at the special collections of Vanderbilt University, as Frances Crater founded the Nashville NOW chapter in Tennessee in 1971 (PDF).

Lenny Lianne: The Poetry of History

Lenny Lianne was a poet and activist in the early years of the Second Wave.  She is the author of four books of poetry. She’s taught creative writing at Delaware Technical and Community College and writing workshops (in California) in the persona poem, ekphrastic poems and the poetry of place.  Check out her second website: Lenny Lianne's Passport to Poetry.


Personal Histories of the Second Wave: UK Edition

Several of these women came to Virginia and elsewhere in the US to work for ratification with us. This PDF collects summaries of interviews conducted with women in the UK. Collected and summarized by Viv Honeybourne and Ilona Singer of The Feminist Archive, these interviews demonstrate the differences and the similarities of the women's movement internationally. They are fascinating.

Veteran Feminists of America

, and Archive, and VFA Men, Feminists who have passed on, and loads of Second Wave Awesome (poets, artists, explore this site!). Much of our history that is not yet in books is living here.

Voices of Freedom

This on-line archive houses oral histories with several prominent activists from the Civil Rights Movement in Virginia. While much of the history of the movement in the Deep South has been well documented, this archive is one a few that chronicles action and work in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The Women’s Rights Movement, 1848–1920

Historical essay on the first feminist wave.


1960s-70s American Feminist Movement

Breaking down barriers for women!


Women's Museums

Women are 53% percent of the population. Our stories are worth telling. These museums tell them. 

Download this file (American Feminist Movement PDF.pdf)The American Feminist Movement[Breaking Down Barriers for Women]1145 kB