Rhonda Drinan (Chapter Developer) files 1977-1979
The Rhonda Drinan files illustrate the state conference's role in energizing, disciplining, educating, and coordinating the local chapters of NOW, as well as the triumphs and traumas of the local chapters themselves. This series provides a fascinating glimpse into the institutional mechanics of the National Organization for Women.
The Correspondence folder includes communications with the national chapter coordinator and requests from women seeking to join or organize a local chapter. Correspondence with the local chapters themselves --dealing with everything from confirming Drinan's appearance at a meeting to what to do about personality conflicts within a chapter--is contained in the Chapters subseries. The Notes and Materials subseries provides an overview of the duties, goals, and accomplishments of the Chapter Developer, as well as of the problems and priorities of leading a local chapter. It includes notes on the status and state of each chapter, and agendas and notes for Drinan's meetings with chapters. Specific material worth mentioning includes "Guidelines for Starting a NOW Chapter, "The Reaction of Women to the Inferior Status of Women," the notes on "feminist burn-out, and "How to Do an Auction."
The cornerstone of the series is the Chapters subseries. Correspondence with chapter officers and material (flyers, agendas, handouts, handbooks) sent from the chapters to document their activities form the bulk of these files, though a good deal of routine bureaucratic communication is also present. The correspondence offers occasional glimpses into the personal conflicts and friendships which had so much to do with the success or failure of local chapters. Insights are afforded, too, into the sometimes tangled bureaucracy of NOW.