Patricia Hill Burnett papers: 1967-2002 (bulk 1967-1987)
Summary Information
Title: Patricia Hill Burnett papers
Creator: Burnett, Patricia Hill, 1920-
Inclusive dates: 1967-2002
Bulk dates: 1967-1987
Extent: 12.5 linear feet
Extent: 1 oversize boxes
Extent: 1 oversize folder
Abstract:
Detroit portrait painter and feminist activist. Correspondence, printed material, newspaper clippings, photographs, reports, speeches, articles and other papers documenting her career as an artist, and with the Michigan Women's Commission, the National Association of Commissions for Women, the National Organization for Women (NOW) and other civic, Republican, and feminist organizations.
Call number: 85105 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff Last update: February 2016

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The papers were received from Patricia Hill Burnett (donor no. 5716) in various accessions beginning in 1975. Additional materials donated by Terrill H. Burnett (donor no. 11377) and Hillary Burnett (donor no. 11378), in November 2015.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research; photocopying of Burnett speeches in full is prohibited.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Donor retains literary rights on speeches and journals. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Patricia Hill Burnett papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Arrangement

The papers of Patricia Hill Burnett are organized into nine series: Biographical; Correspondence; Speeches, Publications, and Interviews; Topical Files; Talks; Trips; Hearings and Reports, Domestic Assault; Notebooks; and Art.


Biography

Patricia Hill Burnett (1920-2014), noted artist, feminist, and political activist, earned a four-year scholarship to the Toledo Museum of Art at the age of 12. She pursued her artistic studies at Goucher College, Wayne State University, the Instituto d'Allende, Mexico, and by private study with various artists. Throughout her life she was active as an artist. As Miss Michigan she was runner-up in the Miss America contest. She married William Anding Lange in 1945, whom she later divorced. They had one child. She later married Harry A. Burnett, with whom she had three more children.

In 1962 Patricia Hill Burnett broke the all-male barrier at the Detroit Scarab Club for artists. In 1969, Burnett organized the Michigan National Organization for Women (NOW), served as its president, 1969-1971, and convened NOW chapters throughout the state.

Her involvement with Michigan NOW led to a position on the NOW National Board, 1971-1975, and to the chair of NOW's International Committee. An inveterate traveler with a world view, Burnett was instrumental in expanding NOW into an international organization. She played a great part in organizing the International Feminist Planning Conference held at Harvard (May 1973) and convened the NOW International Feminist Conference in 1973. She also took an around-the-world trip the same year to survey the status of women in several countries. Through her organizational efforts, twenty-five NOW international affiliations were organized in twenty-one countries. Burnett was a NOW delegate to the United Nations' International Women's Year (IWY) conference in Mexico City in 1975, and to the IWY Houston Conference in 1977. As chair of the World Feminist Commission she hoped to organize the International Feminist Convention in Brussels in 1977. Burnett later attended the UN Decade for Women Copenhagen Conference in 1980. In 1987 Burnett traveled as a delegate of the International Women's Forum to honor President Corazon Aquino as Woman of the Year.

Burnett was instrumental in organizing the Michigan Women's Republican Caucus, which she has called the "first feminist Republican Women's Organization." Her other Republican Party activities have included the Michigan Issues Committee and the State Central Committee. Governor Milliken appointed her to the Michigan Women's Commission in 1973; she served first as vice-chair (1975) and then as chair (1976). After serving for four years on the executive board of directors of the National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW), Burnett was elected president of NACW in 1979.

Burnett was active in civic affairs, serving on the New Detroit Employment and Art Committees and the Detroit Human Rights Commission. She has also served as president of the Detroit House of Corrections, 1973-1976.

Patricia Hill Burnett has lectured on women in art, women in business, and, most widely, on feminism. As a portrait painter she inaugurated and executed a series of portraits of leading feminists. These were later placed in the "Women's Hall of Fame."

Due to her long career as a portrait painter, Burnett was called on to be one of twelve founding members of the Council of Leading American Painters which was responsible for the organization and promotion of the Nattional Portrait Seminar.

She received many honors for her artistic, business, and feminist activities. In 1987 Burnett was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame, and in 1995 she published a memoir entitled True Colors: An Artist's Journey from Beauty Queen to Feminist.

Patricia Hill Burnett died in December 2014, at the age of 94.


Collection Scope and Content Note

While most of the material relates directly to Patricia Hill Burnett, the papers also relate to the more general women's movement during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Art.
  • Artists.
  • Equal Rights Amendments -- United States.
  • Feminism.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1971-1980.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1974-1977.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1977-1981.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1969-1974.
  • Women's rights -- Michigan.
  • Women painters -- Michigan.
  • Painters -- Michigan.
  • Women in politics -- Michigan.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1951-
  • Activists.
  • Celebrities.
  • Feminists.
  • International Women's Year, 1975.
  • People associated with politics & government.
  • Women.
  • Copy prints.
  • Photographs.
  • Portraits.
  • Sound recordings.
  • Burnett, Patricia Hill, 1920-
  • Michigan. Women's Commission.
  • National Association of Commissions for Women.
  • National Organization for Women.
  • Republican Party (Mich.)
  • Burnett, Patricia Hill, 1920-
  • Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006.
  • National Women's Conference (1st : 1977 : Houston, Tex.)
  • World Conference of the International Women's Year (1975 : Conference Centre of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Biographical [series]

The Biography series consists of clippings, resumes, printed awards, and printed brochures documenting Burnett's artistic career, her speaking career, and her work with NOW and other organizations.

Box   1  
Biographical material
Box   1  
Clippings: Biographical (5 folders)
Box   6  
Clippings, articles, resumes
Box   6  
Articles on art talks
Box   6  
Articles, original
Box   6  
Brochure
Box   7  
Awards, programs
Box   10  
Articles
 
Correspondence 1967-2002 [series]

The Correspondence sereis, 1967-2002, consists of chronologically arranged material. Because the 1990 and 2015 accession material were not interfiled in with the earlier accession materials there are sometimes overlapping periods; where this has occurred the 1990 and 2015 accession materials have been designated as such. This series mainly documents Burnett's tenure as president of the National Association of Commissions for Women, and the National Organization for Women's International Feminist Conference (1973), which Burnett convened. Also documented is the controversy at NOW's National Board level concerning ballot voting, which resulted in a split in the National Board and nearly led to the destruction of NOW as a national organization.

Box   1  
1967-1971
Box   1  
1972
Box   1  
1973
Box   1  
1974
Box   1  
January-July 1974
Box   1  
August-December 1974
Box   1  
January-June 1975
Box   1  
July-December 1975
Box   1  
1975

(various)

Box   1  
January-June 1976
Box   1  
July-December 1976
Box   1  
January-July 1977
Box   1  
July-December 1977
Box   1  
January-June 1978
Box   1  
July-December 1978
Box   2  
January-June 1979
Box   2  
July-September 1979
Box   2  
October-December 1979
Box   2  
1970s
Box   2  
January-March 1980
Box   2  
April-June 1980
Box   2  
July-December 1980
Box   2  
1981
Box   2  
1982
Box   2  
1983
Box   2  
1984
Box   2  
1985, undated
Box   7  
1976-1978
Box   7  
1966-2002, undated
Box   7  
Art correspondence (2 folders)
Box   7  
FBI
Box   7  
1974-1992
 
Speeches, Publications, and Interviews [series]

Speeches, Publications, and Interviews, the third series, consists of speeches and articles written by Burnett throughout her career, as well as notes she gathered on the speeches. This series illustrates Burnett's attitudes on the role of women in American and international organizations, as well as the role of women in the artistic realm. Often, the sources Burnett used for her speeches and articles are reflected in both the Correspondence and Topical Files.

Box   2  
1973-1987, undated (2 folders)
Box   2  
Articles
Box   2  
Book on Status of Women--Research Materials
Box   7  
General
Box   7  
Books
Box   2  
Speakers Bureau Information
 
Talks (8 folders)
Box   8  
General
Box   8  
Materials for Talks
Box   8  
Miscellaneous/Miscellaneous Non-art talks (2 folders)
Box   8  
Talks '84
Box   8  
Women
Box   9  
"Art of the Portrait" Conference Talk
Box   9  
Art Talks
Box   9  
Dialogue on the Delights of Painting for the Amateur
Box   9  
Do Men and Women Speak the Same Language (2 folders)
Box   9  
Glamor of an Art Career
Box   9  
Have Women Painters/Artists Been Brushed Aside (3 folders)
Box   9  
Having It All and Loving It (3 folders)
Box   9  
Introductions
Box   9  
Life in an Artists Studio
Box   9  
Life Lines
Box   9  
Michigan Women's Foundation
Box   9  
Painting the Famous and the Infamous (2 folders)
Box   9  
Posing Your Sitter
Box   9  
Profiles of the Famous
Box   9  
Story of My Life (2 folders)
Box   9  
Talk on "True Colors"
Box   9  
Talks
Box   9  
"Women Artists" Winning in the Portrait World"
Box   10  
Battered women
Box   10  
Cutups of Various Articles That May be Useful in the Future
Box   10  
Domestic Assault
Box   10  
Encounters with U.S. Presidents
Box   10  
Feminist Speeches
Box   10  
Health
Box   10  
How to Become a Woman Executive Up the Corporate Ladder (2 folders)
Box   10  
International
Box   10  
Ms Missing from "Old Masters"
Box   10  
My Working Palette
Box   10  
Now Was My Time
Box   10  
Oral History
Box   10  
Organizing an International Feminist Network
Box   10  
Reference for Future Talks
Box   10  
Research on Talks (2 folders)
Box   10  
Sexual Harassment
Box   10  
Talk to Republican Convention September 1988
Box   10  
Testimony for the Hearing on the Republican Platform
Box   10  
The Progress of Women
Box   10  
Using the Right Side of the Brain in Portrait Painting
Box   10  
Will Women's Rights Go Wrong?
Box   10  
The Winds of Change are Blowing
Box   10  
Women on the Rise
Box   10  
Women Today in Russia, Israel, India & Thailand
Box   13  
Miscellaneous/Collected
 
Topical Files [series]

Topical Files consists of printed materials, notes, and some correspondence on issues and organizations from 1973 to 1980, as well as materials indicating her continued interest well into the mid-1990s and early 2000s. The material is arranged alphabetically by topic. Where topics are further divided, the material is arranged chronologically or alphabetically, as appropriate, under the indicated topical heading. This series should be used with the Correspondence series, as there is a great deal of overlap in topics covered as well as a great deal of correspondence concerning those topics.

Burnett's work with the International Committee of NOW is represented very well in the Topical Files. This includes her work to organize the International Feminist Planning Conference (June 1973). There are two folders of general correspondence, mostly from women and/or women's groups in both Western and Eastern Europe, which, aside from describing who came to the planning conference, also gives a great deal of information on the status of feminist groups and ideologies during the mid-1970s. NOW materials also include a phonograph record with sound recordings titled "Equal Rights for Women Campaign."

Information concerning the women's movement and feminism can also be found within the series on NOW International Actions in the section on the formation of international NOW chapters. Aside from documenting the formation of these international chapters these letters again reflect the status and ideologies of feminist groups and the women who founded them. There is also a great deal of peripheral information about the women's movement in general, including a small collection of pamphlets centered on providing aid to battered women, printed in Michigan.

Box   2  
Detroit House of Corrections
Box   2  
Detroit Human Rights Commission and Miscellaneous Activities 1975-1978
 
International Women's Year (IWY)
 
Houston Conference 1977
Box   2  
General (2 folders)
Box   2  
Printed material
Box   2  
Clippings
Box   13  
Photographs
Box   2  
Mexico City
Box   2  
Michigan
Box   3  
Michigan Women's Commission 1976-1979 (2 folders)
Box   3  
Miscellaneous notes undated
 
Miscellaneous Women's Organizations, Conferences, Issues
Box   3  
Printed material 1976-1978
Box   3  
Clippings 1976-1978
Box   3  
National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW) (2 folders)
Box   3  
Northwood Institute
 
National Organization for Women (NOW)
 
Detroit NOW
Box   3  
General (2 folders)
Box   3  
Board of Director meeting minutes 1972
 
International Committee
Box   3  
1970-1972
Box   3  
1973
Box   3  
1974
Box   3  
1975
Box   3  
Meeting minutes 1974
Box   3  
Undated
 
International Actions (Resolutions, petitions, and general materials relating to NOW chapters abroad.)
Box   3  
Political prisoners
 
International Chapters, Formation of
Box   3  
General materials
Box   3  
Africa
Box   3  
Australia
Box   3  
Bangladesh
Box   3  
Belgium
Box   3  
Brazil
Box   3  
Canada
Box   3  
Cuba
Box   3  
Denmark
Box   3  
England (UK, except Ireland)
Box   3  
Finland
Box   3  
France
Box   3  
Germany
Box   3  
Ghana
Box   3  
Guam
Box   3  
India
Box   3  
Iran
Box   3  
Ireland
Box   3  
Israel
Box   3  
Italy
Box   3  
Japan
Box   3  
Korea
Box   3  
Luxembourg
Box   3  
Marshall Islands
Box   3  
Mexico
Box   3  
Military
 
International Actions
 
International Chapters, Formation of
Box   3  
Netherlands
Box   3  
New Zealand
Box   3  
Nicaragua
Box   3  
Pakistan
Box   3  
Panama Canal Zone
Box   3  
Philippines
Box   3  
Puerto Rico
Box   3  
Sweden
Box   3  
Switzerland
Box   3  
Taiwan
Box   3  
Thailand
Box   3  
U.S.A. (includes Military APO) (3 folders)
 
International Feminist Planning Conference June 1973
Box   13  
General conference materials (3 folders)
Box   3  
General correspondence (6 folders)
Box   4  
Notes
Box   4  
Papers and Reports (2 folders)
Box   4  
Michigan NOW
 
National NOW 1966-1979
Box   4  
1966-1972
Box   4  
1970
Box   4  
1971
Box   4  
1972
Box   4  
1973
Box   4  
1973
Box   4  
1974
Box   4  
1975
Box   4  
1975
Box   4  
1976
Box   4  
1976-1979
Box   4  
Undated (2 folders)
Box   4  
Clippings 1973, undated
Box   4  
Printed Materials--NOW, other U.S. women's organizations, and ERA (2 folders)
Box   4  
Executive Committee meeting minutes 1971-1972 (scattered)
Box   4  
NOW and the law
Box   4  
Womansurge
Box   4  
World Feminist Commission 1973-1978
Box   4  
NOW Printed (3 folders)
Box   4  
Newsletter (Do It NOW)
 
Equal Rights for Women Campaign (sound recording) (1 phonograph record)
Box   5  
Republican Party, Michigan Women's Republican Caucus 1973-1979
Box   5  
UN Decade for Women, Copenhagen July 1980
Box   5  
U.S. National Women's Agenda, Task Force Plans of Action, Summary of Drafts, Washington, D.C. October 1-2, 1976
Box   5  
White House Conference on Families 1979-1980
Box   5  
White House and Women
Box   5  
Women in Prison 1973
Box   5  
Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA)
Box   5  
Women's Forum of Michigan
Box   5  
Women's International Network (WIN)
Box   5  
Zonta Club 1975-1984
Box   8  
Printed Materials -- NOW, other U.S. women's Organizations, and ERA
Box   8  
Victim Assault Pamphlets
Box   9  
Veteran Feminists of America 1992-2002
Box   9  
World Feminist Commission 1982-2000
Box   10  
Detroit NOW
Box   10  
NOW
Box   10  
Recollections of NOWZonta Club 1994-1998
 
Talks [series]
Box   5  
Child care
Box   5  
Creativity (notes)
Box   5  
International Planning Conference
Box   5  
Non-Nuclear Family
Box   10  
Non-Nuclear Family
Box   5  
NOW 1970
Box   5  
Women and Credit (Testimony for Michigan Women's Commission)
 
Trips [series]

Thre Trips series is composed of materials that document Burnett's travels to France (1974), the Philippines (1987), and her around-the-world trip (1973) which includes her trip to the U.S.S.R.

Box   5  
Russia October 1-15, 1973
Box   5  
Around-the-World Trip October 1-December 10, 1973
Box   5  
French Trip September 25-October 17, 1974
Box   5  
Philippines Trip August 5-7, 1987
 
Hearings and Reports, Domestic Assault [series]

The series Hearings And Reports, Domestic Assault consists of six volumes of hearings held in 1976 on domestic assault. The hearings were sponsored by the Michigan Women's Commission (MWC) and chaired by Burnett. The MWC reports on domestic assault were issued in 1977.

Box   5  
Notes and general correspondence (2 folders)
Box   5  
Hearings: "The Physical Abuse of Women," Michigan Women's Commission 1976 (6 volumes)
Box   5  
Report: "Domestic Assault, a Report on Family Violence in Michigan," Michigan Women's Commission 1977
 
Notebooks [series]

The series entitled Notebooks, consists of several notebooks. They document three International Feminist Conferences, especially the 1973 conference convened by Burnett; her organizational work with Michigan NOW; and her work with the NOW International Committee and NOW's affiliation with the UN.

Box   6  
"First Notebook"
Box   6  
December 1969-June 1974

(Notes on founding of Michigan NOW)

Box   6  
1970, 1971
Box   6  
International Feminist Conference (?) 1972 (2 volumes)
Box   6  
1972 New York and London and 1973 International Feminist Conference notes 1972-1973
Box   6  
International Feminist Conference notes 1973
Box   6  
United Nations 1974
Box   6  
1974-1975, 1976, 1988, undated
Box   6  
Notes for book?
Box   13  
1977
 
Art [series]

The final series, Art, further documents Butnett's artistic endeavors. The series consists of information about her involvement with the Portrait Club of New York, a collection of reference photographs of her portrait clients, a varied selection of photo duplications depicting Burnett's original pieces, and an original drawing and poster of a drawing made by Burnett. There is also a collection of more personal photos that include snapshots of Burnett with Gerald Ford, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Indira Ghandi.

Box   6  
Personal Photos
Box   8  
The Portrait Club of New York 1979-1998
Box   8  
American Artist
Box   8  
Council of Leading Portrait Painters (Sanden)
Box   8  
Art Commissions -- Margaret Thatcher
Box   8  
Maura Corrigan
Box   8  
Flowers
Box   8  
N.O.W.
Box   8  
Scarab Club
Box   8  
Sketch Copies, photographs
Box   8  
Wilson, Ellen
Box   10  
Art -- General
Box   11  
Reference photos
Box   11  
Aquino -- Corozon
Box   11  
Barbara Walters
Box   11  
Betty Friedman
Box   11  
Cisler, Walker
Box   11  
Farenthold, Sissy
Box   11  
Fran Street
Box   11  
Fisher, Max
Box   11  
Ford, Benson
Box   11  
Ford, Betty (2 folders)
Box   11  
Ford, Mrs. Edsel
Box   11  
Gribbs, Roman + Katherine
Box   11  
Governor John & Michele Engler
Box   11  
Governor Milliken
Box   11  
Honorable Helen Wilson Nies
Box   11  
Indira Ghandi
Box   11  
Kevorkian, Jack & Fieger, Geoffrey
Box   11  
Jackie Goiner Kersey
Box   11  
Judge Robert Young
Box   11  
Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Box   11  
Mankiller, Wilma
Box   11  
Margaret Chase Smith (2 folders)
Box   11  
Mayor Dennis Archer
Box   11  
Mayor Young
Box   11  
Oates, Joyce Carol
Box   11  
Ogden
Box   11  
Papandreou, Margaret
Box   11  
Parks, Rosa
Box   11  
Patricia Ireland
Box   11  
President Violeta de Chamorro
Box   11  
Shaw, Alden
Box   11  
Steinem, Gloria
Box   11  
Taylor, Clifford (2 folders)
Box   11  
Tereshkova, Valentina (2 folders)
Box   11  
Thatcher, Margaret
Box   11  
Thomas, Marlo
Box   11  
Vivica Lindfors
Box   12  
Lithographs and Watercolors
Box   12  
Collection of Portrait Copy Prints
Box   12  
Transparencies
Oversize Folder   1  
Original drawing of Patricia Burnett
Oversize Folder   1  
Poster (drawing by Patricia Burnett)
Oversize Folder   1  
Original signed print by cartoonist Cathy Gwisewitz, also signed by Virginia Allen and Lynda Robb