Laura Callow Papers: 1975-2015
Summary Information
Title: Laura Callow Papers
Creator: Callow, Laura Callow, 1927-
Dates: 1975-2015
Extent: 1.5 linear feet
Feminist, active in various women's rights organizations; biographical information files relating to involvement with ERAmerica or W.O.M.E.N. (Women Organized to Meet Existing Needs)
Call number: 9960 Aa 2
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page:
Finding aid prepared by: Jennifer Jacobs Benjamin Bond, updated in 2016

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Laura Callow (Donor No. 8837) donated her papers in 1999. Additional accessions have been received.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

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:


Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., Laura Callow Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Laura Carter Callow (1927- ) was an activist during the 1970s and 80s who worked for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment on both the state and the national levels. A part-time art teacher with three children, she earned a bachelor's degree from Wayne State University. Callow was an acting officer in several women's rights organizations, and recorded a monthly spot on the "Point of View" radio program out of Detroit for almost ten years (1977 to 1986), speaking about various issues related to the ERA. Helen Milliken, whose husband was the governor of Michigan from 1969 through 1982, referred to her in a letter as "the Susan B. Anthony of Michigan."

Callow, elected president of Livonia's League of Women Voters in 1968, began her activities in the women's movement in earnest in 1972 because of discriminatory credit policies, and helped to found the Northwest Wayne County chapter of the National Organization for Women. She then became involved in Title IX (equal opportunity to women in federally-funded academic institutions) compliance issues, and later the ERA, of which she has said "ERA is about money, because most of the discrimination against women involves money." In addition to the "Point of View" broadcasts, Callow spoke at numerous conferences, meetings and classes (at high schools as well as at the University of Michigan's Law School and School of Social Work) in favor of the ERA.

Callow was sent as a delegate of the League of Women Voters in 1975 to a new coalition called W.O.M.E.N. (Women Organized to Meet Existing Needs), which brought together such state women's rights organizations as the American Association of University Women, the National Organization for Women, and the Republican Women's Caucus. She was elected secretary. In 1976, many of these same organizations, as well as W.O.M.E.N. itself and Kellogg's of Battle Creek, United Auto Workers, and Negro Business and Professional Women, joined another coalition, Michigan ERAmerica. The coalition concentrated its efforts on effecting the ratification of the ERA. Although Michigan ratified the Amendment in 1972, Michigan ERAmerica helped to keep enthusiasm up in the state, as well as to raise money for distribution to other organizations in the thirteen states that never ratified. Callow served ERAmerica as co-chair throughout the extensions granted these states and beyond; ERAmerica sent out newsletters as late as 1990. Callow have continued working for the ERA through 2020.

Callow won much recognition for her efforts on behalf of the ERA and other women's issues, including receiving the Alice Paul Award from the Metropolitan Detroit area chapters of NOW, and being appointed a delegate to the Regional White House Conference on Families in 1980. She continued her correspondence with her fellow activists, including Helen Milliken and Martha Griffiths (honorary co-chairs of ERAmerica) and Elly Peterson. Callow was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2010.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Laura Carter Callow papers document her career as an advocate for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and her involvement in such organizations as ERAmerica and W.O.M.E.N (Women Organized to Meet Existing Needs). The papers are divided into three series: Personal, ERAmerica and W.O.M.E.N.

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.

  • Equal Rights Amendments -- Michigan.
  • Women's rights -- Michigan.
  • Photographs.
  • Audiocassettes.
  • Callow, Laura Carter, 1927-
  • ERAmerica (Organization) -- Michigan.
  • Women Organized to Meet Existing Needs.
  • Callow, Laura Carter, 1927-
  • Maynard, Olivia P.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Personal 1976-2015 [series]

In the Personal series are found a small folder of biographical materials, including an article and two curricula vitae; materials relating to Callow's speaking engagements not affiliated with ERAmerica or W.O.M.E.N.; and correspondence with various individuals, including Helen Milliken.

Box   1  
Awards, honorary degrees
Box   1  
Biographical Materials (includes photos)
Box   1  
Clippings (with mention of, or quote, from Laura Callow)
Box   1  
Conferences, speaking engagements 1976-1982, 1997-1998
Box   1  
1980-2005, 2008-2015, undated (4 folders)
Box   1  
Helen Milliken 1978-2015
Box   1  
Group photo 1980s
Box   1  
Women's History Display at Livonia Public Library 2005
ERAmerica 1976-2015 [series]

The ERAmerica series contains correspondence, mailings, minutes and reports from that organization, as well as transcripts and correspondence (from both the radio station--WJR--and from listeners) from Callow's "Point of View" radio broadcasts. The correspondence relates to various activities that Callow participated in on behalf of ERAmerica, including letter-writing to politicians, speaking engagements, fundraising and contributions to other organizations. Michigan ERAmerica folder includes flyers and programs of events, minutes of meetings (scattered years), and issues of "Coalition Update" edited by Callow. Also, an audiocassette titled Olivia P. Maynard "ERA Extension."

Box   1  
Coalition Updates 1977-2015 (2 folders)
Conferences and Speaking Engagements
Box   1  
Box   1  
2005-2013 with gaps
Box   1  
1976-2015 with gaps (2 folders)
Box   1  
Michigan Legislature 1976-1982
Box   1  
Other State Legislatures 1976-1979
Box   1  
Organizations 1976-1978
United States Senate 2015
Box   1  
Midland (MI)--Mary Jane Clayton 1978-1979
Box   1  
Member Organizations 1978-1980
Box   1  
Other Organizations 1976-1980
Box   1  
ERA Summit (position of AAUW respecting) 1993-1994
Box   1  
Fundraising 1977-1981
Materials collected on ERA
Box   1  
Arranged by state (originally in binder) 1978-1980
Box   1  
Not arranged by state 1980, 1982, 2001
Box   2  
Michigan Coalition for Equal Rights Studies 1986-1997
Box   2  
Michigan ERAmerica, (includes photographs) 1982-2014
Box   2  
Minutes 1976-1987, 1992
Box   2  
Box   2  
Olivia P. Maynard ERA Extension (1 audiocassettes)
Box   2  
Photographs, 75th Anniversary of Suffrage March, Washington DC 1995
"Point of View" Broadcasts
Box   2  
Administrative 1976-1980
Box   2  
Transcripts (and Correspondence) 1977-1986 (2 folders)
Box   2  
Treasurer's Reports 1976-1988, 1991-1997
W.O.M.E.N. (Women Organized to Meet Existing Needs) [series]

This series includes correspondence, directories and minutes, from 1975 through 1979.

Box   2  
Correspondence 1975-1979
Box   2  
Directories 1978-1979
Box   2  
Minutes 1976-1979
Additional Descriptive Data
Related Material

The Bentley Historical Library houses other collections relating to the Equal Rights Amendment movement in Michigan. These include the papers Elaine Donnelly, Martha Griffiths, Helen Milliken, Shirley Monson (photograph collection), National Organization for Women, Michigan Conference, and Elly Peterson.