Text Memoirs & Biographies
text memoirs are drawn from a variety of sources. Some are reproduced
from previously published material. Some are compiled from interviews.
Still others were written especially for this section.
Gang of Four: Friendships and Womens Liberation
by Amy Kesselman with Heather Booth, Vivian Rothstein and Naomi Weisstein
(1999)-- Very detailed narratives from four women who were among
the pioneers of second wave feminism. Highly recommended if you want
an inside account of the early days of women's liberation.
a Feminist, This 'Jane' Was Far From Plain by Chris Lombardi
and Ruth Surgal (2002)-- A capsule history of Ruth Surgal's involvement
with the abortion rights movement going back to her days in Jane, the
CWLU underground abortion service.
Anti-Rape Movement in Chicago by Helena Aarli (2002)--
Rape crisis centers did not exist until after the women's liberation
movement began the anti-rape movement. Former CWLU activist Helena Aarli
was one of those anti-rape pioneers.
Booth: Living the Movement Life edited by Gina Caneva from
an interview conducted by Becky Kluchin (2002)-- Heather Booth
reflects on her lifelong commitment to social justice.
Everywhere! by Mary Ann Gilpatrick (2004)--
Mary Ann Gilpatrick reflects on issues of sexuality and gender in
Up from Womankind (1972). Mary Blake (not her real name) reflects
on her struggle as a City Hall janitress.
the Origins of the Women's Liberation Movement from a Strictly Personal
Perspective by Jo Freeman (1995)-- Jo Freeman's highly personal
account of her evolution as an activist in the Berkeley Free Speech
Movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement and the women's
Should Anyone Care About the Chicago Women's Liberation Union? by
Sarah Bornstein (2002)-- Former CWLU activist Sara Bornstein places
her personal experience into a historical context and reflects on how
her CWLU experience has continued to shape her life.
as Political Players: Activism in an Era of Globalization by
Chris Riddiough (1999)-- A former Co-Chair of the CWLU, Chris Riddiough
explains how the CWLU concept of leadership is relevant in today's complex
Through Changes by Joan (1971)-- An anonymous account
of how one woman learned to overcome her own internalized stereotypes
Last Suffragist by
Ellen DuBois(1998)-- An autobiographical sketch of a feminist
historian and former CWLU member.
Jo Freeman (2003)--In 1964, Jo Freeman hitchhiked across America
to support the Civil Rights Movement at the Democratic Convention.
An excerpt from her new book, At Berkeley in the 60's
can a little girl like you teach a big class of men? by Naomi
Weisstein (1977)-- An incredible story of sexism in science and
the monumental arrogance of its male establishment by a research psychologist
and former CWLU member.
Want To Pick Your Brains by Ruth Carol (1972)-- Ruth wrote
this when she was battling sex discrimination at Columbia University.
is the mother of Estelle Carol, who is the coordinator of the CWLU
Herstory Project and our website designer.
a Clandestine Abortion Network by Ruth Surgal (2000)-- Ruth
Surgal's story of her days in Jane. Very straightforward and unromanticized.
Up Female by an anonymous CWLU member (undated-but probably
1975)-- How one young Chicago working class woman found her way
into the women's liberation movement.
and Sustaining a Women's Studies Program by Judith Kegan Gardiner(1999)--
Judith explains the evolution of the UIC women's studies program from
its roots in the CWLU affiliated Circle Women's Union. She is currently
an English professor at UIC and remains a prominent feminist activist
Arcana Speaks About Jane and the Politics of Abortion Today
by Judith Arcana with contributions from a London audience(1999)--
Judith discusses the evolution of abortion politics since her days in
Jane, the underground abortion group.
Celebration of My Life by Betsy (1972)--A mom with 3 kids
joins the feminist movement and learns the true value of her life.
With Invisibility by Cady (1985)--Cady wrote this very
critical article for the 1985 CWLU reunion. In it she explores uncomfortable
issues of class and race that the CWLU never resolved.
Real: Jane and Me. Memories and Exhortations of a Feminist Ex-Abortionist
by Linnea Johnson (undated)--Linnea Johnson places her Jane
experience within a detailed analysis of patriarchal capitalism and
its impact on women's health.
Work Groups and Personal Transformation by Sue Davenport (1999)--
The CWLU was actually a loose coalition of many small women's liberation
groups. Suzanne Davenport explains how these smaller workgroups profoundly
changed women's lives.
then I began noticing injustices all over the place....." by
an anonymous CWLU member (1973)-- Why one woman from a Southwest
Side Chicago Catholic upbringing joined the women's liberation movement
at her community college.
on Naomi Weisstein by Jesse Lemisch and Naomi Weisstein (1997)--
Naomi Weisstein was one of the founding mothers of second wave feminism.
She was also the keyboardist in the Chicago Women's Liberation Rock
Band. Her husband Jesse Lemisch narrates Naomi's life as an activist
including her long struggle against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
China Project, the Prison Project and the Issues of Class and Race
by Marie "Micki" Leaner (1999)-- Micki Leaner explains
the CWLU's work with women prisoners and how she found herself on the
first women's liberation trip to the People's Republic of China.
Chicago Women's Graphics Collective by Estelle Carol (2000)--
The co-founder of the Graphics Collective talks about how this group
distributed thousands of classic feminist posters all over the world.
of Celebration and Resistance: The Chicago Women's Liberation Rock Band,
1970-1973 by Naomi Weisstein (1996)-- Naomi's moving personal
story of her experience doing feminist music.
Magnolia Street Commune by Vivian Rothstein (1998)-- There
have been many commune experiments in American history. Former CWLU
member Vivian Rothstein tells the tragi-comic story of her commune life
the Job with Jane by Jeanne Galatzer-Levy (2000)-- As a
20 year old in the middle of a social revolution, Jeanne was looking
for a way to connect to the women's movement. She found Jane.
of a Feminist Therapist by Joan Berman (1995)-- Professional
psychologist and former CWLU member Joan Berman traces how modern
therapy has been transformed by the feminist movement.
from Viet Nam Vivian Rothstein (1998)-- Before she
helped found the Chicago Women's Liberation Union, Vivian Rothstein
traveled to North Viet Nam while the Southeast Asia war was still raging.
Here she discusses a return trip to Viet Nam long after peace had been
Interview with Paula Kamen by Abigail Pickus (2000)-- Paula
Kamen wrote the play Jane: Abortion and the Underground about the legendary
illegal abortion service.
Encounters with the Chicago Women's Liberation Union by Bob
Simpson (2000)-- The long time partner of Graphics Collective co-founder
Estelle Carol, Bob explains the effect women's liberation and the CWLU
had on his life.
by Vivian Rothstein (1998)-- Like Heather Booth, Jo Freeman,
Susan Brownmiller and other early women's liberation organizers, Vivian
Rothstein participated in the civil rights movement. Here she talks
about a reunion with her civil rights friends and associates.