Atwood, Bonnie, papers

A Guide to the Bonnie Atwood papers M 520


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James Branch Cabell Library

901 Park Avenue
Richmond 23284
libjbcsca@vcu.edu
URL: http://www.library.vcu.edu/about/special-collections/cabell/

Dillon Thomas

Repository
James Branch Cabell Library
Identification
M 520
Title
Bonnie Atwood papers1968-2005
URL:
https://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=vcu-tm/vircu00175.xml
Quantity
5.43 Linear Feet
source
Atwood, Bonnie
Creator
Atwood, Bonnie
Language
English .

Administrative Information

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Bonnie Atwood papers, 1965-2005, Collection # M 520, Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Bonnie Atwood in 2014.


Biographical / Historical Information

Bonnie Atwood is a feminist lobbyist, author, and activist from Virginia, primarily active from the 1970s to the present. Her efforts include advocating for the rights of women as homemakers and protesting the Catholic annulment system. Atwood was born in Arlington, Virginia in 1947. She attended George Mason College (now George Mason University) in Fairfax, Virginia in the 1960s where she studied psychology. During her time at George Mason College, Atwood joined classes at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, DC. While there, she became involved in various activist causes such as the women's movement, the Vietnam peace movement, and the Civil Rights movement by collaborating in think tanks and alternative newspapers.

After the classes at IPS ended, Atwood and her classmates continued to meet, calling themselves the Washington Women's Liberation group. Some members spun off into other groups such as Off Our Backs, The Furies, and The Witches. These groups created alternative news publications focusing on their core beliefs. Atwood wrote articles and pamphlets for consciousness-raising efforts to contribute to several of these publications.

In 1980, Atwood moved to Richmond, Virginia where she worked as a freelance writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch while raising her child. During that period, Atwood became involved in advocacy groups for the support of women's rights in the marriage annulment process practiced by the Catholic Church. In 1993, she attended law school at the University of Richmond, focusing on disability law. While attending the university, Atwood wrote for the school newspaper's etiquette column. She graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1996. Rather than pursue a legal practice, Atwood became a professional lobbyist for various clients, including the Virginia Federation of Food Banks, Virginia Girl Scout Legislative Coalition, American Red Cross, Speech-Language-Hearing Association and Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. In 2003, Atwood published her book, In the Field of Honor: Stories of Virginia Veterans, a compilation of interviews with veterans from multiple branches of the United States military. Today, she continues to act as a lobbyist for the Virginia Retired Teachers Association and the Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Sources:

Bonnie Atwood - Early Women's Liberationis, Lawyer, Writer. Veteran Feminists of America. (Weblink)

"Bonnie Atwood named 2016 Communicator of Achievement." Virginia Professional Communicators . 2016. (Article Link)

Scope and Contents

The Bonnie Atwood papers, 1965-2005, is a collection of research and reference materials used by Virginia feminist Bonnie Atwood. The papers provide insight into the beliefs and methodologies of grassroots second-wave feminist activists during the 1960s and 1970s.

Series 1: Subject Files, 1965-2001: The bulk of the collection is comprised of subject files collected by Atwood, which reflect her interests and areas of advocacy. The primary focuses of the materials are feminism, civil rights, and anti-war movements. The majority of the subject files relate to Atwood's involvement in feminist causes. The files pertain to women's health, women's history, women in the news, and general feminist theory and are primarily in the form of pamphlets, essays, newsletters, and flyers. Files related to specific feminist groups and goals Atwood supported include the International Institute for Women's Studies in Northern Virginia, the Virginia Foundation for Women, and the Washington Women's Liberation Bulletin which all operated to educate women on the core concepts of second-wave feminism in the 1960s and 1970s.

An additional theme represented in Atwood's subject files is anti-war material. Included are studies and informational pamphlets exploring the effects of the Vietnam War and the draft on society, as well as material promoting protests and legislative action against the war. Correspondence included in the series is primarily with Virginia congressmen requesting action regarding the Vietnam War.

The flyers within the collection represent a wide range of topics and events which Atwood supported. Most of them promote local protests and demonstrations in the Northern Virginia and Richmond areas, while others are informational in nature to raise awareness of feminist or anti-war causes.

Series 2: Alternative News Publications and Magazines, 1969-2005: Atwood's collection also contains various issues of alternative press publications. Many of the publications focus primarily on the promotion of non-traditional radical activism. Topics include women's liberation, anti-war, and anti-government columns. While the collection does not include full runs of the publications, the issues kept by Atwood reflect her opinions on these topics.

The series includes sporadic consecutive issues for the years 1969-1970 for the alternative newspapers Alice, Broadside, Guardian, and Quicksilver Times. Additionally, the series contains one-off issues of other alternative publications such as the first issue of Off Our Backs, a feminist and lesbian focused news publication which includes subjects that today would be described as LGBTQ+. Also found in this series are activist magazines, such as The Ragged Edge and Mouth Magazine, written to raise awareness about living with physical and mental disabilities.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into two series: Series 1: Subject Files, 1966-2001 and Series 2: Alternative News Publications and Magazines, 1971-2005.

Separated Material

A first printing copy of the one-shot underground comic It Ain't Me, Babe has been removed from the collection and cataloged separately.

A copy of the LP record Message to the Grass Roots from Malcom X has been removed from the collection and cataloged separately.


Subjects and Indexing Terms

  • Atwood, Bonnie
  • Feminists
  • Sexual minorities
  • Underground press publications
  • Women's rights
  • Women's rights -- History -- 20th century -- United States

Container List

Series 1: Subject Files
1965-2001English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 1
    Atwood Arrest
    1970-1972English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 2
    Black Panther Party
    1966-1969English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 3
    Child Development
    1969English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 4
    Communism
    1967-1969English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 5
    Correspondence - General
    1965-1970English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 6
    Essays - Feminism
    undatedEnglish.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 7
    Farmers Strikes
    undatedEnglish.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 8
    Fashion Self-Study
    undatedEnglish.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 9
    Film Studies
    1968-1970English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 10
    Flyers - General Activism
    undatedEnglish.
  • Mixed Materials box: 1 folder: 11
    George Mason College
    1969-1972English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 2 folder: 1
    International Institute of Women Studies
    1969-1971English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 2 folder: 2
    LGBTQ+ Rights
    1970-1972English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 2 folder: 3
    "Medicine for the People" Handbooks
    1972English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 2 folder: 4
    McSurely, Alan and Margaret Court Case
    1971English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 2 folder: 5
    Newsletters and Mailings - Feminism
    1968-1973English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 2 folder: 6
    Newsletters and Mailings - General
    1968-1973English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 2 folder: 7
    Newspaper Clippings - Feminism
    1968-1973English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 2 folder: 8
    Newspaper Clippings - Miscellaneous
    1968-1973English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 2 folder: 9
    Northern Virginia Politics
    1966-1970English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 3 folder: 1-1
    Pamphlets and Bulletins - General Activism
    undatedEnglish.
  • Mixed Materials box: 3 folder: 1-2
    Pamphlets and Bulletins - General Activism
    undatedEnglish.
  • Mixed Materials box: 3 folder: 2
    Peace Advocacy
    1969-1970English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 3 folder: 3
    Students for Democratic Society
    1969English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 3 folder: 4
    Vietnam War and Draft
    1967-1971English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 3 folder: 5
    Virginia Foundation for Women
    1997-2001English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 3 folder: 6
    Vista Volunteering
    undatedEnglish.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 1
    Washington Area Free University
    1968-1970English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 2
    Washington Women's Liberation Bulletin
    1969-1972English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 3
    Youth Culture
    1973English.
Series 2: Alternative News Publications and Magazines
1969-2005English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 4
    Magazines - Motive
    1969English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 5
    Magazines - Mouth Magazine
    2001-2005English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 6
    Magazines - Ms.
    1973English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 7
    Magazines - Notes from the Second Year: Radical Feminism
    1970English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 8
    Magazines - Ragged Edge
    1997-2002English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 9
    Magazines - Ramparts
    1969-1970English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 10
    Magazines - The Second Wave
    1973English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 11
    Magazines - Virginia Cardinal
    1974English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 4 folder: 12
    Magazines - Win Magazine
    1970English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 5
    Alternative News Publications - Alice - Blacksburg Free Press
    1969English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 5
    Alternative News Publications - Broadside
    1969-1970English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 5
    Alternative News Publications - Guardian - Independent Radical Newsweekly
    1969English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 5
    Alternative News Publications - Quicksilver Times
    1969-1971English.
  • Mixed Materials box: 6
    Alternative News Publications - Assorted
    1969-1974English.