THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT
Bella “Battling Bella” Abzug
July 24, 1920 – March 31, 1998
“Sometimes I’m asked when I became a feminist, and I usually answer, the day I was born.”
Attorney, anti war activist, leader in women’s movement, politician. Founder of Women Strike for Peace, national legislative coordinator, 1961 –1970; led thousands of women to Congress and the White House on behalf of a nuclear test ban. First campaign slogan, “This woman’s place is in the House—the House of Representatives,” 1970. Served three terms in U.S. Congress, 1971–1977. Co-founder of National Women’s Political Caucus, co-chair, 1971. Co-chair, National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year. Founder of Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues. Introduced first gay rights bill (known as the Equality Act) in Congress, 1974. Presided over National Women’s Conference, 1977. Led National Advisory Commission for Women. Worked with the U.N. on women’s issues and environmental issues. Participated in U.N. Women’s Conferences in 1975, 1980, 1985, 1995. Co-founded Women USA Fund Inc., 1980, and its program Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), 1990. Founder of Commission for Women’s Equality of the American Jewish Congress. Inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls, NY, 1994. Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year honoree, 1996. 50 Women Who Made American Political History, Time magazine, 2017. Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Hunter College, 1942. Columbia University Law School, 1944.
Photo 1. Dolores Huerta, Bella Abzug and Gloria Steinem at the United Farm Workers Rally, New York City, May 1975 [Photo by Bettye Lane]. Photo 2. (Left to right) Blanche Wiesen Cook, Eleanor Pam, Betty Shabazz, Bella Abzug, 1997.
More About Bella:
- Obituary, New York Times
- “Bella! This Woman’s Place is in The House,” a documentary film from writer and producer Jeff L. Lieberman
- “Battling Bella: The Protest Politics of Bella Abzug.” Historian Leandra Ruth Zarnow discusses how Bella Abzug’s promotion of women’s rights, gay rights, universal childcare, social justice and more provoked not only fierce opposition from Republicans but caused a split within her own party, 2019.
- Bella Abzug, Jewish Women’s Archive
- Bella Abzug, jewishvirtuallibrary.org
- Bella Abzug, HISTORY
- Bella Abzug, C-SPAN.org
- FBI file on Bella S. Abzug
- An Ally and an Intermediary: Bella Abzug, Gay Americans, and the Equality Act, Modern American History, Cambridge Core
- The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute (BALI)
- Life Story: Bella Abzug, Women & the American Story
- Celebrating the Life of ‘Battling’ Bella Abzug, ’45, Columbia Law School
- Select videos
- “Step by Step: Building a Feminist Movement 1941-1977,” a film by Joyce Follet, 1998.
- ERA video, Alice Paul Centennial Foundation and the National Woman’s Party, 1998
- Speakers, Eleanor Pam, Kate Millett, Blanche Wiesen Cook, Bella Abzug and Betty Shabazz at the “Conference of Women and Labor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NYC, 1997
- Veteran Feminists of America events
- Bella Abzug papers, 1937-1996, bulk 1970-1986, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries
- Collection: Bella Abzug Collected Papers, Archives & Manuscripts, Bryn Mawr
- ABZUG, Bella Savitzky, US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives
- Representative Bella S. Abzug Bills, Library of Congress, Congress.gov
- Bella Abzug – Wikipedia
- Cited in Barbara Love’s book, Feminists Who Changed America, 1963 – 1975 pages 3,4