The papers of Merle Hoffman span the years from about 1944 to 2001, with most of the papers dating between 1961 and 2001. The collection is arranged in the following series: Choices, On the Issues, Personal Files, Photographic Materials, and Audiovisual Materials. The bulk of the materials consist of the records of Choices Women's Medical Center, a New York City women's health clinic and abortion clinic co-founded by Hoffman in 1971, and the organizational records for On the Issues, a feminist magazine owned by Choices and overseen by Hoffman. The remainder of the collection consists of Hoffman's personal papers, mostly related to her pro-choice activism. The collection also includes writings by or interviews with many activists such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Charlotte Bunch, Phyllis Chesler, Andrea Dworkin, Kate Millett, Marge Piercy, and Elie Wiesel. The correspondence, administrative files, minutes, manuals, reports, surveys, research files, electronic records, clippings, flyers, brochures, newsletters, photographs, and audiovisual materials in the collection provide rich material for the study of the history of abortion, the pro-choice movement, women's health care, and the anti-abortion movement in the United States. The records of Choices Women's Medical Center are especially valuable for understanding the medical practice of abortion, as well as the political context of that practice. Other topics that can be explored through the materials include contraception, women's rights and feminism, and rape.
The political context of abortion is further documented throughout the rest of the collection. Hoffman's writings, speeches, and interviews on abortion illuminate the abortion debate in the media. At the same time, the internal dynamics of the pro-choice movement are documented in files on various New York and national pro-choice organizations. The collection includes some materials on the National Association of Abortion Facilities (NAAF), the National Abortion Federation (NAF), the National Coalition of Abortion Providers (NCAP), the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and the National Organization for Women (NOW). Especially noteworthy are the detailed meeting minutes and other records for the New York Pro-Choice Coalition, an umbrella organization for New York City pro-choice organizations founded by Hoffman in the mid 1980s.
In addition to her pro-choice activities, Merle Hoffman has been a vocal proponent of patient self-empowerment; an active supporter of various political candidates in New York City; and a feminist activist. The collection reflects these interests to varying degrees. The records of On the Issues magazine are especially useful as a source of writings on a broad range of feminist and other issues.
The Choices Series documents the day-to-day operations of Choices Women's Medical Center, including the clinic's medical policies and procedures, its internal administration, and its relationship with patients and community organizations. The series is divided into the following subseries: Correspondence, Subject Files, Legal Papers, Personnel, Security, Staff Files, Marketing, Operations, and Electronic Format. Much of the series consists of files on administrative issues, dating primarily from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. A few records date from the clinic's early years in the 1970s. The files also document the clinic staff's rising concern about Operation Rescue, militant anti-abortion protests, and anti-abortion violence during the late 1980s and 1990s. At the same time, the Choices records suggest how the ideals of feminist health care and patient empowerment have translated into medical practice. The records primarily provide the perspective of health providers rather than patients; the collection does not include patient medical records. However, patient surveys and a limited amount of patient correspondence provide some evidence of patient experience at the clinic. There is substantial material on the Choices East Project, Hoffman's unsuccessful attempt to establish a women's health clinic in Moscow. Choices' treatment philosophy of patient self-empowerment and its identity as a woman-friendly health care provider are documented in the Outreach Subseries and the Marketing Subseries. Information on patient experiences and reactions to the clinic can be found primarily through patient surveys, patient satisfaction questionnaires, and statistical summaries of patient demographics, all found in the Subject Files, Marketing, and Electronic Format Subseries. Choices organizational charts and staff rosters are available for reference in the Research Room's inventory drawers; please contact Research Services.
On the Issues (1983-1999), a feminist magazine, was founded by Merle Hoffman and produced by Choices staff. The magazine covered a broad range of feminist issues and topics, including but not limited to abortion and other women's health issues. During the 1990s the magazine became increasingly professionalized, moved from annual to quarterly publication, and operated more independently of Choices. The documents in the On The Issues Series provide an extensive record of the magazine's production and distribution. They primarily date from the 1990s and are organized into the following subseries: Issues, Correspondence, Article Files, Editorial Files, Production and Distribution, Marketing, Staff Files, Administration, and Electronic Format. The series includes a nearly complete run of issues. Files include reader surveys; mailing lists; drafts and correspondence from contributors; editorials by Hoffman and other writers; and working files maintained by individual editors and production staff. Electronic files contain similar materials, and include graphics.
The Personal Files Series is arranged into the following subseries: Correspondence, Writings and Speeches, Subject Files, Politics and Activism, New York Pro-Choice Coalition, Calendars, Phone Messages, Clippings, General Personal Files, and Electronic Format. The materials extensively document Hoffman's work as a writer, public speaker, organizer, and activist for abortion rights and other feminist causes. Hoffman's personal publicity materials, including curriculum vitae and biographical sketches, can also be found in this series. There are also some records of Hoffman's childhood and personal life. The correspondence, found in both the Correspondence and Electronic Format Subseries, contains significant personal exchanges with feminists, friends, and colleagues that span many decades. Pro-choice organizations represented in the series include the New York Pro-Choice Coalition (NYPCC), the National Organization for Women (NOW), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the National Association of Abortion Facilities (NAAF). The series also contains Hoffman's phone message books, calendars, and scrapbooks, including those related to her work at Choices and On the Issues. Electronic files contain a variety of correspondence, mailing lists, graphics, Choice and On the Issues documents mixed on the same disks, and a few writings. Overall, the series amply illustrates the porous nature of the boundary between Hoffman's personal activities and her work at Choices and On the Issues.
The Photographic Materials Series contains a variety of material related to Choices Women's Medical Center, On the Issues magazine, and Hoffman's personal activities. Especially notable are the numerous images of the Choices clinic facilities and procedures, and the detailed visual record of pro-choice rallies and other events involving Hoffman during the 1980s. Political figures pictured in this series include Bella Abzug, Hilary Clinton, Andrea Dworkin, Geraldine Ferraro, Flo (Florynce) Kennedy, Congressman John Lewis, and Gloria Steinem. Other photographs in the Personal Subseries include portraits of Hoffman and snapshots from a vacation at the feminist Camp Sister Spirit.
The bulk of the Audiovisual Materials Series consists of audio recordings on cassette tape of New York City radio talk shows featuring Merle Hoffman as an interview subject. Most interviews date from the 1970s or early 1980s. In some cases, these recordings feature Hoffman responding to listeners in call-in discussions of abortion, or conducting debates with anti-abortion representatives. Other audio recordings include interviews conducted for On the Issues stories and radio advertisements for Choices. Videotape recordings include several episodes of "On the Issues," Merle Hoffman's cable access television show, and some documentary material on Choices and its patients. Materials are not immediately accessible until use copies can be made upon request. Please consult with reference staff before coming to use the collection.
Finally, the Ephemera Series contains various memorabilia, including a box of Choices condoms, buttons, and banners with feminist and political slogans.
Later accessions (2004-0041, 2004-0062, 2005-0023, and 2012-0049) have been added to the end of the finding aid. Boxlists are included when known.
Collection contains eight VHS video tapes (VHS) regarding various aspects of feminism, especially its modern history. Some videotapes were created at the 30th Anniversary of the National Organization for Women in 1996. The others are dated 1997, and most include the series title "Veteran Feminists of America" on the label; one tape has "Choices--Meded: 25 Years of Choices." Accompanying the recordings is one published volume: Waiting for Prime Time: the Women of Television News
The David B. McCall Papers span the years 1939-1999, with the bulk documenting the years 1980-1994, and are comprised of clippings, correspondence, business reports, photographs, scrapbooks, speeches and writings, videocassettes, audio tapes and phonograph records. In particular, three main areas of McCall's career are represented: as an advertising executive and partner in agencies such as Young & Rubicam, Ogilvy Benson & Mather, McCaffrey & McCall, David J. Mahoney, Inc., the Sawyer Miller Group, and Shepardson Stern and Kaminsky; as a corporate director for the Hunter Fan Company, Save the Children, and two local radio broadcasting corporations, among others; and as a humanitarian involved with organizations such as the Committee for the Support of Roe v. Wade, CARE, and Refugees International. In addition, there is a substantial body of McCall's speeches and writings that reflect both the wide range of his professional and personal interests and commitments as well as his status as a public intellectual in high demand, as well as a number of files containing correspondence, clippings and articles concerning David Ogilvy, McCall's mentor in advertising. Major advertising campaigns represented in this collection include Mercedes Benz of North America, North American Philips, Life magazine, the American Can Company, Lever Brothers Company, and the Zippo Manufacturing Company, along with public relations work for such clients as the National Football League, Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC), and the Regional Bell Operating Companies. Major humanitarian issues documented in the collection include the "Unsell" protest movement against the war in Vietnam, tobacco advertising aimed at children, land mine removal, refugee welfare, and support of abortion rights. McCall was also involved in political campaigns for a number of notable candidates, such as John Lindsay (New York), Harvey Gannt (North Carolina), George Kevarian (Massachusetts), Ramón Mitra (Philippines) and Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru). While McCall is recognized as the originator of the idea behind the popular children's educational television series Schoolhouse Rock!, the collection contains very little documentation concerning that project apart from a copy of the original soundtrack.
The collection is organized into 12 series that broadly outline the sequence of McCall's business and humanitarian activities: the Biographical and Personal Materials Series, the Ogilvy & Mather Series, the McCaffrey & McCall Series, the Radio Stations Series, the Sawyer Miller Group Series, the Hunter Fan Company Series, the Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky Series, the Refugees International Series, the Speeches Series, the Writings Series, and the Portfolio Series. In addition, non-print materials have been removed to the Audiovisual Materials Series. Large-format print materials have been removed from their original series locations and relocated to Oversize Materials locations; these items have been cross-referenced to the points in the body of the collection from which they were removed.
The Biographical and Personal Materials Series contains materials relating to McCall's childhood and family life, and includes correspondence, photographs, biographical sketches, resumes and obituary notices. The Ogilvy & Mather Series includes correspondence and articles pertaining to the agency, along with profiles and tributes to agency founder David Ogilvy and correspondence between Ogilvy and McCall. The McCaffrey & McCall Series includes correspondence, corporate publications and client files. Legal documents that detail McCall's initial investment and employment in the C.J. Laroche & Co. agency, which was eventually renamed McCaffrey & McCall, are included. Major clients include Mercedes-Benz of North America, the New York Zoological Society, and Save the Children. The agency was also involved in the political campaign of New York Mayor John Lindsay. The Radio Stations Series includes correspondence, periodic reports and profit-and-loss statements for the 790 Communications Corporation and the 1340 Broadcasting Corporation, radio broadcasting corporations in which McCaffrey & McCall had invested, and in which McCall remained involved after retiring from the agency. The Sawyer Miller Group Series contains administrative records, correspondence and client files. Sawyer Miller was instrumental in helping the telecommunications industry after the breakup of the Bell system into regional operating companies. Other clients included the National Football League and the Puerto Rico Telephone Company, along with a number of political candidates.
The Hunter Fan Company Series consists primarily of reports pertaining to periodic meetings of the Board of Directors in addition to some information on marketing strategies and advertising campaigns. The Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky Series contains administrative files and correspondence relating to internal operations and political advertising, as well as files documenting McCall's advocacy work on a tobacco-free initiative aimed at children. The Refugees International Series documents McCall's involvement in a number of humanitarian efforts undertaken by Refugees International, including relief for refugee children and land mine eradication. The series includes correspondence, travel itineraries and trip journals kept by McCall, as well as printed materials from Refugees International and other humanitarian organizations. The Speeches Series includes texts of speeches, talks, and commencement addresses given by McCall, along with a small collection of speeches given by others. There is also a set of "speech files" that contain clippings, writing fragments, and other materials used to compose or plan speeches. In a few cases, speeches are accompanied by supporting materials and relevant correspondence. The Writings Series includes letters to the editors of various publications, journal articles, poetry and other writings by McCall, along with a small collection of writings by others. The Portfolio Series contains clippings, copies of advertisements and scrapbook contents relating primarily to McCall's early career. The Audiovisual Materials Series includes documentary and promotional films, commercials and radio spot announcements, especially concerning the Roe v. Wade court case and demining efforts supported by Refugees International. Oversize materials have been moved to the Oversize Materials Series.
Other materials relating to this collection may be found in the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives: Competitive Advertisements Collection; the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives: Corporation Vertical Files, the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives: Advertising Vertical Files, and the Arthur Einstein Papers. Materials relating particularly to Ogilvy & Mather may also be found in the John E. Brennan Papers, the Kensinger Jones Papers, the Robert S. Smith Papers, and the Edgar Hatcher Papers. Additionally, materials relating to Save the Children may be found in the collection African-Americans in Film: Collection of Press Books, Campaign Books, Advertising Manuals, Etc., the Africa News Service (Durham, N.C.) Leroy T. Walker Africa News Service Archives, the J.B. Matthews Papers, the Amber Arthun Warburton Papers, and the North Carolina Council of Churches Records.