M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives


Finding Aid for the
RECORDS, 1950-1993

For reference queries contact M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives Reference staff

Finding Aid Compiled by
Kenyetta Russell
July 31, 2003


M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935

VOLUME: 1.2 cubic feet

ACQUISITION: All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Loren Broc of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany in October 2001.

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


Administrative History

Scope and content note

Series Descriptions

Box and Folder List:

Committee for Progressive Legislation
Administrative History

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The Committee for Progressive Legislation began when Kay Dingle, a wife and mother living in Delmar, New York, took the initiative to create a religious liberal voice that would bring attention to social issues important to many New Yorkers. She organized a group of Unitarian women to discuss ways in which they could be effective in supporting or opposing state legislation. They would raise a religious liberal voice in politics by enlisting other members of the Albany and Schenectady First Unitarian Universalist Societies and working together with other organizations interested in dealing with social problems. That group of women became the Committee for Progressive Legislation.

In 1969, the organization became widely known for lobbying in favor of the repeal of New York State's abortion law, which dated back to the early nineteenth century. The group's main concerns were abortion, welfare rights, and the attack on separation of church and state. As time passed however they discovered that trying to tackle several issues at once was difficult and they began to concentrate mainly on the repeal of New York State's abortion law and state funds for family planning clinics.

Members of the Committee for Progressive Legislation donated their time telephoning legislators, designing posters, and conducting research to support their stance on social issues. Political workshops were held training members and other volunteers to be effective lobbyists as well as in dealing with disadvantaged communities. Lobbying sessions were also held in which members learned about legislative bills and how to find legislative allies.

After the amendment of New York's abortion law in April 1970 the group focused on family planning issues. In their correspondence to legislators, members advocated state sponsored family planning clinics. They also lobbied the state to pay abortion fees for low-income women.

In 1977 as membership and commitment to the issues dwindled the group elected to disband.

Committee for Progressive Legislation
Scope & Content Note

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This collection contains the papers of the Committee for Progressive Legislation from 1950-1993. It follows the group from its origins as the project of a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Albany. The collection documents the organization's activity in lobbying the New York State Legislature for various social issues, but shows their main interests were repealing the New York State abortion law and advocating family planning. Included in the collection are administrative files, records of the group's legislative interests, and research of social issues.

Documentation on family planning matters as well as other social welfare issues is abundant in the collection. The numerous news clippings on abortion rights and family planning articles as well as the correspondence between chairperson Kay Dingle and New York State legislators is a strong point of the collection. The legislative correspondence gives an idea of the lobbying methods of the Committee for Progressive Legislation as well as their stance on specific bills.

The collection does not give any specific information on the personal lives of the committee members or the effect that their passionate involvement in the organization had on their family lives. One letter does imply that a group member resigned due to pressure from her husband, but not much additional information is available. Founding member Kay Dingle's last correspondence with the organization was from her Arizona home on May 10, 1993. This letter can be found in Series 2: Issue Files.

Committee for Progressive Legislation
Series Descriptions

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Series 1: Administrative Files, 1969-1978, .55 cubic ft., Arranged alphabetically by subject.

This series includes information on the Committee for Progressive Legislation's first administrative year, including the proposal for organization within the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany. The series contains organizational bulletins beginning in 1969. The bulletins contain information for members and other interested parties in relation to lobbying events and meetings. Their newsletter bulletins inform their followers of what issues they were currently working on as well as what their direction for the following month would be. This series also contains several membership lists, photographs of group members at events, as well as financial records. Unfortunately the financial documents are very scarce, however they do reveal administrative personnel problems. Also in this series is a sparse but informative file of the group's meeting minutes. The minutes reveal the anticipated future of the organization over the years. Much of the correspondence between Committee for Progressive Legislature members consists of offering solutions to the various organizational disagreements and problems. The decisions reached by Chairperson Kay Dingle are documented, along with other membership information, in the organization's newsletters.

The position papers in this series give an in-depth view of why the group decided to promote their views on specific social concerns. The series also contains several reports, two of which are based on interviews with representatives of the New York State Department of Health in 1969 the first official year of the organization's existence.

Series 2: Issue Files, 1950-1978, .40 cubic ft., Arranged alphabetically by subject.

This series contains numerous news clippings on various social issues. Although typical citizens of Albany, clergymen, and politicians all offer opinions in the news clippings, the files concentrate mostly on the views and actions of politicians and clergymen.

Correspondence in this series includes efforts by Kay Dingle to enlist supporters for the organization including a letter written in 1950. The letter was written in support of the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Albany Medical Center Hospital who expressed his concern about women using any new abortion law as a method of family planning. This early letter gives insight into Mrs. Dingle's plans for the Committee for Progressive Legislation. Other correspondence includes differing views on abortion and family planning. The numerous news clippings illustrate points of view about family planning and population control during the 1970s in Albany, New York.

This series also contains information on the Social Welfare subcommittee with-in the Committee For Progressive Legislation. This file provides subcommittee minutes as well as analyses on urban conditions of poor families.

Series 3: Legislative Files, 1966-1978, Arranged alphabetically by subject.

This series consists of legislative correspondence, information on legislative bills as well as lobbying efforts. The strong point of this series is the sizeable amount of correspondence to legislators. These letters demonstrate the nature of relationships between legislators and lobbying groups. An alliance with Mary Anne Krupsak, an assemblywoman from the 104th district of Albany-Schenectady and Montgomery counties, seemed especially important to the Committee for Progressive Legislation. Also present in this series is information about the committee's lobbying techniques as well as in-depth information on the New York State legislative process.

Committee for Progressive Legislation
Box and Folder List

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Series 1: Administrative Files, 1969-1978

Box 1

1. Bulletins, 1969-1978, undated
2. Correspondence, Ann Brandon, 1969-1971
3. Correspondence, L. E. Hoogstoel, 1972-1977, undated
4. Drama, 1969-1970, undated
5. Financial Documents, 1969-1987
6. Minutes, 1969-1978, undated
7. Newsletters, 1969-1972
8. Newsletters, 1973-1978, undated
9. Newsletter Bulletins, 1969-1978, undated
10. Organizational Planning, 1969-1970, undated
11. Organizational Structure, 1969-1978, undated
12. Photographs, undated
13. Position Papers, 1971-1978, undated
14. Publicity, 1969-1970, undated
15. Reports, 1969, undated
16. Speeches, undated
17. Subscriptions

Box 2

1. Financial Ledger, 1969- 1977, undated
2. Committee for Progressive Legislation Buttons, undated

Committee for Progressive Legislation
Box and Folder List

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Series 2: Issue Files, 1950-1978

Box 1

18. Abortion, News Clippings, 1969-1971
19. Abortion, News Clippings, 1971-1978
20. Abortion, News Clippings, undated
21. Abortion Reform Subcommittee, 1969-1970, undated
22. Associated Groups 1975- 1978, undated
23. Criminal Justice, 1969-1971, n.d
24. Fact Sheets, 1970-1977, undated
25. Family Planning, Correspondence, 1950- September 1970
26. Family Planning, Correspondence, October 1970-1978, undated
27. Family Planning, News Clippings, 1969-1970
28. Family Planning, News Clippings, 1971
29. Family Planning, News Clippings, undated
30. Family Planning Services, 1970-1971, undated
31. Pamphlets and Brochures, 1971, undated
32. Social Welfare, News Clippings, 1969-1978, undated
33. Social Welfare Subcommittee, Situation Analyses, 1969, undated
34. Social Welfare Subcommittee, Minutes, 1969-1970, undated

Committee for Progressive Legislation
Box and Folder List

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Series 3: Legislative Files, 1966-1978

Box 1

35. Correspondence, Legislative, 1960-1970, undated
36. Correspondence, Legislative, 1971-1978, undated
37. Correspondence, Lobbying, 1966-1969, undated
38. Legislative Bills, 1968-1976, undated
39. Legislative Committee, undated
40. Legislative Hearing Statements, 1969-1970
41. Legislative Reform, 1974-1975
42. Lobbying, 1967-1973
43. Lobbying, 1978, undated
44. Lobbyist Organizations, 1968-1970
45. Statements for Legislators, 1967-1971
46. State of New York, Interviews and Analyses, 1969-1970, undated

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Last updated September 26, 2003