March 2015: Florence P. Dwyer

posted Feb 27, 2015, 8:49 AM by Erin C. Alghandoor   [ updated Mar 2, 2015, 10:32 AM ]

Actress Patricia Arquette’s passionate speech on behalf of equal pay for women at last month’s Academy Awards captured a great deal of attention. So did another speech on the same topic, given 58 years ago this month. On March 25, 1957, New Jersey Congresswoman Florence Dwyer introduced a bill calling for the federal government to mandate equal pay for equal work for women. President John Kennedy signed the bill into law in 1963. Congresswoman Dwyer’s speech is this month’s featured Document of the Month from the Kean University Archives and Special Collections. The speech can be found in the Papers of Florence Dwyer, housed in the Nancy Thompson Library. To read her speech, click here.

Florence Price Dwyer was the second woman – and first Republican woman – elected to Congress from New Jersey.  She served in the House from 1957 to 1973.  She was a staunch advocate for women’s rights, and was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War. Her collection includes over 400 cubic feet of correspondence, bills, speeches, photographs, radio broadcast transcriptions, campaign records, and memorabilia.  For more information on the Florence Dwyer collection, click here.

Kean University students taking 3336 Women’s History and 4990 Senior Seminar in History are conducting original historical research with the collection for their course work.  The students will highlight Dwyer’s accomplishments at the State House in Trenton on March 5th and a Senate Resolution in her honor will be announced. 


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