Lori Ann Mennella
Lori Ann Mennella is a graduate of the College of William and Mary (BA, 1976). In 1979, she worked as an accounting clerk at the National NOW Action Center in Washington, DC, where she was promoted to Assistant Bookkeeper. During the same period, she was active in the 51st State (Washington, DC) chapter of NOW and was chosen to be a delegate for the chapter at the national NOW conference in Los Angeles, California, which took place October 5-8, 1979. At the National NOW Action Center, she worked with Eve Norman, the NOW treasurer. When Norman failed to be reelected at the 1979 NOW national conference, Mennella and Norman's staff were dismissed. Mennella became a certified public accountant and worked as the Accounting Officer for the Department of Medical Assistance for Pima County, Arizona, in the late 1990s. The papers of Lori Ann Mennella consist of printed material, writings, correspondence, and photographs related to the work of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the Washington, DC, area during the late 1970s and early 1980s. There are copies of correspondence related to an audit of the 1978 finances, as well as an account by Mennella which criticizes the work of the auditor. She was also active in the 51st State NOW (Washington, DC) chapter, and the collection contains meeting flyers from the chapter, as well as a letter from Mennella to the NOW National Board describing on-the-job harassment to discourage her from serving as a chapter delegate to the 1979 national conference. The collection also includes a letter of recommendation of Mennella by Eve Norman written after the department was dismissed. There are also copies of letters from other NOW members to Eleanor Smeal, NOW's president, regarding diversity issues in the organization in terms of both race and sexuality. Several letters protest Smeal's efforts to have her preferred slate of candidate elected at the 1979 national conference. Specifically, several letters mention the lack of diversity in the newly elected officers, and cite the election loss of Sharon Parker, a Black woman who had run for NOW secretary. The collection also includes three photographs of Mennella which include Carole Merfeld and Eve Norman. There is also conference material from Washington, DC, area conferences co-sponsored by DC NOW Sexuality Task Force and the Gay Peoples Alliance of GWU (George Washington University) from 1977-1979, as well as flyers and a newsletter from the NOW Sexuality Task Force (1984). In addition, there is printed material from other organizations supporting gay rights, including a conference program from the Gay Women's Alternative, Washington D.C. (1985); a newsletter "Capitol Hill" by the Gay Rights National Lobby (ca. 1979); and a Virginia Gay Alliance Arlington County Chapter newsletter (1984). There is also an anti-gay comic book "The Blighted Eye that is Never Satisfied" by Christian Family Renewal, Clovis, California (undated).