Skip to main content
Identifier: MC 883

Women's Caucus for Art Records


  • Majority of material found within 1972-2012

Scope and Content Note

The records span the period from 1972 to 1988 and the bulk dates from 1978-1986. They consist primarily of presidential correspondence and subject files, but also include officer and advisory board correspondence, annual conference materials (such as program brochures, exhibition catalogs, typescripts of speeches, et.), WCA chapter newsletters and exhibition announcements, photographs and video/audiotapes. Significant topics include the WCA's involvement in discrimination/affirmative action surveys and cases, influence on the College Art Association, art exhibitions and publications sponsored by the WCA, annual conferences, and the establishment of annual awards for senior women in the visual arts.

The Ofelia Garcia and Annie Shaver-Crandell files also contain information about the two Women Artists Visibility Events, including posters, T-shirts, banners and badges.

The growing strength and numbers of the local WCA chapters are shown by the need to create subseries of correspondence between the National Office and the chapters during the period 1984-1988. The New York City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia chapters have been maintained as separate series. Similarly, because of the bulk of conference material after 1984, a separate series was created for conferences covering the period 1984-1988. Separate series were also created for publications, membership rosters, audio-visual materials, and photographs.

The records of Elsa Fine, which were donated to the WCA, create a separate record group. Fine's material includes manuscripts and correspondence relating to her 1978 book Women and Art, and the never-published revision of Women's Studies in Art and Art History, first published by the WCA in 1974. The Fine papers also include catalogs and announcements of exhibitions which were sent to Fine in her capacity as editor of Women's Art Journal.


20 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Financial material only restricted.


Records, consisting primarily of general files of successive Caucus presidents, but also including newsletters, membership lists, photographs, and audio and video recordings of selected Caucus events. The general files typically include documentation pertaining to membership, committees, award presentations and annual conferences, although financial records and subject files on related topics (such as women architects) appear as well.

Administrative History

The Women's Caucus for Art (WCA) is a national organization of over 3,500 women in the visual arts professions. The WCA was founded in 1972 at the annual meeting of the College Art Association (CAA) held in San Francisco, where a group of women art historians and artists met to discuss gender-based issues in the visual arts. Membership is predominantly working artists and art historians. Included, however, are university faculty, administrators, art administrators, students, librarians, collectors, and others interested in women in the arts. The objectives of the WCA are threefold: to create new opportunities for women to document, produce and exhibit works, to win parity in the valuation of works by women, and to assemble for the exchange of ideas, experience and constructive criticism.

The first president of the WCA, which was then known as the Women's Caucus of the College Art Association, was the art historian Ann Sutherland Harris (1972-1974). She established the groundwork for the organization, through membership dues structure, a newsletter, a positions referral service, and publication of The Second Sex in Academe (1973), a survey on the status of women art historians by Harris and Barbara White.

In an effort to promote research on women artists and the inclusion of women artists in visual arts and women's studies courses, the WCA published Women's Studies in the Arts (1974) by Athena Tacha Spear (later edited and reissued by Lola Gellman, Elsa Fine and Judy Loeb as Women's Studies in Art and Art History), and Slides of Works by Women Artists: A Sourcebook (1974) by Mary D. Garrard.

Mary D. Garrard became the second WCA president (1974-1976). Significant events of her term include the incorporation of the WCA as an independent organization with a formal constitution and separate bylaws (approved at the 1975 conference). To this day the WCA remains an affiliate of the CAA, and also maintains formal ties with the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS), the Mid-America College Art Association (MACAA), the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC), and to a lesser extent, with the Midwest Art History Society (MAHS) and Artists Equity.

The WCA continued to conduct education and discrimination surveys in the mid-1970s. The WCA-planned survey of MFA programs by Janice Koenig Ross was later produced by the CAA. Reports on the CAA jobs placement survey (1975) and other discrimination issues were authored by Norma Broude, WCA correspondent for the Art Journal and CAA Newsletter.

Judith K. Brodsky followed Garrard as president in 1976. She was the first working artist to lead the organization. Her tenure included WCA-curated exhibitions at the Los Angeles 1977 conference, the sex discrimination guide Anger to Action, greater visibility for the organization (for instance, testimony at the White House Subcommittee on the Arts), interaction with the CAA, and increased grant writing.

The painter Lee Anne Miller (1978-1980) succeeded Brodsky as WCA president. Her term was interrupted by her move from Kansas City to Detroit. During her tenure the organization was highly visible; noteworthy events include establishment of the honor awards for senior women in the arts (including the first ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House), the 1980 New Orleans and Washington, DC conferences which were highly political in nature, and WCA presence at the International Women's Year conference in Houston. Much of Miller's correspondence involves issues such as the ERA and the economic boycott of non-ratified states. Because Louisiana, the proposed site of the 1980 WCA conference, had not ratifed the Equal Rights Anendment, some WCA members chose to organize an alternative conference in Washington, DC.

The WCA Office moved to San Francisco when DeRenne Coerr was elected WCA president (1980-1982). She was the first museum professional to manage the organization. Her tenure included chapter expansion, national conferences in San Francisco and New York, and the apppointment of three part-time paid office assistants.

When Muriel Magenta (1982-1984) accepted the WCA presidency, the National Office moved to Arizona, where it remained until 1984. Bea Weinstein was hired as the first paid business manager. Magenta's administration is highlighted by increased fundraising, chapter communication, a revised format for the newsletter, the first membership directory, and a national exhibition at Lehigh University. However, the single most important accomplishment was the establishment of the permanent WCA National Office at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia after the 1983 national conference was held in that city.

During the administration of Ofelia Garcia (1984-1986), the organization's National Office completed transfer to Moore College, where Janet Miller was hired as national office administrator (1984-1986). National conferences were held in Los Angeles (1985) and New York City (1986). A trend to broaden the base of participation in the WCA was marked by the creation of the post of vice president for minority affairs and by participation in conferences of women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Membership services were expanded to include the first membership directory in three years and a program of discounted membership subscriptions. The tradition of honoring women at mid-career at the annual membership banquet was interpreted creatively to include the first award to a collectivity, Douglass College of Rutgers University, for its consistent support of programs and institutions aiding women in the arts.

Newsworthy was the first Women Artists Visibility Event (WAVE), held in New York City in 1984. The protest was triggered by the failure of the Museum of Modern Art to include more than a handful of works by women artists in a recent exhibition.

Annie Shaver-Crandell succeeded Garcia as WCA president in 1986. She was assisted by Janet Miller, Carol Grape in New York City, and Joan Crummer Rolland in Philadelphia. Shaver-Crandell, the former president of the New York City Chapter (1982-1984) was an associate professor in the Department of Art in the City College of New York, as well as a quilter and a photographer. Her term of office saw increased activity at the chapter level, as well as greater concern with the issues of racism and class in art. A second WAVE, Now You See Us took place throughout the country on September 26, 1986. Its object was to "celebrate the achievements of women in the visual arts and challenge the intransigence of major institutions in failing to recognize them."

The art historian Christine Havice became president of the WCA in 1988.

WCA Presidents

Ann Sutherland Harris
Mary D. Garrard
Judith K. Brodsky
Lee Anne Miller
DeRenne Coerr
Muriel Magenta
Ofelia Garcia
Annie Shaver-Crandell
Christine Havice

National Conferences

New York
Los Angeles
New York
New Orleans/Washington
San Francisco
New York
Los Angeles
New York

Arrangement Note

In 1986, the records of the WCA were processed by national office administrator Janet Miller. The records of the National WCA are divided into series according to two-year presidential terms. Miller conducted a mail survey in the summer of 1986 to locate missing records and had them sent to the national office. Since 1986 additional material was received from presidents Ofelia Garcia and Annie Shaver-Crandell.

Miller's arrangement was maintained and similar series were created for the general files of presidents Garcia and Shaver-Crandell. Financial records from the DeRenne Coerr and Muriel Magenta administrations constitute a separate series. Written permission must be obtained from the current WCA president and the national office administrator for any researcher to examine files from this series as well as any file identified as containing financial or fundraising records. (R in red pencil on the folder heading.)

Processing Information

Addendum to this collection was added in 1997, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009.

Inventory to the Women's Caucus for Art Records
Edited Full Draft
Janet Miller and Fernanda Perrone
November 1992
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.
Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.