From the Museum of Public Relations: The press release that launched NOW

In honor of Women’s History Month, a glimpse into PR’s past.

The documents that launched NOW. Provided by the Museum of PR.

This artifact is shared in partnership with the Museum of Public Relations.

On Oct. 29, 1966, more than 300 people came together to announce the formation of a new organization called National Organization for Women (NOW). Muriel Fox, co-founder and press contact at the time, worked closely alongside Betty Friedan, author of “The Feminine Mystique,” to form the legendary organization.

Fox, a feminist icon in her own right, was born in 1928. She served as news editor at WKCR, Columbia University’s radio station, before graduating from Barnard College in 1948. A few years after college, Fox applied for a position as a writer at Carl Byoir and Associates,the world’s largest public relations agency in the 1950s, but was initially rejected as they “didn’t hire women writers.”   But Fox persisted and at the age of 26, she became not only the firm’s first female vice president but a trailblazer for the next generations of women in PR.

An original copy of the full 5-page press release announcing the formation of NOW, written by Fox, is housed by the Museum of Public in downtown Manhattan.

Parts read:

“More than 300 men and women have formed a new action organization called National Organization for Women (NOW), to work for ‘true equality for all women in America’ and ‘a fully equal partnership of the sexes, as a part of the world-wide revolution of human rights.’

“We do not accept,” the statement says, “the token appointment of a few women to high-level positions in government and industry as a substitute for a serious continuing effort to recruit and advance women according to their individual abilities.”


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