( 1924-), author, founder and president of STOP ERA and Eagle Forum
MARY ANNE TRASCIATTI AND MARTHA SOLOMON
When Phyllis Stewart Schlafly founded and appointed herself chair of STOP ERA in 1972, she was already a seasoned political activist. From the early 1950s, she worked earnestly for conservative Republican causes, and she made two unsuccessful bids in 1952 and 1970 for a congressional seat. Moreover, she wrote the controversial A Choice Not an Echo ( 1964), which, with little advertising, sold an estimated 3 million copies and was widely credited with helping Barry Goldwater win the crucial 1964 California primary. Perhaps more important for the fate of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), Stewart Schlafly started The Phyllis Schlafly Report (PSR), a monthly newsletter she sent to disappointed supporters in 1967 after her defeat for the presidency of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) ( Felsenthal, 1981:151-214, 163, 195). Thus, her ability to forge a powerful and effective lobby against the ERA was the fruition of her long-standing interest in Republican politics. In the wake of her adroit management of the STOP ERA campaign, her emergence as a national spokeswoman for a variety of conservative causes was not surprising.
Her public visibility and political effectiveness gained her substantial recognition. In 1977 the World Almanac named her one of the nation's most influential women, the Associated Press listed her as one of the ten most influential people in Illinois (she was the only woman on that list), and Good Housekeeping's poll put her on the roster of the ten most admired women in the country ( Felsenthal, 1981:103-104).
In many ways, Stewart Schlafly's ardent opposition to the ERA seems at odds with her personal struggles and achievements. Born August 15, 1924, in St. Louis, Missouri, she was the older daughter of a librarian and a self-educated