Margaret "Midge" Costanza Papers

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Margaret "Midge" Costanza papers
Creator: Costanza, Midge, 1932-2010
Call Number: D.523
Dates: 1951-2011
Physical Description: 35.2 Cubic feet
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Arrangement
Subject(s)
Processing Information
Access
Use
Citation
Content List
Series I: Personal papers
Series II: Political campaigns
Series III: Monroe County Democratic Committee
Series IV: Rochester City Council
Series V: Congressional campaign
Series VI: Assistant to the President for Public Liaison
Series VII: Social and political advocacy
Series VIII: Nonpolitical employment
Series IX: Restricted material
Collection Overview
Title: Margaret "Midge" Costanza papers
Creator: Costanza, Midge, 1932-2010
Call Number: D.523
Dates: 1951-2011
Physical Description: 35.2 Cubic feet
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
Margaret "Midge" Costanza was born in LeRoy, NY in 1932 and raised in nearby Rochester. After graduating from high school, she worked at a business owned by Rochester real estate investor John Petrossi, eventually becoming his executive assistant. She took an interest in politics from a young age and was involved in several state-wide political campaigns, including Averill Harriman's campaign for New York governor and Robert Kennedy's campaign for Senate. In 1966 she was named vice-chair of the Monroe County Democratic Committee; she resigned four years later to draw attention to the gender equalities she saw within the party. Costanza was elected to the Rochester City Council in 1973 and, despite receiving the most votes, named vice-mayor, a largely honorary role. One year later, she ran against Republican incumbent Barber Conable for his House of Representatives seat. She lost the election, but met and befriended former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter during the campaign. Costanza then served as his Presidential campaign co-chair for New York.

At the Democratic National Convention in 1976, she was chosen to second Carter's presidential nomination. After he was elected, he appointed Costanza to Assistant to the President for Public Liaison. She was the first woman to hold the position of Assistant to the President. Her office was next to the Oval Office and she was tasked with being the "window to the nation" and bringing the everyday concerns of Americans to the President's ear. During her time in the White House she met with hundreds of special interest groups; these included labor unions, Native American tribes, and most notably (and controversially) the National Gay Task Force. She also fiercely advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and reproductive rights for women. In April 1978, she was reassigned to a position focusing solely on women's issues and her office was moved to the basement of the White House. On August 2nd, 1978, after twenty months in office, she resigned.

Costanza then moved to Los Angeles, campaigning for Teddy Kennedy in the 1980 presidential election and eventually forming a political consulting firm. She also became involved in the entertainment industry, and in 1987, she helped manage Shirley MacLaine's Higher Self seminars. In 1990 Costanza relocated to San Diego and worked on the campaigns of California State Treasurer Kathleen Brown, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Congresswoman Lynn Schenk. The Midge Costanza Institute for the Study of Politics and Public Policy was formed in 2003, in affiliation with the Women's Studies Department at San Diego State University. The Institute was created with the goal of educating young people on the importance of involvement in government and public service, and has since developed an internship program for San Diego area college students, as well as an archival project documenting Costanza's ERA activism. Midge Costanza died of cancer in March, 2010. She was inducted posthumously into the San Diego Women's Hall of Fame in 2011.

Scope and Content
The Margaret "Midge" Costanza Papers consists of records from her life and work before and after her time in the White House. Much of the collection is material from after Costanza left her position in the White House; material from her White House years can be found at The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

Personal material in the collection consists of taped interviews and transcripts with Costanza done for her (unpublished) memoirs, as well as drafts of a movie and television show based on her time as Assistant to the President. The collection contains a small number of family photos, as well as many photos of Costanza with various politicians, activists, and celebrities.

There are files related to political issues Costanza was involved with, including the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), International Women's Year, women's rights, LGBT rights, and labor. She saved press releases, campaign data, and other documents related to her own campaigns for city council and Congress in addition to the many other political campaigns she worked on.

Her White House material includes a large number of official photos, as well as a copy of the FBI investigation carried out before she could be hired. After her resignation, Costanza found and kept exit interviews conducted with White House aides and employees that she worked with.

After Costanza left the White House, she was in high demand as a speaker and kept notes and copies of many of the speeches she gave around the country. Many of her speeches and public appearances were recorded on tape, and some have been digitized. In addition to documents on her paid work as a speaker, the collection includes recordings and promotional material from the talk shows she worked on while living in Los Angeles. Once she moved to California, Costanza remained a devoted activist, and documents and photos from this time detail her involvement with women's rights leaders such as Jean O'Leary, Bella Abzug, and Ginny Foat.

Costanza was very conscious of her press coverage, and the collection contains newspaper and magazine articles about her, some of which were sent to her by friends and supporters. She also collected articles about public figures; both those she was allied with and those who opposed her policies.

Arrangement
This collection has been left in its original order. It is organized into eight series.

Series I: Personal records

Series II: Political campaigns

Series III: Monroe County Democratic Party

Series IV: Rochester City Council

Series V: Congressional campaign

Series VI: Assistant to the President for Public Liaison

Subseries I: FBI File

Series VII: Social and political advocacy

Series VIII: Nonpolitical employment

Subject(s):
Women politicians
Political campaigns
Women--Political activity
Costanza, Midge, 1932-2010
United States. White House Office
Politicians
Political consultants
Processing Information
This collection was minimally processed. Some boxes are numbered out of sequence. Some material was redacted due to personal information.Access
The Margaret "Midge" Costanza papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Margaret "Midge" Costanza papers, D.523, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Katelyn Gibson
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:

Finding aid publication date: October 2019
Content List
Series I: Personal papers
Box 1;
Box 2;
Box 3;
Box 4;
Box 5;
Box 6;
Box 79;
Box 87
Personal and family documents, 1951-2010
Box 7;
Box 8;
Box 9;
Box 10;
Box 11;
Box 12;
Box 79
Ephemera, 1960s-2000s
Box 13;
Box 14;
Box 15
Personal planners and address books, 1963-1984
Box 16;
Box 17;
Box 18;
Box 19
Interview transcripts, 1977-2011
Box 20;
Box 21;
Box 22;
Box 23;
Box 24;
Box 25;
Box 26;
Box 27
Interview tapes, 1977-1988, undated
These cassette tapes cannot be used by researchers due to preservation concerns. Access copies on CD are available.

Box 28;
Box 29;
Box 30
Interview CDs, 1977-1988, undated
Box 31;
Box 32;
Box 33;
Box 34
Book, movie, and television treatments, 1978-2008
Box 35;
Box 36;
Box 37;
Box 38;
Box 39;
Box 40;
Box 41;
Box 42;
Box 43;
Box 44;
Box 45;
Box 46;
Box 47;
Box 48;
Box 49;
Box 50;
Box 51;
Box 52
Newspaper clippings, 1956-2009
Box 84;
Box 85;
Box 92;
Box 93
Speech audio, 1977-1995, undated
These cassette tapes cannot be used by researchers due to preservation concerns. Access copies on CD are available.

Box 88;
Box 89;
Box 90;
Box 91;
Box 94;
Box 95;
Box 96;
Box 97;
Box 98
Video and film material, 1960s-2000s
Video tapes in this collection cannot be used by researchers due to preservation concerns. Access copies are available.

Box 94Digitized film and video material, 1960s-2000s
Files are on external hard drive.

Series II: Political campaigns
Box 53;
Box 79
Jimmy Carter, 1975-1976
Box 54, Folder 1-2Robert Kennedy, 1964, 1988
Box 54, Folder 3-8Edward Kennedy, 1980
Box 55Barbara Boxer, 1992
Box 56, Folder 1-8Gray Davis, 1999-2001
Box 56, Folder 9-11Lynne Schenk, 1978-2006
Box 56, Folder 12-13;
Box 57
Other campaigns, 1981-1996
Series III: Monroe County Democratic Committee
Box 58Records, 1966-1970
Series IV: Rochester City Council
Box 59;
Box 60;
Box 79
Campaign material, 1972-1973
Box 61;
Box 62;
Box 63
Council documents, 1974
Box 79State Board of Canvassers certificate, 1976
Series V: Congressional campaign
Box 64;
Box 65;
Box 66
Records, 1973-1975
Series VI: Assistant to the President for Public Liaison
Box 67, Folder 1Midge Costanza FBI file, 1977
Box 67, Folder 2-8;
Box 68;
Box 69;
Box 70;
Box 71;
Box 79
Records, 1977-1978
Series VII: Social and political advocacy
Box 72;
Box 73
LGBT rights, 1970s-2000s
Box 74Women's rights, 1960s-1990s
Box 75Nuclear and human rights, 1979-1997
Box 761980 presidential election, 1978-1980
Box 77;
Box 78
Activists, 1976-2010
Series VIII: Nonpolitical employment
Box 80Entertainment industry, 1983-1997
Box 81;
Box 82;
Box 83
Speeches, 1970s-2000s
Box 86Higher Self seminars, 1987-1988
Series IX: Restricted material
Box 99Restricted material
This box contains restricted material removed to here from Boxes 2, 13, 67, and 87.



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