Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since the publication of her best-selling 1964 book, A Choice Not An Echo. In a ten-year battle, Mrs. Schlafly led the pro-family movement to victory over the principal legislative goal of the radical feminists, called the Equal Rights Amendment. An articulate and successful opponent of the radical feminist movement, she appears in debates on college campuses more frequently than any other conservative. She was named one of the one hundred most important women of the twentieth century by the Ladies’ Home Journal.
Mrs. Schlafly’s monthly newsletter called The Phyllis Schlafly Report is now in its fiftieth year. She wrote a syndicated column which appeared in one hundred newspapers, and on many conservative websites. The column is continued by her sons John and Andy Schlafly. Her radio commentaries program was started in 1983 and are heard daily on over six hundred stations.
Mrs. Schlafly is the author or editor of twenty-seven books on subjects as varied as family and feminism (The Power of the Positive Woman and Feminist Fantasies); the judiciary (The Supremacists: The Tyranny of Judges and How to Stop It); religion (No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom); nuclear strategy (Strike From Space and Kissinger on the Couch); education (Child Abuse in the Classroom); child care (Who Will Rock the Cradle?); and phonics (First Reader and Turbo Reader).
Mrs. Schlafly was a lawyer and served as a member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, 1985-1991, appointed by President Reagan. She testified before more than fifty Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.
Mrs. Schlafly was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Washington University, received her J.D. from Washington University Law School, and received her Master’s in Political Science from Harvard University. In 2008, Washington University/St. Louis awarded Phyllis an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Phyllis Schlafly is America’s best-known advocate of the dignity and honor that we as a society owe to the role of fulltime homemaker. The mother of six children, she was the 1992 Illinois Mother of the Year.
Schlafly died of cancer on September 5, 2016, at her home in Ladue, Missouri, at the age of 92.
More Complete Biography of Phyllis Schlafly
Phyllis Schlafly was named one of the one hundred most important women of the twentieth century by the Ladies’ Home Journal. She has been a national leader of the conservative movement since the publication of her best-selling 1964 book, A Choice Not An Echo.
Eagle Forum: Mrs. Schlafly was the founder and president of Eagle Forum, a national organization of citizens who participate as volunteers in the public policymaking process. She never took a paycheck from the organization and served entirely in a volunteer capacity. She is also the founder and president of Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, a think-tank and library which has its national headquarters at the Phyllis Schlafly Center in St. Louis. The Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund continues to carry on the work of Phyllis Schlafly.
Books: Mrs. Schlafly is the author or editor of twenty-seven books on subjects as varied as family and feminism (The Power of the Positive Woman, Feminist Fantasies, and The Flipside of Feminism); religion (No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom); nuclear strategy (The Gravediggers, Strike From Space, The Betrayers, and Kissinger on the Couch); education (Child Abuse in the Classroom); child care (Who Will Rock the Cradle?); the judiciary (The Supremacists: The Tyranny of Judges and How to Stop It); pornography (Pornography’s Victims); and biography (Mindszenty the Man). Her lifetime dedication to the problem of illiteracy led her to develop a phonics system to teach reading skills. First Reader (1994) is designed for the beginning child, and Turbo Reader (2001) is a revised version for the student of any age.
Other Writings: Mrs. Schlafly’s newsletter called The Phyllis Schlafly Report has been published monthly since August 1967. Her weekly syndicated columns have been written since 1976, and were continued by her sons John and Andy Schlafly after her death. She wrote a monthly article for the DAR Magazine from 1977 to 1995. Her articles have appeared in a variety of anthologies and other periodicals including the Radcliffe Quarterly, the Wall Street Journal, George, and Human Events.
Radio: Mrs. Schlafly’s 3-minutes-a-day 5-days-a-week radio commentaries (running since 1983), are heard daily on six hundred stations. Her weekly radio talk show on education called “Eagle Forum Live” ran from 1989 to 2016 on Saturdays on over one hundred stations. Mrs. Schlafly’s radio career began in the 1970s when she was a regular semi-weekly CBS commentator on the Spectrum series (1973-1978), and for WBBM Chicago (1973-1975). For four years in the 1960s, she was the speaker on a 15-minute weekly statewide radio program sponsored by the Illinois Daughters of the American Revolution.
Television: Mrs. Schlafly did weekly television commentaries on the CBS Morning News, 1974-1975, and on CNN, 1980-83. She also wrote and produced several documentary videos on such issues as American inventors, education, and treaties. She appeared on almost every network news and public affairs program.
Legal: Mrs. Schlafly was an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Illinois, Missouri, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court. She served (with the late Chief Justice Warren Burger) as a member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, 1985-1991, appointed by President Reagan. She testified before more than fifty Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, foreign policy, education, tax, encryption, and family issues. She served five terms as a member of the Illinois Commission on the Status of Women, 1975-1985, appointed by the Illinois Legislature. She served as a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, 1983-1986. She has filed many amicus curiae briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal.
Education: Mrs. Schlafly received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in 1944 (Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha, Final Honors). She worked her way through college on the night shift at the St. Louis Ordnance Plant testing .30 and .50 caliber ammunition by firing rifles and machine guns and as a laboratory technician investigating misfires and photographing tracer bullets in flight. She received her Master’s in Government from Harvard University in 1945. She received her J.D. from Washington University Law School in 1978. In 2008, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Washington University in St. Louis.
Family: Mrs. Schlafly was the 1992 Illinois Mother of the Year. She and her late husband of forty-four years had six children (John, Bruce, Roger, Liza, Andrew, and Anne) and fourteen grandchildren. She taught all her children to read before they entered school and all had outstanding academic success: three lawyers, one physician, one Ph.D. mathematician, and one businesswoman.
Political Activism: In a ten-year battle, Mrs. Schlafly led the pro-family movement to victory over the principal legislative goal of the radical feminists, called the Equal Rights Amendment. She assembled the movement called Stop ERA. She was America’s most articulate and successful opponent of the radical feminist movement. She appeared on virtually every national television and radio talk show and lectured or debated on more than five hundred college and university campuses. Other political battles she led including leading the fight against the national movement to call a new national Constitutional Convention.
Republican: Mrs. Schlafly’s lifetime hobby has been politics, starting with working as campaign manager for a successful Republican candidate for Congress in St. Louis in 1946, Claude Bakewell. She served as an elected Delegate to nine Republican National Conventions: 1956, 1964, 1968, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2004, 2012, and 2016; and as an elected Alternate Delegate to four other Republican National Conventions: 1960, 1980, 2000, and 2008. She has attended and played an active role in every Republican National Convention since 1952. Her 1964 book A Choice Not an Echo is a history of Republican National Conventions. She was three times elected President of the Illinois Federation of Republican Women, 1960-64, and was elected First Vice President, National Federation of Republican Women (1964-1967). She was a candidate for Congress from Illinois in 1952 and in 1970, in two different districts. She received numerous awards for volunteer service to the Republican Party. In 1990, she founded Republican National Coalition for Life with the specific mission of protecting the pro-life plank in the Republican Party Platform.
DAR: Phyllis Schlafly served five three-year terms as National Chairman of National Defense for the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (1977- 80, 1983-95). Previously, she served as National Chairman of American History Month (1965-68) and as National Chairman of the Bicentennial Committee (1967-70). She was a DAR member of Ninian Edwards Chapter in Alton, Illinois from the 1950s until her death, and she served two terms as Chapter Regent and later as Honorary Chapter Regent. She served two terms as Illinois State Chairman of National Defense and one term as Illinois State Recording Secretary and Editor of the State Yearbook.
Husband: John Fred Schlafly, attorney, married in 1949, died 1993; they lived in Alton, Illinois, where he practiced law.
Children: John, attorney; Bruce, orthopedic surgeon; Roger, software developer (California); Liza Forshaw, attorney; Andy, attorney (New Jersey); Anne Cori, businesswoman.
Residence: born in St. Louis August 15, 1924, and grew up there, graduating first in her high school class at the Academy of Sacred Heart. She was married October 20, 1949 at the St. Louis Cathedral; spent her married life in Alton, Illinois, 1949-1993; since then lives in Ladue, Missouri.
Biographies of Phyllis:
The Sweetheart of the Silent Majority — by Carol Felsenthal (New York, Doubleday, 1981).
Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman’s Crusade — by Donald T. Critchlow (Princeton University Press, 2005).
Awards: Mrs. Schlafly received numerous awards for service in a variety of fields. Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Washington University. Honorary LL.D. from Niagara University. Honorary Doctor of Christian Letters from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Ten honor awards from Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge. Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews (1975). National patriot awards from both the Sons of the Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution. In 1998, the Ladies’ Home Journal named her one of the 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century. She was named one of the Ten Most Admired Women in the World in the Good Housekeeping poll for many years: 1977-1990. The World Almanac named her one of the 25 Most Influential Women in America during the years 1978-1985. When Richard Amberg, publisher of St. Louis Globe-Democrat, presented her with the Women of Achievement Award in 1963, he said:
“Phyllis Schlafly stands for everything that has made America great and for those things which will keep it that way.”
President Ronald Reagan gave Phyllis Schlafly, a lifetime fulltime volunteer in public policymaking, this tribute at a national meeting in 1984:
“Eagle Forum has set a high standard of volunteer participation in the political and legislative process. . . . You’ve been out front on so many of the most important issues of our time. . . . Your work is an example to all those who would struggle for an America that is prosperous and free. . . Our nation needs the kind of dedicated individual volunteer service you and Eagle Forum have demonstrated over the last 20 years.”
When The Reagan Diaries were published in 2007, it was discovered that the President wrote on March 21, 1983:
“Phyllis Schlafly came by. She’s darned effective. Her plan to counter the new E.R.A campaign is brilliant.”
The economist George Gilder wrote in his book Men & Marriage (Pelican, 1987):
“When the histories of this era are seriously written, Phyllis Schlafly will take her place among the tiny number of leaders who made a decisive and permanent difference. She changed the political landscape of her country. In fact, by the measure of the odds she faced and overcame, Schlafly’s achievement excels all the others’. . . . She won in part because she is one of the country’s best speakers and debaters and its best pamphleteer since Tom Paine. She won because of her indefatigable energy and will power, mobilizing women in state after state.”
Joseph Lelyveld wrote in the New York Times Magazine (April 17, 1977):
“Phyllis Schlafly has become one of the most relentless and accomplished platform debaters of any gender to be found on any side of any issue.”
Bob Novak was a truly great newspaperman. Here is a portion of his speech at Phyllis Schlafly’s 80th Birthday Gala on September 18, 2004:
“The first I ever heard of Phyllis Schlafly was in 1964 when she published A Choice Not an Echo. I read the book and I thought it was one of the best-written, most interesting, fascinating pieces of political advocacy that I had ever read in my life. And I wouldn’t say I disagreed with everything in it, but damn near everything. Now, I am in the process of writing my memoirs and I came across a copy of the book in the process and I sat down and read it all the way through. I couldn’t stop. And you know, forty years later, I agree with almost everything in it.”
Statement made by U.S. Rep. Steve King at the Clare Boothe Luce Awards event, 2010:
“Few people have done as much as Phyllis to advance the cause of constitutional conservatism. She is truly a national treasure. Clearly, the United States of America would be a vastly different place were it not for the efforts of Phyllis Schlafly. It would be a country in which conservatism might not have become the predominant ideology of the Republican party.
“When Phyllis offers her opinion on an issue, one can be assured that it is an opinion that is rooted in an intellectual understanding of the founding principles of this nation instead of in the passing fads of the era. This is one of the reasons that Phyllis remains such an important figure to the conservative movement. Quite simply, she is the clearest political and constitutional thinker of our time, and one of conservatism’s most successful grassroots activists. Members of Congress hold Phyllis in such great respect that a word from her can immediately change votes on an issue.”
Some of Phyllis’ Awards:
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
Washington University in St. Louis, May 2008
Defender of Life Award
Students for Life, January 2010
Lifetime Contribution Award
Weyrich Conservative Hall of Fame, December 2009
Annie Taylor Award
15th Annual David Horowitz Restoration Weekend, November 2009
Lifetime Achievement Award
Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, August 2009
Henry Hyde Life Leadership Award
Speak Out Illinois Conference, January 2009
2008 Family-PAC Woman of the Year
16th Annual Family-PAC Boat Cruise, July 2008
The James C. Dobson Vision and Leadership Award, given by Family Research Council, 2009
“Her exemplary vision and leadership, for the past half century, have been the hallmark of her life and a chief cornerstone of the pro-family movement. We are proud to honor her as a champion of the enduring values that make America great.”
Phyllis Schlafly’s Accomplishments:
- First book, A Choice Not An Echo, sold three million copies in 1964 and played a major role in building the conservative movement.
- Led the 10-year battle to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment (1972-1982) against all odds including three Presidents, all Governors, 98% of the media, Hollywood, and big money. (The ERAers needed 38 states but got only 35 states and 5 of those rescinded.)
- Defeated the Call for a Constitutional Convention (1980s). (The Con Con advocates got thirty-two states, but needed thirty-four.)
- Made the Republican Party a pro-life Party by leading the successful battle to put a pro-life plank in every Republican Party Platform adopted at every Republican National Convention, starting in 1976.
- Played a major role in building the anti-Communist movement by starting five thousand study groups on Communism (1950s and 1960s), helping to found the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, and by five best-selling books on the Soviet missile threat (1964-1976).
- “Invented” the pro-family movement (1976) by bringing people of all religious denominations into the political process, first to Stop ERA, then to promote pro-life, and then to be an important part of the social-fiscal-national-defense coalition that elected Ronald Reagan.
- Saved the Homemaker’s benefit in Social Security from a massive attack by the feminists and the Carter Administration (1979) to abolish it. (See Phyllis Schlafly Report, June 1979)
- Built an army of volunteers active in the political process nationwide, and kept them informed and alerted through writing The Phyllis Schlafly Report, published every month since 1967.
- Wrote twenty-seven books on subjects as varied as family and feminism (The Power of the Positive Woman, Feminist Fantasies, and The Flipside of Feminism); nuclear strategy (The Gravediggers, Strike From Space, and Kissinger on the Couch); education (Child Abuse in the Classroom); child care (Who Will Rock the Cradle?); the judiciary (The Supremacists: The Tyranny of Judges and How to Stop It); religion (No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom); and phonics textbooks to teach reading skills, First Reader and Turbo Reader. Wrote a weekly newspaper column, starting in 1976.
- Radio: Semiweekly commentaries for five years on CBS Spectrum (1973-78); Daily commentaries on six hundred stations starting in 1983; and hosted a weekly radio talk program starting in 1989.