|Save the Dunes Council Mailing, 1959
On June 20, 1952, Dunes resident Dorothy Buell led the first meeting of the Save the Dunes Council, an organization of twenty local women interested in expanding the Dunes state park. Through networks of women's clubs and national conservation associations, they found a broad constituency and within a year their membership reached close to two thousand women with members from almost every state. Despite their growing numbers, park opponents dismissed the entirely female Council as a "tea club" of "harmless birdwatchers." By the late 1950s, the Council remained an all-volunteer organization with women in key leadership positions, but the group now welcomed men as members and switched their focus from education to political agitation and organizing. In this 1959 mailing, Council leaders called on members to participate in a lobbying trip to Washington D.C. By 1963, Bethlehem Steel attorney James Chester was describing the Council as a threat to industrial development in the Dunes. Sending a copy of the Council's budget to Congressman J. Edward Roush of Indiana, Chester noted that the $150,000 spent in legal fees and operating expenses revealed that the organization "does not appear to be a 'garden club' activity."
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