Photo: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Born: August 15, 1924
Born Place: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: September 5, 2016
Death Place: Ladue, Missouri, United States
Education: Washington University School of Law, Radcliffe College, Washington University in St. Louis, Harvard University
Spouse: Fred Schlafly (m. 1949; died 1993)
Phyllis Stewart Schlafly (born Phyllis McAlpin Stewart; August 15, 1924 – September 5, 2016) was a movement conservative and author. She held conservative social and political views, opposed feminism and abortion, and successfully campaigned against ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Her book, A Choice Not an Echo (1964), a polemic against Republican leader Nelson Rockefeller, sold more than three million copies. Schlafly co-authored books on national defense and was critical of arms control agreements with the Soviet Union. In 1972, Schlafly founded the Eagle Forum, a conservative political interest group, and remained its chair and CEO until her death in 2016 while staying active in conservative causes.
Schlafly was born Phyllis McAlpin Stewart and was raised in St. Louis. During the Great Depression, Schlafly’s father John Bruce Stewart faced long-term unemployment, beginning in 1932. Her mother, Odile Stewart (née Dodge), went back to work as a librarian and a school teacher to support her family. Mrs. Stewart was able to keep the family afloat and maintained Phyllis in a Catholic girls’ school. Before her marriage, Mrs. Stewart worked as a teacher at a private girls’ school in St. Louis. Her sole sibling was her younger sister, Odile Stewart (married name Mecker; 1930–2015). Phyllis attended college and graduate school.
Schlafly’s great-grandfather Stewart, a Presbyterian, emigrated from Scotland to New York in 1851 and moved westward through Canada before settling in Michigan. Her grandfather, Andrew F. Stewart, was a master mechanic with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. Schlafly’s father was a machinist and salesman of industrial equipment, principally for Westinghouse. He was granted a patent in 1944 for a rotary engine.
Schlafly started college early and worked as a model for a time. After high school, she received a scholarship to Maryville College, but after one year, transferred to Washington University in St. Louis. In 1944, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts. In 1945, she received a Master of Arts degree in government from Radcliffe College (for which the then all-male Harvard University was a coordinate institution). In Strike From Space (1965), Schlafly notes that during World War II, she worked as “a ballistics gunner and technician at the largest ammunition plant in the world”. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law in 1978.
On October 20, 1949, she married attorney John Fred Schlafly Jr., a member of a wealthy St. Louis family; he died in 1993. His grandfather, August, immigrated in 1854 from Switzerland. In the late 1870s, the three brothers founded the firm of Schlafly Bros., which dealt in groceries, Queensware (dishes made by Wedgwood), hardware, and agricultural implements. Fred and Phyllis Schlafly were both active Catholics. They linked Catholicism to Americanism and often exhorted Catholics to join the anti-communist crusade.
Fred and Phyllis Schlafly moved across the Mississippi River to Alton, Illinois, and had six children: John, Bruce, Roger, Liza, Andrew, and Anne. When her husband died in 1993, she moved to Ladue, Missouri. In 1992, their eldest son, John, was outed as gay by Queer Week magazine. Schlafly acknowledged that John is gay, but stated that he embraces his mother’s views. Andrew is also a lawyer and activist, and created the wiki-based Conservapedia. Anne married the only child of Nobel-winning scientists Carl and Gerty Cori.
Schlafly was the aunt of conservative anti-feminist author Suzanne Venker; together they wrote The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know — and Men Can’t Say.
Schlafly died of cancer on September 5, 2016, at her home in Ladue, Missouri, at the age of 92.
Schlafly was the author of 26 books on subjects ranging from child care to phonics education. She wrote a syndicated weekly newspaper column for Creators Syndicate.
Schlafly’s published works include:
- The Conservative Case for Trump – posthumously, with Ed Martin and Brett M. Decker (Regnery Publishing, 2016) ISBN 978-1-62157-628-0
- How the Republican Party Became Pro-Life (Dunrobin Publishing, 2016) ISBN 978-0-9884613-9-0
- A Choice Not an Echo: Updated and Expanded 50th Anniversary Edition (Regnery Publishing, 2014) ISBN 978-1621573159
- Who Killed the American Family? (WND Books, 2014) ISBN 978-1938067525
- No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom (Regnery Publishing, 2012) ISBN 978-1621570127
- The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know—and Men Can’t Say (WorldNetDaily, 2011) ISBN 978-1935071273
- Judicial Tyranny: The New Kings of America? – contributing author (Amerisearch, 2005) ISBN 0-9753455-6-7
- The Supremacists: The Tyranny of Judges And How to Stop It (Spence Publishing Company, 2004) ISBN 1-890626-55-4
- Feminist Fantasies, foreword by Ann Coulter (Spence Publishing Company, 2003) ISBN 1-890626-46-5
- Turbo Reader (Pere Marquette Press, 2001) ISBN 0-934640-16-5
- First Reader (Pere Marquette Press, 1994) ISBN 0-934640-24-6
- Who Will Rock the Cradle?: The Battle for Control of Child Care in America (World Publications, 1989) ISBN 978-0849931987
- Pornography’s Victims (Crossway Books, 1987) ISBN 0-89107-423-6
- Child Abuse in the Classroom (Crossway Books, 1984) ISBN 0-89107-365-5
- Equal Pay for UNequal Work (Eagle Forum, 1984) ISBN 99950-3-143-4
- The End of an Era (Regnery Publishing, 1982) ISBN 0-89526-659-8
- The Power of the Christian Woman (Standard Pub, 1981) ISBN B0006E4X12
- The Power of the Positive Woman (Crown Pub, 1977) ISBN 0-87000-373-9
- Ambush at Vladivostok, with Chester Ward (Pere Marquette Press, 1976) ISBN 0-934640-00-9
- Kissinger on the Couch (Arlington House Publishers, 1974) ISBN 0-87000-216-3
- Mindszenty the Man (with Josef Vecsey) (Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, 1972) ISBN B00005WGD6
- The Betrayers (Pere Marquette Press, 1968) ISBN B0006CY0CQ
- Safe Not Sorry (Pere Marquette Press, 1967) ISBN 0-934640-06-8
- Strike from Space: A Megadeath Mystery (Pere Marquette Press, 1965) ISBN 80-7507-634-6
- Grave Diggers (with Chester Ward) (Pere Marquette Press, 1964) ISBN 0-934640-03-3
- A Choice Not an Echo (Pere Marquette Press, 1964) ISBN 0-686-11486-8