X, Laura | University of Illinois Archives

Name: X, Laura
Variant Name: Shaw Murra, Laura; Rand Orthwein, Laura

Historical Note:

Laura X is the director of the National Clearinghouse on Marital Rape.  She was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and received her bachelor's degree in the Social Sciences from University of California-Berkeley.  She founded the Women's History Research Center in 1968. One year later, she changed her name to Laura X to represent women's anonymity in history.  She successfully led the campaign to make marital rape illegal in California in 1979.  In 1980, she founded the National Clearinghouse on Marital Rape. 

Resume (1983):


University of California at Berkeley- B.A. Social Sciences

Additional Course Work:

St. Mary's College, Moraga, CA

Bank Street College of Education, New York, NY

New York University, New York, NY

University of Puerto Rico

University of Vera Cruz, Mexico

Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY

Professional Activities:

Director, National Clearinghouse on Marital Rape

Executive Director, Women's History Research Center

National Secretary, Organizations for Unique Radio (OUR)

Campaign Director, California Spousal Rape Bill

Director, Save KMPX Campaign

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, KMPX Listener's Guild

Founder, Women's History Library

Headstart Teacher, New York, Puerto Rico, and California

Awards and Honorariums:

University of Pennsylvania

Washington University

Southern Illinois University

Syracuse Public Library

Ithaca Women's Center

High School of Music and Art, New York City

University of California- Los Angeles

Boston University

California Western Law School

University of Washington Law School

University of Minnesota Law School

New York University Law School

Far Western Regional Women and Law Conference

New York County Lawyer's Forum on the Law and Psychology of Marital Rape

Barnard College

Rutgers's University

First World Congress on Victimology: Innovative Programs and Services Award

Washington University

University of Missouri, St. Louis

University of Wyoming

Northwestern University

Miss Hall's School, Pittsfield, MA

California Association of School Librarians

Soroptomists Honorarium

Mademoiselle Woman of Achievement Award

Diana Award

American Library Association, unanimous Member's commedation


"Combating Marital Rape," Sojourner, 1981.

"Men Who Rape Their Wives: New Law and Other Information." Western States Shelter

Network Newsletter, 1981.

"Letter to the Editor," New Directions for Women, 1981.

"Women's History Library: Notes on a Decade," Library History Review, 1980.

"What Price Our History?" Off Our Backs, 1980.

"Movie Review: 'Rape and Marriage'" and "NCOMR," Monthly Memo: National

Technical Assistance Center, 1980.

"The Women's History Research Center- The Annotated Revolution, a Footnote to the

Revolution," California Librarian (Bicentennial Issue), 1976.

"Untitled," Long Island NOW Newsletter, 1979.

"Queen Christina,"  Women Out of History: A Herstory Anthology, 1974.

"Grow Your Own Women's History Research Center," School Library Journal, 1973.

Selected Consultations:

University of Wyoming Library

Princeton University Library

Northwestern University Library

The Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Ohio State University Library

Washington, D.C. Women's Center

Honolulu Women's Center

National Public Radio, Women in Science

Rape in Marriage (Diana Russell, author)

License to Rape (David Finkelhor, author)

Men on Rape (Tim Beheke, author)

On Equal Terms (Joan Marshall, author)

Victimology (special issue on spouse abuse), 1977

Masculine/ Feminine (Ted and Betty Roszak, ed.).

Producer/ Editor/ Publisher/ Distributor:

National Clearinghouse on Marital Rape- 5 publications

Women & Law Microfilm

Women & Health/ Mental Health Microfilm

Herstory Microfilm

Female Artists Past & Present

Women's Studies Course Outlines

Bibliographies on Rape

Bibliography on Women and Religion

Films By and/or About Women, Internationally Past and Present

Women's Song Book

"It Ain't Me, Babe"- first newspaper of the current women's movement

Women In World History: International Women's Day, 1969.

"Spazm" (1969)- only national women's liberation newsletter of this period.

Professional Organizations:

Association for Women in Psychology

Sociologists for Women in Society

American Anthropology Association

American Library Association

Coordinating Committee for Women in the Historical Professions

Association of Feminist Consultants

Keynote Address:

American Revolution Bicentennial Women's History Meeting (Washington, D.C.)


Seneca Falls Women's History Conference for Opening of National Women's Rights Historical Park, 1982.

National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 1981.

National Women and Law Conference, 1980, 1981, 1982.

American Society of Criminology, 1980.

National Legal Aid and Defender's Association, 1980.

American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, 1980.

Organization of American Historians, 1972.

Training Seminars:

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, 1982.

Lower Naugatuck Valley Battered Women's Project, 1982.

St. Louis Rape Task Force and Women's Self-Help Center, 1982.

Association for Women in Psychology, 1981.

Media Appearances:

Appeared on national and local television and radio to address the issue of Women's History and Marital Rape.

CBS-TV (Chicago)

CBS-TV (New York)

ABC-TV (Seattle)

*Hour Magazine- Westinghouse

*Up to the Minute- CBS

KMOX Radio (St. Louis)

KCBS Radio (Santa Barbara)

KPFX Radio (Los Angeles)

WTWM Radio (Grand Rapids)

* Also paid consultant for these and Donahue segment on Today Show.

Additional Information:

Born in St. Louis.

Traveled extensively to study the status of women and children including Greece, Spain, USSR, Romania, Venezuela, Puerto Rico.  Languages studied include Spanish, Russian, French and Latin.

Sources: Resume for the Durfee Award (1983) and "A Crusade Against Marital Rape" (1983), Daily Californian, both found in folders "Experts-Pro: X, Laura," Nation Center on Marital Rape Subject File: Box 5, University Archives, University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign.
Note Author: Heather Zabski

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