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Collections Relating to Women, Politics and the Law

Federal and Iowa ERA

CAMPAIGN TO ADD WOMEN TO THE IOWA CONSTITUTION Records, 1978-1998. An organization that was formed to work for passage of the Iowa state ERA.

ERA IOWA 1992 Records, 1980-1993 (bulk 1991-1992). 7.5 linear inches and audiovisual materials. Grassroots campaign initiated in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1991 to promote the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Iowa constitution in the 1992 election.

GOVERNOR RAY’S COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN Records.

IOWA E.R.A. COALITION. Records, 1916, 1972-1980 (bulk 1978-1980). 5.5 linear feet and audiovisual material. Organization to promote passage of an Equal Rights Amendment to the Iowa and United States constitutions.

JOHNSON COUNTY E.R.A. COALITION. Records, 1984-1993. 2.5 linear inches and audiovisual material. Organized in Iowa City in 1992 to promote the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution of the state of Iowa.

IOWA WOMEN AGAINST THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT. Records, 1972-1980. 2 linear inches and audiovisual material. Grassroots organization opposed to Iowa ‘s ratification of the ERA to the Iowa and United States constitutions.

IOWA WOMEN’S EQUALITY CAMPAIGN. Records, 1975-1992. 2.5 linear inches. An organization which formed in 1992 to work for passage of the state ERA in Iowa.

See also:

Anderson, Peg, Box 2 (ERA status, 1977)

Conlin, Roxanne, Boxes 46-48 (ERA 1972-80)

Doderer, Minnette, Boxes 16 and 17 (ERA 1972-80)

Iowa Women’s Political Caucus, Box 7

League of Women Voters of Iowa, Box 127 ( ERA 1977-80)

League of Women Voters of Johnson County, Box 20 (ERA, 1977, 1980)

NOW Ames, Box 1 (ERA campaign, 1977-82)

NOW Dubuque, Box 2 (ERA federal campaign)

NOW Johnson County-Iowa City, Box 3, 6, 7 and 9 (ERA 1980)

Smith, Mary Louise, Boxes 5 , 28, 60, 65 (ERA 1973-76)

Smith, Mary Louise, Boxes 121 , 154 ( Iowa ERA)

Spencer, Lonabelle Kaplan, Boxes 1, 2 and 5 (AAUW: ERA 1977-81)


Iowa Legislators

BOCK, LENA BELLE (1904-2007). Scrapbooks, 1960-1981. 5 linear inches (3 volumes). Member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 1960 to 1964.

CARPENTER, DOROTHY. (1933- ). Papers, 1979-1995. 2.5 linear feet. Republican who served in Iowa House of Representatives from 1980 to 1994.

CHAPMAN, KATHLEEN HALLORAN (1937- ). Papers, 1977-1999. 8.75 linear feet and audiovisual material. Attorney and Democrat who served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1983 to 1992 and was again elected in 1996

CLARK, BETTY JEAN (1920-2005). Papers, 1935-1994. 1.8 linear feet. Iowa legislator from 1976 to 1990.

COHEN, GERTRUDE (1913- ). Papers, 1964-1991. 1 linear inch. Member of the Iowa House of Representatives (1965-1966) and first Jewish woman elected to the Iowa Legislature.

CONKLIN, CHARLENE (1929- ). Papers, 1954-1981. 7 linear feet. Member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 1967 to 1969 and the Iowa Senate from 1969 to 1973.

DODERER, MINNETTE (1923-2005). Papers, 1944-2005. 29.25 linear feet. State legislator from Iowa City, first elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1964.

HANNON, BEVERLY (1932-). Papers, 1968-1995. 16 linear feet. Two-term Iowa state senator, chaired Human Resources Committee. Instrumental in founding Iowa Women’s Foundation in Iowa City.

HARPER, PATRICIA M. (1932- ). Papers, 1986-2003. 10 linear inches. Democratic representative for Iowa House District 26 and later Iowa Senate District 13 where she was an advocate for human services and educational issues.

LARSEN, SONJA. (1941- ). Papers, 1977-1982. 1 linear foot. Larsen served as a Republican representative for the 89th district in the Iowa legislature from 1979 to 1980 and ran for mayor of Ottumwa in 1981.

LIPSKY, JOAN (1919- ). Papers, 1941-2008.  9.5 linear feet. Republican representative who served six terms in the Iowa General Assembly between 1967 and 1978.

LLOYD-JONES, JEAN. (1929- ). Papers, 1964-2003. 9.5 linear feet. State legislator from Iowa City; president of the Iowa Peace Institute, 1985 to 1991.

NEUHAUSER, MARY C. 1934- ). Papers, 1968-1999. 13.8 linear feet. Democrat who served four terms in the Iowa House and one four-year term in the Senate from 1994 to 1998.

NIELSEN, JOYCE (1933- ). 9 linear feet. Papers, 1951-1996. Nielsen was a feminist, legislator and community activist who worked with the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program of Cedar Rapids and the YWCA where she was an advocate for battered women.

SHAW, ELIZABETH. (1923- ). Papers, 1958-1977. 12.5 linear feet. Iowa state legislator, 1967-1977.

SHIVVERS, VERA (1897-1990). Papers, 1914-1990. 2.3 linear feet. Iowa farm woman who was elected to fill her husband’s term in the Iowa Senate following his death in 1962.

SZYMONIAK, ELAINE. (1920- ). Papers, 1974-2001. 4.2 linear feet. Iowa State senator, former Des Moines City Council member and retired hearing and speech consultant.

TINSMAN, MAGGIE. (1936-). Papers, 1977-1997. 14.7 linear feet. Bettendorf Republican who served on the Scott County Board of Supervisors and as an Iowa State Senator.

TORRENCE-LAUGHLIN, JANIS. (1926- ). Papers, 1976-1990. 7 linear inches. Muscatine County Supervisor from 1976 to 1982 and Representative in the Iowa Legislature from 1983 to 1985.

YUHAS, PHYLLIS. Letter, 1988. 1 item. Letter by Yuhas about her mother Gladys Nelson, a Republican who served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1950 to 1956.

ZASTROW, KATHERINE FALVEY. (1904- ). Papers, 1957-1988. 6 linear inches. State representative from 1958 to 1964; first woman elected to Charles City Council, 1970.

ZIMMERMAN, JO ANN (1936- ). Papers, 1958-1995. 9 linear feet. Zimmerman was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1982 and became the first woman Lieutenant Governor of Iowa in 1986.

A POLITICAL DIALOGUE: IOWA’S WOMEN LEGISLATORS. Oral history transcripts, 1988-1993. 1.5 linear feet. Interviews with women who served or were serving in the Iowa General Assembly conducted by Suzanne O’Dea Schenken between 1988 and 1992.

Legislators in Other States

HAMILTON, RUTH (1898-2008). Papers, 1895-2008. 6 linear feet and audiovisual materials. Teacher and world traveler who served in the New Hampshire legislature.


Political Organizations

BLACK HAWK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S ORGANIZATION. Records, 1956-1977. 1.5 linear inches.

BLACK HAWK COUNTY WOMEN’S POLITICAL CAUCUS.  Records, 1973-1980. 5 linear inches.

CLINTON COUNTY WOMEN’S POLITICAL CAUCUS . Records, 1973-1977. 1.5 linear inches. Local branch of the Iowa Women’s Political Caucus.

DEMOCRATIC ACTIVISTS WOMEN’S NETWORK, DISTRICT 1. Records, 1981-1998. 1.25 linear feet. Organization created to recruit, educate and elect Democratic women to public office in Iowa .

GOVERNOR RAY’S COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN Records, 1964-2003. 7.5 linear inches. The organization met from 1970-1972 when the Iowa legislature created a statutory Commission on the Status of Women.

IOWA COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN Records,1977- . 1.75 linear feet.

IOWA WOMEN’S POLITICAL CAUCUS. Records, 1972-1997. 13 linear feet and audiovisual material and artifacts. Organization that promotes the advancement of women in politics.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF CEDAR RAPIDS-MARION. Records, 1968-1975, 0.25 linear inches.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF IOWA. Records, 1920-1998. 77.5 linear feet and audiovisual material. Non-partisan organization that informs voters and works for better government.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF JOHNSON COUNTY. Records, 1920-1994. 12 linear feet and audiovisual material.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF METROPOLITAN DES MOINES. Records, 1936-1995. 8.25 linear feet and audiovisual material.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF MT. VERNON-LISBON. Records, 1948-1996. 3 linear feet and audiovisual material.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF MUSCATINE. Records, 1943-2000. 5.25 linear feet and artifacts.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF SIOUX CITY. Records, 1978-1993. 2.5 linear inches.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN. IOWA. Records, 1976-1989. 5 linear feet.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN. AMES. Records, 1973-1986. 7 linear inches. Includes ERA campaign material.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, DES MOINES CHAPTER. Records, 1971-1987. 2.5 linear inches. 3 linear inches.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, DUBUQUE CHAPTER. Records, 1973-1995. 1.25 linear feet and audiovisual material. Local chapter of NOW organized in 1973.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, JOHNSON COUNTY-IOWA CITY. Records, 1977-1997. 6 linear feet. Local chapter of the National Organization for Women founded in Iowa City in May 1978.

POLK COUNTY WOMEN’S POLITICAL CAUCUS. Records, 1974-1987, 8 linear inches. Polk county branch of the National Women’s Caucus. Concerned with supporting candidates who promote women’s rights and women’s participation in the political process.

WOMEN’S EQUITY ACTION LEAGUE, IOWA DIVISION. Records, 1972-1977. 5 linear inches. Group formed as a more conservative version of the National Organization for Women with the goal of concentrating state resources on the problem of discrimination in educational institutions.

Other Organizations

CHURCH WOMEN UNITED IN IOWA. Records, 1933-1983. 8 linear feet. Peace and social justice organization.

POLK COUNTY WOMEN ATTORNEYS. Records, 1986-1995. 9 linear inches and audiovisual materials. Association organized in 1986 to promote the professional growth of women in the law.

WOMAN’S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION OF IOWA. Records, 1874-2006. 18.5 linear feet.
Organization dedicated to legislative and educational efforts to prevent juvenile delinquency and support woman’s suffrage.

WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM (DES MOINES BRANCH). Records, 1962-1996. 1.75 linear feet. Group which stressed active participation in rallies and demonstrations against war and nuclear testing.


Public Servants and Activists

ANDERSON, MARGARET S. (“PEG”) (1928- ). Papers, 1973-1978. 1 linear foot. Subject files, correspondence and clippings relating to women’s rights.

ANDERSON, RUTH BLUFORD (1921- ). Papers, 1977-1997. 0.5 linear inches. Professor Emeritus of Social Work at the University of Northern Iowa, author, and Black Hawk County Supervisor.

BRIDENSTINE, JEANNE (1923- ). Papers, 1960-1996. 1 linear foot. First woman elected chairperson of the Jasper County Democratic Central Committee in 1972.

BROWN, PAULA WATTS (1909-1974). Papers, 1930-1974. 13 linear feet. Civic leader in Des Moines.

BUCKSBAUM, CAROLYN “KAY” (1929- ). Papers, 1949-1998. 2 linear feet. Civic activist involved in the Jewish community, the Des Moines symphony, the League of Women Voters, and the Proteus Club.

BURLESON, JANE (1928- ). Papers, 1956-1998. 2.5 linear inches. Teacher’s aide, packinghouse worker, and union activist; the first female and first African American elected to the Fort Dodge City Council.

CAMPBELL, BONNIE (1948- ). Papers, 5 linear inches. Attorney and Democratic Party activisit who ran for governor in Iowa in 1994.

COLLISON, MARGARET DAVIS. (1921- ). Papers, 1937-1989. 3.5 linear feet. Member of the Iowa Board of Regents from 1971 to 1977 who was also active in the Roxanne Conlin gubernatorial campaign of 1982.

CONLIN, ROXANNE BARTON (1944- ). Papers, 1969-2002. 58 linear feet. Attorney active in Democratic politics and co-founder of the Iowa Women’s Political Caucus. Appointed Federal Prosecutor in 1977.

COOPER, CECILE (1901- ). Papers, 1964-1979. 3 linear inches. Civil rights worker in Davenport.

COTHORN, MARGUERITE (1909- ). Papers, 1928-1991 (bulk 1928-1978). 2.5 linear inches. Social worker and political activist, who served on the Iowa Civil Rights Commission from 1983 to 1984.

DICK, MARGARET. Papers, [192?]-1982. 0.6 linear inches. Member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and active in Democratic Party politics.

DONOVAN, VERGENE. Papers, 1975-1995. 1 linear inch. Spencer, Iowa, resident active in the Iowa Federation of Republican women.

EVERETT, BEVERLY GEORGE (1926- ). Papers, 1935-1994. 10 linear feet and audiovisual material. Family farmer, professional volunteer, and community activist. Served on U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and the International Women’s Year Commission.

FURGERSON, BETTY JEAN (1927- ). Papers, 1944-1995 (bulk 1993-1995). 6 linear feet. Teacher, social worker, Waterloo Human Rights Commission director, and university regent.

GOLDMAN, LOUISE (1924- ). Papers, 1933-1997. 1.25 linear feet. Public servant, feminist activist, and poet from Davenport, Iowa.

HARPER, VIRGINIA (1929-1997). Papers, [1900s]-1998 and undated (bulk 1940s –1998). 1 linear foot. One of five African-American women who integrated Currier Hall at the University of Iowa in 1946. Former president of the Fort Madison Chapter of the NAACP.

HARVAT, EMMA J. Papers, 1921-1996 and undated. 8 items. First woman mayor of Iowa City, serving from 1922 to 1925.

KELLY, ALBERTA METCALF. Papers, 1897-1994. 2 linear feet. High school teacher active in state and national Democratic party politics, 1950s-1960s.

KNOWLER, FAITH. Papers, 1936, 1952-1995. 1.3 linear feet. Community activist in Johnson County and Iowa City from the 1970s to 1990s.

LANDHUIS, KIM. (1943- ). Papers, 1943-1994. 2.5 linear inches. Native of Vietnam; teacher, school board member, and in 1994 candidate for Iowa senate seat.

LAUGHLIN, RUTH.(1954-1986). Papers, 1956-1997, 3.35 linear feet. Social Activist and writer. Participated in organizations such as the Coalition on the Utility Crisis and Worker’s Rights Law Project. Wrote for the Quaker publication Friends Journal.

LEVIN, MYRTILLA F. (1938- ). Papers, 1971-2010.  7.5 linear inches. Active in Republican Party; mayor of Newton, Iowa, from 1973 to 1975; executive director of Iowa Business Council beginning in 1986.

LEWIS, THELMA. (1904-1988). Papers, 1947-1967. 4 linear inches. Iowa City mayor in 1961; served on the city council from 1958 to 1963. Manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbook.

LOMAS, ANNA COCHRANE. (1896-1991). Papers, 1917-1981. 5 linear feet. A resident of Red Oak, Iowa, and Republican National Committeewoman in the 1950s and 1960s.

McCOLLUM, MARGARET. Papers, 1945-1984. 6 linear inches. Des Moines woman active in American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Des Moines Council of Parents and Teachers.

McDONALD, MARGARET. (1925- ). Papers, 1966-1980. 2 linear feet. Active in Republican Party; vice chairman of the Iowa Republican Central Committee in 1970.

MEADE, MAGDALEN. (1913-). Papers, 1891-1992, 7 linear inches. An Iowa farm woman and political organizer who kept detailed records of life on a farm and helped with Roxanne Conlin’s gubernatorial campaign in 1982.

MULLEN, PEG (1917- ). Papers, 1968-1996. 5.5 linear feet. Anti-Vietnam War activist whose son, Michael, was killed by “friendly fire” in Vietnam in 1970; her story became the basis for the book Friendly Fire by C.D.B. Bryan.

NASH, MARTHA ANN. (1925- ). Papers, 1939-1995. 2.75 linear feet. Executive director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Education and Vocational Training in Waterloo from 1981 to 1995. Active member of the Archdiocese Council for Catholic Women on the local and national levels.

NEUMAN, LINDA KINNEY (1948- ). Papers, 1975-2003. 8 linear feet and artifacts. Served for over twenty years in the Iowa judiciary and was the first woman to be appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court.

NOUN, LOUISE (1908-2002 ). Papers, 1974-1993. Des Moines, Iowa, social activist, art collector, author, and co-founder of the Iowa Women’s Archives.

O’BRIEN, DENISE. (1949- ). Papers, 1964-1997. 4.3 linear feet. Organic farmer and political activist who helped organize the first Iowa meeting of the Farm Unity Coalition and served as president of National Family Farm Coalition.

ODELL, MARY JANE. (1923- ). Papers, 1939-1987. 2 linear feet. Host of public affairs radio and television programs, 1950s-1970s in Des Moines and Chicago; Iowa Secretary of State from 1980 to 1986.

PARDUN, PATRICIA. (1959-1976). Papers, 1959-1975. 1 linear foot. State vice chair of the Republican Party in Iowa from 1967 to 1973.

REED, SUE M. (1910- ). Papers, 1934-1996. 5 linear inches. Republican Party activist and officer of Iowa and National Federations of Republican Women, 1950s-1970s.

RUBEL, JANE CHRISTOFFER. (1955- ) . Papers, 1971, 1993. 1 linear inch. Basketball player at Ruthven Consolidated High School who sued the Iowa Girl’s High School Athletic Union in 1971 to be allowed to play high school basketball after marrying and having a child.

SACKETT, ROSEMARY. (1940- ). Papers, 1960-1996. 3.5 linear inches. Lawyer and justice on Iowa Court of Appeals.

SANDAGE, SHIRLEY. (1927- ). Papers, 1927-1998 (bulk 1964-1997). 7.25 linear feet and audiovisual material. Mason City, Iowa-born civil rights activist, United States field representative for the Christian Children’s Fund and director of program development for the National Organization on Disability.

SCHARNAU, RUTH. (1933- ). Papers, 1973-1995. 9 linear inches and audiovisual materials. Teacher and community activist who was a founding member of the Dubuque National Organization for Women.

SCHRAMM, DOROTHY. (1909-2006). Papers, 1938-2006. 6 linear feet. Human rights advocate from Burlington, Iowa who was active in local and international issues, particularly UNA-USA and the League of Women Voters.

SHIPTON, JANET (1923- ) Papers, 1936-1991. 3.5 linear feet. Political activist; Johnson County, Iowa, supervisor, 1978-1979; daughter of British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

SMITH, MARY LOUISE. (1914-1997). Papers, 1933-1988. 65 linear feet. First woman to chair the Republican National Committee, serving from 1974 to 1977. Co-founder of the Louise Noun-Mary Louise Smith Iowa Women’s Archives.

SPENCER, LONABELLE KAPLAN. (1925- ). Papers, 1964-1996. 3.25 linear feet. American Association of University Women (AAUW) member and advocate for various women’s issues, including dual listings for married women in Iowa telephone directories.

STROUD, KATHERINE. (1913-1996). Papers, 1940-2001, 4 linear inches. Leader of the 1949 campaign to reform Des Moines city government and adopt the city manager plan.

WHITE, MAUDE ESTHER. (1913- ). Papers, 1957-1996. 8 linear inches and audiovisual material. Founder of the Des Moines Tutoring Center, which she operated out of her home from 1980 to 1991. White held several positions in state government, including serving as Iowa’s first Affirmative Action Administrator from 1973 to 1978.