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League of Women Voters of Johnson County, Iowa

 Organization

The League of Women Voters (LWV) of Johnson County was established in 1920 by Zella White Stewart. Stewart started the local league with interested friends after attending a meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Chicago. With the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the National American Woman Suffrage Association evolved into the National League of Women Voters.

The local Leagues of Women Voters are an integral part of the National League and of the state leagues. Upon its founding in 1920 the Johnson County LWV became the first local league established in Iowa. It was founded as a nonpartisan women's political organization. The purpose of the league was to provide a forum for women to come together and discuss topics in politics so that they might become informed and conscientious voters.

In 1923 the Bulletin of the Johnson County League of Women Voters was inaugurated. To give the bulletin a bipartisan viewpoint two editors were appointed, Mrs. Carl E. Seashore, a Republican, and Professor Clara M. Daley, a Democrat. The quarterly publication kept members informed about local, state and national political issues and candidates for office. In 1955 the name was changed to The Voter, which reflected a change of the titles of the state and national LWV magazines. In the 1940s and 1950s the LWV of Johnson County produced a monthly radio broadcast on WSUI. The first broadcasts were half an hour long but this format was later changed to two fifteen-minute programs presented monthly. The broadcast introduced topics to the public to develop an informed electorate.

Through discussion and study of political topics and active political involvement the LWV of Johnson County continues to inform its members and serve the electorate at large. The topics studied cover a wide spectrum of political subjects on the local, state and national levels. These studies have encompassed issues from the United Nations and its global impact (1965-1969) and the Equal Rights Amendment (1980) to garbage collection in Johnson County (1947-1950). The LWV of Johnson County has provided voter service to the public through voter registration drives, voting machine education, and forums for candidate debate. Since 1974 men have also been admitted as members of the LWV.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Ayako "A. Mori" Costantino papers

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0905
Abstract Japanese American activist who, after being interned in a War Relocation Center during World War II, travelled extensively and was heavily involved in human and civil rights campaigns in Iowa City and beyond.

Claudine Harris papers

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0446
Abstract Harris worked in radiation detection instrumentation. She was active in the Johnson County League of Women Voters and the Johnson County Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

League of Women Voters of Johnson County records

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0021
Abstract Local branch of the national non-partisan League of Women Voters which seeks to promote political responsibility through educating and informing the public on selected governmental issues and promoting action on those issues.

Naomi Novick papers

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0667
Abstract Iowa City city councilor from 1990 to 1997. Chosen twice to serve as mayor.