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Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs



The Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs (IFWC) was organized in 1893, in Des Moines, Iowa. Eighty-eight delegates from thirty-seven state organizations, including literary societies and suffrage clubs, attended the organizational meeting. According to the organization's first constitution, the mission of the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs was to "bring into communication with one another the various Women's Clubs throughout the State, that they may compare methods of work and become mutually helpful." The volunteer service organization was nondenominational and nonpartisan. The Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs became the first state organization to join the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC) when it was admitted in May 1893. The Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs was incorporated in 1914. By the 1920s, the organization had 810 clubs with over 40,000 members across Iowa. Dues-paying members supported a variety of civic projects, including raising money for public libraries, lobbying on behalf of child labor laws, sponsoring college scholarships for Iowa women, and promoting patriotism in public schools. Elected officers represented Iowa at national conventions of the Federation of Women's Clubs. The General Federation of Women's Clubs took a special interest in international issues; members participated in diplomatic missions to South America during the early 1940s. The GFWC elected an Iowan as its national president in 1950. Dorothy Deemer Houghton served in that role until 1952 and was inducted into the Iowa Women´s Hall of Fame in 1978. In the 1970s, the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs supported the state Equal Rights Amendment. By 1985, the GFWC was considered the largest and oldest non-denominational women´s group in the world. In 2010, members of the organization continued to volunteer on issues ranging from world peace and health promotion to the arts, the preservation of the environment, and civic engagement. More information on current activities can be found at

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Burlington Clubwomen's Time Capsule records

Identifier: IWA0910

Time capsule documenting women's community involvement, as captured in 1896 and 1946.

Dates: 1896-1946

Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs records

Identifier: IWA0565

Nondenominational and nonpartisan organization bringing Iowa women's clubs together.

Dates: 1853-2006

Additional filters:

1941-1950 1
2001-2010 1
Burlington (Iowa) 1
Civic improvement 1
Communication in organizations 1