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Identifier: 5

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Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

The Joan Lipsky papers date from 1880 to 2015 and measure 16 linear feet (39 boxes). The papers are arranged in ten series: Biographical information, Family History, Iowa General Assembly, Women in politics, Campaigns, Personal Correspondence, Photographs, Printed Materials, and Artifacts.

The Biographical information series (1926-2015) includes papers from local clubs and volunteer activities as well as resumes, newspaper articles that feature Lipsky, and letters of recommendation to support Lipsky's nomination to the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame. Additionally, it includes materials that relate to the planning and development of businesses, colleges, municipal services, and recreational opportunities in Cedar Rapids. Within this series is the subseries Education which contains materials having to do with Lipsky’s undergraduate career at Northwestern University, her graduate career at the State University of Iowa (now University of Iowa), and a high school scrapbook.

The Family History series (1916-1994) has papers regarding the Smulekoff family business and documentation of births, marriages, and deaths in the family. Also included are Lipsky’s parents’ financial records and tax returns.

The Iowa General Assembly series (1960-1979) consists primarily of topical files maintained by Lipsky during her six terms as a state representative, from 1967 to 1978. This is the largest series of the collection, at six linear feet. Lipsky collected published reports, notes, memoranda, and correspondence on a variety of issues, including the Equal Rights Amendment, juvenile justice, health services, and the state budget. Of note are two binders containing bills on which she worked. This series includes materials related to Lipsky's efforts to create a state ombudsperson, which culminated in the creation of the Office of the Citizens' Aide in 1972. The series also contains the subseries Correspondence — letters to and from Lipsky's constituents while she served in the Iowa General Assembly. The letters are arranged alphabetically within each year according to the last name of the sender or recipient, reflecting her personal filing system.

The Women in politics series (1967-1985) includes newsletters, brochures, and correspondence related to state and national women's partisan and nonpartisan political groups. The newsletters include articles on the Equal Rights Amendment, profiles of women politicians, and meeting minutes. This series also includes newspaper articles about women who served as elected officials at the state and national levels. Lipsky's personal reflections on women's participation in politics complete this series.

The Campaigns series (1969-1985) consists of correspondence, pamphlets, and newsletters that pertain to Lipsky's campaigns for the Iowa General Assembly and the internal politics of the Republican Party. The pamphlets include biographical information about Lipsky and summaries of her accomplishments in the legislature. Also included are campaign scrapbooks, two of which are disbound.

The Correspondence - Personal series (1910-1996) includes letters between Joan and Abbott Lipsky during World War II as well as abundant communication from friends and family. The bulk of the correspondence is in the mid-1940’s.

The Photographs series (1880-1999) consists of over a century of images, centralized in the mid-twentieth century. The majority of the images are family and friends, though there are pictures of Lipsky at political events and with other politicians such as Governor Ray Robert and Charles Grassley.

The Printed Materials series (1926-1958) includes playbills from various theatres in Chicago in the 1930’s and ‘40’s, a Camp Fire Girls handbook, and religious books.

The Artifacts series (1926-2005) contains political buttons and campaign materials as well as Lipsky’s nameplates from the Iowa General Assembly.


  • Creation: 1880-2015


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.


From the Collection: 16.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)