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Beverly A. Hannon papers

Identifier: IWA0065

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Scope and Contents

The Beverly Hannon papers date from 1968 to 2015 and measure 16 linear feet. The papers are arranged in eight series: Biographical information, Campaigns, Senatorial District 22 (20), Legislative service, Media, Legislative issues, and Photographs. The papers reveal the myriad concerns and responsibilities of a state legislator. Each series consists primarily of correspondence, memoranda, notes, and newspaper clippings, which relate to Hannon's activities as a state senator.

Before donating her papers to the Iowa Women's Archives, Hannon wrote extensive notes explaining the issues and people especially significant to her during her legislative service, and explaining the content of various files. These notes and comments provide valuable insight into her interpretation of a senator's role. The comments and the materials to which they refer appear throughout the collection. Those not incorporated topically are included in the Legislative service series.

Of particular interest in the Biographical information series are the speeches, articles, and statements by Hannon; articles written about her; and questionnaires she completed on a wide variety of topics. Letters written in the 1980s to her mother, Kathryn Hahesy by various correspondents are also included in this series.

The materials which relate to her three Campaigns are organized chronologically, with subseries devoted to the 1984, 1988, and 1992 campaigns. Each consists of materials about the campaign: strategy and organization, budgets, publicity, events, and her opponents: Merlin Hulse in 1984, Hurley Hall in 1988, and Jack Rife in 1992.

The Senatorial District 22 (20) series consists of constituents' responses to questionnaires and correspondence with constituents in the various towns of the district. Hannon resided in District 22 until redistricting in 1990 changed the boundaries; thereafter her same residence was in District 20.

The Legislative Service series comprises materials which relate to Hannon's role as a senator: calendars, correspondence with national and state officials, Political Action Committee (PAC) activities, and Hannon's participation in a numerous national legislators' conferences.

Regular columns Hannon wrote for newspapers in her district and the press releases from her senatorial office are included in the Media series.

Hannon was concerned with a wide variety of issues but focused primarily on social issues: family, health, environment, reproductive rights and women. Materials about these issues are included in the Legislative Issues series.

The Photographs series documents Hannon's legislative campaigns and senatorial duties as well as her family. The Artifacts series consists of campaign buttons, T-shirts and banners.

The Iowa Women's Foundation series comprises materials which relate to Hannon's role as a founding member and contributor to the Iowa Women's Foundation, a philanthropic organization serving the state of Iowa to promote services and programs for women and girls. The series includes Hannon's correspondence, administrative minutes, notes, fundraising efforts, and newspaper clippings concerning the organization.


  • Creation: 1968-2015


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Beverly A. Hannon, two-term Iowa state senator from 1985 to 1992, was born on March 30, 1932 in Manchester, Iowa, to John and Kathryn Hahesy. She attended St. Xavier's Elementary School and graduated from Manchester High School in 1950. In 1961 she married David L. Hannon, a program manager at Rockwell-Collins in Cedar Rapids. When the youngest of their six children entered kindergarten, Hannon enrolled in Kirkwood Community College, receiving an Associate of Arts degree in 1982 and in 1990 a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa.

Hannon first entered Democratic Party politics in Jones County. Dismayed with the Democratic county chairman's stand on abortion and his attitude toward women, she was preparing to run for his position in 1984 when she was asked to run for the state senate instead. The District 22 lines had been redrawn following the 1980 census,making the district more Democratic. She defeated the incumbent, Merlin Hulse, by 200 votes, served a four-year term, and in 1988 defeated Hurley Hall by about 2500 votes, an incumbent senator who moved into her district and changed parties to run against her.

Following redistricting in 1990, Hannon's residence was situated in the new District 20, but she lost most of her base of support. In the 1992 election, incumbent Jack Rife, a ten-year Republican senator and Senate Minority Leader, was placed in the same district as incumbent Republican Richard Drake. Rife used the address within District 20 for his campaign address but continued to reside outside District 20.

During her eight years in the Iowa Senate Hannon chaired the Human Resources committee and was vice-chair of the Small Business and Economic Development committee. She also served on the Energy and Environmentand the Local Government committees as well as the appropriations sub-committee of Health and Human Resources. Hannon's legislative activities focused on health and family issues. She was an outspoken supporter of reproductive rights and an opponent of parental notification legislation requiring that parents of minors wishing to have an abortion be notified in advance. Hannon was deeply committed to her constituents, conscientiously responding to their inquiries and concerns. In each of her three senatorial races she was an avid campaigner.

Hannon made two trips to Central America, the first in 1986 to Honduras and Nicaragua as one of four legislators went to determine the advisability of sending an Iowa Guard medical and dental unit to Honduras. The following year she was part of a twelve-woman delegation to Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, sponsored by the Augsburg College (Minneapolis, Minnesota) Center for Global Education. In 1989 she attended the UnitedStates/Salvadoran Women's Conference in Mexico, under the auspices of the Foundation for a Compassionate Society. These trips confirmed Hannon's strong opposition to United States policy in Central America.

In 1992 Hannon helped form the Democratic Activist Women's Network (DAWN) to focus on recruiting, educating, supporting and electing pro-choice Democrat women in Iowa local and state government. In 1993, Hannon worked for the University of Iowa Pre-Vocational Training Program, which was designed to place women in nontraditional employment and education programs. Hannon was instrumental in founding the Iowa Women's Foundation based in Iowa City. Hannon received numerous honors and awards for her legislative leadership and her academic achievements.


16.00 Linear Feet

Photographs in boxes 33-34; 22 audiocassettes [AC423-443, AC1097-1098]; 8 videocassettes [V173-179, V346] boxes

Language of Materials



Two-term Iowa state senator. Hannon chaired the Human Resources Committee and was instrumental in founding the Iowa Women's Foundation in Iowa City.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 119) were donated by Beverly A. Hannon in 1993 and succeeding years.

Natalie Brody, 1998; Bobby Jett, 1999; Suzanne A. Vesely, 2001.
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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)