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Iowa Nurses' Association records

Identifier: IWA0023

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Scope and Contents

The Iowa Nurses Association records date from 1904 to 1989 and measure 83 linear feet. The records cover internal administration of the association, business of various INA committees, the continuing education offerings of the association, INA conventions, association correspondence, the organization and administration of districts and sections of the INA, employment conditions of nurses, material from the Iowa League for Nursing, other Iowa organizations with which INA worked closely, membership records, perquisites, and recruiting, publications of the organization, and photographs. The records are arranged in the following series: Administrative Records, American Nurses Association, Committees, Continuing Education, Conventions, Districts, Economic Security, The Iowa League for Nursing, Iowa Organizations, Membership, Publications, Sections, The Student Nurses Association, Photographs, Artifacts, and Audio Tapes.

The Administrative Records series (1904-1989) contains material relevant to the internal functioning of the association such as financial records, board of directors meetings, historical information, and correspondence as well as position statements on various issues of interest to nurses.

The American Nurses Association series (1928-1989) contains material sent from or to the national association. Much of this material involves rules, regulations, and guidelines for operation of a state affiliate. There is also material from ANA conventions which were attended by Iowa nurses. The ANA has operated a very active research and statistics unit since the 1950s and generated many reports. This series contains a number of statistical surveys of Iowa nurses compiled by the ANA from the late 1950s to the early 1970s and including such information as salaries, type of position held, and educational background of Iowa nurses.

The Committees series (1933-1989) contains the records, primarily minutes and correspondence, of the By Laws, Education, Ethics, Finance, Legislation, Membership, Public Relations, Resolutions, and other committees.

The Continuing Education series (1955-1989) contains material from conferences, institutes, lectures, and workshops conducted by the Iowa Nurses Association or involving the participation of INA members. The series also contains records from the continuing education review panel and grant application materials.

The Conventions series (1904-1989) contains materials from the annual INA conventions since 1905. These include planning, fiscal records, programs, speeches, awards presented to the INA and its members, photographs, advertising, exhibitors, and minutes of the proceedings. Some years have very extensive records while others are very spare.

The Districts series (1920-1984) contains the records of the INA District organizations, which conducted administrative and continuing education functions.

The Economic Security series (1946-1989) was the first name given to the committee of the Iowa Nurses Association which oversaw efforts to improve working conditions, pay, and benefits for nurses. The group was later called Professional Security and Economic and General Welfare. The series contains such records as meeting minutes, contract negotiation notes, collective bargaining agreements, organization efforts and strikes at various Iowa institutions, and notes on grievance hearings.

The Iowa League for Nursing series (1913-1980) contains the records of the League and some of its predecessor organizations. The Iowa League for Nursing was founded in 1952, incorporating several organizations interested in the training and continuing professional education of nurses and other health care professionals. The major predecessor of the ILN was the Iowa League for Nursing Education (ILNE), and this series contains many records from that organization. Later, the ILN was called the Iowa Citizens League for Nursing.

The Iowa Organizations series (1926-1989) contains material from a variety of groups, primarily interested in health care, in which INA members were either participants or to whom the INA provided continuing advisory services. The majority of this material is meeting minutes and correspondence.

The Membership series (1904-1988) includes membership lists, dues records, promotional material, reports of activities, records of elections, applications dating to 1904, and material from the employment registry and placement services dating from the late 1920s through the 1970s.

The Publications series (1917-1985) contains material relating to the production of the INA Bulletin and newsletters, including research and background material for articles, advertising records, correspondence, and editorial memoranda. The INA produced a booklet in 1932, Historical Outline of the Iowa State Association of Registered Nurses and Related Organizations, and a copy is here.

The Sections series (1940-1984) contains the records of the various sections into which the INA was divided. Each section represented a different aspect of professional nursing practice such as Office Nurses, Operating Room Nurses, and Administration. The sections met together to discuss problems and practices unique to their type of nursing activity and to help establish guidelines and standards for their practice. The series contains records such as meeting minutes, newsletters, workshop materials, membership lists, meeting guidelines, and bylaws.

The Student Nurses Association series (1949-1984) represents the activities of a separate organization under the INA composed of students who, upon graduation, became regular members. The series contains newsletters, financial records, membership information, correspondence, and meeting minutes of the group.

The Photographs series (1918-1987) contains many snapshots and posed portraits. Subjects of the photographs include group portraits taken at conventions, awards ceremonies, the INA office staff, INA officers, workshop sessions, guest speakers at meetings, and committee members at work. In the 1960s, the INA displayed photographs of United States Armed Forces Nurses from 1918-1967, not necessarily from Iowa; these photographs are also included in the series.

The Artifacts series (1981-1988) contains tee-shirts from the 1980s, one from the Student Nurses Association, one commemorating Nurses Week 1981, and several from different years' fun runs called the "Stetholope" held during Nurses Week.

The Audio Tapes series (1974-1987) consists of cassette tapes made primarily during the 1980s recording convention proceedings, speeches, committee conference calls, and at least one grievance hearing.


  • Creation: 1904-1989


Conditions Governing Access

The records are open for research.

The collection is stored at an off-site location. Please allow two to three business days for retrieval.

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

The Iowa Nurses Association was founded in Des Moines in January 1904 as a state unit of the American Nurses Association. Both national and state associations formed primarily out of an existing network of nurse alumnae associations. The association was first known as the Iowa State Association of Graduate Nurses. The first objective of the national and state organizations was to effect legislation standardizing nurse education and establishing a board which would oversee educational standards and register graduate nurses (hence, the title Registered Nurse).

In 1909 the association was renamed the Iowa State Association of Registered Nurses (ISARN) to reflect its members' new professional status. In the late 1940s or early 1950s, the name again changed to the Iowa State Nurses Association (ISNA). At the 1956 convention, the association adopted its current name, Iowa Nurses Association (INA). The overall purpose of the association has been to promote and improve the professional skills and status of nurses. Some of the continuing activities of the INA have included efforts to provide insurance and death or disability income for its members; collective bargaining to improve pay, benefits, hours, and working conditions for nurses; continuing education workshops and professional conferences; promotion of research and scholarly writing among its members; and encouraging young women to enter the profession through promotion and scholarships.

As a female dominated profession, the Iowa NursesAssociation has also addressed women's issues, even when they were not widely considered. In 1964, for example, as part of her keynote address at the INA Convention, Barbara Schutt, an officer of the ANA, stated: It seems to me that our greatest deterrent to effective action within nursing is our lack of self-esteem which is often necessary for the courage to act. Part of this is because we are women...; part of this is because we have allowed ourselves and others to think of nursing as a subsidiary of medicine; part because we continue to encourage paternalism, authoritarianism, and a hierarchical structure.

Following the Second World War, when returning servicemen trained as nurses began to enter the profession in large numbers, the Iowa Nurses Association made efforts to include and consider men in their professional association. The INA was also influential in encouraging Iowa Nursing Schools to admit men to their programs. The Economic Security Committee, later known as the Professional Security Committee, then the Economic and General Welfare Committee, has been involved in efforts to improve the working conditions, pay, and benefits for Iowa Nurses. The INA is not a union but does represent nurses in collective bargaining and grievance proceedings with hospitals, nursing homes, visiting nurse associations, and other employers.

In 1951 the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) merged with the American Nurses Association, as did each association's state affiliates. In Iowa this merger seemed to have happened smoothly and African-American nurses apparently were accepted as equal professionals within the association. None ran for office in the 1950s but several African-American nurses served on committees and task forces during those years.

The Iowa Nurses Association has been involved with many organizations related to nursing and the health professions since its very early years. The INA was responsiblefor advocating the formation of the state Board of Nurse Examiners (later theBoard of Nursing), and continued to demand input in decisions regarding the board, including the selection of members. The association's members were responsible for establishing the Iowa branch of the American Red Cross in 1911.

Nurse recruitment for service in the First and Second World Wars, as well as later recruiting for Armed Services Nurses, has been the responsibilityof the INA. In 1914 the Iowa State League of Nursing Education was organized in Dubuque as an affiliate of the National League for Nursing Education, which was founded in 1893. The INA has always participated in the organization and governance of the League, which was especially active inrecruiting young women to enter nursing schools as Cadet Nurses during the Second World War to meet both armed service and public health nursing shortages.

In 1952, the National League for Nursing Education, the National Organization for Public Health Nursing (founded 1912), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Nursing (founded 1933), the Joint Committee on Practical Nursing and Auxiliary Workers in Nursing Service (founded in 1945), the National Committee for the Improvement of Nursing Service (founded in 1949), and the National Nursing Accreditation Service(founded in 1949) merged to form the National League for Nursing (NLN). The Iowa affiliates of these organizations were similarly merged to form the Iowa League for Nursing (ILN), later known as the Iowa Citizens League for Nursing (ICLN). INA members have been active in the above organizations, and the INA and ILN have maintained a close professional association and a standing Joint Coordinating Council.

In 1949, after several years of effort by the INA, the Iowa Legislature passed a bill providing for licenser of practical nurses, thus recognizing the distinctive training, tasks, and title of Licensed Practical Nurse. In 1950 the Licensed Practical Nurses Association of Iowa (LPNAI), an affiliate of the National Association for Practical Nurse Education, was formed with the support and encouragement of the Iowa Nurses Association and with much the same purposes and goals as its sister association. The two associations have worked closely together for the improvement of nursing in Iowa. Various offices of the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) around the state have been operating for most of the century and the Iowa Nurses Association has workedwith local VNAs in providing service. The INA has also cooperated closely with the Iowa Medical Association, the State Departments of Health and Social Services, and the Governor's office in planning and promoting a high quality of health care in the state.


83.00 Linear Feet

43 audiocassettes [AC14-54, AC66, AC192] Cassettes

Language of Materials



State branch of the national organization. The overall purpose of the association has been to promote and improve the professional skills and status of nurses.


Administrative Records, 1904-1989 (boxes 1-18) American Nurses Association, 1928-1989 (boxes 18-24) Committees, 1933-1989 (boxes24-34) Continuing Education, 1955-1989 (boxes 34-36) Conventions, 1904-1989 (boxes 37-44) Districts, 1920-1984 (boxes44-48) Economic Security,1946-1989(boxes 48-57) Iowa League for Nursing,1913-1980 (boxes 57-61 Iowa Organizations, 1926-1989 (boxes 61-68) Membership, 1904-1988 (boxes 68-70) Publications, 1917-1985 (box71) Sections, 1940-1984 (boxes 71-77) Student Nurses Association, 1949-1984 (boxes 77-78) Photographs, 1918-1987 (boxes 78-79) Artifacts, 1981-1988 (box 80) Audiotapes, 1974-1987 (box 81) Oversize, 1916-1987 (box 82 and container 83)

Method of Acquisition

The records (donor no. 24) were donated by the Iowa Nurses Association in 1975, and in periodic accessions thereafter.

Related Materials

The Iowa League for Nursing and the Iowa Nursing Association, Fifth District.

Bridget M. Butler, 1993 and Special Collections staff.
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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)