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Johnson County ERA Coalition records

Identifier: IWA0138

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Scope and Contents

The Johnson County ERA Coalition records date from 1984 to 1993 and measure 7.5 linear inches. The records are arranged in six series: Administrative, Newspaper clippings, Publicity, Resource materials, Photographs, and Artifacts. The bulk of the collection documents the 1992 ERA campaign in Iowa, although some of the materials date back to 1984.

The Administrative series (1991-1993) contains organizational materials such as agendas and minutes, volunteer sign-up sheets, and notes related to events organized by the coalition. The series includes a letter written to Eleanor Smeal of the Fund for the Feminist Majority after the ERA's defeat, outlining local women's criticisms of the Feminist Majority's Iowa campaign. The Newspaper clippings series (1991-1993), organized by publication, includes clippings from local and state newspapers related to the ERA.

The Publicity series (1992) contains promotional literature such as flyers, newsletters, mailings, speech materials, and action packets used by the Johnson County ERA Coalition and affiliated groups. The materials are organized by the organization which created them. This series includes anti-ERA literature and mailings as well. Two promotional videocassettes complete the series. The first is Phyllis Schlafly's "Stop ERA" video, made in 1984, in which Schlafly talks about her personal history and chief reasons for opposing the ERA. The second video was produced by the Iowa Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs (BPW) in 1992; members of political groups, an Iowa farmer, grade school children, and others speak out in support of the ERA in this video.

The Resource Materials series (1985-1992) contains research materials on state ERA laws and how they have been applied. It includes summaries of cases that were litigated under state ERAs, and summaries of civil legislation related to employment practices, comparable worth, and wage discrimination policies. The series also includes a law journal article, an annotated analysis of state ERA cases published in American Law Reports, and a guidebook on the ERA produced by the National Women's Conference Committee Task Force for the Equal Rights Amendment (funded by the National Women's Conference Center and the Kentucky Foundation for Women).

The Photographs series (1992) consists of a photo album with photographs taken at events sponsored by the Johnson County ERA Coalition: July 4 Coralville Parade, August 29 Walkathon, October 23 University of Iowa homecoming parade, and October 28 rally on the Pentacrest in Iowa City. The individuals in the photographs include well-known local and state figures such as Mary Louise Smith, Minnette Doderer, Jim Leach, Jean Lloyd-Jones, Karen Kubby, Bob Dvorsky, Clara Oleson, Maureen Taylor, and Papusa Molina.

The Artifacts series (undated) includes buttons, stickers, and a cloth ERA tote bag.


  • Creation: 1984-1993


Conditions Governing Access

The records 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

In 1992, the Johnson County ERA Coalition was organized in Iowa City to promote the passage of an Equal Rights Amendment to Iowa's state constitution. The Johnson County ERA Coalition worked closely with other organizations such as ERA Iowa 1992, the League of Women Voters, and the Iowa Women's Equality Campaign. ERA Iowa 1992, for example, which was headquartered in Des Moines, prepared much of the publicity materials and literature used by the Johnson County ERA Coalition.

The Johnson County ERA Coalition held public meetings and organized fundraising events such as parades, concerts, and walk-a-thons. Maureen Taylor was the head of the Johnson County ERA Coalition. Kathy Penningroth, the director of the speaker's bureau, organized local speeches and a slide show. Other key figures in the organization included Rusty Martin (publicity), Lisa Suter (fundraising), Amy Folberg (treasurer), and Ellen Heywood and Clara Oleson (quilt project). Pat Jensen of the League of Women Voters served on the board.

The Iowa ERA was defeated in 1992 by a popular vote of 52%-48%. This was the second defeat for Iowa's state ERA (the first was in 1980). The Feminist Majority Foundation, which had been involved in the 1992 campaign, conducted an analysis after its defeat. Their report concluded that the broad political context of the 1992 elections was unfavorable for the ERA's passage, and that fears about homosexuality and the destruction of family values were key to the amendment's defeat. A copy of this report, "New Strategies, Old Obstacles in the Fight for Equality: An Analysis of the 1992 Iowa ERA Referendum Campaign," is shelved in the Iowa Women's Archives printed works collection (fHQ.1236.5.U6 F45 1993).


7.50 linear inches

2 videocassettes [V28-V29], Photographs in Box 2 boxes

Language of Materials



Organized in Iowa City to promote the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution of the state of Iowa.


"New Strategies, Old Obstacles in the Fight for Equality: An Analysis of the 1992 Iowa ERA Referendum Campaign," is shelved in the Iowa Women's Archives printed works collection (fHQ.1236.5.U6 F45 1993).

Method of Acquisition

The records (donor no. 205) were donated by Kathy Penningroth in 1994 and by Maureen Taylor in 1995 and succeeding years.

Related Materials

The Iowa Women's Archives contains many collections related to the ERA. See Women, Politics, and the Law topical list on the IWA website.

Katherine Price, 1994; Sharon M. Lake, 2007.
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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)