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Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission records

Identifier: IWA0398

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Scope and Contents

The papers of the Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission measure 2.5 linear inches and date from 1906 to 1941. The bulk of the collection consists of pamphlets and correspondence, although speeches, news bulletins, newspaper clippings, reports to members, contracts and articles of incorporation are also included. The collection contains one photograph and two ribbons from conventions.

Most of the correspondence comes in the form of letters between Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Women's Suffrage Association and honorary president of the commission, Mary A. Hunter, president of the commission. Even after the commission erected its memorial, the two women remained in contact, discussing in particular the preservation of materials relating to the women's suffrage movement, especially Iowa.

The pamphlets included in the collection are primarily propaganda material intended to persuade an audience to give women the right to vote and bulletins from suffrage conventions such as Iowa Equal Suffrage Association (IESA) meetings in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Corydon and Boone. Also included among the pamphlets are programs from memorial services for Susan B. Anthony and Anna Shaw; the latter includes Carrie Chapman Catt's thoughts on Shaw.

A photograph of the bas relief memorial, taken in Nellie Walker's studio in Chicago, is included in this collection. Two ribbons are also included, one from the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association's 36th convention in 1907 and one from the IESA's 41st convention in 1912.

This collection consists of duplicates from a larger collection of Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission records held by the State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines.


  • Creation: 1906-1941


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Biographical / Historical

The Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission was organized "to commemorate the efforts of the Pioneer Suffragists and the long procession of workers who helped to secure the final enfranchisement of women." The commission succeeded in having a bas relief in bronze erected in the state capital building in Des Moines; it was unveiled on May 10, 1936. The work was sculpted by Nellie V. Walker, a native of Moulton, Iowa. The commission also worked with Edgar R. Harlan, a state historian, to preserve documentation of the Iowa Women's Suffrage Movement.

After its incorporation in 1922, the commission's first president was Lola B. Miller, who served until she moved to California; thereafter she was president emeritus. Mary Ankeny Hunter of Des Moines was president from 1930 to 1936. Carrie Chapman Catt of New York City, Rev. Eleanor E. Gordon of Hamilton, Illinois, and Mrs. H. K. Evans of Corydon, Iowa were named honorary presidents. The commission's headquarters was located in the Historical Memorial and Art Building in Des Moines. The final business meeting of the commission of seven was named to make a cabinet available in the historical building for the preservation of documents relating to the suffrage movement in Iowa. Iowa was the first state to create a memorial of this type.


2.50 linear inches

Language of Materials



Commemorated the efforts of pioneer suffragists and the enfranchisement of women.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 18) were donated to Special Collections Department, University of Iowa Libraries, by the State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines, in 1971.

Michelle Galvin, 1992, and Special Collections staff.
Language of description
Script of description
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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)