The papers date from 1899 to 1994 and measure 2 feet. The papers are arranged in three series: Personal life, Professional life, and Family. The papers reveal Metcalf Kelly's role as a national figure within Democratic party electoral politics during the 1950s and 1960s.
The Personal life (1899-1994) series includes scattered correspondence,personal legal documents and a scrapbook of Metcalf Kelly's life whileattending college in the 1920s. This series also contains early family photographs.
The second series, Professional life (1922-1968), focuses upon Metcalf Kelly's work in the Democratic Party seen primarily in newspaper clippings and photographs of her with national political figures such as Harry Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Hubert Humphey. Some papers and artifacts of interest in the collection include an original signature of Margaret and President Harry Truman (Professional life, Truman Presidential train, 1948), the program from President John Kennedy's famous birthday celebration (Professional life, Dinner and event programs, 1958-1964), and the badges from each National Democratic Convention between 1948 and 1968 (Professional life, National Democratic Party, Badges, National Convention, 1948-1968).
The collection lacks evidence of her political views and unique contributions. Unfortunately, Metcalf Kelly regularly purged her correspondence files (Professional life, Correspondence, 1953-1977). One of the few examples of her political beliefs is a handwritten addition to the party platform calling for federal funding of public schools (Professional life, Platform amendment, 1958). Despite this absence, the collection shows her constant effort and long term devotion to party activities for which she gained national recognition within electoral politics.
The Family (1908-1977)series consists of memorabilia and photographs of Metcalf Kelly's immediate family members. The bulk of this series incorporates clippings and photographs of Clarence Metcalf, Metcalf Kelly's brother, focusing upon Metcalf's national work on the Iowa Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation State Committee (ASCS) during the 1960s.