Skip to main content

League of Women Voters, Cedar Rapids-Marion records

Identifier: IWA0635

  • Staff Only
  • Please navigate to collection organization to place requests.

Scope and Contents

The records of the League of Women Voters of Cedar Rapids-Marion date from 1937 to 2010 and measure 28.75 linear feet. They are arranged in 21 series: History, Administration, Alphabetical file, Programs-Education, Programs-City government, Programs-Regional government, Government-State, Government-Federal, Government-National/International, Justice, Natural Resources, Social Policy, Taxes, Community involvement, Voter Service, Publications, Publicity, Photographs, Scrapbooks, Artifacts, and Audiovisual. Each series is arranged alphabetically by file title.

The History series (1949-1995) consists of materials about the general history of the League of Women Voters of Cedar Rapids-Marion including the process leading up to the chapter’s recognition by the national organization as an official chapter of the League of Women Voters. In this series there are short memoirs written by some chapter members about their involvement in the League of Women voters, and highlights in the history of the chapter as well as lists of officers for some decades. This series also includes several photographs and booklets about the League.

The Administration series (1937-2007) materials related to the administration of the Cedar Rapids-Marion chapter of the League of Women Voters, such as meetings and event planning. This series contains minutes from annual meetings, board meetings, budget meetings and regular meeting minutes. This series also contains membership lists and directories, as well as fundraising materials, treasurer’s reports and materials about state conventions.

The Alphabetical File series (1949-2002) contains materials on various local and national League of Women Voters activities. The series commences with Cedar Rapids-Marion chapter’s involvement with the national organization’s 50th anniversary, and national conventions. The series also contains local history about Cedar Rapids and Marion, Iowa, state of the city reports, and a “Know Your Community” booklet for voters in the area. A section on finance includes newspaper clippings about fundraising initiatives and an auditor’s report. A section on membership includes forms, a roster, and materials about events for members. Additionally the series includes materials about The Observer Corps, a League of Women Voters initiative to attend more local government meetings, as well as agendas and correspondence regarding state council conventions.

The Programs-Education series (1964-1989) consists of materials related to public education in Iowa and the Cedar Rapids-Marion area. The series includes brochures and communications distributed by the League of Women Voters on Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEA), community colleges, vocational training, and state financing for public education. The series also contains materials related to a study of dropout rates in Iowa, as well as reports and action alerts related to Title IX.

The Programs-City Government series (1951-2002) includes lists of city officials, forms for city government, and a handbook for Linn County officials. The series also contains correspondence, pamphlets, and newspaper clippings on a variety of local issues for the Cedar Rapids-Marion area such as gun control, civil defense, public libraries, and local taxes.

The Programs-Regional Government series (1950-2002) contains materials related to the government of Linn County, Iowa of which Cedar Rapids and Marion are a part. The series contains files on county history as well as a “Know Your County” booklet prepared by the local League of Women Voters. This series includes several files with newspaper clippings, press releases and LWV correspondence regarding local and county services including the health department, law enforcement, and county taxes. Additionally, this series contains information on “local government week” observed throughout the state of Iowa in the mid-1980s.

The Government-State of Iowa series (1951-2003) consists of materials related to Iowa state government. The series contains a “Know Your State” booklet produced by the League of Women Voters and several copies of Iowa’s Constitution. Related to Iowa’s Constitution, the series contains files related to possible constitutional amendments and several files including brochures, correspondence, and flyers about calling a constitutional convention in the state of Iowa. It also contains study materials released by the League of Women Voters of Iowa for on the topic of reapportionment of the Iowa Legislature. A section of folders entitled “Legislative Interviews” contains some interviews about specific issues with legislators in 1991. It also contains booklets about legislator’s jobs, newsletters from the Iowa Legislature, and guides to interviewing your legislator. The remainder of this series includes study materials for members about Iowa issues such as taxing, election laws, and the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Government-National series (1954-2003) contains materials aimed at helping League of Women Voter members form opinions on national issues. The series includes materials on topics such as campaign finance reform, foreign policy, and nuclear energy. It also includes educational materials on the basics of American government such as the role of the president, the functioning of Congress, and a re-examination of the Federalist Papers.

The Government-National/International series (1955-2003) largely contains informational materials about international relations and the international government. It includes brochures and communications from the League of Women Voters to its members on topics such as NATO, the United Nations, foreign aid, trade, and world hunger. This series contains a number of booklets on United States foreign policy.

The Justice series (1966-1996) focuses on the criminal justice system in Iowa. The bulk of the series contains studies and reports about Iowa’s juvenile justice system. The series also includes informational packets about Iowa’s justice system and court reform, by-laws and meeting minutes for the Linn County Crime Prevention Coalition, and a report on the city of Marion’s law enforcement and Linn County’s Sherriff’s Department.

The Natural Resources series (1959-2002) consists of study materials on the use and management of Iowa natural resources. This series includes booklets and flyers and materials from the chapter’s President’s files on agricultural issues and policies in the United Sates. The series contains similar materials regarding energy use, waste management, and air quality. Additionally the series contains minutes, flyers, and correspondence of the Cedar Rapids/Marion League of Women Voters Natural Resources Committee.

The Social Policy series (1968-1991) social policy issues in local, state, and national spheres. Materials related to concerns of this local chapters such as affordable housing and childcare. Booklets and correspondence put out by the national LWV on social issues such as unmet needs, civil rights, comparable worth. This series also includes a 1975 employment survey for Linn County, Iowa a few study materials on Native American affairs, and several folders on women’s issues, including employment, reproduction, title IX, and programs for under privileged children.

The Taxes series (1949-1994) consists of LWV studies, newspaper clippings and LWV correspondence with finance officials about systems of local, state, and national taxation.

The Community Involvement series (1948-2002) series consists of materials related to the Cedar Rapids/Marion LWV’s outreach into the Cedar Rapids/Marion community. This series includes reports by the local government committee, booklets and newspaper clippings about the development of the Cedar Rapids/Marion area, and articles about the general activities of the League of Women Voters.

The Voter Service series (1972-2004) contains materials aimed at assisting voters in being informed and getting to the polls. This series includes newspaper clippings, political directories for Cedar Rapids/Marion, a brochure about voting in general, and a voter registration information. This series also contains correspondence and preparation materials regarding LWV hosted debates and forums for local candidates.

The Publications series (1949-2010) contains publications put out by the Cedar Rapids/Marion chapter of LVW. These include informational pamphlets about local and state government. The bulk of the series contains issues of The Voter, a monthly newsletter put out by the LWV of Cedar Rapids/Marion.

The Publicity series comprises of newspaper clippings and other publicity for the LWV Cedar Rapids/Marion. The bulk of the series consists of newspaper clippings that mention the LWV Cedar Rapids/Marion and its members. In addition, this series contains one matted political cartoon by Frank Miller, and one poster advocating that Iowa’s governor and lieutenant governor be elected as a team, and three brochures advertising the League’s Speaker’s Bureau.

The Photographs series (1950-1973) contains photographs and slides of League of Women Voters events and activities.

The Scrapbooks series (1942-1981) includes scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings and some photographs of the activities of the LWV of Cedar Rapids/Marion and two binders for the chapter’s U.S. Congress committee report from 1970-1971.

The Audiovidual series (1960) includes two phonograph records and one computer disk.

The Artifacts series consists of several political buttons, including one from 1992 in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment.


  • Creation: 1937 - 2010


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.

Biographical / Historical

The League of Women Voters (LWV) of Cedar Rapids-Marion was started and rendered inactive twice in the 1920s and 1930s before becoming the organization documented in this collection. The LWV of Cedar Rapids-Marion that lasted was recognized as a local league of the League of Women Voters in December 1949. It was founded as a non-partisan political organization dedicated to influencing public policy through education and advocacy made by informed and active citizens. Through a two-pronged approach of voter education and non-partisan study of community problems, League members sought to educate citizens to improve the quality of life in Cedar Rapids. To achieve its goal the LWV of Cedar Rapids-Marion focused on two fields of activity: Voter Services and Study and Action.

During the period of this collection the League kept a close eye both on its own administrative details (e.g., membership, fundraising, and meeting minutes) and on programs at the local, state, national, and international levels. Issues with which the local League was particularly concerned were Education, Justice, Natural Resources, Taxes, Social Policy (in particular, housing, child care, health care, reproductive rights, employment, and civil rights), and government at all levels. The Voter Services of the LWV of Cedar Rapids-Marion assisted in voter registration, offered information about minor party and independent candidates, organized candidate forums and debates, and provided information on how to vote.

The LWV of Cedar Rapids-Marion produced many reports and publications, including several on getting to know the county and the community, and in 1949 began publishing a monthly newsletter "The Voter." In May 2012 the League of Women Voters of Cedar Rapids-Marion changed its name to the League of Women Voters of Linn County in an effort to be both more inclusive and more accurate in describing its membership.


27.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Cedar Rapids-Marion League of Women Voters (LWV) played an active part in the civic life of the greater Cedar Rapids area. During the period covered by this collection, the Cedar Rapids-Marion League of Women Voters focused on the problems of high school dropouts in the Cedar Rapids school system and the lack of affordable housing in the area.

Method of Acquisition

The records (donor no. 132) were donated by Joyce Nielsen in 1998 and subsequent years.

Related Materials

Joyce Nielsen papers (IWA): Nielsen was an active member of the Cedar Rapids-Marion League of Women Voters in the 1960s and 1970s. More information about the organization can be found in her papers.

League of Women Voters of Iowa records (IWA): The state league records contain correspondence to and from members of the Cedar Rapids-Marion League, reports of local league activities, and other pertinent information. See especially Boxes 7, 18, 19 and 23.

Bridgett Williams-Searle, 2000; Janet Weaver, 2003; Sharon M. Lake, 2008; Anna Tunnicliff, 2017
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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)