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League of Women Voters, Iowa records

Identifier: IWA0020

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Scope and Contents

The records of the League of Women Voters of Iowa date from 1917 to 2001 and measure 101.5 linear feet. The original accession was made in 1971, with subsequent accessions in 1975, 1981, 1984, 1989 and each year between 1994 and 2000. The League records contain annual reports, records of state and national conventions, correspondence, newsletters, newspaper clippings, minutes and other records relating to the program activities of the League.


The 1994 accession records date from 1946 to 1991 (bulk 1960 to 1991) and measure 23.25 linear feet. The records are arranged in seven series: Administrative, Citizens Information Service, Government, Human resources, Local chapters, Voters service, and Miscellaneous programs. This collection documents the activities of an organization that seeks to promote a more informed and politically involved voting populace. The collection consists mostly of the study and action programs conducted by the League of Women Voters of Iowa, as found in the Government, Human resources, Voters service and Miscellaneous programs series.

The Administrative series (1946-1989) contains the records of the Development Committee and Development Director, who are responsible for general League fundraising and helping manage program budgets. At the annual state conventions, members gather to discuss the progress of League study and action on adopted issues, future plans, bylaws revisions, finances, and other relevant administrative topics.

The programs conducted by the Citizens Information Service (1972-1984) are most often the educational components of larger areas of study. For example, the "Save Our Soil" billboards, the "I-SAVE" program, and the Environmental Protection Agency grant-Dickinson County program promoted the League positions on aspects of natural resources. The speeches delivered at the "Agriculture's Stake in World Trade" conference of 1984 are preserved on audiocassettes.

The League's study of Government (1955-1990) includes the Iowa's Constitutional reform, the Iowa State Legislature, reapportionment, as well as state government issues of public taxes and public education.

The Human resources series (1966-1984) contains the records of League work relating to social issues such as equal opportunity in education and employment, housing rights and women's issues, among others.

The League of Women Voters of Iowa is divided by city or county into twenty-one Local chapters (1960-1991), which span the entire state geographically. Each chapter published a newsletter called the Voter, as well as records of projects developed on the local level. Partial runs of the local newsletters are included in this series.

With the Voters service (1973-1985), the League seeks to educate citizens on aspects of voting via such activities as candidates' debates, seminars and public service announcements.

The Miscellaneous programs series (1968-1988) consists of adult corrections, international relations, juvenile justice, and natural resources. In 1988 the League cosponsored the "U.S. 88" conference with the Roosevelt Center for American Policy Studies. Three instructional videos were used as aids in conducting forums at the conference.


The 1995 accession records date from 1962 to 1982 and measure 5 linear inches. The accession is arranged in two series: Administrative and Study guides. The Administrative series (1966-1973) documents the budgeting process of the state board in the early 1970s. An undated consultant manual shows how the state and local leagues complement each other's missions. The accession also contains a Study guides series (1962-1982) of various programs and facts provided to the local leagues about education, taxes and government in Iowa.


  • Creation: 1917-2001


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

The League of Women Voters of Iowa was founded in 1920 as a state-level branch of the national League of Women Voters. A non-partisan organization, the League of Women Voters seeks to promote political responsibility through educating and informing the public on selected governmental issues and promoting action on those issues. The local and state leagues promote the purpose of the national League and take action on local government matters. After researching and studying a particular issue, League members establish a common position by voting and reaching consensus. After reaching consensus League members organize action in support of their position. This action includes testimony, lobbying, contact with political groups and politicians, forming coalitions, public speaking and writing letters.

In 1971 the Citizens' Information Service was established to carry out the Iowa League's educational activities by building channels for communication, interpreting public needs and holding forums for electoral candidates and issues. This service's educational tools include publications; radio, television, and newspapers; conferences; workshops and public meetings. In 1984 the Citizens Information Service sponsored an international conference called "Agriculture's Stake in World Trade." Funding for projects comes partially from the national League of Women Voters Education Fund, established in 1958 to tap tax-deductible funds and obtain grants that provide research and education for League work. The Iowa League's study programs include national issues such as energy, environmental quality, human resources, international relations, representative government, and urban problems. In 1988 the League of Women Voters of Iowa and the Roosevelt Center for American Policy Studies cosponsored "U.S. 88," a program for the 1988 Presidential election, and held forums in Davenport and Des Moines.

Since 1955 the League has kept notebooks, conducted workshops and published guides as part of its Iowa state constitution reform study. The League acts in support of its position on Iowa's local government structure and tax system, equal rights for women, juvenile justice, constitutional provisions, Area Education Agencies, reapportionment and land use among other issues. From 1977 to 1986 the League researched and published study guides of the adult corrections system in Iowa, which included a study of sentencing and parole as well as a study of alcoholism and the criminal justice system.


101.50 Linear Feet

Audiovisual in boxes 100, 112, 149, audiocassette collection [AC1700] - [AC 1767], and videocassette collection [V546] - [V629]; Photographs in boxes 102, 113, 137, 143, 147, 152, 169, and 264; Slides in boxes 100, 142, and 231. boxes

Language of Materials



State-level branch of the national non-partisan League of Women Voters which seeks to promote political responsibility through educating and informing the public on selected governmental issues and promoting action on those issues.


1971 Accession, 1917 to 1991 (boxes 1-61) Local leagues, 1939-1970 (boxes 1-5,19-32) Administrative, 1920-1968 (boxes 6-16) National, 1934-1966 (boxes 16-17) Iowa Voter, 1943-2001 (box 18) Topical, 1938-1972 (boxes 32-42, 45-58, 60-61) Histories, 1917-1969 (boxes 42-44, 59) Voter service, 1947-1966 (box 44) 1975 Accession, 1938-1973 (boxes 62-92) Local leagues, 1968-1971 (boxes 62-67) Administrative, 1940-1973 (boxes 67-79) Topical, 1938-1971 (boxes 79-83, 84-91) Voter service, 1948-1969 (boxes 83-84) 1981 Accession Local leagues, 1928-1979 (boxes 93-100) 1984 Accession, 1955-1980 (boxes 100-107) Topical, 1955-1980 (boxes 100-107) Audio tapes, 1963-1971 (boxes 100 and 102) 1989 Accession Mt. Pleasant defunct league, 1948-1985 (boxes 107, 108) 1994 Accession, 1941-1991 (boxes 107, 109-149) Administrative, 1946-1989 (boxes 107, 109-111) Citizens' informationservice, 1972-1984 (boxes 111-114) Government, 1955-1990 (boxes 114-122) Human resources, 1966-1984 (boxes 122-124) Local chapters, 1960-1991 (boxes 124-141) Voter service, 1973-1985 (boxes 141-143) Miscellaneous programs,1968-1988 (boxes 143-149) 1995 Accession, 1962-1982 (box 150) Administrative, 1962-1973(box 150) Study guides, 1963-1982 (box 150) 1996 Accession, 1946-2000 (boxes 151-242) Administrative, 1957-1997 (boxes 151-178) Citizens' information service, 1946-1994 (boxes 179-190) Debates, 1966-1992 (boxes 191-195) Legislative, 1962-1997 (boxes 196-203) Local leagues, 1959-1997 (boxes 204-210) National, 1946-2000 (boxes 211-213) Topical, 1961-1998 (boxes 214-242) 1997-2002 Accession, 1946-2001 (boxes 243-264) Administrative,1964-1997 (boxes 243-247) Citizens'information service, 1973-1995 (boxes 247-249) Legislative,1981-1998 (box 249) Localleagues, 1969-2000 (boxes 249-251) National,1946-2000 (boxes 251-258) Topical,1948-2001 (boxes 258-263) Photographs,1953-1994 and undated (box 264)

Method of Acquisition

The records (donor no. 21) were donated by the League of Women Voters of Iowa in 1971 and subsequent years.

Related Materials

League of Women Voters of Johnson County records (IWA). Jean Lloyd-Jones papers (IWA): Jones was president of the League ofWomen Voters of Iowa from 1971 to 1976. Margaret Davis Collison papers (IWA): Collison was a member of the Development Committee and on the state League's board from 1979 to 1988, and onthe "U.S. 88" planning committee in 1988. She was a member of the Oskaloosa chapter of the League of Women Voters of Iowa.

Katherine Price, 1994, Randel W. Lackore, 1995 and Special Collections Staff; Robert J. Jett, 1998; Elizabeth Engel, 2004; June Silliman, 2008; Karissa Haugeberg, 2008.
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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)