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Margaret McCollum papers

Identifier: IWA0143

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Scope and Contents

The Margaret McCollum papers date from 1942 to 2008 and measure 4.5 linear feet. The papers are arranged in six series: Biographical Information, Personal Correspondence, Des Moines City Council, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and American Mothers, Inc (AMI). The collection was kept in the chronological order in which McCollum herself arranged it. It illustrates the political and community work in which McCollum was involved as well as daily activities and family life in the second half of the twentieth century.

The Biographical information series (1967-2004, and undated) contains McCollum's 1994 resume, which describes her educational background, professional experiences, family, civic activities, and honors and awards. Also included are letters from two of her children supporting her 1967 nomination as University of Iowa Representative Mother, her acceptance speech and a newspaper article on that award, a photograph of the McCollum family, and current articles on the activities of McCollum and her husband. Hard copies of emails sent by McCollum to family members containing transcriptions of her mother's notes from a 1920 trip to Europe complete the series.

The Personal Correspondence series (1942-2002) contains the Christmas and family letters written by McCollum and her husband which kept the entire family up to date on family news and events.

The Des Moines City Council series (1973-1974) contains correspondence, newspaper articles, and pamphlets from McCollum's campaign and the time she spent in office.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) series (1959-1996) contains general materials from the national organization such as newsletters, correspondence, and brochures, as well as materials specifically related to the Des Moines branch such as bylaws and meeting minutes. Correspondence written by McCollum during her presidency of AAUW, and three manuals that consist of AAUW guidelines and directories complete the series.

Most of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) series (1953-1980) consists of documents McCollum collected during the late 1950s and early 1960s when she served as president of the Des Moines Council of Parents and Teachers and board member of the Iowa Council of Parents and Teachers. These include newsletters, correspondence, newspaper articles, and notes taken at the 1959 State Convention, which are contained in the Iowa Council of Parents and Teachers folder.

Nearly half of the materials of this collection are located in the American Mothers, Inc. (AMI) series (1969-2002). They document McCollum's work as a board member and treasurer of the national organization, and also include materials related to the state affiliate, Iowa Mothers Association, of which McCollum was president in 1973. Handbooks, newsletters, and other materials published by AMI complete the series.


  • Creation: 1942-2008


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.

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

Margaret Ruth Kampmeier McCollum, a volunteer and leader in civic affairs and women's organizations, was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1916. She attended Coe College for one year and received her bachelor's degree in mathematics (actuarial science) from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) in 1937. Kampmeier graduated magna cum laude and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. In 1939, she married Harold McCollum, who also graduated from the University of Iowa in 1937 with a degree in actuarial science. The couple had four children: Laura, Thomas, Carol, and Gordon. McCollum was an actuary clerk for Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Co. in Washington, DC, in the late 1930s, and an actuary for National Travelers Life Co. in Des Moines, Iowa, in the 1960s.

Margaret McCollum was active in a wide range of women's and civic organizations. She was president of the Des Moines branch of American Association of University Women (AAUW) from 1960 to 1962 and president of the Iowa Division of AAUW from 1968 to 1970. She was also president of the Des Moines Council of Parents and Teachers from 1959 to 1960, active in the Iowa Council for Better Education, and served on the boards of Polk County Easter Seal Society, League of Women Voters, YWCA, United Way, Community Blood Bank, National Conference of Christians and Jews, Des Moines Tennis Association, and various advisory committees to the Board of Education and City Council.

In 1966, Margaret McCollum was selected by the Jaycee-Ettes as " Des Moines' Outstanding Woman of the Year," and in 1967, she was named University of Iowa Representative Mother of the Year. She was selected for this honor by the Student Government Organization, having been nominated by two of her children, who were then students at the University of Iowa. McCollum was also voted Iowa's Mother of the Year in 1971 by a state-wide panel of judges, after the Des Moines branch of the AAUW nominated her for this honor. In 1973, McCollum was elected to the Des Moines City Council, but she resigned after eight months explaining that she needed more time for her family and other activities. Because she did not serve the full term, she voluntarily returned all campaign contributions to her donors and her salary to the city.

McCollum was very involved in American Mothers, Inc. (AMI) during the 1970s and 1980s. AMI began in 1933 as a division of the Golden Rule Foundation. Its objective is "to develop and strengthen the moral and spiritual foundation of the family and the home." McCollum served as president of the Iowa affiliate, Iowa Mothers Association, in 1973, and was a member of the national board from 1978 to 1987, and the treasurer of the national organization from 1982 to 1987. McCollum represented Iowa in the National Senior Olympics in 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1995. She won the silver medal in tennis singles in the 70-74 age division in 1989, a gold medal with her husband in mixed doubles in 1989, and a gold medal in women's doubles for the 75-79 age division in 1993.


4.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Des Moines resident who was a leader in women's organizations including American Mother's Inc., PTA and AAUW.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 210) were donated by Margaret McCollum in 1994 and succeeding years.

Lea Keohane, 1994; Iskra Nunez, 2005; Sharon M. Lake, 2006.
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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)