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National Organization for Women, Dubuque Chapter records

Identifier: IWA0223

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Scope and Contents

The Dubuque NOW records date from 1973 to 1995 and measure 2.30 linear feet. The records are arranged in five series: Administrative records, Events, Issues, Other NOW chapters, Photographs, and Tamara Prenosil's later addition. The Dubuque NOW records focus on local feminist concerns and activities.

The Events series contains information about several of the special and on-going events that Dubuque NOW organized and participated in, such as the Take Back the Night March, an annual event to empower women and help them regain their right to be safe and confident in their communities at night.

The Issues series contains material pertaining to the issues that concerned Dubuque NOW. The group concentrated on passing the Equal Rights Amendment, increasing awareness of sexist language and attitudes in school and everyday life, and affirmative action. Dubuque NOW occasionally provided legal support through the legal defense fund, as in the cases of Susan Dolter and Karen Rolling, two Dubuque women who were fired from their teaching jobs at a private school because they became pregnant outside of marriage. The series also includes materials related to the "call to conscience" campaign launched by Dubuque NOW in 1986 in response to attempts by the group Voices for Life to intimidate NOW members and disrupt NOW's local activities.

The Photographs series contains black and white photographs of local and national ERA rallies and marches, and other chapter-sponsored events. Several contact sheets and sheets of negatives are also included in the collection.

The Tamara Prenosil series includes, early active member and secretary of National Organization for Women (NOW) Dubuque, Tamara Prenosil's, personal notes and speeches as well as records of several NOW Dubuque events and issues. The series consists of mock ups for the NOW Dubuque newsletters, Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) materials, Media Watch documents, Just Kid Stuff, Take Back the Night, Bread and Roses, Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) awards, and 1982 NOW dinner event planning and advertising paraphernalia. Prenosil also amassed a large quantity of newspaper clippings, campaign brochures, and other flyers on women's issues such as welfare and women's equality, financial credit, rape, reproduction rights, abortion, the status of women, and gay and lesbian rights.


  • Creation: 1973-1995


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 Dubuque chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) was organized in late 1973 by a small group of women from the University of Dubuque and the surrounding community to improve and expand the role of women in society. The group supported the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and worked to keep abortion safe and legal, to eliminate sexist language and images in education, and to make communities safe for women.


2.30 Linear Feet

3 audiocassettes [AC309-AC311], Photographs in Box 3. boxes

Language of Materials



The group was formed in 1973. The purpose of the group was to improve and expand the role of women in society and it supported the Equal Rights Amendment, safe and legal abortion among other issues.

Method of Acquisition

The records (donor no. 308) were donated by Ruth Scharnau in 1995 and succeeding years. Tamara Prenosil donated additional records in 2013.

Existence and Location of Originals

Iowa Women's Archives Images

Related Materials

Ruth Scharnau papers (IWA): Ruth Scharnau was a founding member of the Dubuque NOW chapter.

Erin Barber and Kristen Rassbach, 1996; Sharon M. Lake, 2006; Jillian Phillips 2014.
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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)