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Iowa Press Women records

Identifier: IWA0016

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Scope and Contents

The Iowa Press Women, Inc. (IPW) records measure 4 linear feet and date from 1933 to 2001. The collection is divided into five series: Iowa Press Women, Inc., National Federation of Press Women, National League of American Pen Women and Branches, Press Women's Clubs in other states, and Photographs.

The Iowa Press Women, Inc. series (1933-1996), makes up the bulk of this collection and includes the constitution, bylaws and articles of incorporation, correspondence (including letters of former presidents of IPW), financial records, and membership records. Three histories of IPW, written in 1980, 1987, and 1991 are included in this series. The membership records contain samples of applicants' work and biographical information, as well as membership lists from 1938 to 1974. The minutes and newsletters document the organization's activities and growth, and illustrate the role women played in the press from the 1930s to the early 1970s. The scrapbooks were taken from three-ring binders and their original order was preserved.

The National Federation of Press Women series (1938-2001) includes information on conventions, meetings, and projects, and a transcript of an oral history interview with Iowan Lois Jacobs, who served as president of the National Federation of Press Women from 1985 to 1987. Material in the National League of American Pen Women and Branches series (1940-1948), includes a 1940s roster of national members of the American Pen Women, and copies of The Pen Woman published in 1945 and 1948. The Press Women's Clubs in other states series (1937-1961) is comprised of bylaws and constitutions, correspondence, newspaper clippings and copies of club newsletters from Illinois and Missouri.  The Photographs series (1954-1993) contains photographs of members of Iowa Press Women, Inc. at their meetings. Some of the photographs are labeled on the back.


  • Creation: 1933-2001


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

Iowa Press Women, Inc. (IPW) was established to foster communication among, and promote the interests of, women journalists. The preliminary organizational meeting of what was to become IPW was held in April 1937. Ella Taylor, who began her work with the Traer, Iowa Star-Clipper in 1888, and who at the time was reputed to be the oldest active woman columnist in the state of Iowa, initiated the meeting. Invitations were sent out to those who were already affiliated with the National Federation of Press Women. Seven women attended. In January 1939, a second meeting was called in Des Moines, Iowa. Preliminary drafts of a constitution and bylaws were discussed and adopted on February 11, 1939. The purpose of the IPW was "to provide a means of contact between women writers, to foster mutual improvement through association, to make possible the expression of a common voice in matters of interest to women, to promote the highest ideals of American journalism, and to cooperate with the National Federation of Press Women and affiliates." The majority of the members at this time were editors or associate editors of their publications. Seventy-two members paid the one dollar entrance fee prior to the January 1939 meeting. The intent of the founders was to limit the membership strictly to newspaper women. On May 6, 1939, the IPW held its formal christening ceremony in Ames, Iowa. In 1941 the first issue of the group's newsletter, Iowa Press Women, was published and the "little sister" program was initiated to allow girls to join. Iowa Press Women incorporated in 1943 and membership continued to grow; by 1949 there were 101 members. In 1967 a new newsletter, The Challenger, was inaugurated. Membership fluctuated throughout the years, with 84 members in 1969, 112 members in 1976, and 82 members in 1989. Noteworthy events of IPW included lobbying for the Equal Rights Amendment in 1953, establishing a scholarship fund for an outstanding woman in journalism in 1954, and raising the requirements for teaching journalism in Iowa high schools in 1975.


4.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Local affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women.

Method of Acquisition

The records (donor no. 17) were donated by Iowa Press Women, Inc. in 1973 and succeeding years; additional records were donated by Mary Lou Hinrichsen beginning in 2002.

Related Materials

Wilma Belden Collins papers (IWA):  This collection contains photographs and articles concerning Collins' involvement in Iowa Press Women and the National Federation of Press Women.   Dorothy Place papers (IWA):  Place was the author of “History of Iowa Press Women, Inc. 1987-1991.”

Robert J. Jett, 1993; Special Collections staff, 1996; and Fiona McDougall, 2006. [IowaPressWomen.doc]
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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)