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Davis, Laura Hutchison, 1916-1993



  • Existence: 1916 - 1993


Laura Francis Hutchison Davis, social worker and community volunteer, was born in Webster County, Iowa, on October 26, 1916, one of eleven children. Her formal education began in 1922 in a rural public school and ended when she became the first graduate of the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) School of Social Work in 1950. In the field of social work, Davis held positions as case worker, case consultant, instructor and program planner.

Laura Hutchison received her undergraduate education at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, earning her bachelor's degree in 1938 before starting to work for the Linn County Relief Department. She married Lloyd L. Davis, a Linn County road engineer, in 1942. They had no children. As the first child welfare worker in the county in 1943, she established daycare centers for mothers employed in war plants during World War II.

President Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty brought a change in how assistance to the needy was provided, including the creation of community action programs that encouraged low-wage earners to become involved in the effort to end economic hardship. Davis began to work as a case consultant for the Linn Economic Action Project (LEAP) in 1965. She was promoted to program planner in 1968 when LEAP merged with the Johnson County Community Action Program and was renamed the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP).

Volunteer service characterized Davis's contribution to others. She served on the Board of Directors of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) (1962-1965), United Community Service (1963-1964), the Geneva Corporation and Foundation (1965-1979) and the Family Services Agency (1959-1965), all in Cedar Rapids. On the state level Davis served on several Governor's commissions, most notably the Iowa Commission for Senior Citizens (1960-1962). Davis chaired the Social Services Committee of this commission and was a delegate to the 1961 White House Conference on Aging.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Laura F. Hutchison Davis papers

Identifier: IWA0075

Social worker in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from the 1930s though the 1960s.

Dates: 1869-1993