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Conlin, Roxanne Barton, 1944-



  • Existence: 1944-


Roxanne Barton Conlin, lawyer, feminist and civil justice activist, was the oldest of Marion W. and Alyce M. Barton's six children. Born on June 30, 1944 in Huron, South Dakota, Roxanne Barton and her family moved to Sioux City, Iowa, when she was four years old. She also lived in Clinton, Iowa, before moving to Des Moines in 1958. She graduated from high school after her junior year to attend Drake University in Des Moines. After receiving her B.A., Conlin earned a law degree from Drake University in 1966 and a master's degree in public administration in 1979, also from Drake. In 1964 Roxanne Barton married James Conlin, a real estate broker. They had four children, two of whom came to the Conlin family when they were teenagers.

Conlin worked as a lawyer in private practice from 1966 to 1967 before serving as Deputy Industrial Commissioner in Des Moines from 1967 to 1968. Conlin was an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Iowa for seven years (1969-1976), heading the Civil Rights Section of the Iowa Department of Justice. She also did anti-trust work in this position and handled several cases involving willful misconduct by public officials.

Conlin was appointed United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. In this position, she concentrated her efforts on the prosecution of white collar crime, fraud against the federal government and narcotics trafficking. She and her staff had great success in each of these areas. She was honored for her work with a special commendation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and received the United States Secret Service's Award for Outstanding Assistance. During her term, she was president of the Federal Executive Council and served on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys. Conlin also taught law at the University of Iowa from 1977 to 1979.

Conlin has been active in Democratic politics since 1960, serving in various positions including national committeewoman of the Iowa Young Democrats, vice-president of the Iowa Delegation to the Democratic Mid-term Convention in 1974 and on many committees for the state party convention. From 1981 to 1982, Roxanne Conlin ran unsuccessfully for governor of Iowa as the Democratic Party's candidate. Conlin also campaigned for Jimmy Carter, Tom Harkin, and Walter Mondale, and she served as the National Policy Chair for John Glenn's unsuccessful bid for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination.

Since the mid-1980s Roxanne Conlin has been involved in the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA), a professional litigators' organization with 65,000 members committed to "fostering a safer, more just society."" After serving on several ATLA committees, Conlin was elected parliamentarian (1988-1989), secretary (1989-1990), vice-president (1990-1991), president-elect (1991-1992) and ultimately, president (1992-1993), ATLA's first female president.

Conlin's community activism has included service on the boards of directors of the Iowa Shares Program, the River Hill Day Care Center in Des Moines, and the Polk County Rape and Sexual Assault Care Center. She also founded and was the first chair of the Iowa Women's Political Caucus.

Roxanne Conlin has received numerous awards and honors, including being named to the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1981. McCall's Magazine called her ""one of the forty-four women in America qualified for a cabinet position."" In 1974, she received the Iowa Civil Liberties Union's award for Outstanding Service to Civil Liberties and was named the Outstanding Young Woman of Iowa. She is listed in Who's Who in America.

Conlin was a tireless campaigner and a relentless advocate for her beliefs; she made countless speeches and participated in an unending stream of conferences. Her output was truly remarkable, and her papers testify to her ability to initiate, manage, and lead political change within the democratic process. Conlin's vibrancy is palpable in this extraordinary collection that documents her career.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Gerald Bogan Papers

Identifier: MsC0352

Public affairs consultant. Subject files and correspondence relating to his activities inIowa politics, elections, and the Republican Party. Topics include annual legislative sessions, reapportionment, Iowans for Right to Work, and Iowa Good Roads Association.

Dates: 1947-1986; Majority of material found within 1962-1976

Margaret Davis Collison papers

Identifier: IWA0083

Member of the Iowa Board of Regents who was also active in Roxanne Conlin's gubernatorial campaign of 1982.

Dates: 1937-1990

Roxanne Barton Conlin papers

Identifier: IWA0005

Attorney and political activist who co-founded the Iowa Women's Political Caucus and was appointed Federal Prosecutor in 1977.

Dates: 1969-1998

Additional filters:

20th century 2
Archives (groupings) 2
Iowa 2
Personal papers 2
Photographs 2