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PHASE 1 INTERVIEWS, 2019-2023

 Series

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Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

The We Were Here: Iowa's Women Politicians oral history collection dates from 2019-2023 and contains 10.6 GB of digital materials. This collection consists of oral history interviews with 63 women who have served or are currently serving in the Iowa legislature.

Series 1 consists of interviews from Phase 1 of the project, which was spearheaded by Jean Lloyd-Jones and the 50/50 in 2020 organization in collaboration with the University of Iowa Libraries. In this phase, many interviews were conducted with sitting legislators at the Capitol on January 14-15, 2020. Jean Lloyd-Jones conducted these interviews herself, while interviews with retired legislators took place in a variety of locations across Iowa and were conducted by Lloyd-Jones and by other members of the 50/50 in 2020 board, Maggie Tinsman, Doris Kelley, Courtney Greene, Christine Louscher, Melissa Gesing, Jane Teaford, and Sally Stutsman. Sara Tate was the videographer for most interviews in phases 1 and 2 of the project, though some interviews were recorded more informally, e.g. over Skype.

Phase 1 interviews are typically between 5 and 25 minutes long and are structured around a standard set of questions, which included prompts about interviewees’ motivations for seeking public office, major achievements and issues of interest, and campaign experiences. Other questions in this phase explored themes of gender and power in legislative service, querying interviewees about their relationships with other women legislators, opinions on male legislators’ treatment of women colleagues, and reflections on the impact women’s representation has on policymaking.

Series 2 consists of interviews conducted during Phase 2 of the oral history project. Beginning in late 2022, the project gradually transitioned the creation of a new IWA staff position, the Jean Lloyd-Jones and Michal Eynon-Lynch Women in Politics Archivist, a role intended to steward this project into the future and collect interviews with new women legislators. Phase 2 interviews were conducted beginning in 2022, though the interview protocol was not fully updated until 2023. Under that protocol, the Phase 2 interviews are generally longer than 25 minutes and structured by the individual biography of each interviewee rather than a questionnaire, though similar themes appear across both phases and some of the Phase 1 questions continue to appear in Phase 2 interviews. All Phase 2 interviews were conducted by Iowa Women's Archives staff.

Series 3 consists of tributes to prominent women legislators who passed away before Phase 1 of the oral history project began. These tributes were organized by Hard Won, Not Done project volunteers and written and narrated by other major figures in Iowa politics who had known the honorees personally. This series contains the audio recordings of these tributes, while video versions of these tributes are available on the project website.

The Hard Won, Not Done Oral History of Iowa Women Legislators is an accumulating collection. IWA staff solicit interviews with each new cohort of women elected to the legislature. Complete interviews are available as both audio files and transcripts. Video interviews are also collected, though the complete video interviews are not retained as part of this collection. Topical clips from the videos can be accessed via the project website, which also features a database of women in statewide and federal elected office.

Dates

  • Creation: 2019-2023

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research. Digital content may be made available upon request.

Extent

From the Collection: 10.6 Gigabytes

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

Contact:
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5068
319-335-5900 (Fax)