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Maggie Tinsman papers

Identifier: IWA0348

Scope and Contents

The Maggie Tinsman papers date from 1977-1997 and measure 14.7 linear feet. The papers are arranged in five series: Biographical Information, Scott County Board of Supervisors, Organizations of County Officials, Iowa General Assembly, and Artifacts. The collection focuses on the activities of a regional woman politician of the late twentieth century and her interest in social welfare. The majority of the collection consists of topical files relating to Tinsman's career as a Scott County Supervisor, 1978-1989.

The Biographical information (1979-1997) series consists of resumes, newspaper clippings, political campaign brochures, and personal letters of recommendation.

The Scott County Board of Supervisors (1978-1993) series consists primarily of topical files relating to Maggie Tinsman's position as County Supervisor. Also included in this series are several plans and reports produced and/or used by the Scott County Board of Supervisors.

The Organizations of County Officials (1977-1988) series consists of three subseries: the Iowa Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations ( Iowa ACIR), the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC), and the National Association of Counties (NACO). The Iowa ACIR subseries is made up of topical files and reports issued by Iowa ACIR. The ISAC subseries include chronological files, topical files, Board of Directors' agendas, and manuals created by ISAC. The NACO subseries includes chronological files, general information on the organization, and a series of printed works entitled Local Elected Officials Handbook Series. This subseries also includes the records of Women Officials in the National Association of Counties (WON). The WON materials consist of chronological files, general information and newsletters.

The Iowa General Assembly (1990) series consists of the original results of a survey sent out by State Senator Maggie Tinsman in February 1990. The ten-question survey was designed to elicit residents' feeling on many budget-related issues.

The Artifacts (c. 1989) series includes two items: a political campaign pin which reads, "Maggie Tinsman Republican," and a poster which reads "Elect Maggie Tinsman Iowa Senate." The poster is housed in the map case.

Maggie Tinsman's thesis for her Master of Arts degree in social work from the University of Iowa is entitled, The Changing Role of the Middle Class Volunteer. It has been separately catalogued and is shelved in the Iowa Women's Archives printed works collection.


  • 1977-1997


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been retained by the donor.

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

Margaret Bruce Neir, the daughter of Francis E. and Elizabeth Lourie Neir, was born on July 14, 1936, in Moline, Illinois. She attended Moline public schools and then earned her B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1958. At college, she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Gamma Mu, and Mortar Board. Following her graduation, Margaret Neir lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, and worked as an airline steward for four months until her engagement, when company rules required her to quit.

On February 21, 1959, she married Robert Hovey Tinsman, Jr. The Tinsmans, known to everyone as Maggie and Hovey, began their life together in eastern Iowa, in the area known as the Quad Cities. Hovey Tinsman, trained as a chemical engineer, founded the Twin-State Engineering and Chemical Company. Maggie Tinsman's primary role in the early years of her marriage was that of wife and mother. The couple had three children, Hovey III, Heidi, and Bruce. Though Maggie Tinsman did not work outside the home, she became very involved in volunteering at the schools and in such areas as juvenile probation.

In 1974, Maggie Tinsman earned a Master of Arts degree in social work from the University of Iowa. Her thesis was entitled The Changing Role of the Middle Class Volunteer. She began doing more community service, working for the next three years with the Children and Youth Project, a division of the Scott County Department of Health. The majority of her work was related closely with social service agencies and nursing and hospital services. She also worked with United Way, and she originated the Women's Community Leadership Institute Project, which trained women as potential board members for government agencies. In 1979, Maggie Tinsman was named Iowa Social Worker of the Year.

In addition to her interest in social work, Maggie Tinsman was also active in politics. A loyal Republican, Maggie Tinsman acted as precinct Committee Person in Bettendorf, Iowa, as well as a delegate to several county and state conventions. In 1978, she was appointed to fill an unexpired term on the Scott County Board of Supervisors and was elected that same year to a four-year term. She kept her seat for more than ten years, relinquishing it only when she became a State Senator in 1989. As a County Supervisor, Maggie Tinsman was involved in several organizations of county officials. These included the Iowa Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, the National Association of Counties, Women Officials in the National Association of Counties, and the Iowa State Association of Counties. In 1983, the German Marshall Plan, a project spearheaded by Maggie Tinsman, was selected by the Reagan administration as the United States county government representative to the German-American Federalism Symposium.

As a State Senator, Maggie Tinsman has served on committees dealing with education, human resources, appropriations, the judiciary system, health and human rights, and local government. She has also been an active leader in Medicaid and welfare reform. In 1996, Maggie Tinsman, a pro-choice Republican, who labeled herself a "fiscal conservative and a social centrist," lost a bid for a seat in the United States Senate. (Biographical data taken chiefly from Maggie Tinsman's resume dated 8/97 and from "Margaret Neir Tinsman." Baraks, Gloria et al. Profiles in Leadership: Dynamic Men and Women of the Quad Cities. Rock Island, Illinois: Quest Publishing, 1981. 220-225.)


14.70 linear feet

Photographs in Box 6 boxes

Language of Materials



Bettendorf Republican who served on the Scott County Board of Supervisors and the Iowa State Senate.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 476) were donated by Maggie Tinsman in 1997 and subsequent years.
Mira Dougherty-Johnson, 2000; Lisa Mott, 2003.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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)