Skip to main content

Merle Fleming papers

Identifier: IWA0268

  • Staff Only
  • Please navigate to collection organization to place requests.

Scope and Contents

The Merle Fleming papers date from 1947 to 2005 and measure 28 linear feet.

The Biographical Information series includes Fleming’s resumes and work history, as well as a copy of her obituary. Also included is a family tree. The newspaper clippings in this series refer to Fleming’s appointment as Assistant Attorney General.

The Education series includes information pertaining to Fleming’s time as a law student at the University of Iowa, as well as notes and writings related to her undergraduate and master’s course work.

The Assistant Attorney General series spans from 1980-1989. Included are briefs and opinions labeled by year as well as materials relating to specific issues and cases.

The Des Moines Strategic Planning Committee series contains material relating to Fleming’s time on the Committee. The series spans from 1995-1999 and the materials are arranged predominantly by year and by subject where possible.

The Equal Opportunity Consultants series contains information relating to the company Fleming founded in order to ensure that Iowa banks were able to comply with affirmative action regulations. The material spans from 1965-1992. The earliest material in the series concerns the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Much of this series is arranged alphabetically by bank name, with each folder referring to a different institution with which Fleming may have worked.

The Iowa Civil Rights Commission series contains materials spanning from 1963-1975. The series contains annual reports, budgets, and correspondence, as well as material pertaining to individual cases. Individual folders in the series contain information relating to specific issues, such as labor, merit pay, and the Iowa Domestic Student Exchange program. Also included are publications related to women in the labor force.

The League of Women Voters series spans from 1956-1998 and contains a wide range of materials including correspondence, campaign publications, and bills of the Iowa Legislature. A large portion of this series concerns the Shaff Plan, a proposal which called for the representation in the Senate to be based on population and representation in the House to be based on area. Material concerning the Shaff plan can be found in the forms of correspondence, newspaper clippings, and campaign publications.

The Subject Files series is arranged alphabetically by subject and contains materials on subjects such as the ACLU, women in the labor force, Fleming’s involvement in community service, and Fleming’s 1992 candidacy for the Iowa House. Also included are materials related to notable political figures such as Iowa Governor Harold Hughes and Tom Vilsack.

The Personal series encompasses a number of sub-series, including Correspondence, Unitarian Universalist Church, Writings, and Poetry. Included in this series are materials related to Fleming’s involvement in her church, sermons given by Fleming and others as well as church publications. Fleming wrote both non-fiction and poetry, and the two sub-series contain drafts of her work as well as correspondence with publishers.

The Artifacts series contains awards received by Fleming as well as publications such as the “Iowa Law Review” and “Lyrical Iowa.”

The Audiovisual series includes a recording of the 1990 Iowa Women's Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the World Health Organization Des Moines coverage of the 1993 flood.


  • Creation: 1947-2005


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

Merle Wilna Fleming was born in Iowa City, Iowa in 1926. Fleming majored in journalism at the University of Iowa. She was active in Democratic politics, serving as a board member for the Iowa City League of Women Voters and organizing the Johnson County Democratic Women's Club. Fleming was appointed to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in 1965, serving as chairperson from 1966-1968.

Following her appointment, Fleming founded her own business, Equal Opportunity Consultants, Inc., which helped Iowa banks comply with affirmative action regulations. Fleming returned to the University of Iowa in 1977, earning a Master's degree in Public Administration as well as a law degree. From 1980-1989 she served as Assistant Attorney General for the state of Iowa. She continued to practice law after leaving the Attorney General's office. Fleming was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1990 and ran for the Iowa House of Representatives in 1992. Fleming died in 2006.


28.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Merle Fleming served as Assistant Attorney General in the state of Iowa and ran for the Iowa House of Representatives.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor #372) were donated by Jerome F. Full in 2005-2007.

Sharon Lake, 2010; Laurel Rhame, 2015.
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)