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Nancylee Ziese papers

Identifier: IWA1289

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Scope and Contents

The Nancylee Ziese papers date from 1973 to 2017 and measure 4.5 linear feet in 11 boxes. The papers are arranged in three series: Community Outreach, Organizations, and ERA IOWA 1992. The bulk of the collection is made up of work Ziese did with various advocacy and women’s organizations in Iowa, including ERA IOWA.

The Community Outreach series (1977-2017) contains materials surrounding early work Ziese did within her community in Sioux City and Cedar Rapids as well as correspondence relating to donations she had made to non-profit organizations and limited personal correspondence.

The Organizations series (1973-2006) consist of pamphlets, newsletters, notes, and photographs from events and organizations Ziese was a member of or directed. These organizations include Iowa Women’s Political Caucus, Iowa Women’s Foundation, Iowa Girls’ Leadership Camp, Professional Women’s Network, League of Women Voters, and more.

The ERA IOWA 1992 series (1976-2009) covers Ziese’s efforts to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified in the state of Iowa. This series includes pamphlets, resources, and advertisements produced by pro-ERA groups. The Steering Committee sub-series has schedules, agendas, and event outlines from the ERA IOWA 1992 Steering Committee for which Nancylee Ziese was the Secretary. The sub-series Newspapers holds numerous articles pertaining to the fight for the ERA in Iowa broken down by decade.


  • Creation: 1973 - 2017


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

Nancylee Ziese was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on July 26, 1938, to Gale and Juanita Graham Hanson. Ziese attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and first became active in politics. During her time in Sioux City, she was a staunch member of the Republican Party and participated in local organizing efforts. Ziese received a master’s in Social Work from the University of Iowa and worked towards earning a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration but did not receive it.

By the late 1970s, Ziese, along with many of her fellow Iowa Republican women, began to feel alienated and outcast by the party’s move towards pro-life and anti-Equal Rights Amendment rhetoric. Ziese would keep correspondence with former Republican Party Chairperson Mary Louise Smith. Both felt conflicted with their allegiance to the party at that time. Ziese called attention to the principle of equality throughout her life, becoming an outspoken advocate for the pro-choice and women’s movements as well as ERA ratification in Iowa throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Ziese continued to support pro-choice Republican women candidates such as Iowa State Senator Maggie Tinsman.

Ziese was active in Iowa Girls’ Leadership Camp, Linn County Women’s Equality Day, and other women’s organizations. She spent much of her professional career working as an adoption specialist and an advocate for children. She also served as the Executive Director of the Professional Women’s Network, the President of the Iowa Women’s Political Caucus, the Secretary of ERA IOWA 1992, and as a member of more than thirty Boards of Directors.

Ziese would continue to support social issues for the remainder of her life, including children’s right to safety, the ratification of the ERA, and breast cancer awareness. She would often write editorials for the Cedar Rapids Gazette backing these various causes. Nancylee Ziese died on February 24, 2017, in Hiawatha, Iowa.


4.5 Linear Feet (Photographs in boxes 2 and 3; 1 audiocassette [AC1968]; 2 DVDs [d0574] and [d0575]; 3 videocassettes [V1006] – [V1008]; Artifacts in box 11.)

Language of Materials



Cedar Rapids advocate for women, children, and the Equal Rights Amendment.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1591) were donated by Nancy Lowenberg in 2019.

Related Materials

ERA IOWA 1992 records – IWA0305, Iowa ERA Coalition records – IWA0011, Iowa Women Against the Equal Rights Amendment records – IWA0018, Iowa Women’s Political Caucus records – IWA0019, Maggie Tinsman papers – IWA0348, Mary Louise Smith papers – IWA0027

Emma Barton-Norris
Language of description
Script of description

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)