This page contains a guide to the Iowa Women's Archives' collections related to political organizations. Please use the links below to navigate between sections.
Many organizational records of political groups are contained within the personal papers of individuals associated with those groups. We have included the most relevant of those collections here. For a more complete list of personal papers with political relevance, please see the “Activists & Organizers” tab. Most of the activists listed here in connection with their organization/s are also listed there with additional individual context. Click the links below to jump to a category of political organizations.
Des Moines Birthplace. Records, 1979-2000. 4.5 linear feet. Iowa’s first licensed non-hospital birth center providing certified nurse midwife (CNM) obstetric care and gynecological exams. The Birthplace focused on creating a home-like environment for childbirth. Collection includes founding documents, newsletters, procedure manuals, patient evaluations, and albums of infants born at the Birthplace. Some materials related to patients are restricted.
Emma Goldman Clinic (EGC). Records, 1971-2013. 24 linear feet. The first outpatient abortion clinic in Iowa and the first feminist health clinic in the Midwest. The extensive collection includes materials from anti-abortion groups and artifacts such as birth control devices and an EGC-designed t-shirt. The Administration series contains materials on consideration of a proposed expansion of the clinic into the Quad Cities area in the mid-1990s, Iowa's parental notification law, and a lawsuit filed by EGC against Operation Rescue.
March for Women’s Lives, Iowa Delegation. Records, 2004. 2.5 linear inches. Documents fundraising efforts to send an Iowa City delegation to a Washington, D.C. march protesting anti-abortion policies of the Bush administration.
National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) of Iowa. Records, 1990-2001. 1 linear foot. Iowa chapter of the national advocacy organization; collection documents the group’s work successfully opposing a parental notification bill in 1993, organizing march delegations and rallies, campaigning for Tom Harkin in 1990, and raising awareness of violence against abortion providers.
Reproductive Rights Coalition of Iowa City. Records, 1989-1991. 5 linear inches. Group formed to resist an effort by the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue to shut down an Iowa City abortion clinic; this small collection includes minutes, newsletters, and photographs of rallies.
Hornstein, Frances “Francie” (1947-). Papers, 1972-1999. 1.25 linear feet. Collection contains some records of the Federation of Feminist Women’s Health Centers, as well as Self-Help Clinic One, a woman’s health center co-directed by Hornstein.
Hodne, Carol (1953-). Papers, 1921-2005. 1.5 linear feet. The Women’s Health series contains approx. 3 linear inches of minutes, newsletters, and other material on the Women’s Community Health Center in Ames, Iowa.
Futrell, Jo (1957-). Papers, 1973-1997. 1.5 linear feet. Collection consists of administrative records, correspondence, and photographs related to the operation of Common Lives, Lesbian Lives, as well as several other lesbian publications.
Gilbert, Sofia. Papers, 2021. 0.25 linear inches. Undergraduate honors thesis about Common Lives, Lesbian Lives.
Governor Ray’s Commission on the Status of Women. Records, 1964-2003 (bulk 1964-1975). 7.5 linear inches. Organization charged to study and advise on women’s issues; met from 1970-1972 until the legislature made the body statutory. Later material consists of an oral history of the commission and its members.
Iowa City Feminist Reunion 2017. Records, 1971-2017. 2 linear feet. Collection contains some records of reunion activities as well as records of the Iowa City feminist milieu (donated at the reunion). These include: materials related to Grace & Rubies women’s restaurant, the Plainswoman bookstore, Common Lives, Lesbian Lives, the Emma Goldman Clinic, and other Iowa City feminist institutions; autobiographical writings and oral history interviews; Iowa City Press Women publications; and photographs of events such as a Delta Psi Kappa (DYKE) rush party and the Ladies Against Women protest of a Phyllis Schlafly speech.
Iowa City Women’s Press (ICWP). Records, 1973-1985. 2.25 linear feet. Feminist publishing organization founded in Iowa City in 1973. The Printed Works series contain many feminist texts. In addition to documentation of the work of the ICWP, the Administration series contains posters from the Women’s Coffeehouse and discussion in the minutes of issues related to the Lesbian Alliance, both related feminist projects taking place in Iowa City.
Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA). Records, 1972-1999. 3 linear feet. Organization formed in 1981 to coordinate services and consolidate fundraising for a network of rape crisis centers. Advocated for policy changes related to sexual assault.
Iowa Commission on the Status of Women (ICSW). Records, 1977- 2013. 1.1 linear feet. This collection includes histories of the ICSW, a directory of Iowa women’s organizations active in 1977, a 1984 report on feminization of poverty in the state, and essays submitted to an annual women’s history contest for grades 6-9 sponsored by the ICSW.
Geadelmann, Patricia. Papers, 1965-2006. 3.1 linear feet. Collection includes approx. 1.4 linear feet of ICSW material, including minutes, correspondence, and reports; Geadelmann was chair of the Commission, 1972-1988.
Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame (IWHF). Records, 1975-2010. 2 linear feet. Established by the ICSW, the IWHF has honored a selection of Iowa women annually since 1975; collection primarily consists of nomination packets which include biographical and resume information on many prominent Iowa women.
National Organization for Women (NOW), Iowa. Records, 1971-1989. 5 linear feet. Organization founded in 1966 by, among others, Iowa labor leader Betty Talkington that worked to advance women’s rights through legal action and political mobilization. The NOW Iowa collection documents the actions of the Iowa NOW executive committee and communications, resources, and conferences of the national organization. It also contains newsletters from various local chapters, including Grinnell and Cedar Rapids.
NOW, Ames. Records, 1973-1986. 7 linear inches. Chapter activities documented in this collection include a campaign to add sexual orientation, age, and marital status to the municipal anti-discrimination ordinance; a women’s history poster contest for schoolchildren; and formation of consciousness-raising groups.
NOW, Des Moines. Records, 1971-1987 (bulk 1972-1975). 2.5 linear inches. Charter members of this chapter include Lousie Noun, Virginia Watkins, Sally Hacker (later a national NOW board member), and Betty Talkington. This small collection includes newsletters, several brief chapter histories, and two reports on sexism at Iowa State University.
NOW, Dubuque. Records, 1973-1995. 2.3 linear feet. Notable inclusions in this collection include records of NOW Dubuque’s legal support for two local teachers fired after becoming pregnant while unmarried, and documentation of a 1985 incident in which a Dubuque resident erected an anti-abortion billboard which named individual NOW Dubuque officers.
NOW, Johnson County-Iowa City. Records, 1977-1997. 6 linear feet. Chapter activities documented in this collection include coordinating support for Linda Eaton in her anti-discrimination lawsuit against Iowa City and electoral organizing around Democratic conventions and the Iowa caucuses.
Conlin, Roxanne Barton (1944-). Papers, 1969-1998. 45 linear feet. Conlin served as the president and general counsel of NOW’s legal defense and education fund, and the Political series of this collection contains approx. 2.8 linear feet of correspondence, minutes, and collected publications related to that role.
Hanley, Sarah (1931-). Papers, 1900-2008. 18.7 linear feet. The 1 linear inch of Cedar Rapids Women’s Caucus material in the Women’s Movement series contains information on that organization, which later became a chapter of NOW as well as national NOW material such as a “Barefoot and Pregnant” award members were encouraged to send to companies running sexist advertisements.
Kilbourn, Kathy (1944-). Papers, 1936-1992. 10 linear inches. The Cedar Rapids NOW series contains approx. 1.5 linear inches of material, including copies of that chapter’s newsletter, Lilith Speaks, from 1988-1992; event posters; national NOW materials; and a collection of anti-abortion pamphlets.
Noun, Louise Rosenfield (1908-2002). Papers, 1926-2002. 13 linear feet. The Women’s Organizations and Activities series contains approx. 1.5 linear inches of material on NOW Des Moines.
Scharnau, Ruth (1933-). Papers, 1973-2013. 5.6 linear feet. Issues & Activities series contains approx. 4 linear inches of material on NOW’s national organization and Cedar Rapids chapter from 1971-1980.
Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP). Records, 1971-2010. 4.5 linear feet. Group established in 1973 to provide counseling, support groups, and a 24-hour crisis support line for victims of sexual assault, as well as participating in coalitions and task forces addressing sexual violence.
Redwing Workers Association. Records, 1972-1976. 0.25 linear inches. This collection consists of one brief history of a study group which explored Marxist-Leninist, Maoist, and anarchist theories in association with collective living projects, and eventually split into two groups, one libertarian and one socialist-feminist in orientation.
Ruby’s Pearl. Records, 2001-2005. 10 linear inches. Sex shop in Iowa City that also served as a community hub for various feminist and LGBTQ+ events.
Second Wave Feminism Periodicals. Collection, 1950-2000. 12.5 linear feet. Periodicals originally housed in the Sojourner Truth Library of the Women’s Resource and Action Center on the University of Iowa campus. Primarily consists of feminist newsletters from the 1970s and 1980s, as well as reports by social welfare agencies and other aligned organizations, most of them headquartered in the Midwest.
Women's Equity Action League (WEAL), Iowa Division. Records, 1972-1977. 5 linear inches. Feminist organization formed as a moderate or conservative alternative to NOW; the Iowa chapter worked to support the filing of civil rights complaints in several school districts, organize a 1975 conference on women’s financial issues, and arrange testimony before the General Assembly on sexism in estate tax policy. This small collection includes minutes, membership lists, and material on national and local WEAL activities.
Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC). Records, 1960-2006. 16 linear feet. Women’s Center at the University of Iowa which grew out of organizing by the Women’s Liberation Front group in 1970; provided space for community meetings and events, a library, and referrals to social services. Collection includes an oral history project conducted by WRAC, newsletters, event ephemera, and records of affiliated groups such as the Association of Student Women and the Women’s Coffeehouse, a woman-only event space.
Young Women’s Resource Center (YWRC). Records, 1975-2015. 5 linear inches. Organization providing free counseling to young women in Des Moines from a feminist viewpoint, as well as community engagement programs on sexual education, intimate partner violence, and teen pregnancy. Collection includes several copies of a zine composed by YWRC program participants.
Jack, Jill (1957-). Papers, 1967-2006. 5 linear inches. Jack was a longtime leader of Iowa City’s Lesbian Alliance; collection contains records of several related political organizations in Iowa City, including calls for submissions from the Iowa City Women’s Press, history and policies of the Women’s Coffeehouse, and bylaws, guidelines, and minutes from a board meeting of the Grace and Rubies women’s restaurant.
Rabenold, Jo. Papers, 1965-1983. 3.75 linear feet. Collection contains clippings, publications, ephemera, and some minutes related to various Iowa City feminist organizations, including the Emma Goldman Clinic, the Gay Liberation Front, the Lesbian Alliance (including a significant run of Better Homes and Dykes, the group’s newsletter), the Women's Coffeehouse, RVAP, and WRAC.
Redfern, Susan. Papers, 1975-1986. 5 linear inches. This collection contains a small amount of records for several Iowa City feminist organizations, including WRAC and NOW newsletters, materials related to the Women’s Coffeehouse, and a contraceptive sponge kit from the Emma Goldman Clinic.
Silander, Aaron (1950-). Papers, 1973-2004. 2 linear inches. Iowa City feminist whose collection contains notes from early organizational meetings of the Iowa City Women’s Press, an academic paper on Press history, and various Press publications.
Coggeshall, Mary Jane (1836-1911). Artifacts, 1896-1909. Small collection contains flags and coins produced by suffragist organizations and also includes compiled biographical material on Coggeshall, a prominent leader in the Iowa movement for women’s suffrage.
Democratic Activists Women’s Network, District 1. Records, 1981-2009. 2.5 linear feet. Organization created to recruit, educate and elect Democratic women to public office in Iowa, modeled after EMILY’s List. Collection includes materials from the Center for the American Woman and Politics (CAWP) Forum for women legislators.
Iowa Women's Political Caucus. Records, 1972-1997. 13.5 linear feet. Iowa chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus, a bipartisan organization promoting women's political education and participation in politics. Founded by Roxanne Conlin in 1973. Collection contains several membership polls and questionnaires, illustrating members’ opinions, and documentation of 34 county-level caucuses, most especially Polk and Black Hawk counties.
Polk County Womens Political Caucus (PCWPC). Records, 1974-1987. 8 linear inches. Collection includes records of the caucus’ candidate questionnaires and endorsement decisions.
Black Hawk County Women’s Political Caucus (BHCWPC). Records, 1973-1980. 5 linear inches. Small collection of mostly financial records.
Clinton County Women’s Political Caucus (CCWPC). Records, 1973-1977. 1.5 linear inches. Small collection that includes a chapter history and some material on the caucus’ collaboration with Clinton Cablevision to produce 6 TV programs.
Anderson, Margaret ("Peg") (1928-). Papers, 1973-1978. 1 linear foot. Collection contains approx. 8 linear inches of material from Anderson’s time as IWPC president, 1975-1977.
Bridenstine, Jeanne (1923-2019). Papers, 1962-2014. 2 linear feet. The Women in Politics series contains records of the first statewide meeting of the Iowa Women’s Political Caucus in 1973.
Conlin, Roxanne Barton (1944-). Papers, 1969-1998. 45 linear feet. Cofounder of the Iowa Women’s Political Caucus; collection contains approx. 10 linear inches of material on both the Iowa chapter and the National Women’s Political Caucus.
Eggers, Lolly (1929-2021). Papers, 1.5 linear feet. Women’s Rights Activism series contains a small amount of material on the Johnson County Women’s Political Caucus, including by-laws, an organizing manual, affirmative action plans for local caucus chapters, newsletters, and membership lists.
Murphy, Marilyn (1921-2012). Papers, 1973-2010. 12 linear feet. Collection contains approx. 5 linear inches of records of the Siouxland Women’s Political Caucus.
Scharnau, Ruth (1933-). Papers, 1973-2013. 5.6 linear feet. Issues & Activities series contains a small amount of material on the Dubuque Area Women’s Political Caucus.
League of Women Voters of Iowa (LWV). Records, 1907-2001. 101.5 linear feet. Iowa branch (founded 1920) of a nonpartisan organization founded by suffragists to provide civic education for women upon receiving the right to vote. This collection documents many areas of the LWV’s work, including candidate debates, constitutional reform, and environmental advocacy, and includes an extensive audiovisual collection featuring recordings of speeches, broadcasts, and conference presentations, educational films, and oral history interviews with members. State and local chapter newsletters often provide a record of issues salient in Iowa politics over time, ranging from municipal debates over garbage collection or school finance to statewide topics including reapportionment, tax policy, and criminal justice.
LWV, Cedar Rapids-Marion. Records, 1937-2010, 27 linear feet. Includes many histories of the chapter, such as memoirs of members.
LWV, Johnson County. Records, 1920-2009. 14 linear feet. Includes some records of a monthly radio broadcast the group produced in the 1940s and 1950s.
LWV, Metropolitan Des Moines. Records, 1936-1995. 10 linear feet. Features particularly robust administrative records detailing the chapter’s day-to-day activities, as well as documentation of its Speakers Bureau, which served as a community clearinghouse for expert lecturers on a variety of topics.
LWV, Mount Verson-Lisbon. Records, 1948-1996. 3 linear feet. Includes several community surveys and studies on issues such as compliance with Title IX and open records laws and residents’ views on recreational offerings and garbage services.
LWV, Muscatine. Records, 1943-2000. 5.25 linear feet. Collection includes photographs, scrapbooks, extensive subject files, and artifacts such as a “Leagueopoly” board game. Topics include ambulance service, housing, environmental issues, and educational resources for the children of migrant workers.
LWV, Sioux City. Records, 1978-1993. 2.5 linear inches. Small collection including sets of clippings on urban renewal and municipal charter issues.
Adams, Janet (1937-). 1980-2010. Papers, 5.2 linear feet. President of the Iowa LWV, 1983-1985. League of Women Voters series (approx. 1.1 linear feet, 1980-2006) contains information on the 1984 Iowa caucuses and the 1982 Branstad/Conlin gubernatorial debate; the Correspondence series also contains approx. 2 linear inches of LWV material.
Bucksbaum, Carolyn “Kay” (1929-). Papers, 1949-1998. 2 linear feet. Lifelong member of the LWV. League of Women Voters series (approx. 7.5 linear inches) contains information about the League’s successful 1949 effort to change Des Moines' system of city government from a commissioner to a city manager model.
Costantino, Amako “A. Mori” (1924-2020). Papers, 1944-2012. 20 linear feet. The League of Women Voters series contains approx. 9 linear inches documenting Costantino’s work with the League of Women Voters of Johnson County, while the Iowa City Commission on Human Rights (ICCHR) series contains approx. 1 linear foot of records of a fair housing survey which the LWV collaborated on.
Eggers, Lolly (1929-2021). Papers, 1.5 linear feet. League of Women Voters series (approx. 2.5 linear inches, 1963-1966) documents the development and passage of a fair housing ordinance in Iowa City in 1964.
Fleming, Merle (1926-2006). Papers, 1947-2005. 28 linear feet. Board member for Johnson County LWV. The League of Women Voters series (approx. 2.75 linear feet, 1956-1998) contains extensive documentation of the Shaff Plan, a proposed reapportionment amendment rejected by Iowa voters in 1963.
Lloyd-Jones, Jean. (1929-). Papers, 1964-2014. 12.5 linear feet. President of the Iowa LWV, 1971-1974. The League of Women Voters Series (approx. 3 linear inches, 1964-1978) documents the LWV’s Juvenile Justice Project, 1975-1976, and the 1972 reapportionment lawsuit in which the League was a plaintiff.
Novick, Naomi (1932-). Papers, 1922-2016. 3.75 linear feet. The League of Women Voters section (approx. 1.67 linear feet, 1922-2016) of the Community Involvement series contains collected historical and recent material on League activities.
Stroud, Katherine (1913-1996). Papers, 1940-2001. 4 linear inches. President, League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Des Moines, ca. 1949-1951. The Des Moines City Manager Plan series (approx. 1 linear inch, 1949-1952) documents the League’s successful campaign to move Des Moines to a city manager system of municipal government.
ERA Iowa 1992. Records, 1980-1993 (bulk 1991-1992). 7.5 linear inches. Campaign initiated in Des Moines in 1991 to promote passage of the Iowa ERA in 1992.
Governor Ray’s Commission on the Status of Women. Records, 1964-2003 (bulk 1969-1973). 7.5 linear inches. Organization formed to study and promote advancement of women’s equality in Iowa; contains a small amount of material documenting the early years of the campaign for a federal ERA.
Iowa ERA Coalition. Records, 1916, 1972-1980 (bulk 1978-1980). 5.5 linear feet. Organization composed of over 50 member groups, formed in 1978 to promote passage of the Iowa ERA in 1980. Collection contains audio recordings of pro-ERA radio announcements.
Iowa Women Against the Equal Rights Amendment (IWAERA). Records, 1972-1980. 2 linear inches. Organization formed in 1972 to promote recission of Iowa’s ratification of the federal ERA, which later worked to oppose passage of the 1980 Iowa ERA as well. Includes two 35mm anti-ERA films.
Iowa Women's Equality Campaign (IWEC). Records, 1975-1992 (bulk 1992). 2.5 linear inches. Organization formed in 1992 to work for passage of the Iowa ERA.
IWPC. Records, 1972-1999. 13.5 linear feet. The 1991 and 1992-1997 folders of the Conventions & Conferences series, as well as the Other Organizations series, contain approx. 1 linear inch of Iowa ERA material from 1991-1992. The Topical Files series contains approx. 1 linear inch of material on the federal and Iowa ERA campaigns, 1972-1980.
Johnson County ERA Coalition. Records, 1984-1993 (bulk 1992-1993). 7.5 linear inches. Campaign organized in Iowa City in 1992 to promote passage of the Iowa ERA.
LWV, Iowa. Records, 1917-2001. 101.5 linear feet. Voter Service and Topical Files series contain approx. 1 linear foot material on the federal and both Iowa ERA campaigns from 1973-1992.
LWV, Johnson County. Records, 1972-1999. 14 linear feet. The 1989 accession series contains less than 1 linear inch of material on the federal ERA, 1977-1980.
NOW, Ames. Records, 1973-1986. 7 linear inches. The Political Activities and the National Organization of Women series contain approx. 2 linear inches of both federal and state ERA material, 1977-1982, including an analysis of polling on the 1980 Iowa ERA.
NOW, Dubuque. Records, 1973-1995. 2.3 linear feet. The Issues series contains approx. 1 linear inch of material, mostly on the federal ERA ratification campaign, and the Photographs series contains approx. 3 linear inches of photographs of local and national ERA rallies.
NOW, Johnson County-Iowa City. Records, 1977-1997. 6 linear feet. The bulk of this collection deals with the Iowa City NOW chapter’s efforts to support ratification of the federal ERA and passage of the Iowa ERA in 1980; materials appear in the Fundraising, Political Activities, Topical Files, Photographs, and Scrapbooks series.
Anderson, Margaret ("Peg") (1928-). Papers, 1973-1978. 1 linear foot. International Women’s Year series contains approx. 1 linear inch of ERA material from the 1977 National Women’s Conference.
Conlin, Roxanne Barton (1944-). Papers, 1969-1998. 45 linear feet. Politics series contains approx. 10 linear inches of ERA material from 1972-1980.
Doderer, Minnette (1923-2005). Papers, 1944-2005. General series of Accession 1 contains approx. 10 linear inches of ERA material from 1972-1982.
Hannon, Beverly (1932-). Papers, 1968-2015. 16 linear feet. Legislative series contains approx. 1 linear inch of ERA material, and a few other ERA materials can be found in the Photographs series.
Kilbourn, Kathy (1944-). Papers, 1936-1992. 10 linear inches. ERA Vote series contains approx. 4 linear inches of material on the 1992 vote on an Iowa ERA, and the Artifacts series contains a pro-ERA tote bag.
Smith, Mary Louise (1914-1997). Papers, 1812-1997 (bulk 1960-1997). 77 linear feet. The Republican National Committee Alpha-Numeric Series and Subject Files, Correspondence, and Nonpartisan Women’s Organizations series contain approx. 4 linear inches of material on federal and Iowa ERA campaigns, including letters from opponents of the ERA.
Spencer, Lonabelle Kaplan (1925-2011). Papers, 1931-2007. 29.75 linear feet. Spencer served as the American Association of University Women’s representative on the Iowa ERA Coalition. Several series, especially the Equal Rights Amendment series, contain approx. 5.3 linear feet of material of ERA material, mainly documenting the 1980 Iowa amendment but with some federal ratification materials as well. The Artifacts series includes a significant amount of ERA ephemera such as t-shirts, bandannas, and a balloon. That series also contains Spencer’s card catalog, which includes an ERA lobbying section recording every Iowa legislator’s support or opposition to the 1980 state ERA via color-coded stickers and notes.
Ziese, Nancylee (1938-1917). Papers, 1972-2017. 4.5 linear feet. Collection contains approx. 1.4 linear feet of material on the 1992 Iowa ERA campaign in Iowa, including steering committee minutes and agenda and a clippings file on various ERA topics from the 1970s through the 2000s.
Migrant Action Program (MAP). Organization established in the late 1960s that provided childcare, educational services, job training, food, and medical assistance to the migrant worker community in Mason City.
Sandage, Shirley (1927-2012). Papers, 1927-2012 (bulk 1964-1998). 7.25 linear feet. Collection primarily documents Sandage’s role as a founding member of the Migrant Action Program.
Muscatine Migrant Committee (MMC). Records, 1962-2005. 5 linear feet. Organization established in 1958 to assist agricultural laborers and their families in the Muscatine area. Documented living conditions and worked for protective legislation; also operated a day care center, health service, educational programs, and a Spanish-language radio station. Collection contains papers of MMC activists Juan and Marta Cadena and materials from related organizations in Iowa and across the United States.
Muñoz, Sister Irene (1936-). Papers, 1973, 2006. 0.25 linear inches. Small collection consisting of a photocopy of a 1973 interview with Muñoz about her trip to China and a 2006 article about her work with migrant communities.
Muñoz, Sister Maria Luisa ("Molly") (1937-). Papers, 1972-2006. 0.25 linear inches. Small collection of mostly photocopied materials including correspondence, clippings, and programs related to the Muñoz sisters’ work with the MMC health program. Includes a copy of Molly Muñoz’s 1978 arrest record.
Terronez, Mary (1918-2009). Papers, 1936-2018. 5 linear inches. Collection contains a small amount of material on Terronez’s work with the MMC.
Mujeres Latinas Oral History Project. 2003-2017. 2.5 linear feet. Oral history collection featuring interviews with many members of Iowa LULAC chapters, including: Ernest and Estefanía Rodriguez, Henry and Lucy Vargas, and Mary Terronez; and with MMC activists such as Sr. Irene Muñoz and the Cadena family.
Farm Safety 4 Just Kids. Records, 1990-1998. 3 linear inches. Organization dedicated to educating children on safe handling of farm equipment, founded by Marilyn Adams following the death of her son in a gravity wagon accident in 1986.
Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN). Records, 1994-2011. 8.5 linear feet. Organization formed to connect and amplify the voices of women farmers. The collection contains an extensive run of WFAN newsletters and an email listserv, which provide an overview of issues in sustainable agriculture, feminism, and the environmental movement during this period.
Mothers for Natural Law. Records, 1998-2001. 1 linear inch. Small collection documenting Robin and Laura Ticciati’s campaign against genetically modified foods (GMOs).
Iowa Porkettes. Records, 1964-1996. 19.2 linear feet. Women’s auxiliary of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, which engaged in various lobbying and pork promotional efforts, including the annual Pork Queen contest.
Iowa Farm Bureau (IFB). Iowa farm bureaus were established by the state to oversee extension work at the county level, but eventually affiliated into a private corporation, which remains Iowa's largest political body representing farmers. Women’s involvement in the IFB often encompassed social events, cooperative labor, civic engagement, educational outreach on topics such as child development and public health, and lobbying on agricultural and rural community issues.
Cleona Township Women’s Club (Scott County, Iowa). Scrapbooks, 1960-1989. 4 linear inches. Farm Bureau-affiliated women’s club.
Franklin Township Farm Bureau Women. Records, 1956-1993. 5 linear inches. Collection includes minutes, clippings scrapbooks, and annual programs.
Freedom Township Women’s Club (Palo Alto County, Iowa). Records, 1923-1998. 1.75 linear feet. Farm Bureau-affiliated women’s club; collection includes a brief club history.
Greene Township Women’s Club (Iowa County, Iowa). Records, 1959-1996, 3 linear inches. Farm Bureau-affiliated women’s club.
Harrison County Farm Bureau. Women’s division scrapbook, 1974-1976. 2 linear inches.
Highland Do-Better Club (O’Brien County, Iowa). Record books, 1958-1983. 2 linear inches. Farm Bureau-affiliated women’s club.
Mahaska County Farm Bureau Women's Committee. Records, 1971-2002. 2 linear inches; collection primarily consists of an organizational history and reproductions of the group’s annual reports.
O’Brien County Farm Bureau Women. Scrapbook, 1989-1996. 1 linear inch.
Omega Township Women’s Club (O’Brien County, Iowa). Records, 1976-1991. 2 linear inches. Farm Bureau-affiliated women’s club, also known as the Omega Farm Bureau Better Halfs; collection includes a scrapbook, minutes, and treasurer’s records.
Sharon Township Farm Bureau Women’s Club (Johnson County, Iowa). Records, 1953-1985. 2.5 linear inches. Collection includes the Iowa Farm Bureau Women's Club Opportunities for Involvement Guidebook for 1985-1986.
Becker, Virginia (1918-2009). Papers, 1976-1993. 1 linear foot. Collection documents Becker’s work with the IFB statewide women’s committee, including her time as District 1 chair, 1977-1983. Includes photographs, clippings, and columns written by Becker and also prominently features Charlotte Mohr, IFB women’s committee president.
Crawford, Anita (1909-1998). Papers, 1939-1998. 2.3 linear feet. Longtime member of the Buchanan County Farm Bureau Women's Committee; the extensive Farm Bureau Activities series documents IFB’s political positions from 1965-1974, including materials on issues such as crime and collective bargaining.
Hoover, Irene (1907-2001). Papers, 1923-2001. 10 linear inches. Collection documents Hoover’s time as chair of the Mahaska County Farm Bureau Women's Committee and includes speeches, clippings, and conference proceedings.
Newcomer, Bess (1893-1990). Papers, 1936-1978. 2 linear inches. Longtime state board member of the Farm Bureau Women and columnist for the Iowa Bureau Farmer publication in the 1940s; collection includes many of these columns which document issues such as the agricultural economy, rural electrification, and farm women’s experiences of WWII.
Briggs, Shirley (1918-2004). Papers, 1840-2008. 64 linear feet. Collection extensively documents Briggs’ roles as a founding member of the Rachel Carson Council, established in 1965 as a pesticide research information clearinghouse, and editor of the Audobon Society’s publication The Atlantic Naturalist, 1948-1969.
Voices From the Land: An Iowa Oral History Project. Oral history recordings and transcripts, 2000-2001. 18 linear inches. Interviews collected as part of the Iowa Women’s Archives’ Rural Women Project; features women involved in rural activism organizations as well as a few records of groups such as PrairieFire Rural Action (1993-1996) and the Practical Farmers of Iowa (1999-2001).
Iowa Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (IFCWC). Records, 1929-2020. 1 linear inch. Small collection documenting the IFCWC’s efforts to provide housing for Black women students at the University of Iowa when dormitories were racially segregated.
Harper, Virginia (1929-1997). Papers, 1940-2005. 1 linear foot. Lifelong civil rights activist who was one of five Black women to integrate the dormitories at the University of Iowa in 1946; collection contains approx. 3 linear inches of records of the Fort Madison chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), of which Harper was president.
Morris, Arlene (1926-2016). Papers, 1944-1966. 1 linear inch. This small collection contains records of the Know Your Neighbor program, which Morris participated in from 1960-1967; the group organized events across Iowa featuring a panel discussion on the topic of tolerance with women of different racial and religious backgrounds.
Nash, Martha (1925-2000). Papers, 1939-2000. 2.75 linear feet. Dubuque activist whose collection contains approx. 3 linear inches of records of the Black Hawk county NAACP, 1965-1970, and one file documenting Nash’s chairpersonship of the Black Hawk County Conference on Religion and Race, 1963-1964.
Iowa Peace Links. Records, 1985-1998. 2 linear inches. Network of northwest Iowa peace groups that organized a goodwill tour of Iowa for Russian women and a peace quilt among other projects. The collection consists of issues of the Iowa Peace Links newsletter, a circular on peace and anti-nuclear issues formed out of a merger with a Davenport newsletter in 1986.
Wiesenfeld, Sally (1923-2017). Papers, 1969-2001. 5 linear inches. Anti-war activist whose collection primarily consists of organizational records of the northeastern Iowa chapter of Another Mother for Peace.
See also: Peace & Pacifism collections guide
Church Women United in Iowa. Records, 1933-2018. 10.5 linear feet. Ecumenical Christian group that organized community service efforts such as clothing drives and disaster relief, commissioned studies of social issues such as school lunch programs, and conducted mission work.
Church Women United, Johnson County, Iowa. Records, 1963-1998. 9 linear inches. Collection documents chapter’s activities including advocacy for peace, support of victims of war in Nicaragua, and World Day of Prayer observances.
Iowa Women’s Foundation. Records, 1990-2003. 10 linear inches. Nonprofit organization that provided grant funding to various community initiatives in Iowa, such as domestic violence resource centers and outreach programs for communities of color and young people.
Modern Idea Club of Thurman, Iowa. Records, 1902-1998. 1 linear foot. Women’s club that opened and operated Thurman’s first library in 1936.
Shut-In Society. Records, 1884-1897. 5 linear inches. A national organization connecting people with disabilities which published material and facilitated collaborative projects, such as the afghan knitted by several members featured in this collection.
Tama County Federated Women’s Clubs. Records, 1929-2006. 10 linear inches. Group of women’s clubs who collaborated on community service projects such as volunteer gardening for public parks and staffing soup kitchens.
United Sisters of Black Hawk County. Records, 1984-1996. 10 linear inches. Iowa affiliate of Networking Together, Inc., a nonprofit coalition serving women of color in the upper Midwest which organized conferences, support groups for youth, and social events.
Welch & Angrick. Collection, 1880-1995. 3.75 linear feet. This artificial collection of scrapbooks and albums created by various Iowa organizations includes approx. 1 linear inch of WCTU of Iowa materials, including speeches, pamphlets, and clippings from 1896-1958, as well as approx. 6 linear inches of records of the Woman’s Relief Corps, 1908-1964, an organization formed to aid veterans of the Union army in the Civil War whose Iowa chapter ran veterans’ hospitals, organized war memorials, and provided civic education and assistance with naturalization.
Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Iowa (WCTU). Records, 1874-2006. 18.5 linear feet. Organization dedicated to legislative and educational activism around social causes such as prohibition of alcohol, women’s suffrage, prevention of juvenile delinquency, support for women looking to exit sex work, and raising the age of consent. The Iowa WCTU operated the Benedict Home from 1882-1943 as a home for unmarried pregnant women, which is documented in one series. The collection also includes organizational histories and member biographies, county chapter files, scrapbooks and newsletters documenting WCTU activities, and artifacts.
Women Graduates USA. Records, 2007-2014. 2.5 linear inches. American affiliate of an International Federation of University Women, which conducts advocacy on issues such as human trafficking, peace, and access to education for women and girls.
Young Women's Christian Association of Greater Des Moines. Records, 1973-1985. 2.25 linear feet. Evangelical Christian organization that provided aid to immigrant women, developed childcare programs for low-income residents, and provided support for victims of domestic violence.
Herring, Patricia (1944-). Papers, 1979-2008. 10.5 linear feet. Social worker and advocate for people living with AIDS; her collection includes extensive subject files on HIV and sexual health, as well as records of organizations like the Iowa Community AIDS Partnership and the AIDS Coalition of Johnson County.
Scales, Lillian Moore (1901-1991). Papers, 1938-1991. 2.5 linear inches. Small collection which contains a few newspaper clippings related to activities of the Des Moines City Federation of Colored Women and the Des Moines Branch of the NAACP.
Women’s Clubs and Organizations. The missions and activities of women’s clubs varied widely; some primarily engaged in socializing and leisure activities together, while others focused on self-improvement via reading, lectures, and discussion, while others organized community aid programs and advocated for political causes. A selection of the more explicitly political women’s clubs is included in the list above, but a full list of women’s club collections at the IWA can be found at this link.
Social Justice LibGuide: this list provides more information on the IWA’s records related social justice causes and the diversity of Iowa’s population, and includes information about collections related to LGBTQ+ and African-American community organizations and Iowans’ efforts to fight discrimination.
Iowa Nurses Association. Records, 1904-1989. 83 linear feet. Professional organization that, though not formally a union, has represented nurses in collective bargaining and engaged in lobbying around legal requirements for licensure and training.
Iowa Nurses Association, Fifth District. Records, 1922-2000. 2 linear feet. INA chapter serving Tama, Benton, Linn, Poweshiek, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, and Cedar counties in eastern Iowa; contains records of the groups’ outreach around legislative issues relevant to nursing.
Iowa Press Women. Records, 1933-2001. 4 linear feet. Organization founded to advocate for women in journalism. Surveyed Iowa newspapers’ employment of women, provided scholarships and writing prizes, and organized social events.
Iowa Women in Educational Leadership. Records, 1981-1997. 1 linear foot. Organization founded to promote the professional advancement of women employed in educational management. Collection includes some materials from related organizations such as the American Association of School Administrators.
Iowa Women in Natural Resources (IWNR). Records, 1987-2007. 5 linear inches. Mentoring, networking, and training organization to encourage women to enter the traditionally male-dominated field of natural resource extraction and management. Collection includes records of IWNR conferences, sponsored job programs, and community projects to promote outdoor recreation among Iowa women.
National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). Organization founded to promote advancement of women in the building trades via networking and social events, scholarships, training programs, and promotional activities.
National Secretaries Association, Robert Lucas chapter. Records, 1947-1987. 1 linear foot. Iowa City group named for the first governor of the Iowa territory; records primarily reflect educational and social activities.
Polk County Women Attorneys. Records, 1986-1995. 9 linear inches. Association organized in 1986 to promote the professional growth of women in the law. Collection also includes a small amount of material from other women lawyers’ associations including the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys (IOWA).
University of Iowa Council on the Status of Women. Records, 1976-2005. 5.25 linear feet. Advocacy group for women at the University of Iowa. Conducted studies and proposed new policies on issues such as the gender pay gap, the effects of the merger of women’s and men’s athletics departments on gender equity, childcare needs, affirmative action, family leave, and sexual harassment.
Social Justice LibGuide. This list provides more information on the IWA’s records related social justice causes and the diversity of Iowa’s population, and includes information about collections related to LGBTQ+ and African-American community organizations and Iowans’ efforts to fight discrimination.