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Further Resources for Researching Women's Suffrage in Iowa

From archives and books to online resources and historic sites, this page is a compilation of sources that provide insight or background to the history of women’s suffrage in Iowa. It is not an exhaustive list, but a place for researchers to get started. If you would like to have your collection or work listed on this page, contact

Special collections and archives and online resources related to Iowa are listed by the Iowa county in which they are located. Other resources are listed alphabetically.

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS & ARCHIVES (Including Iowa-based Online Resources)


SPECIAL COLLECTIONS & ARCHIVES (Including Iowa-based Online Resources)

Listed by county of origin


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Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives. University of Northern Iowa.
Cedar Falls, IA 50613 * phone: 319-273-6307


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Boone County Historical Society Center.
602 Story Street * Boone, Iowa 50036 * phone: 515-432-1907


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Encyclopedia Dubuque: Northern Iowa Woman Suffrage Association (online resource)

This local online encyclopedia entry gives a brief history of the first suffrage organization in Iowa. Founded in 1869 after several women attended a Galena, Illinois suffrage event, this association hosted early suffrage meetings in Iowa. Other Encyclopedia Dubuque entries shed light on buildings, people, and events in Dubuque history.


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19th Amendment Society.
2379 Timber Avenue * Charles City, IA 50616 * phone: (641) 228-3336

Constructed in 1866, the girlhood home of suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Today the home is maintained by the National 19th Amendment Society, a volunteer, not-for-profit organization. Members maintain the home in order to tell the story of the struggle for women’s suffrage.

Carrie Chapman Catt Girlhood Home (online resource)

Maintained by the National Nineteenth Amendment Society, this site provides biographical information on Carrie Chapman Catt as well as an interactive timeline of her life. The Links section gives direction to other suffrage and women’s history materials on the web. There is also an audio recording of Catt speaking about the world suffrage movement.


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50-50 in 2020: Achieving Political Equality in Iowa (online resource)

This bipartisan initiative is seeking to achieve political equality in Iowa’s Legislature, Congressional delegation, and the governor’s office by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Although Iowa women make up 53 percent of the population, only 22.6 percent of elected officials are female. This effort seeks to educate and support female candidates for office between 2010 and 2020.


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The Iowa Women’s Archives
100 Main Library University of Iowa * Iowa City, IA 52242 * phone: 319-335-5068

Note: The most pertinent suffrage materials in IWA are in the Women’s Suffrage in Iowa Digital Collection and are described in the Guide to Physical Collections.

University of Iowa Special Collections and University Archives
100 Main Library * Iowa City, IA 52242 * phone: 319-335-5921

State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City
402 Iowa Avenue * Iowa City, IA 52240 * phone: 319-335-3916

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Note: Selections from the most pertinent suffrage collections at SHSI are in the Women’s Suffrage in Iowa Digital Collection and are described in the Guide to Physical Collections.


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State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines
600 East Locust * Des Moines, IA 50319 * phone: 515-281-6200

Note: Selections from the most pertinent suffrage collections at SHSI are in the Women’s Suffrage in Iowa Digital Collection and are described in the Guide to Physical Collections.

Iowa Pathways online history guides: Iowa Public Television (online resource)

Iowa Public Television has put together a brief, introductory history to women’s suffrage in Iowa. Although, Elizabeth Cady Stanton spent time in Iowa, she was an East Coast native. The Carrie Chapman Catt Pathway shows Catt’s introduction to the suffrage movement and her eventual political leadership through the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).

Iowa Commission on the Status of Women (online resource)

The Iowa Commission on the Status of Women is the state agency that serves in a direct advocacy role for women and girls. Each year, through a public input process, the Commission develops a policy agenda aimed at providing optimal results for women through changes in the law or other changes in the actions or policies of state government. ICSW engages in direct advocacy and works with a variety of partners to support grassroots advocacy on women’s issues.

The ICSW encourages equal participation of women and men in politics to more accurately reflect the composition of society. The following pdf discusses this initiative and highlights trends in female political participation in the state of Iowa:

To highlight women’s heritage and recognize their contributions, the ICSW established the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 1975.The list of inductees provides links to biographical information about many women involved in the suffrage movement in the state of Iowa.


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Council Bluffs Public Library Special Collections
400 Willow Ave * Council Bluffs, IA 51503 * phone: 712-323-7553


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Grinnell College Special Collections and Archives
1111 6th Ave * Grinnell, IA 50112-1770 * phone: 641-269-3350


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The Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science
1717 W. 12th Street, Davenport, IA * phone: 563-324-1933

The Putnam’s library and archives have a handful of suffrage materials, mostly of national origin. There are a few posters, political buttons and one 1883 letter addressed to Mrs. L.N.R. Clark from the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. The Putnam also has a copy of Bonnie Bridgeford’s master’s thesis: “Women Suffrage: A Review of the Davenport Democrat’s press coverage of women suffrage in the late 19th Century,” November 1985.

The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library
321 Main Street * Davenport, IA 52801 * phone: 563-326-7902

Two collections at Richardson-Sloane contain materials on the League of Women Voters. While these collections mainly contain materials after the 1930s, researchers may find them of interest.


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Iowa State University

Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics
202 Catt Hall * Iowa State University * Ames, IA 50011

Iowa State University Special Collections
403 Parks Library * Iowa State University * Ames, IA 50011 * phone: (515) 294-6672

Ames Public Library
515 Douglas Avenue * Ames, IA * 50010 * phone: (515) 239-5656


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Local newspapers covered the suffrage movement from its inception until women won the right to vote. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, conversations about social and political issues were often carried out through the pages of the editorial sections. In addition, many newspapers either defended or vilified suffragists--and sometimes switched sides. Public libraries are often a good source for Iowa newspapers. They may have physical, microfilm or online copies.