PAPERS, 1949-1998

2 linear feet













The papers» (donor no. 730) were donated by Kay Bucksbaum in 2000.


The »papers are open for research.


»Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa. 


In Box 2.


Deborah Lazar, 2003 and Lisa Mott, 2003. [BucksbaumKay.doc]





            Begin text here:»Carolyn Swartz, known by her nickname Kay, was born in Des Moines, Iowa on February 17, 1929 to Mose Swartz and Ethelyn Cohen Swartz.  She was educated at Hubbell elementary and Roosevelt junior and senior high schools in Des Moines, graduating from high school in 1947.  Swartz then attended her father’s alma mater Grinnell College, where she majored in English and journalism and edited the college newspaper before graduating with honors in 1951.  Following a 700-mile bicycle trip in Europe, Swartz was working on the executive training program of the Meredith Publishing Company in Des Moines when she met Matthew Bucksbaum of Marshalltown, Iowa.  The couple married within the year and Kay Bucksbaum became a homemaker in Marshalltown.  A daughter, Ann Louise Bucksbaum, was born in 1954 in Marshalltown.  The family moved to Cedar Rapids, building the state’s first shopping mall in 1955, where a son, John Louis Bucksbaum was born.  In 1959 the family moved to Bettendorf and built Duck Creek Plaza.  In 1964 the family relocated to Des Moines and formed the basis of the publicly held real estate development company that became General Growth.


            Formative experiences for Bucksbaum included summer camp counseling for five years in various parts of the country, a number of American Athletic Union state swimming championships, and continuous membership in the League of Women Voters from her college days onward.  Bucksbaum served as president of the League of Women Voters of Scott County, Iowa and vice-president of the League of Women Voters of Iowa.  She has served as both president and as a board member for the Des Moines Symphony Association, chairman and trustee on the Grinnell College Board of Trustees, vice-president of the Jewish Welfare Federation, a board member for Des Moines United Way, a board member for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, a board member for DanceAspen, and a trustee for the Des Moines Art Center.  Bucksbaum has also served as the first “outside” director for the Des Moines Register and Tribune Company, director of Hawkeye Cablevision, president of the Grinnell Communications Corporation, vice-president and board member for the Foundation in National Public Radio, and a founder of Friends of Iowa Educational Broadcasting.




Scope and Content Note


            The Carolyn “Kay” Bucksbaum papers date from 1949 to 1998 and measure »2 linear feet.  The »papers »are arranged in » three series:  Biographical, Civic activism and Writings.  The Biographical series contains Bucksbaum’s 1998 resumé, a biographical paper describing three generations of women in her family, a copy of a newspaper article announcing Buckbaum’s election as the first woman to chair the Grinnell College Board of Trustees, and two speeches Bucksbaum wrote for events at Grinnell College.


            The Civic activism series makes up the bulk of the Bucksbaum papers and is divided into several sub-series:  AAUW (American Association of University Women), Jewish community, Des Moines Symphony, Grinnell College, YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association), Young Women’s Resource Center, The Iowa Center for the Book, Planned Parenthood, League of Women Voters and Proteus Club.  The Jewish community sub-series includes a history of Iowa Jewry written by Dr. Michael Bell and Temple Sisterhood social actions in which Bucksbaum was involved.  The Des Moines Symphony has quite a bit of information on fundraising efforts spearheaded by Bucksbaum, including a series of successful needlework shows.  Bucksbaum’s efforts for the Des Moines Symphony were considered pivotal and lasting.


            The Grinnell College sub-series includes two folders of information on the I Have a Dream Foundation.  There is also the text for Bucksbaum’s 1973 speech, “Directions: The Year 2001, or, For What Kind of Society Are We Educating Men and Women?”    The YWCA sub-series contains information from Bucksbaum’s participation on the Women of Achievement steering committee, including nominations for Ann Green Anderson, Mary Louise Smith and Joan Lipsky.


            The League of Women Voters (LWV) sub-series includes several documents pertaining to the Des Moines chapter of the League of Women Voters successful efforts in 1949 to change Des Moines’ mayoral system to a city manager system. The documents include studies, questionnaires and workshop materials used by the Des Moines League during the initial campaign to change the municipal government system and as review measures in the following years.  Also included in the LWV sub-series are documents from the organization’s state level: state program planning, legislative studies and the League’s position regarding the 1959-1960 Iowa Constitutional Convention.  A 1953 paper on individual liberties was written by the Iowa City LWV chapter, a project chaired by Helen Lemme.


            The Proteus Club sub-series includes several of the papers Bucksbaum presented to the group over a ten-year span.  Also included are the Agriculture reference files Bucksbaum collected while researching for her paper, “There Goes the Family Farm.”  These files contain articles, brochures, and correspondence, along with information from the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.


            The Writings series contains a variety of samples of Bucksbaum’s authorial skills, including book reviews, letters to the editor, articles, poetry and fiction.  One piece, “Get the Whole Town Talking!” describes the first outdoor art fair held in Marshalltown, Iowa.








Related Collections


League of Women Voters Des Moines records

League of Women Voters Iowa records

Louise Noun papers

Proteus Club records

Kay Stroud papers

YWCA records




Box no.   Description


Box 1     BIOGRAPHICAL, 1973-1998 and undated


AAUW (American Association of University Women)

Techniques of Communication Conference, 1958

Jewish community

“Summary History of Iowa Jewry” by Dr. Michael Bell, 1990

Des Moines Jewish community’s response to 1973 Holy War in Israel

Temple B’nai Jeshurun centennial, 1973

Temple Sisterhood

Marc Chagall presentation, 1965

Social action, 1955-1959 and undated

Des Moines Symphony

Newsletters, 1957, 1975 and 1982

Fundraising, 1974-1975 (2 folders)

Oklahoma City panel talk, undated

Needlework 75

Needlework show, 1975

Newspaper articles, 1975

Needlework 76

Needlework show, 1976

Correspondence with Fleur Cowles, 1976

Newspapers articles, 1976

Publicity, 1976



Box 2              Needlework 78

Needlework show, 1978

Notes for introductory talk on needlework show, undated

Editing notes for cookbook, 1977

Needlework photographs, undated

Slides:  Needlework 76 and Marshalltown, Iowa – first outdoor art fair, undated

Grinnell College

Conference – “Direction: The Year 2001,” 1973

Sesquicentennial, 1996

I Have a Dream Foundation, 1988-1998 (2 folders)

YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association)

Women of Achievement

Steering Committee, 1982-1983


Ann Green Anderson, undated

Mary Louise Smith, undated

Joan Lipsky, 1991

Young Women’s Resource Center

“Images From the Center,” 1989

The Iowa Center for the Book

“Iowa Literary Heritage Trail,” 1993

Planned Parenthood

Fundraiser, 1994

League of Women Voters

Des Moines chapter

City government report by Kathrine R. Stroud, 1949

“The Des Moines Plan, Old and New” by C. Edwin Gilmour, 1956

City council questionnaire, 1967


Mrs. J.R. Austin, president, 1966-1967

General, 1967

General, 1970-1972

Des Moines city government speech, undated

Local government studies, 1966-1967 [other states]

Des Moines government study, 1959-1969 and undated


Box 3                    City government workshop, 1957-1971 and undated

Iowa City chapter

Individual liberties, 1953 and undated

League of Women Voters of Iowa

State program planning, 1958-1959 (3 folders)

State program planning, 1970

Iowa Legislative Processes Study Committee, 1968

“Iowa in the ‘80s,” 1980

“Relationship Between State and Municipal Governments in Iowa” by Louise Noun, undated

Iowa Constitutional Convention, 1959-1960 (2 folders)

Miscellaneous newsletters, pamphlets and brochures, 1959-1967 and undated


Box 4        

Proteus Club

Proteus History 1896-1993, undated

Papers by Kay Bucksbaum

“Anyone for Adventure?” 1986

Personal reflections by Kay Bucksbaum, undated

“The Press – Freedom For or Freedom From?” 1980

“Ripe Times,” 1992

Notes for “Ripe Times,” 1992

Agriculture reference files

Articles and brochures, 1994-1998 (2 folders)

Newspaper articles, 1997 and undated


Dale Cochran, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, 1998

Mary McBride, Pioneer-Hybrid International, 1998

Neil Hamilton, Agricultural Law Center, Drake University, 1998

International Food Policy Research Institute, 1994-1997

“There Goes the Family Farm” outlines and notes by Kay Bucksbaum, 1998

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 1991-1998



Supporting educational television, undated

Book reviews, 1972, 1976 and undated

Review of Charles Reich’s The Greening of America, 1971

Correspondence, 1996

Creative writings, undated

“Audrey Hirsch,” undated

Letters to editor, 1955-1959

“A 1976 Victorian in Aspen” by Carolyn S. Bucksbaum in The Old-House Journal, 1976

“Get the Whole Town Talking!” by Kay Swartz, undated

  A Place to Grow: Remembering an Iowa Childhood, by Carolyn Swartz Bucksbaum, 2009 [shelved in printed works collection]