TITLE:»BETTY JEAN FURGERSON (1927-  )


PAPERS, DATES:»1944-1995

»(bulk 1993-1995)

QUANTITY:»6 linear feet





The »papers (donor no. 174) were donated by »Betty Jean Furgerson in 1995.


The papers are open for research.


Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.


In boxes 1 and 2.



Randel W. Lackore, 1996, Eugenia M. Hernandez, 1999.

Suzanne A. Vesely, 2001



            Begin text here:»Betty Jean (B.J.) Furgerson, teacher, social worker, human rights commission director and university regent, was born on March 10, 1927.  She was the second of five children of Lee B. and Lily Furgerson.  Her father, Lee Burton Furgerson, practiced medicine in Waterloo for twenty-one years until his death in 1948.  He was active in many community groups and was also the president of a savings and loan company at the time of his death.  Lily Furgerson taught fourth, fifth and sixth grades in the Waterloo school district from 1952 to 1971, the first African American allowed to teach in that system.


            Betty Jean Furgerson graduated from East Waterloo High School in 1945.  She began her college life at Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama, in the autumn of 1945.  Furgerson transferred first to the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) and then to Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) where, in 1952, she earned her B.A. in secondary education with a concentration in art.  Eighteen years later Furgerson entered the University of  Kansas School of Social Work and acquired an M.S.W. in 1972.


            Growing up, Furgerson developed a great appreciation for jazz.  She and her family often traveled to Chicago and other locations to see various jazz bands.  They developed lasting friendships with some of the members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.  The musicians often visited the Furgersons' home when they performed in or near Waterloo and exchanged correspondence with B. J., her mother and her brother, Lee, while they were on tour.


            Betty Jean Furgerson's work experience included several positions that drew on her abilities as an educator, social worker and leader.  She first found employment as an instructor of adult crafts and children's art at the Waterloo Recreation Center.  For two years she worked as an assistant in the health education department of the Waterloo YWCA before becoming a district advisor to the Conestoga Council of Girl Scouts in Waterloo, Iowa, from 1958 to 1967.  She served as the director of Homemaking/Home-Health Aid Project with the Family Service League during the six months of the project's funding in 1967.  Furgerson also directed parent education for the Black Hawk County Head Start program, including four and a half months as the acting director of education from 1967 to 1970.  Upon returning to Waterloo following her graduate work at the University of Kansas, Furgerson served as the administrative coordinator for the Community Consortium, a group formed to provide support for the Waterloo school system's desegregation plan, for a year.  In 1974, she became the director of the Waterloo Human Rights Commission, a position she held for the next eighteen years.  As a leader Furgerson has served her local community and state on several boards in various capacities.

Scope and Content Note


            Begin text here:The» Betty Jean Furgerson papers date from »1944 to 1995 and measure »3 linear feet.  The »papers »are arranged in seven»sevense series: »Personal life, Post-secondary education, Professional life, Iowa Public Television, State Board of Regents, Resource files, and Photographs.


            The Personal life series (1944-1998 and undated) contains material that reflects Furgerson’s interests in the arts and civic participation in her community.  Included are correspondence that cover more than two decades of friendship between the Furgerson family and members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.  This series includes an extensive personal correspondence series.  Included are greeting cards, graduation invitation and letters from friends and family.  The greeting card collection is composed of Christmas, birthday, and thank you cards.  Some of the cards contain extensive writing, but the majority of them are composed of a closing signature. Included are also a number of letters and a grade book for Furgerson’s mother.  The folder dedicated to Furgerson’s elementary education contains some of her early report cards.  This series also contains newspaper clippings of family members, which describe their involvement in Waterloo organizations and their achievements.


            Furgerson's educational background is documented in the Post-secondary education series (1950-1974 and undated).  The folders in the series are arranged by school, with the University of Kansas folders arranged by the class number assigned by the university.  The concert programs from Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) further reflect Furgerson's interest in jazz with her involvement in the Dimensions in Jazz concert series.


            The Civic and professional activities series (1947-1998), contains materials that document Furgerson's occupations, and reflects her commitment to civic participation.  Most of the information relates to committees and commissions concerned with education.  She has been appointed to many of these, by the Iowa Governor or state legislature.  Furgerson has also been member of numerous boards in local organizations.   A portion of the materials reflects her tenure as director of the Waterloo Human Rights Commission from 1974 to 1992.


            Betty Jean Furgerson serves as the president of the Iowa Public Television Broadcasting Board.  The papers in the Iowa Public Television series (1988-1995) documents this role.  The series contains information on funding for public television and the construction and implementation of the first two phases of the Iowa Communications Network (ICN).  It also includes minutes from the 461 Task Force (named after House File 461) that was formed to study the consequences of converting the ICN to a public utility.


            The State Board of Regents series (1993-1995) documents part of Furgerson's six-year term as a regent from 1989 to 1995.  Two subseries, Administrative records and Topical files, comprise this series.  The Administrative records subseries contains meeting minutes which reflect the board's role as trustee of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.  Also included are the minutes of the banking committee and correspondence and material related to the search for two university presidents.  The Topical files subseries contains papers on issues of particular interest to Furgerson.  The primary topics of these materials are recruitment and retention of minority students and faculty and cultural diversity at the regents' institutions.


            The Resource files series (1984-1997) contains documents that reflect Furgerson’s interests in education and her involvement in civic activities.  Included are national, state, and regional reports on the status of education.  It also includes some material on Iowa economic trends.


Related Collections


Furgerson, Penny Thomas papers

            Penny Furgerson is the sister-in-law of Betty Jean Furgerson.

Harris, Lileah Furgerson papers

Iowa Women's Hall of Fame records

Nash, Martha Ann Furgerson papers   

Lileah Harris and Martha Nash are the sisters of Betty Jean Furgerson.



Box no.   Description

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Box 1

Personal life

Awards, 1976, 1983-1988, 1994-2000

Harris, Sarah

      Art projects, undated

Cartoons, undated

Commencement programs, 1977, 1981, 1983


1964-1983 and undated

1984-1997 and undated

Children’s letters, 1993

Graduation invitations, 1978-1995

Greeting cards, 1940-1945

Greeting cards, 1973

Greeting cards, 1977-1978

Greeting cards, 1979

Greeting cards, 1980

Greeting cards, 1981

Greeting cards, 1983-1984

Greeting cards, 1985

Box 2

Greeting cards, 1986

Greeting cards, 1992

Greeting cards, 1993

Greeting cards, 1994

Greeting cards, 1995

Greeting cards, 1996

Box 3

Greeting cards, 1997

Greeting Cards, 1998

Greeting Cards, undated

Postcards, 1974-1996 and undated

Wedding invitations, 1985-1995

Elementary education, 1940-1945 and undated

Family newspaper clippings,

       1961-1978 and undated


Furgerson, Lily (mother)

     Correspondence, 1943

     Grade book, 1964-1965

     Newspaper clippings of Marian Anderson, 1938?-1945?

                                Funeral service programs, 1996-1997

Household, 1973 and undated

Interests in the arts

Church recital programs, 1980,1984, 1993, 1997

Hancher Auditorium programs, 1997-1998

High School music programs, 1941,1943,1981,1991,1997

Jazz music

      Dave Brubeck Quartet autographed program and newspaper

                      clipping, 1956

Duke Ellington Orchestra

                                                   Billy Strayhorn Memorial Concert, 1968

Box 4

Correspondence with band members



1970-1971 and undated

Postcards, 1958-1975 and undated

Duke Ellington Jazz Festival (Madison, Wisconsin), 1972

Duke Ellington Jazz Society newsletters, 1959-1961

Itinerary, 1959-1960

Newspaper clippings, 1981, 1982 and undated

Newsletters, 1992-1998


     Press releases, undated

Sacred concerts program and newspaper clippings, 1968

Various concert memorabilia, undated

Program announcements, 1984, 1995-1997 and undated


      Gateway Dance Theater programs, 1974-1977 and undated

                                          General programs, 1954-1955, 1968, 1970, 1975 and undated

Performing arts center

Hancher Auditorium, 1996

Search Committee, 1996-1997

Ted Mann Center, 1996

Box 5

Visual arts

Cedar Arts Forum

Board of directors, undated

Board meeting minutes, 1994

Board meeting minutes, 1996

Board meeting minutes, 1997

Building a business case for CAF, 1997 and undated

By-laws, 1997

Correspondence, 1997 and undated

“Cultivator,” 1993

Financial statements, 1996-1997

Notes, undated

Postcards, undated

Project proposal, 1997 (?)

Working draft business plan, 1996

Foppiani, Gustavo

Painting purchase, 1961

Test print, undated

Museum exhibition, 1997

Notes, undated

Passports, 1961, 1979

Receipts, 1969-1970

Nash, Theresa (niece)

Resume, [1976]

The Wooden Horse, East Waterloo High School book of student writing, 1944


»Post-secondary education

Talladega College

The Talladega Student, March 1946

Transcript, 1950

Iowa State Teachers College

Anderson, Marian

Contralto concert, 1942

Dimensions in Jazz concert programs, 1953-1958

Samson, Pat; newspaper column, 1974

Transfer credit evaluation and grade reports, 1952-1954

University of Kansas School of Social Work

Course work

“Academic status and success” (paper proposal), undated

Evaluation of student's field work, 1971-1972

Box 6

SW 268: Death: An Unusual Opportunity for Growth, 1972

SW 316: Analysis of an Influence Attempt-#1 and #2 report, 1972

SW 342: Research, 1972

SW 361-362: Differential Uses of Social Work Intervention, 1970-1971

SW 368: Crisis Intervention Bibliography, 1972

Commencement, 1972

Human relations committee, 1971-1972

List of first-year students, 1970

National Association of Black Social Workers pamphlet, undated

Neighborhood Youth Corps (NYC) project, 1971-1972

Resume, [1971]

Social Work Day program, 1972

"Socio-psychological Implications of Black Separatism" by Barbara A. Sizemore (unpublished), undated

Transcripts, 1970-1973


Civic and professional activities

Allen College of Nursing council minutes, 1994-1995

Cedar Valley’s Promise

Child care/early education committee, 1998

Child watch program, 1997

Community planning team orientation, 1998

Correspondence, undated

Strategic plan, minutes, 1998

“What’s Where in Parenting Directory,” 1998-1999

Community issues

Black Enabler, 1978, 1998

"The Failure of the Talented Tenth," (essay) unknown author,


Martin Luther King, Jr. programs, 1984, 1998

Newspaper clippings, 1973-1998

The Parker Tribune newspaper, January 8, 1979

Untitled essay about racism by Ron Rhoadds, undated

The Waterloo District News, 1998

The Waterloo Defender newspaper, October 21, 1996

The Waterloo Defender newspaper, July 16, 1971


Democratic Party Organization and Policy, 1974

“Faces and Voices of Iowa,” 1997

Fifth National Policy Institute, 1988

Interracial adoptions, 1975

National Conference of Black Lawyers, 1976

Statistics of racial composition of Waterloo, Iowa, 1966

Women Front and Center Conference, 1994

Women of the 90s:  Partnership for Change, 1994

Correspondence, 1967, 1972

Box 7

Correspondence, 1976-1994

Correspondence, 1995-1998

Educational Excellence Commission

Agenda, March 1997

Agenda, April 1997

Agenda, May 1997

Agenda, June 1997

Agenda, July 1997


        March – July 1997

        August – December 1997


Meeting announcements, 1997

News release, 1997-1998

Newsletters, 1996-1997

Newspaper clippings, 1991-1992, 1997 and undated

Notes, 1997, and undated

Report to the governor, 1997

Talking points, 1997 and undated

Girl Scouts, 1947-1961

Head Start, 1967-1970

Higher Education Strategic Planning Council, 1994

Human Investment

    Agenda, April 1997

    Agenda, November 1997

    Agenda, December 1997                                                           

Box 8

    Agenda, February 1998

    Agenda, May 1998

    Agenda, June 1998

    Budgeting for Results Handbook, 1997-1998

    Correspondence, 1997-1998

    Iowans’ Rating of Characteristics for State Government, 1997


Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, 1993-1995

Iowa Coordinating Council for Post-High School Education

    Agenda, April 1997

    Agenda, December 1997

    Agenda, October 1998

Iowa Department of Education Strategic Planning Committee

     Agenda, 1991

     Final recommendations, 1991

     Midyear status report, 1990-1991

     Race equity progress report, 1990                                             

Iowa Women’s Archives, 1995-1997

Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame

    Lynn Cutler nomination, 1998

KBBG-FM radiothon fund-raisers, 1992, 1994

Lily Furgerson Child Development Center, 1973, 1976, 1994

                                Military academy nominee selection committee, 1994

                                Multicultural Graduation and Recognition Banquet, 1998

Box 9

PRISM Awards, 1997

Reader Advisory Board, 1997

State Judicial Nominating Commission newspaper clipping, undated

University of Northern Iowa Leadership Advisory Board, 1998

Waterloo Area Training Committee, 1998

Waterloo Council on Ministries Committee, 1998

Waterloo Human Rights Commission, 1974-1978, 1994

Waterloo Partners in Education Advisory Board, 1998

Waterloo public schools, 1972-1976 and undated

Whitis, Lindbergh, for mayor campaign treasurer, 1969

YWCA Diamond Jubilee Committee, 1997

Box 10

Iowa Public Television

Appropriations vote for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), 1994-1995


Children’s Defense Fund, 1997

P.B.S. Capitol Hill Day, 1997

Correspondence, 1997, and undated

Foundation endowment, 1995

461 Task Force minutes, 1995

Governor's budget hearing, 1994

Governor's culture coalition, 1994-1995

Iowa Communication Network (ICN), 1994-1995

Iowa Public Broadcasting Board

Budget report, 1996

By-laws, adopted 1968 last ratified 1987

Minutes, 1995

Minutes, 1996

Minutes, February 1997

Minutes, April 1997

Minutes, June1997

Minutes, July 1997

Minutes, August 1997

Minutes, September 1997

Minutes, October 1997

Box 11

Iowa Public Television Foundation

Agenda, 1997

Budget hearing, 1997

Endowment, 1995

Minutes, 1996

Legal materials

Channel 30 at Davenport, Petition to deny, 1996

Correspondence, 1996

Broadcasting board mailings, 1996

Forbes v. AETN

Amicus Brief, 1996

Amicus Brief, 1997

Petitioner’s Brief, 1997

Respondent’s Brief, 1997

Reply Brief, 1997

Summary opinion, 1996

U.S. Supreme Court brief, 1997

Iowa code for public broadcasting, undated

Marcus v. IPTV

Affidavits, 1996

Amicus brief, 1996

Appellants brief, 1996

Appellants brief, 1997

Appellees brief, 1997


Court of appeal decision, 1996

Federal election commission, 1996

Newspaper clippings, 1996-1997

Notes, 1976(?), 1996, and undated

Public Broadcast Stations

Annual meeting, 1997

Board of directors and board committee assignments, 1996, 1997, and undated

Volunteer Survey Results, 1997

Star School Program, 1994

Surveys of teachers and telecourse enrollment, 1993-1995

White House reception invitation, 1988

Box 12

State Board of Regents

Administrative records

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

College of Medicine accreditation review, 1994-1995

Regional physician-hospital organization briefing, 1994

State-wide organized health care delivery system report, 1994

Correspondence, 1993-1995


George Washington Carver graduation centennial (Iowa State University), 1993-1994

Second Swansea celebration (University of Northern Iowa), 1993

Executive searches

Director for multi-cultural education (UNI)

May 1995

June 1995

July 1995-August 1995

University President (UI and UNI), 1994-1995

Guide pamphlet, 1994


Banking committee, 1994

Board of Trustees of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

February 1994-May 1994

Box 13

September 1994-April 1995

General board

Index, 1993-1994

March 1994-May 1994

June 1994-July 1994

September 1994

October 1994-December 1994

February 1995-March 1995

Travel arrangements, 1994-1995

Topical files


Gender-equity report, 1994

Recruitment and admission of student athletes, 1994-1995

Box 14

Campus child care, 1995 and undated

Classroom policy draft revision, 1995

Education-equity advisory committee

Departmental response to the 1992 recommendations [1992]

Iowa higher-education strategic planning council, 1993

Meeting agenda, 1994

Commendations and recommendations, 1993

Review on-site manual for 1993-1994 school year, 1993

Sexual harassment training manual, undated

Status report 1992-1993 school year, 1993

Leadership studies program (UNI), 1993-1994

Minority student matriculation and attrition

Affirmative action report, 1994

Affirmative action newspaper clippings, 1995, 1996 and undated

African-American student attrition, 1972, 1993-1994 and undated

A Follow-up Study of Minority Students in Education Administration at Iowa State University from 1963 to 1993, M.S. thesis by Diana Laurice Mitchell, Iowa State University 1994

Recruitment, Development and Support of American Indian Students at the Iowa Universities, by Donovin Sprague, 1994

Recruitment and Retention of Students and Faculty of Color, by S.A. Clayton, 1994-1995

Strategic plan for Iowa State University for the years 1995-2000, 1994-1995

Box 15

Resource file

The Annual Condition of Education Report, 1996

Building on Strengths, 1996

A Call to Action for American Educators, 1997

Curriculum and Instruction Model, 1996

Employees, Families and Education, 1997

The Final Report of the Task Force on Teacher Education, 1984

Final Report on Vocational Education in Iowa, 1997

First in the Nation in Education, 1984

A Five-Year Economic Development Plan, 1989

Integrating Rural Community Development, 1997

Iowa Economic Trends Report, 1989

Iowa Tests of Educational Development Report, 1997

Iowa’s Future: A Quality Economy for Tomorrow, 1989

Measuring Results:  An Overview of Performance, 1996

National Education Goals Panel, 1991

National Education Goals Panel: Discussion Document, 1991

National Goals for Education, 1990

National Standards for Family Involvement, 1997

New Iowa Schools Development Report, 1997

Box 16

Office of School Readiness Report, Undated

Quality of the Instructional Program, 1997

Renewing the Commitment, 1986

“Splintered Vision,” Executive Summary, 1997

State Plan, 1996

The State Plan for Educational Excellence, 1992

Teacher Preparation/Participation Task Force, 1988

What Colleges and University Leader Can Do to Help, undated



        Duke Ellington Orchestra, autographed, undated

Family and friends

       Betty Jean Furgerson photographs

       1955-1976 and undated

       1985-1997 and undated

Professional life, 1989-1998 and undated

Paul Winter Ensemble photograph, undated

L.B. Ferguson [sic], Kappa Alpha Phi, 1921