Iowa Women's Archives
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa

 

IOWA ERA COALITION

RECORDS, 1916, 1972-1980
(bulk 1978-1980)

5.5 linear feet

 

Iowa Women's Archives
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Phone: 319-335-5068
Fax: 319-335-5900
E-mail the Iowa Women's Archives

Please cite materials from this collection as follows:
Iowa ERA Coalition Records, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

 


Collection Overview

 
Acquisition:
The records were donated by the Iowa ERA Coalition (donor no. 12) in 1980 and 1987, and by Victoria Herring (donor no. 20) in 2002.
 
 
Access:
The records are open for research.
 
 
Copyright:
Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.
 
 
Audiovisual:
Three audiocassettes shelved in audiocassette collection (AC115-AC117).
 
 
Photographs:
In Box 6.
 
  Artifacts: In Boxes 6 and 13.  
 
Processed by:
Derryn E. Moten, 1993; Jessica Miller, 1997 and 1998; Sharon M. Lake, 2004. [IAERACoalition]
 

History

The Iowa ERA Coalition was formed in November 1978 to seek voter approval of the state ERA. The Iowa ERA Coalition was comprised of approximately fifty member organizations. It disbanded in November 1980 when Iowa voters defeated the ERA initiative by a 56 to 44 percent margin.

The Iowa General Assembly ratified the national Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) within twenty-four hours of its passage by the United States Congress in 1972. In 1977, Iowa legislators considered the first state ERA initiative. Iowa's ERA bill was a bipartisan effort and passed both the 1978 and 1979 general assemblies. To amend the state constitution, this measure had to go through a two-step process. First, state law required bicameral passage in two consecutive legislatures. Second, state law required approval by a majority of Iowa voters. The ERA became a ballot initiative in the 1980 Iowa general elections. Iowa was the only state in the nation to vote on an equal rights amendment in the 1980 elections. Just three states short of the thirty-eight required by Congress to ratify the national ERA amendment, the vote in Iowa was pivotal. A victory in Iowa, ERA proponents hoped, would precipitate the same outcome in bordering states Illinois and Missouri. All possible influence by Iowa became moot, however, when Iowa voters rejected the state equal rights amendment. The election results shocked many ERA faithful, for poll results had consistently shown that a majority of Iowa voters favored the ERA. Ultimately, Illinois and Missouri ERA initiatives met the same fate. Iowa ERA supporters attributed their defeat to an effective, last minute and 'last-ditch' negative campaign blitz orchestrated by ERA opponents. From beginning to end, the ERA Coalition was castigated as supporters of homosexual marriages and the passage of Iowa's ERA amendment was portrayed as tantamount to legalizing homosexual marriages in Iowa. Despite continuous denials by ERA proponents, they were unable to erase the fear and doubts in the minds of Iowa voters that their vote for the ERA would be a vote for "alternative" life styles.

Margaret "Peg" Anderson was the state chairperson and main spokesperson of the Iowa ERA Coalition. Her efforts were perhaps best summed up in a March 27, 1980 news article. The headline simply read: "This Woman Works." Anderson was a long-time Iowa resident who had had a varied political career.


Scope and Content Note

The Iowa ERA Coalition records measure 5.5 linear feet and date from 1916 and 1972 to 1980. They are arranged into seven series: Administrative, Campaign Files, Fundraising, Publicity, Strategies and Planning, Topical Files, and Audio Tapes. The bulk of this collection concerns Iowa's first ERA campaign in the years 1978 to 1980; however, there is some background material dating as far back as 1972. While this collection primarily chronicles one state's efforts to pass an equal rights amendment, it does provide some clues as to how an initiative, albeit controversial, that is generally favored by a majority of the populace can be undermined by opponents who are allowed to frame the debate concerning the initiative.

The Administrative series includes budget, minutes, and general correspondence. It also contains biographical information on Peg Anderson. The governing board minutes provide a good sense of the day-to-day logistics.

The bulk of material in the Campaign Files series concerns the caravan for era. Mainly use as a promotional tour, this motorcade was envisaged as a means to garner support for the state ERA and create a "band wagon" effect. The caravan traversed across Iowa, and made stops in all of its counties. It began on October 2, 1980 and ended on November 2, 1980. The caravan had four objectives: to disseminate information about the Iowa ERA, to gain local news coverage, and to bring out supportive local community leaders. The county folders contain correspondence and other material relating to caravan visits and speakers scheduling.

The Fundraising series includes information about some of the events used to raise money and voter awareness. One highlight event was the two-day, three-city visit that Erma Bombeck and Liz Carpenter made in June 1980 as an ERA campaign fundraiser. They appeared in Council Bluffs, Des Moines, and Waterloo. There is additional information about their visit in the news clippings folder (box 11), and the press release folder (box 7).

The Publicity series is divided into four subseries: General, Speakers, Media, and Printed Material. The Speakers subseries includes resource packets intended to help speakers with speech preparation. The Media subseries contains Iowa Coalition press releases from 1979-1980. Newsletters and other printed material produced by the coalition and other groups can be found in the Printed Material subseries.

The Strategies and Planning series is divided into four subseries: General, Candidates, Political parties, Polling information. The Candidates subseries includes completed endorsement forms by Iowa state representatives and senators, many of which contain statements by the legislators in support of the ERA. Peg Anderson's testimony before the Democratic State Platform on May 10, 1980. The Polling information subseries contain results of Iowa state polls from 1975-1980 as well as national poll results and sample questions used during ERA telephone surveys. The Topical files series is composed of sixty-four folders arranged alphabetically by folder title. The folder contents cover a variety of topics that related to the work of the Iowa ERA Coalition. There are two Anti-ERA folders which contains printed literature used by a number of organizations opposed to the ERA. Included also are organizational folders such as the Iowa Association of Libertarian Feminists and the Iowa Home Economics Association.

The Audio Tapes series consists of three audiocassettes and two reel-to-reel recordings, including a speech given by Peg Anderson on February 14, 1980 (AC117), pro-ERA spots by Erma Bombeck and by the Iowa ERA Coalition (AC116), and four anti-ERA radio spots produced by the Right to Be a Woman Committee (AC115).



Related Collections

Margaret “Peg” Anderson
ERA Iowa 1992
Iowa Women Against the ERA

Box List

Box 1                          
  Adminstrative              
    Administrative Committee  
      Agendas, minutes, and notices, 1979-1980  
    Budget, 1979-1980
Employees and volunteers
 
      General              
        Job description, organizational structure
Staff applications, 1980
Volunteer work: roster and correspondence, 1980
 
      Anderson, Peg
McFadden, Monica
             
    Governing Board              
      Correspondence, 1979-1980
Administrative committee, 1980
Articles: general information, 1979
Legal status of Iowa ERA
Coalition Bylaws
Board Members
 
        Completed membership applications, 1979-1980
Information sheets, 1979
Meeting minutes and agenda, 1978-1980
Membership lists, 1979-1980
   
      Member organizations not represented on governing board, 1979
Political Action Committee, 1979-1980
 
                           
    Campaign files            
      Caravan for ERA, 1980    
        General ERA
Caravan: uncoordinated counties, 1980
     
      Campaign handbooks      
        May 1979-June 1980    
                           
Box 2                          
        July-November 1980
Undated Counties
   
          Adair
Adams
Allamakee
Appanoose
Audubon
Benton
Black Hawk
Boone
Bremer
Buchanan
Buena Vista
Butler
Calhoun
Carroll
Cass
Cherokee
Chickasaw
Cedar
Cerro Gordo
Clarke
Clay
Clayton
Clinton
Crawford
Dallas
Davis
Decatur
Delaware
Dickinson
Des Moines
Dubuque
Emmet
Fayette
Floyd
Franklin
Greene
Grundy
Guthrie
Hamilton
Hancock
Hardin
   
                           
Box 3                  
          Harrison
Henry
Howard
Humboldt
Ida
Iowa
Jackson
Jasper
Jefferson
Johnson
Jones
Keokuk
Kossuth
Lee
Linn
Louisa
Lucas
Lyon
Madison
Mahaska
Marion
Marshall
Mills
Mitchell
Monona
Monroe
Montgomery
Muscatine
O'Brien
Osceola
Page
Palo Alto
Plymouth
Pocahontas
Polk
Pottawattamie
Poweshiek
Ringgold
Sac
Scott
Shelby
Sioux
Story
Tama
Taylor
Union
Van Buren
Wapello
Warren
Washington
Wayne
Webster
Winnebago
Winneshiek
Woodbury
   
                           
Box 4                          
          Worth
Wright
             
      County Organizations    
        County Conventions              
          General, 1980
Survey of county convention platforms, 1980
   
        County coordinators        
          Coordinators, correspondence, notes, 1979-1980
County organizations, 1979
Financial policy, 1979-1980
Maps
Roster, 1979-1980
Workshops, 1979
   
        Counties, 1978-1980            
          Ada
Adams
Allamakee
Appanoose
Audubon
Benton
Black Hawk
Boone
Bremer
Buchanan
Buena Vista
Calhoun
Carroll
Cass
Cedar
Cerro Gordo
Cherokee
Chickasaw
Clarke
Clayton
Clinton
Council Bluffs
Crawford
Dallas
Decatur
Delaware
Des Moines
Dickinson
Dubuque
Emmet
Fayette
Fifth District Iowa ERA plans
Floyd
Fremont
Greene
Grundy
Hamilton
Hardin
Henry
Humboldt
Iowa
Jackson
Jefferson
Johnson
   
            General, 1978-1980 and undated
Agendas and minutes, 1978-1980
   
                           
Box 5                          
            Meeting notes 1978-1980
Miscellaneous, 1978-1980 and undated (2 folders)
   
          Kossuth Lee, 1979-1980
Linn, 1979-1980
Lucas
Mahaska
Marion
Marshall, 1979-1980
Mills
Mitchell
Montgomery
Muscatine
O'Brien, 1979-1980
Osceola
Page
Plymouth, 1979-1980
PocahontasPolk, 1979-1980
   
            General
Speakers Bureau
   
          Pottawattamie, 1979-1980
Poweshiek, 1979-1980
Sac, 1979-1980
Scott, 1979-1980
Shelby , 1979-1980
Sioux, 1979-1980
Story, 1979
Tama, 1979
Taylor
Union, 1979-1980
Wapello
Warren , 1979-1980
Washington
Webster, 1979-1980
Winneshiek, 1979-1980
Woodbury, 1979-1980
Wright, 1979
   
        District Organizations        
          Conventions, 1980
Iowa ERA Coalition district meeting, 1980
     
                           
Box 6                          
  Fundraising            
    General            
      Backroom Graphics fundraising proposal, 1979-1980
Correspondence, 1980
Johnson, Sonia: Mormons for ERA, 1980
Jones, Edward H.: Roast, 1979
Local events committee, 1979-1980
Mailing list, 1980
Mothers Day project, 1980
Salisbury House fund-raiser, 1980
   
    Events            
      General
Entertainers, 1980
Bombeck, Erma and Liz Carpenter Tour, 1980
McGovern, Maureen, concert, 1980
Rowe, Barbara: "Susan B. Anthony, A Dramatic Presentation," 1979-1980
Susan B. Anthony Parties [photos]
Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin concert, 1980
 
                           
  Publicity              
    General        
      Ad Services, 1979-1980
Advertising proposals, 1980
M.R. Enterprises-advertising and public relations, 1980 (2 folders)
Banner [shelved in oversize, Box 13]
Bumper stickers & buttons
ERA original materials: "What it is, What it is Not"
Equal rights amendment literature, 1974-1980
Posters [shelved in oversize, Box 13]
 
        C.L.A.S.S. (Citizens For Lighting And Safe Streets)
Women's Consciousness Raising
 
                           
Box 7                          
      Sample ballot, 1978-1980            
    Speakers              
      Fiedler, Maureen, 1980
Iowa ERA resource packet I, 1979
Iowa ERA resource packet II, 1979-1980
Quotations, 1980
Resource packet, 1980
Speakers bureau information, 1979
Speaker requests, 1979-1980
 
    Media              
      Radio            
        Public service announcements, 1980
Radio spots, 1980
     
      Newspapers    
        Letters to the editor campaign, 1980
Media relations information: Including a letter from Frank Nye, 1980
Press Relations, 1980
Press Releases, 1979-1980
 
      Printed Material      
        Iowa ERAdvocate, November 1979-March 1980
Newsletters: Iowa ERA Today, 1979
Equal rights amendment literature: undated
Material produced by supporting groups, 1980
Material produced by the Iowa ERA Coalition, 1979-1980
 
                           
    Strategies and Planning            
      General    
        Campaign Strategy, 1980      
                           
Box 8                          
        Correspondence
ERA ballot wording
Legislative history of the ERA
Official pronouncements by Iowa ERA Coalition
   
      Candidates    
        Iowa State Candidate Endorsements, 1980
Iowa Candidate Endorsements Completed, 1980
   
          Forms, A-Z (2 folders)        
        Iowa Candidate Endorsements Correspondence, 1980    
      Political Parties, 1980            
        Democratic Party: county and state [includes Peg Anderson's testimony]
Iowa Democratic convention
Iowa Republican convention
Proposed platform plank (party unidentified), 1980?
Republican party [includes letters from Mary Louise Smith and Reid Crawford], 1979-1980
Republican position on Iowa ERA, 1979-1980
 
      Polling Information        
        Iowa Equal Rights Amendment Coalition Iowa poll, 1980  
                           
Box 9                          
        National and states other than Iowa, 1975-1978
Correspondence, resumes, 1979-1980
Polls, 1979 Questions, answers, & surveys, 1980
Survey of voter attitudes & opinions concerning ERA, 1975-1980
 
                           
  Topical files          
    Abortion, 1979-1981 and undated
American Association of University Women, 1979-1980
Anti-ERA, 1972-1980 and undated
Business and Professional Women's Clubs, 1979-1980
Catholics Against the Iowa ERA, 1980
Church support for the Iowa ERA, 1975-1977 & undated
Churches, 1980
Common Cause of Iowa, 1979
ERA selected court cases, 1978, 1980
Ecumenical service, 1979-1980
Effects of ERA on education Friends of Iowa ERA, 1979
Homosexuals and the ERA
Inheritance tax, 1978, 1980
Iowa Association of Libertarian Feminists, 1979-1980
 
                           
Box 10                          
    Iowa Attorney General's Opinion on the Iowa ERA, 1980
Iowa Children's and Family Services, 1980
Iowa Civil Liberties Union, 1979
Iowa Conference of Teamsters, 1980
Iowa Federation of Labor-AFL/CIO, 1979-1980
Iowa Home Economics Association, 1979-1980
Iowa Library Association, 1979
Iowa Nurses Association, 1980
Iowa Socialist Party, 1979
Iowa State Education Association, 1979-1980
Iowa State Education Association (ISEA), 1979-1980
Iowa State Fair, 1980 (2 folders)
Iowa Women's Political Caucus, 1979-1980
Junior League, 1980
Labor union positions on the ERA, 1979-1980
League of Women Voters, 1979-1980
"Legal Status of Homemakers in Iowa," by Roxanne Conlin
Libertarian party, 1979-1980
Massachusetts abortion case ( Moe v. King), 1980
Massachusetts ERA, 1976, 1980 & undated
Men and the ERA, 1980 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 1979
National Association of Bank Women, 1979
National Association of Social Workers, 1979-1980
National Organization for Women (NOW), 1979-1981
 
      Correspondence, 1980
Newsletters, 1978-1985 (scattered)
   
                           
Box 11                          
    Newspaper clippings, 1978-1980 (2 folders)
Political candidates
   
      Presidential election:[includes a letter from Edward M. Kennedy], 1979
State elections, 1980
   
    Presbytery of Des Moines, Iowa, 1980
Research papers re: ERA, 1976,1980
Retirement systems, 1980
Rural women and Iowa ERA, 1980
Sports and the Iowa ERA, 1980
State ERA's, 1976, 1980
State ERA court cases
Students for ERA, 1979
U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau, 1980
United Methodist Church, 1979-1980
University Committee on Women, 1979
Washington State ERA, 1980
White House Conference on Families, 1980
Women Against the Draft, 1980
Women in Communications, Inc., 1979
Women's Equality Day, 1979
Young Women's Christian Association, 1979
   
                           
Box 12      
  Audio Tapes    
    Erma Bombeck: paid radio announcement, October 1980 [one reel-to-reel tape]
Right to Be a Woman Committee (four 30-second anti-ERA announcements) [shelved in audiocassette collection AC115]
"The Voice of Business"[two reel-to-reel tapes; content and date unknown]
Iowa ERA Coalition " America": Pledge of Allegiance radio announcement [shelved in audiocassette collection AC116]
Speech by Peg Anderson, February 14, 1980 [shelved in aaudiocassette collection AC117]
 
                           
Box 13                          
  Oversize:        
    Banner
     
      Posters C.L.A.S.S. (Citizens For Lighting And Safe Streets)
Women's Consciousness Raising
 
                           

 


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