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



RECORDS, 1933-2001
4 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 Press Women Inc. Records, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.


Collection Overview

The records (donor no. 17) were donated by Iowa Press Women, Inc. in 1973 and succeeding years.
The papers are open for research.
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa. 
In Box 9.
Processed by:
Robert J. Jett, 1993; Special Collections staff, 1996; and Fiona McDougall, 2006. [IowaPressWomen.doc]


Iowa Press Women, Inc. (IPW) was established to foster communication among, and promote the interests of, women journalists.  The preliminary organizational meeting of what was to become IPW was held in April 1937. Ella Taylor, who began her work with the Traer, Iowa Star-Clipper in 1888, and who at the time was reputed to be the oldest active woman columnist in the state of Iowa, initiated the meeting. Invitations were sent out to those who were already affiliated with the National Federation of Press Women. Seven women attended.

In January 1939, a second meeting was called in Des Moines, Iowa.  Preliminary drafts of a constitution and bylaws were discussed and adopted on February 11, 1939.  The purpose of the IPW was "to provide a means of contact between women writers, to foster mutual improvement through association, to make possible the expression of a common voice in matters of interest to women, to promote the highest ideals of American journalism, and to cooperate with the National Federation of Press Women and affiliates." The majority of the members at this time were editors or associate editors of their publications. Seventy-two members paid the one dollar entrance fee prior to the January 1939 meeting. The intent of the founders was to limit the membership strictly to newspaper women. On May 6, 1939, the IPW held its formal christening ceremony in Ames, Iowa.

In 1941 the first issue of the group's newsletter, Iowa Press Women, was published and the "little sister" program was initiated to allow girls to join. Iowa Press Women incorporated in 1943 and membership continued to grow; by 1949 there were 101 members. In 1967 a new newsletter, The Challenger, was inaugurated. Membership fluctuated throughout the years, with 84 members in 1969, 112 members in 1976, and 82 members in 1989.

Noteworthy events of IPW included lobbying for the Equal Rights Amendment in 1953, establishing a scholarship fund for an outstanding woman in journalism in 1954, and raising the requirements for teaching journalism in Iowa high schools in 1975.

Scope and Content Note

The Iowa Press Women, Inc. (IPW) records measure 4 linear feet and date from 1933 to 2001. The collection is divided into five series: Iowa Press Women, Inc., National Federation of Press Women, National League of American Pen Women and Branches, Press Women's Clubs in other states, and Photographs.

The Iowa Press Women, Inc. series (1933-1996), makes up the bulk of this collection and includes the constitution, bylaws and articles of incorporation, correspondence (including letters of former presidents of IPW), financial records, and membership records. Three histories of IPW, written in 1980, 1987, and 1991 are included in this series. The membership records contain samples of applicants' work and biographical information, as well as membership lists from 1938 to 1974. The minutes and newsletters document the organization's activities and growth, and illustrate the role women played in the press from the 1930s to the early 1970s. The scrapbooks were taken from three-ring binders and their original order was preserved.

The National Federation of Press Women series (1938-2001) includes information on conventions, meetings, and projects, and a transcript of an oral history interview with Iowan Lois Jacobs, who served as president of the National Federation of Press Women from 1985 to 1987. Material in the National League of American Pen Women and Branches series (1940-1948), includes a 1940s roster of national members of the American Pen Women, and copies of The Pen Woman published in 1945 and 1948. The Press Women's Clubs in other states series (1937-1961) is comprised of bylaws and constitutions, correspondence, newspaper clippings and copies of club newsletters from Illinois and Missouri.  The Photographs series (1954-1993) contains photographs of members of Iowa Press Women, Inc. at their meetings. Some of the photographs are labeled on the back.

Related Collections

Wilma Belden Collins papers
This collection contains photographs and articles concerning Collins' involvement in Iowa Press Women and the National Federation of Press Women.

Dorothy Place papers
She is the author of “History of Iowa Press Women, Inc. 1987-1991.”

Box List

Box 1                  
  Iowa Press Women, Inc.      
    Constitution, bylaws and articles of incorporation, 1938-1976 and undated
        Bless, Mrs. Bertha, 1940-1941
McElroy, Edith Wasson, 1956-1961
Needham, Grace D., 1933-1960 (2 folders)
      President's letter, 1959-1961
Miscellaneous, 1938-1962 (2 folders)
Box 2                  
      Miscellaneous, 1963-1976 and undated
    Financial records
      General ledger, 1960-1964
Journals, 1960-1962
Reports and statements, 1941-1974
State treasurer's report, 1959-1976
      “Iowa Press Women, Inc. History, 1937-1980” by Dorothy H. Schrader, 1980
“Iowa Press Women, Inc. History, 1980-1987” by Mary J.   Buchele, 1987
“History of Iowa Press Women, Inc. 1987-1991” by Dorothy J. Place, 1991
    International relations project, 1949-1950
Journalism education in Iowa project by Dorothy H. Schrader, 1970
Box 3                  
    Leadership manual (revisions), 1977 and 1992
Meetings and conventions, 1939-1994 and undated (3 folders)
Membership records
      Applicants' correspondence and biographies (2 folders)
Application forms and information, 1940-1952 and undated
Charter membership, 1939 and undated
Correspondence [concerning membership]
        Letters, 1939-1961 and undated
Postcards, 1940-1961 (scattered) and undated
Box 4                  
      Rejected applications
Membership lists, 1938-1994 (5 folders)
1952-1978 and undated
      Iowa Press Woman's Club Bulletin, 1939-1940
Box 5                  
      Iowa Press Woman, 1940-1953
Iowa Press Women, Inc. Newsletter, 1963-1965
The Challenger
, 1967-1996 (scattered)
    Newspaper clippings, 1939-1992 and undated (2 folders)
Press releases, 1943-1976 and undated
Printed material, 1949-1953 and undated
      The Iowa Publisher, 1942-1948
Midwest Parade, 1941
    Reports, committees and officers, 1939-1987 and undated
Resolutions and official statements, 1941-1951
Salary survey, 1986
Box 6                  
      1940-1943 [shelved in Box 10] 
1980 [shelved in Box 10]
Box 7                  
    Summaries of activities, events and actions taken, 1939-1976
Survey of Iowa newspapers regarding employment of women, 1951
      Statistics on index cards [shelved in Box 11]
Summary of statistics
    Writing contests, 1943-1991 and undated
Youth project, 1969-1970 and undated
Miscellaneous, 1986 and undated
  National Federation of Press Women, Inc.
    Communication contest entries of Mary Lou Hinrichsen, 1997-2001
Constitution, 1950 and undated
Contests, 1943-1975
Conventions, 1940-1951
Box 8                  
    History, 1941, 1987 and undated
Leader Letter, 1976-1993
Manuals (2 folders)
Meetings and conventions, 1938-1993 and undated
Membership lists, 1938-1964 and undated
Official letters and printed materials, 1938-1975 and undated
Oral history Lois Jacobs, 1987
Pin and emblem, 1939-1943
Press releases, 1945, 1949 and undated
The Press Woman, 1941-1973 (scattered)
Projects, 1939-1961
Recruitment, 1987 and undated
Box 9                  
    Reports, 1939-1973
War time publication conference, 1943
Youth project, 1986-1989 and undated
  National League of American Pen Women and Branches
  Press Women's clubs in other states
    Illinois, 1937-1961
Minnesota, 1941 and undated
Missouri, 1937-1960 and undated
Various states, 1938, 1941 and undated
    Meetings, 1954-1993 and undated (2 folders)
National Federation of Press Women luncheon, Chicago, 1954 [shelved in map case]
Box 10                  
Box 11                  
  Index cards from survey of Iowa newspapers on women’s employment,


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