»PAPERS, 1899-1994


QUANTITY:2 linear feet





The »Metcalf Kelly papers (Donor File 255) were donated by the Alberta Kelly estate in 1995.»


The »papers are open for research.


»Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.


»In boxes 1, 2, and 3.


Heather Ritchie, 1995.




            Begin text here:»Alberta Metcalf Kelly was born in Nichols, Iowa in 1899 to Berton Lee Metcalf and Ina Hankins.  Her father was a cattleman, teacher, entrepreneur and Democratic legislator in the 45th State Assembly from 1933 to 1937 representing Muscatine County. 


            She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1920 at the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) in the College of Education.  In 1936, Metcalf Kelly finished her Master of Arts degree at the same institution. 


            Her teaching career included instructing high school in Rockford and Chicago, Illinois, and Iowa City, Iowa, in the 1920s.  She also taught English classes at the University of Iowa in 1956.


            Metcalf Kelly married William Kelly in 1923 whom she met during her college days in Iowa City.  Their marriage ended in divorce in 1934.


            In 1940, Metcalf Kelly began her lifelong pursuit of involvement in the Democratic Party, beginning at the precinct level and extending her activity to local, state and national party politics.  She served as the Vice-President of the Muscatine County Democratic Central Committee of Iowa.  From 1944 to 1953, she served as First District Committeewoman of the State Central Committee.  In 1953, she was elected to the Democratic National Committee by delegates to the 1952 national Democratic convention.  The national committee's role includes fundraising for the party, searching for and training of potential candidates, as well as coordinating and writing the party platform.  Metcalf Kelly remained on the national committee until 1968.  Between 1948 and 1968, she attended the Democratic National Conventions as a delegate or in other capacities.  She also participated in various national meetings and functions of the Democratic Party.


            Metcalf Kelly died in 1994 in her hometown of Nichols.


Scope and Content Note


            Begin text here:The» papers date from »1899 to 1994 and measure »2 feet.  The »papers are arranged in »three series:  Personal life, Professional life, and Family.»  The papers reveal Metcalf Kelly's role as a national figure within Democratic party electoral politics during the 1950s and 1960s. 


            The Personal life (1899-1994) series includes scattered correspondence, personal legal documents and a scrapbook of Metcalf Kelly's life while attending college in the 1920s.  This series also contains early family photographs.


            The second series, Professional life (1922-1968), focuses upon Metcalf Kelly's work in the Democratic Party seen primarily in newspaper clippings and photographs of her with national political figures such as Harry Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Hubert Humphey.  Some papers and artifacts of interest in the collection include an original signature of Margaret and President Harry Truman (Professional life, Truman Presidential train, 1948), the program from President John Kennedy's famous birthday celebration (Professional life, Dinner and event programs, 1958-1964), and the badges from each National Democratic Convention between 1948 and 1968 (Professional life, National Democratic Party, Badges, National Convention, 1948-1968). 


            The collection lacks evidence of her political views and unique contributions.  Unfortunately, Metcalf Kelly regularly purged her correspondence files (Professional life, Correspondence, 1953-1977).  One of the few examples of her political beliefs is a handwritten addition to the party platform calling for federal funding of public schools (Professional life, Platform amendment, 1958). Despite this absence, the collection shows her constant effort and long term devotion to party activities for which she gained national recognition within electoral politics.


            The Family (1908-1977) series consists of memorabilia and photographs of Metcalf Kelly's immediate family members.  The bulk of this series incorporates clippings and photographs of Clarence Metcalf, Metcalf Kelly's brother, focusing upon Metcalf's national work on the Iowa Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation State Committee (ASCS) during the 1960s. 


Box no.   Description

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Box 1

Personal life


»Birth certificate, 1899

Early years photographs, undated

Funeral guest book, 1994

Marriage certificate, 1923

Correspondence, 1934-1977 (scattered)

Plays, undated

School years


1920, 1936

1905, 1912, 1915, 1917, and 1920 [shelved in map case]

Report cards and transcripts, 1914-1917, 1935

State teacher's certificate, 1920, 1934

Scrapbook, 1901?-1923 [oversize:  in box 3]

World War I essay, 1980


Professional life

Teaching memorabilia, 1922, 1957

Iowa Democratic Party

Iowa Democratic Party memorabilia, 1953 and undated

Iowa State Conventions, 1940, 1956

Truman Presidential train, 1948

National Democratic Party


National Convention, 1948-1968, [oversize:  in box 4]

Inaugural Committee, 1961 [oversize:  in box 4]

Commemorative plaque, undated [oversize:  in box 4]

Christmas cards, 1959-1977 and undated

Correspondence, 1953-1977 (Hubert Humphrey)

Dinner and event programs, 1958-1964

National Democratic conventions, 1948-1964

Newspaper clippings, 1944-1964 and undated (Eleanor Roosevelt)


Box 2

Paralysis Drive, 1940-1941

Photographs, 1948-1968 and undated (Harry Truman)

Platform amendment, 1958

Speech, 1940



Hawkins, Ina (mother), 1933 and undated

Metcalf, Berton, (father)

1921-1957 (scattered)

Funeral guest book, 1957

Metcalf, Clarence, brother

Personal records, 1908-1977 and undated (scattered)


Personal, undated

Professional, 1963-1968

Funeral guest book, 1977

Mementos, 1908-1977 and undated (scattered)

Iowa Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation State Committee (ASCS)

Speeches, 1961-1962 and undated

Conference bulletins, 1962-1968 and undated

Agricultural certificate recognition, 1968

Newspaper clippings, 1959-1963


Personal, undated

Political, undated


Family tree, undated

Photographs, undated

Laughlin, Levi?, undated

Metcalf, Melissa, (paternal grandmother) 1920


Box 3


Personal life

School years

Scrapbook, 1901?-1922



Box 4


Professional life

National Democratic Party


Inaugural Committee, 1961

National Convention, 1948-1968

Commemorative plaque, undated