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
Heather Ritchie, 1995.
Metcalf Kelly was born in
She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1920 at the
State University of Iowa (now the
Her teaching career included instructing high school in
Metcalf Kelly married William Kelly in 1923 whom she met
during her college days in
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
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
Birth certificate, 1899
Early years photographs, undated
Funeral guest book, 1994
Marriage certificate, 1923
Correspondence, 1934-1977 (scattered)
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
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)
Paralysis Drive, 1940-1941
Photographs, 1948-1968 and undated (Harry Truman)
Platform amendment, 1958
Hawkins, Ina (mother), 1933 and undated
Metcalf, Berton, (father)
Funeral guest book, 1957
Metcalf, Clarence, brother
Personal records, 1908-1977 and undated (scattered)
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
Family tree, undated
Laughlin, Levi?, undated
Metcalf, Melissa, (paternal grandmother) 1920
National Democratic Party
Inaugural Committee, 1961
National Convention, 1948-1968
Commemorative plaque, undated