RECORDS, 1920-

14 linear feet

and audiovisual material


ACQUISITION: The records (donor no. 22) were donated by the League of Women Voters of Johnson County in 1981 with additional accessions to follow.

ACCESS: The records are open for research.


AUDIOVISUAL: One audiocassette shelved in audiocassette collection (AC215); four videocassettes shelved in videocassette collection (VC225-228); and two reel-to-reels (in box 22).

COPYRIGHT: Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

PHOTOGRAPHS: box 28, 31

PROCESSED BY: Randel W. Lackore, 1994; Sharon M. Lake, 2001; Annette Bramstedt, 2009



          The League of Women Voters (LWV) of Johnson County was established in 1920 by Zella White Stewart. Stewart started the local league with interested friends after attending a meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Chicago. With the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the National American Woman Suffrage Association evolved into the National League of Women Voters.

         The local Leagues of Women Voters are an integral part of the National League and of the state leagues. Upon its founding in 1920 the Johnson County LWV became the first local league established in Iowa. It was founded as a nonpartisan women's political organization. The purpose of the league was to provide a forum for women to come together and discuss topics in politics so that they might become informed and conscientious voters.

         In 1923 the Bulletin of the Johnson County League of Women Voters was inaugurated. To give the bulletin a bipartisan viewpoint two editors were appointed, Mrs. Carl E. Seashore, a Republican, and Professor Clara M. Daley, a Democrat. The quarterly publication kept members informed about local, state and national political issues and candidates for office. In 1955 the name was changed to The Voter, which reflected a change of the titles of the state and national LWV magazines. In the 1940s and 1950s the LWV of Johnson County produced a monthly radio broadcast on WSUI. The first broadcasts were half an hour long but this format was later changed to two fifteen-minute programs presented monthly. The broadcast introduced topics to the public to develop an informed electorate.

         Through discussion and study of political topics and active political involvement the LWV of Johnson County continues to inform its members and serve the electorate at large. The topics studied cover a wide spectrum of political subjects on the local, state and national levels. These studies have encompassed issues from the United Nations and its global impact (1965-1969) and the Equal Rights Amendment (1980) to garbage collection in Johnson County (1947-1950). The LWV of Johnson County has provided voter service to the public through voter registration drives, voting machine education, and forums for candidate debate. Since 1974 men have also been admitted as members of the LWV.


Scope and Content Note

         The 1981 accession (boxes 1-18) measures 8 linear feet and dates from 1920 to 1978. It consists of a mix of administrative and topical files arranged in one alphabetical sequence.

         The 1989 accession (boxes 19-22, 26 and 27) measures 3 linear feet and dates from 1922 to 1987. Like the first accession, it consists of administrative and topical files arranged in one alphabetical sequence. The Voter, the newsletter of the LWV of Johnson County, is filed at the end of the 1994 accession.

         The 1994 accession (boxes 23-25) dates from 1955 to 1994 (bulk dates 1978-1992) and measures 1 linear foot. The records are arranged in four series: Administration, Community involvement, Topical files and Publicity. The bulk of this accession contains administrative records and files related to the league.

         The Administration series (1978-1991) contains organizational material such as annual reports, board meeting minutes, membership lists and program planning reports.

         The Community involvement series (1985-1991) contains information on two referenda, one to change the city charter of Iowa City and the other a change to the state constitution to have the governor and lieutenant governor elected as a team. This series also contains information on local government and voter services provided by the league. The community involvement series covers campaigns that the LWV of Johnson County participated in to improve the political efficacy of LWV members and local voters.

         The Topical files series (1981-1992) concerns issues addressed by the League, such as reproductive rights, juvenile justice and ground water.

         The Publicity series (1983-1992) contains newspaper clippings about or of interest to the league. This series also contains the press releases made by the League of Woman Voters of Johnson County to the local media to announce their meetings and public forums.


The 1998 ACCESSION (boxes 28-29) dates from 1987 to 1998 (bulk dates 1995-1997).  The records have been arranged in four series to resemble the organization of the 1994 accession as closely as possible: Administrative, Community involvement, Newspaper clippings, and Other leagues.

The Administrative series (1988-1998) contains organizational materials such as Board agendas and minutes, annual meeting agendas and minutes, and membership lists.

The Community involvement series (1993-1998) contains information on activities sponsored by or of interest to the League.  There are many materials related to the candidate forums sponsored by the League in 1996 and 1997, including candidates’ brochures and videocassettes.  Materials on the forum involving the contentious special election called to fill the position of Johnson County Recorder vacated in 1997 by the mid-term retirement of long-time incumbent John O’Neill are of special interest, and the performance of one of Iowa City’s more colorful left-wing political figures, Gary Sanders, in the  District B forum (VC227) is an entertaining break from politics as usual.  The interviews with and letters from LWV-JC members who were active between 1950 and 1970, collected for the League’s history celebration in 1993, are also notable items in this series.

The Newspaper clippings (1994-1998) document League activities covered in the local press.  Much of the collection covers the highly controversial Deborah Conger-Steve Lacina special election for Johnson County Recorder.

The Other league series contains records relating to the activities of other branches of the League of Women Voters that involved members of the LWV-JC.   The bulk of this series contains administrative records and reports of the League of Women Voters of Iowa. 


The 2006 and 2009 ACCESSION (boxes 30-32) dates from 1993 to 2004 (bulk dates 1999-2004).  The records have been arranged in four series to resemble the organization of the previous accessions as closely as possible: Administrative, Community involvement, Topical Files, and Publicity.

The Administrative series (1993-2004) contains organizational materials such as Board agendas and minutes, annual meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, member lists, and bylaws.

The Community involvement series (1993-2004) contains information on activities sponsored by the League. Materials concerning Election Forums for the elections in 1999-2004 make up the majority of this series. Voter service activities and materials from the  Iowa City City Council economic or community development plan of 2000-2002 is also included in this series.

The Topical files series (1999-2004) concerns issues addressed by the League, such as land use, domestic violence, equal rights, and water issues.

The Publicity series (1996-2004) contains the LWV-JC Voter  publications, as well as the LWV- Iowa Legislative Newsletter. Some meeting announcements and news clippings are also included.


Related Collections


The League of Women Voters of Iowa records

         [include a section of League of Women Voters of Johnson County materials]

Zella White Stewart papers (Iowa Women's Archives)

Zella White Stewart papers (Johnson County Historical Society, Coralville, Iowa)




Box no. Description

                                                             1981 ACCESSION

Box 1
                       Annexation, 1964-1966
                       Annual reports
                       Apartment leases, 1973-1976
                       Articles of incorporation, 1976
                       Audit reports, 1955-1957
                       Bank statements, 1961-1965
                       Board meetings
Box 2
                               1974-1977 and undated
                       Board minutes
Box 3
                       Board of Directors, 1941-1980
                       Board of commissions, 1970-1974
Box 4
                       Board training, 1975
                       Bricker amendment, 1954-1957
                       Budget, 1930-1976
                               1951-1956 and undated
                       Bylaws, 1943-1976
                       Cable television, 1974
                       Campaign financing, 1974
                       Candidate questionnaires, 1961-1970
Box 5
                       Child care survey
                               1964, 1970-1973 and undated
                       Child welfare study, 1941-1948
                       "Cities in Transition: Up and Out?," 1977
                       A Citizen's Guide to Local Government in Johnson County, Iowa, 1955
                       Citizens information service, 1976
                       City council
                       Community Development
Box 6
                       Comprehensive planning
                       Consensus process, 1973-1976
                       Consensus statement, 1957-1971
                       Continuing responsibility, 1964-1967
                       Coralville, Iowa--town council, 1966-1968
                       Coralville Dam, 1958-1960
Box 7
                       Council management, 1957-1966
                       County services, 1966
                       Discussion leadership training, 1975
                       Electoral college and election laws, 1968
                       Essay contest, 1945
                       Executive branch, 1973-1976
Box 8
                       Fair employment practices, 1949
                       Finance drive
                       Financial accounts
                       Foreign policy--developmental aid, 1969-1970
                       Foreign policy--United Nations, 1965-1969
                       Gallager club, 1928-1941
                       Garbage collection, 1947-1950
                       General information about the league, 1947-1950
Box 9
                       Health council
                       Home rule, 1972-1974
                       Housing codes, 1964-1965
                       Housing commission--observer reports, 1972
                       Human relations commission, 1964-1975
                       Human resources
                               General, 1967-1969
                               Child care, 1974
                               Fair housing, 1962-1975
Box 10
                       Human rights, 1963-1964
                       Income tax, 1976-1977
                       Individual liberties
                               General, 1953-1954
                               Workshop, 1953-1956
                       The Ins and Outs of League, 1970
                       Iowa tax system, 1971-1976
                       Johnson County, 1973
                       Johnson County board of health, 1969-1970
                       Johnson County conservation commission, 1969
                       Johnson County home, 1962-1963
                       Johnson County regional planning commission
                               1970-1971 and undated
                       Juvenile justice, 1973-1976
                       Law enforcement
                               General, 1926-1927
                               Center-bond issue, 1976
Box 11
                       Legislative reports, 1948-1949
                       Library board
                               1970-1972 and undated
                       Local items, 1969-1975
                       Local programs, 1960-1978
                       Luncheon programs, 1929-1958
                       Members' guide, 1952
                       Membership lists
                               General, 1974-1977
                               Legislative interviews, 1973-1976
                       Mental health, 1958-1969
Box 12
                       Merger: Iowa City and University Heights, 1964-1965
                               Newspaper clippings, 1955-1963
                       National item--foreign policy, 1959
                       Observer projects, 1970-1971
                       Open space, 1959-1973
                       Overseas education fund, 1975-1976
                       Parks and recreation
                       Planning and development--recreation, 1965-1967
Box 13
                       Planning and zoning
                               General, 1946-1969
                               Newspaper clippings, 1969-1970
                       Policy sheets, 1968-1974
                       Program recommendations, 1966-1978
                       Public relations, 1962-1979
                       Publications, 1963-1971
                       Radio programs
                               Sept. 1944-Feb. 1951
                               Mar. 1951-Oct. 1953
                               Sept. 1955-Sept. 1958 and undated
Box 14
                       Recommendations to the state league board
                       Revenue sharing
                               General, 1973-1976
                               Monitoring project, 1973-1974
                                     Feb.-Mar. 1974
                                     Mar.-Apr. 1974
Box 15
                       School board
                               Newspaper clippings, 1967-1970
                       Sign ordinance, 1971-1973
                       Social functions, 1976-1978
                       Special districts, 1966-1974
                       "State of the League of Iowa City Message," 1967
                       Subdivision controls, 1960-1963
                       Support positions, 1974-1976
                       That's Where Our Money Goes, 1947
                       This is Johnson County, 1964
                       Traffic and transportation, 1966
                       Treasurer's reports, 1946-1977
                       Tree report, 1946-1948
Box 16
                       Unified court plan, 1956-1969
                       Unit reports
Box 17
                       Urban renewal
                                     Undated (2 folders)
                               Bartholomew report, 1959-1960
                               Bibliography, undated
                       Voter service, 1953-1972
                       Voting machines, 1948-1956
Box 18
                       Water resources, 1966-1970
                       Water supply, 1948-1961
                       World economy, 1979
                                                             1989 ACCESSION
Box 19
                       Annual meetings, 1977-1987
                       Annual report, 1946, 1978-1987
                       Apartment leases, 1969, 1977, 1979
                       Awards, 1961, 1980, 1982-1983, 1985-1987
                       Board minutes
                               1946-1947, 1968-1972
Box 20
                       Board of directors list, 1945-1946, 1980-1987
                       Bottle bill, 1979-1980
                       Bulletin, October 1922
                       Bylaws, 1981-1987
                       Changing World Order Conference, 1977
                       Community Development Project, 1960-1973
                       Congressional interview reports, 1981-1985
                       Constitutional convention survey, 1979-1980
                               1946, 1968-1983
                               1973-1974, 1980, 1985
                       Economic development committee, 1983-1985 and undated
                       Energy, 1975-1976
                       Equal Rights Amendment, 1977, 1980
                       Finance reports, 1980-1985
Box 21
                       Hazardous waste, 1983-1985
                       Health care, 1980-1982
                       Home rule for Washington D.C., 1967-1970
                       Human relations, 1968-1971
                       Iowa Air Pollution Control Commission, 1970-1971
                       Iowa City charter-ballot issue, 1985
                       Iowa City city council candidate's forum, 1981, 1983
                       Iowa/Environmental Protection Agency agreement, 1980
                       Juvenile justice system survey, 1973-1982
                       Land use, 1973-1974
                       League of Women Voters of Iowa press releases, 1977
                       Legislative forums, 1984
                       Local government week, 1983-1984
                       Local urban environment, 1977, 1984-1985
                       Membership changes
                       League of Women Voters of Iowa, 1976, 1979-1982
                       League of Women Voters of the United States, 1975-1982
                       Membership lists, 1945-1946, 1979-1987
                       Miscellaneous publications, 1953, 1965-1983
                       Nominating committee report, 1970-1972, 1979-1987
                       Political effectiveness, 1965-1966
Box 22
                       Newspaper clippings, 1982-1987 and undated
                       Program recommendations, 1944-1950
                       Publicity, 1981-1986
                               Speech transcripts, 1963
                               Reel-to-reels (2), 1963
                       Recycling, 1973
                               League of Women Voters of the United States, 1970-1973, 1980-1985
                               State office, 1979-1985
                       Scrapbook of publicity
                       State government revision--administrative reorganization, 1967-1968
                       Treasurer's report, 1983-1987
                       Unit organization, 1970, 1981
                       Utility franchises, 1984
                       Voter service--congressional debate
                               Cutler vs. Evans, 1982
                               Evans vs. Johnson, 1984
                       Water quality, undated
                                                             1994 ACCESSION
Box 23
                               Annual reports, 1986-1991
                               Awards, 1991
                               Board of directors list, 1986-1991
                               Board minutes
                               Budget reports, 1988-1992
                               Bylaws, 1985-1991
                                     1988-1991 and undated
                               Leader's training, 1985-1986
                               Membership lists, 1986-1990 and undated
                               Membership recruitment, 1988-1989
                               Policy statements, 1982-1990
                               Program planning, 1982-1990
                               Resource lists, 1988-1990
                               Treasurer's report, 1978-1989
Box 24
                       Community involvement
                               City charter referendum, 1985
                               Community action, 1988
                               Local government information, 1983-1988
                               Lobbying information, 1986-1992
                               Voters' service, 1987-1991
                               "The Community: Discussion of LWV," WSUI radio, 1983 (30
                                                 minutes) [shelved in audiocassette collection: AC215]
                       Topical files
                               Ground water, 1986-1987 and undated
                               Healthcare forum, 1990

                               Human services, 1986
                               Iowa adult corrections system, 1983-1986
                               Juvenile justice, 1983-1991
                               Meeting basic human needs, 1986-1987
                               Reproductive rights, 1981-1990 and undated
                               School finance, 1978-1989
Box 25
                               Newspaper clippings, 1983-1992 and undated
                               Playbill, 1994
                               Press releases, 1985-1987
                                                             1989 ACCESSION
Box 26
                       The Voter
                               October 1955-December 1959
Box 27
                               1974-May 1978
                               February 1979-December 1982



Box 28


                                Annual meetings, 1995-1998

                                Board minutes, 1995-1998

                                Board of Directors, 1995-1996

                                Bylaws, 1995

                                Letters to membership, 1988, 1997

                                Membership lists, 1996 and undated

                                Memos to Board members, 1996-1997

                                Treasurer’s reports, 1996-1998


                        Community involvement

                                County government study, 1997

                                Evening at Plum Grove, 1996 [includes photos]

                                Juvenile justice, 1997

                                Kids Voting, Iowa, Inc., 1996

                                LWV-JC history celebration, 1993

                                Letter to KCJJ advertisers, 1997

                                Local positions, 1996

                                President’s Interagency Council on Women, 1996

                                Voters’ services

                                    Candidate forums

                                            County Recorder special election, 1997

                                            Iowa City and Coralville City Council, 1997 [also see

                                                videocassettes V226-228]

                                            “Talk to the Voters,” 1996

                                            Miscellaneous, 1996


                                                House of Representatives 50th District, 1996 (VHS,

                                                      45 minutes) [shelved in videocassette collection V225]

                                                Coralville City Council, 1997 (VHS, 65 minutes) [shelved

                                                      in videocassette collection V226]

                                                Iowa City City Council District B and at-large primary, 1997

                                                      (VHS, 1 hour and 45 minutes) [shelved in videocassette

                                                      collection V227]

                                                Iowa City City Council District B and at-large general, 1997

                                                      (VHS, 1 hour and 15 minutes) [shelved in videocassette

                                                      collection V228]  

                                    Legislative forums, 1998


            Newspaper clippings



            Other leagues

                                Jasper County

                                    Helping Kids Succeed—A Community Dialog, 1996

                                League of Women Voters of Iowa (LWVIA)


                                            Bylaws, 1987




Box 29


                                            Memos to members and presidents, 1987-1998

                                            President’s meeting, 1997


                                            “The Iowa General Assembly—Does It meet Today’s

                                                Needs?,” 1994

                                            Lobbyist’s report, 1988

                                            Proposed position on school finance, 1988

                                League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS)

                                    Convention, 1996

                                    “Getting Into issues; Your Guide to the 1996 Elections,” 1996

                                    Memo to state and local league presidents on campaign finance

                                            Reform, 1997



                                Women of Achievement Award from the Business and Professional

                                    Women of Iowa City, 1996


2006 and 2009 ACCESSIONS


Box 30


                              Program Planning, 2000, 2002

                               Local Positions, 1996, 2000-2002

                               Member Lists, 1998-2004

                               Bylaws, Policies, and Procedures, 1999-2000

                               Annual Meetings, 1998-2004

                               Minutes, Committee Reports, Treasurer Reports, Emails, 1997-1998







Box 31

                               Board Retreat, 1999

                               Correspondence, 1993, 1997, 1999-2004

                               Fundraising, 1999, 2004


                        Community Involvement

                               Economic Development

                               Election, 1999





                               Voter Service, 1993-1994

                                    1996, 1999-2000 [includes photos]



                        Topical Files

                               Water Issues

                               Land Use

                               Domestic Violence

                               General Politics

                               Equal Rights

                               Media Relations

                               Impact of Issues 1998-2000


Box 32


                               The Voter, January 1996- Winter 1998

                                    Spring 1998- Spring 2004

                               Meeting Announcements and News clippings 2000-2003

                              LWV- Iowa Legislative Newsletter, May 2003-June 2004