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



RECORDS, 1973-1995
1.25 linear feet
and audiovisual material


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:
National Organization for Women, Dubuque Chapter, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.


Collection Overview

The records (donor no. 308) were donated by Ruth Scharnau in 1995 and succeeding years.
The records are open for research.  
Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.
Three audiocassettes (AC309-AC311) shelved in the audiocassette collection.
In Box 3.
Processed by:
Erin E. Barber and Kristen Rassbach, 1996; Sharon M. Lake, 2006. NOW[Dubuque.doc]


The Dubuque chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) was organized in late 1973 by a small group of women from the University of Dubuque and the surrounding community to improve and expand the role of women in society.  The group supported the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and worked to keep abortion safe and legal, to eliminate sexist language and images in education, and to make communities safe for women. 

Scope and Content Note

The Dubuque NOW records date from 1973 to 1995 and measure 1.25 linear feet.  The records are arranged in five series:  Administrative records, Events, Issues, Other NOW chapters, and Photographs.  The Dubuque NOW records focus on local feminist concerns and activities.

The Events series contains information about several of the special and on-going events that Dubuque NOW organized and participated in, such as the Take Back the Night March, an annual event to empower women and help them regain their right to be safe and confident in their communities at night.

The Issues series contains material pertaining to the issues that concerned Dubuque NOW.  The group concentrated on passing the Equal Rights Amendment, increasing awareness of sexist language and attitudes in school and everyday life, and affirmative action.  Dubuque NOW occasionally provided legal support through the legal defense fund, as in the cases of Susan Dolter and Karen Rolling, two Dubuque women who were fired from their teaching jobs at a private school because they became pregnant outside of marriage.   The series also includes materials related to the “call to conscience” campaign launched by Dubuque NOW in 1986 in response to attempts by the group Voices for Life to intimidate NOW members and disrupt NOW’s local activities.

The Photographs series contains black and white photographs of local and national ERA rallies and marches, and other chapter-sponsored events.  Several contact sheets and sheets of negatives are also included in the collection.

Related Collections

Ruth Scharnau Papers
Scharnau was one of the founders of the Dubuque NOW chapter.

Box List

Box 1                  
  Adminstrative records
    Bylaws, 1980, 1985
Chapter certificate, 1974
Correspondence, 1974-1986 and undated
Ledgers, 1980-1987
Meeting agendas, 1976-1986
Membership, 1983 and undated
Newsletters, 1973-1986
Newspaper clippings, 1973-1986 and undated [also shelved in map case]
Press file, 1978-1982
University of Dubuque student chapter, 1973-1975 and undated
Box 2                  
    Miscellaneous, 1980-1986 and undated (2 folders)

Bread and Roses dinner, 1984
Fundraisers, 1984
Political activities

      General, 1975, 1984 and undated
National NOW endorsement of Walter Mondale by Judy Goldsmith (30 minutes),
1983 [shelved in audiocassette collection: AC311]
    Programs, undated
Skills conference, 1983
Take Back the Night, 1974-1995 [scattered] and undated
Women's Equality Day, 1978-1980 (3 folders)
Women's history week, 1985
    Abortion, 1977-1986 and undated
"Call to conscience," 1985 and undated
Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1985
Equal employment opportunities
      Unfair firing practices
        Susan Dolter and Karen Rolling, 1979-1980 and undated
Legal defense fund, 1978-1981 and undated
      Unfair hiring practices, 1981 and undated
    Equal Rights Amendment: Federal amendment campaign
      General, 1978-1980 and undated
Correspondence, 1976-1992
Text of ERA (30 seconds), undated [shelved in audiocassette collection: AC309]
Box 3            
      General, 1983 and undated
Joel Spivak Show with Judy Goldsmith, National NOW President (30 minutes), 1983 [shelved in audiocassette collection: AC310]
    Lesbian rights, 1982-1987 and undated
Media Watch, 1982-1983
Non-sexist education, 1973-1983 and undated
Non-sexist language, undated
Pornography, 1981 and undated
Ronald Reagan, 1983 and undated
  Other NOW Chapters        
    Iowa NOW

General, 1985
Speech by Ruth Scharnau on the importance of inter-chapter communication, 1976

      Legislative issues, 1987
Minutes, 1982, 1983 and undated
Newsletters, 1980-1986
    Midwest Region NOW minutes, 1983
National NOW
      Conference, 1982
Internal debates, 1986-1987
    Contact sheets and negatives, undated
Negatives, undated
ERA rallies and marches, 1976, 1979 and undated


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