»PAPERS, 1939-2000

2.75 linear feetDATES:»




The »papers (donor no. 327) were donated by Martha Nash» in 1995 and subsequent years.


The »papers are open for research.


»Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.


In boxes 6 and 7.


Rachel Bohlmann, 1996, and Randel W. Lackore, 1997 [NashMartha.doc]



Martha Ann Furgerson Nash, civil rights activist and community and religious leader, was born September 26, 1925 in Sedalia, Missouri, to Dr. Lee B. and Lily Nina Williams Furgerson.  She attended school in Waterloo, Iowa, and graduated from East High School in 1943.  Furgerson earned a B.A. in history (with honors) from Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama, in 1947.  The following year she married Warren Nash.  They moved to Omaha, Nebraska, while he attended medical school at Creighton University and returned to Waterloo when he graduated in 1953.


Over the next four decades, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s (as she bore and raised seven children), Nash undertook numerous responsibilities within her community, on local, national, and international levels.  Among many other commitments, she served on the board of directors of the Black Hawk County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for over a decade beginning in 1962. From 1965 to 1971 she was involved with the Iowa State Conference of NAACP Branches.  Nash chaired the Black Hawk County Conference on Religion and Race from its inception in 1963 until its demise three years later.  She and Warren Nash participated in its Home Visits Project, where people of one race visited people of another in their homes.  From 1966 to 1983 she served in most leadership positions in the Dubuque Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (ACCW), including the presidency.  Nash was also a member of the Dubuque Archdiocesan Pastoral Council from 1972 to 1982 and of the Black Hawk-Bremer County League of Women Voters board of directors from 1974 to 1982.


On the national level, Nash chaired the International Affairs Commission for the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) from 1970 to 1973, in which capacity she attended a United Nations seminar for non-governmental organizations in 1971 and a 1972 international Cyprus peace conference.


During the 1980s Nash’s career took a slightly different turn as she became more deeply involved in education and health care.  She was executive director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Education and Vocational Training in Waterloo from 1981 until her retirement on February 1, 1995.  She ran for Black Hawk County supervisor in 1982, became a radio talk-show host on KBBG-FM (Iowa’s first black-owned and operated radio station), and served on the Waterloo Community Schools Career Education Advisory Council and the State Planning and Accountability Report Committee of the Iowa Department of Public Instruction.  Nash also was president of the Board of Directors of the Waterloo People’s Community Health Clinic, a member of the Community Health Planning Council of Black Hawk County, and on the Board of Directors of Adults Care, Inc. (since 1974), an adult day-care center in Waterloo, among other duties.


On March 27, 1979 her husband, Warren Nash, died.  As of 1995 she was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Waterloo, the Black Hawk County Branch of the NAACP, and the Black Hawk-Bremer County League of Women Voters.

Begin text here:»

Scope and Content Note


            Begin text here:The Martha Nash» papers date from 1939» to 2000 and measure 2.75» linear feet.  The »papers »are arranged in four» series: Biographical information; Catholic Church, society, and reform; Economics and politics; and Photographs.  The bulk of this collection documents the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) and the Dubuque Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women’s (Dubuque ACCW) efforts to bring about religious and social reform in light of Vatican II.  Nash’s participation and leadership in these groups overlapped significantly with her work in civil rights and racial justice.  This collection reveals Nash’s commitment to community building and to the inseparable nature of local and universal efforts for freedom and justice.


            Series one, Biographical information (1939-1998 and undated) includes Nash’s diary (spanning 1947 to 1948), resumes, letters of recommendation, writings and speeches, election materials, and newspaper clippings.


            The second series, Catholic Church, society, and reform (1961-1991) is divided into two subseries: Iowa, and National and international.  The first subseries, Iowa, contains correspondence, conference papers, study programs, and printed materials of the Dubuque ACCW, including material on its Conference on Religion and Race in 1963 and 1964 and on the diocese’s pastoral council.  The second subseries, National and international, contains NCCW conference papers following the Conference on Religion and Race in January 1963, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets on religious reform, including the international peace conference Nash attended on behalf of the NCCW in Cyprus in 1972.  It also includes national Catholic magazines.


            The third series, Economics and politics (1959-1993) is divided into three subseries:  Iowa, United Nations (UN) publications and United States.  The Iowa files (1966-1993) contain reports on race relations, women, health care, and education in the state.  The United Nations publication files (1963-1975) are comprised entirely of printed pamphlets, booklets and small books by and about the UN.  The United States files (1959-1974) contain mostly printed materials on its relations with other nations and race relations within the borders.


            The fourth series, Photographs (1948-1991 and undated) consists of portraits of Nash and family snapshots including a disbound photograph album with photographs from Nash’s visits to Cyprus and Washington, D. C.  This series includes two photographs of Nash's husband Warren Nash and sister Betty Jean Furgerson with jazz musician Duke Ellington and Waterloo disc jockey Herbert Cox.  Another photograph dateing from 1965 features Roy Wilkins, then executive secretary of the National NAACP, greeting the Nash family at a national convention.  Jazz musician Clark Terry appears in another photograph playing music for Martha and Warren Nash's twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in 1973.  This series also contains the exhibit catalog from “Legacy of Africa in the New World”; Nash served on the advisory committee that planned this exhibition at the Waterloo Museum of Art in 1991.»



Related Collections


Betty Jean Furgerson papers (sister of Nash), Lileah Harris papers (sister of Nash), and Penny Furgerson papers (sister-in-law of Nash)


Box no.           Description


Box 1

Biographical information

Awards, resumes, report cards, and recommendations, 1939-1947, 1953, 1967, 1978-1995 and undated

Campaign for Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors, 1981-1982 and undated

Diary, 1947-1948

Newspaper clippings, 1963-1998 and undated

Iowa Mother's Association, 1977-1978

Retirement party, 1995

The Talladega Student, 1944-1947

Writings and speeches, 1947-1973 and undated


Catholic Church, society and reform


Black Hawk County Conference on Religion and Race, 1963-1964 and undated

Dubuque Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (ACCW)

Conference on Vatican II and the laity, 1965-1966 and undated (2 folders)


Box 2

Parish program, “Explorations in Christianity,” 1968-1969

Printed materials and memos


1980-1981 and undated

The Link, 1976-1978

Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, 1970-1972, 1980-1981 and undated

National and international

Campaign for Human Development, 1971, 1980-1981

Correspondence and newsletters, 1970-1973, 1979 and undated

National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 1972 and undated


Box 3

National Council of Catholic Laity, 1972-1973

National Council of Catholic Women’s (NCCW’s) Institute on Race and related papers, 1963-1967

Published materials

Pamphlets and booklets


1971-1975 and undated

Catholic Woman



People:  The Magazine of the National Council of Catholic Laity, 1973

Respect Life!


1977-1978 and undated


Box 4

U.S. Catholic, 1978

Printed materials by non-Catholic religious organizations, 1970-1971 and undated

Women’s Role in Peace Education Conference, Nicosia, Cyprus, 1972


Economics and politics


Adult Employment Research Group, 1991

Cities Task Force for Community Relations, League of Iowa Municipalities, minutes, 1967

Governor’s Committee on Government Spending Reform, final report, 1991

Health care, 1974-1975 and undated


Box 5

Institute for Educational Leadership, 1993

Race relations, 1966-1968 and undated

Status of women, 1973 and undated

Vocational education, 1988-1993 and undated

Miscellaneous political guides and manuals, 1962-1978

United Nations publications

Promotional, 1969-1970 and undated

Descriptive, 1964-1975

Policy handbooks, 1964-1970


Box 6

United States

Academy of Health Professions workshop, 1976

Global development, 1971 and undated

Civil Rights Act, 1964-1967 and undated

Magazine articles, 1959-1971 and undated [shelved in map case: drawer 1]

Newspaper clippings, 1968 and undated

Speeches, articles and notes, 1963-1967 and undated

Relations with other nations

Africa and NATO, 1970-1972 and undated

Foreign policy, 1967-1975 and undated [shelved in map case: drawer 1]

United Nations Association of the USA, 1966-1974 and undated



Album (disbound)

Chicago, 1969

Christmas, 1970

Cyprus, 1972


1970-1974 and undated

Album (disbound) (cont.)

Nash, Warren, 1972-1974 and undated

Washington, D.C., 1970

ACCW and NCCW Conventions, 1966-1979 and undated

Family and Friends

1948-1951 and undated

[1960s], 1964-1965

Includes photographs of:

Ellington, Duke

Wilkins, Roy

Cox, Herbert


Includes photographs of:

Terry, Clark


Assorted undated

Photo essays

“The Legacy of Africa in the New World,” The Waterloo Museum of Art exhibit catalog, 1991

Students Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL), Carleton College, undated



Box 7


Talladega College

1943-1946, 1973, and undated

Album (photocopied) 1943-1946 [shelved in map case:

      drawer 1]