Guide to the Records of the League of Women Voters (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1945-1991

Digital Research Library, University Library System

Summary Information

Repository
Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Title
Records of the League of Women Voters (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Creator
League of Women Voters (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Collection Number
MSS#129
Date [inclusive]
1945-1991
Extent
2.75 cubic feet (6 boxes)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) was founded in 1920, after the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution gave women the right to vote. The first priority of the League was to assist women in understanding their new rights and responsibilities as voters. These records include publications, press releases, correspondence, policy statements, financial materials, photographs, and newspaper clippings documenting all levels of the League from 1945 to 1991.
Sponsor Note
This finding aid has been encoded as a part of the Historic Pittsburgh project a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Funding for this portion of the project has been donated by the Hillman Foundation.

Preferred Citation

Records of the League of Women Voters (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 1945-1991, MSS# 129, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania

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History of the League of Women Voters (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) was founded in 1920, after the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution gave women the right to vote. The first priority of the League was to assist women in understanding their new rights and responsibilities as voters. Since then, the League has developed a membership comprising both women and men. The League set out to foster citizen involvement in politics, develop citizen leaders, help people understand public issues, educate citizens on the operation of all levels of government, promote discussion of government policies, and to influence public policy. To this end, the League, at all levels in the county, prints guides to locally elected officials and sponsors debates at election time. The organization of the League of Women Voters consists of over 1200 local leagues, 50 state leagues, and leagues in the District of Columbia and the territories. In addition, there are a number of regional leagues. LWVUS guides these regional, state, and local leagues by implementing national programs and outlining the general principles of the organizations. A few national programs also involved regional, state, and local leagues. One of these, the Overseas Education Fund, began in 1947 to share the experiences and procedures of a working democracy in the United States with people around the world. The Education Fund was additionally begun in 1958 to publish materials and undertake educational programs in the field of government in the United States. Along with these two programs, a Global Security program was begun in the 1980s, to study and influence United States foreign aid to developing countries.

The Allegheny County Council of the League of Women Voters includes Pittsburgh, Monroeville, Mt. Lebanon, and other area leagues. The Allegheny County Council is composed of local league presidents and an appointed council chair, vice-chair, secretary-treasurer, public relations chair, and finance chair. The local leagues are active in community policy and programs. In 1949, the Pittsburgh League of Women Voters was active in issues surrounding public health in Pennsylvania and economic welfare issues. More recent programs of importance are women's rights and International Women's Year (1978), and energy conservation programs such as Project Pacesetter (1976).

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Scope and Content Notes

These records include publications, press releases, correspondence, policy statements, financial materials, photographs, and newspaper clippings documenting all levels of the League from 1945 to 1991. The bulk of these records were created by the Allegheny County Council and the Pittsburgh Area League of Women Voters in the 1970s and 1980s and document their activities both in educating the local electorate and in other educational endeavors. The publications are a particularly rich source of information found in these records and provide a non-partisan assessment of local and state politics and contemporary issues including the energy crisis of the 1970s. While providing strong information on the activities of the different locals in this region, these records provide little comprehensive material and document only an eclectic mix of the League's programs and activities.

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Arrangement

The League of Women Voters Records are arranged in two series. Series have been designated for Allegheny County organizations and those of the State and National League of Women Voters.

The League of Women Voters Records are housed in six archival boxes.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Digital Research Library, University Library System  Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Summer, 2001

Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
library@hswp.org

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or publish, please contact the curator of the Archives.

Acquisition Information

These records came in two accessions and were combined into one body of records in 1994.

Acc# 1989.0006 Gift of Betty Emerick, (Records. Ms. Emerick is a member of the board of the Pittsburgh League of Women Voters).

Acc# 1992.0043 Gift of Mary Parsea, (Records of the Allegheny County Council and national material. Scrapbooks donated with this accession will be cataloged separately).

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Diane Asseln in July 29, 1994.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Doug MacGregor on June 7, 2001.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • League of Women Voters (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • League of Women Voters (Monroeville, Pa.)
  • League of Women Voters (Mt. Lebanon, Pa.)

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Women
  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Education
  • Pennsylvania -- Politics and Government
  • Mt. Lebanon (Pa.) -- Politics and Government
  • Monroeville (Pa.) -- Politics and Government
  • Allegheny County (Pa.) -- Women

Subject(s)

  • Allegheny County (Pa.) -- Politics and Government
  • Housing -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Equal Rights Amendments
  • Environmental Education -- Pennsylvania
  • Energy Conservation -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Education -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Associations, Institutions, etc. -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Public Health -- Pennsylvania
  • Segregation in Schools -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Taxation -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Voting -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Women -- Education -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Women -- Societies and Clubs
  • Women's Rights -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County

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Collection Inventory

Series I Allegheny County Organizations  (1946-1991) 

Scope and Content Notes

The records of Allegheny County organizations have been arranged in three sub-series. Sub-series have been designated for Allegheny County Council, Pittsburgh League of Women Voters and materials documenting all areas in Allegheny County. These records include by-laws, convention documents, publications, scrapbooks and other sundry items. These materials document the specific needs, activities and interests of the local groups of this organization. Material found in this series provides the strongest documentation of the decision making process and the operation of the League in these records. Given the close relationship between the local area groups, material generated by the Pittsburgh Area group may be found with material from the Allegheny County Council and with the material produced by all areas. The third sub-series, material covering all Allegheny County locals, provides a great deal of material that should be examined in conjunction with searches through sub-series one and two.

Subseries 1 Allegheny County Council  (1961-1991) 

Scope and Content Notes

The Allegheny County Council records are arranged alphabetically by folder title. These records include by-laws, convention material, public relations files, board meeting minutes, statements, and other sundry items documenting the role of the league in educating Allegheny County voters. Material in this sub-series is equally divided between organizational material from the league and publications they produced. The records that document the operation of the Council is limited to stray minutes, convention material, written policies, and other items that do not overlap to comprehensively document any one time period. The minutes primarily date from 1986 and discuss national programs and financial support for League activities. Publications include a near complete run of Facts for Voters from 1967 to 1991, a publication that provides information and addresses of local politicians and national politicians who represent the county in Harrisburg and Washington, D. C. Also included are the working papers and the finished publication of Allegheny County Government (1971). This book was produced by the Allegheny County Council, and provides information on county organization, facilities and budget. In addition to material documenting their function of educating the electorate, these records also include information on their concern for the availability of housing (April 1973).

  boxfolder
By-laws and Policies  1975-1987 11
  folder
Board Meetings  1986-1989 2
  folder
Convention Papers  1982-1985 3
Public Relations 
  folder
 March 1970-April 1978 4
  folder
 May 1978-1987 5
Publications 
  folder
 1970-1971 6
  folder
 1967-1991 7
  folder
Statements and Testimonies  1975-1980 8
  folder
Miscellaneous  1961-1991 9

Subseries 2 Pittsburgh Area  (1946-1991) 

Scope and Content Notes

The Pittsburgh Area records are arranged alphabetically by folder title with miscellaneous materials arranged to the rear. The Pittsburgh Area records include board meeting minutes, financial materials, information about club programs, press releases, and other sundry items. Material produced by the Pittsburgh Area League provides the strongest organizational material in these records. The minutes of the board from 1967 to 1991 are not comprehensive, but provide strong documentation of the activities and organization of the Pittsburgh Area League. Since the secretaries for the League switched over time, the quality of the minutes varies greatly during the 25-year span. Other organizational material includes financial documents concerning budget, income and expenditures, as well as the planning of programs, conventions and other activities. The programs documented by these records include one on economic welfare, held in the late 1940s, and desegregation in the schools, held in the 1970s. Publications from the Pittsburgh Area League include a nearly complete run of the newsletter, Pittsburgh Voter, from 1959 to 1991 and annual report workbooks, from 1979 to 1991. Miscellaneous materials include general information, notices of events, election information, correspondence, general information about Pittsburgh and Fox Chapel schools, as well as information about the Pittsburgh area. Of particular note are materials about Pittsburgh schools (1968-1969), a booklet entitled "This is Pittsburgh" (1953) and other sundry items.

Board Meetings 
  folder
 1967-June 1983 10
  folder
 July 1983-May 1986 11
  boxfolder
 August 1986-June 1991 21
  folder
Conventions and Meetings  1960-1986 2
Financial Materials 
  folder
Budget  1981-1990 3
  folder
Treasurer's Reports  1981-1990 4
  folder
Membership Kit  c1969 5
Programs 
  folder
Desegregation in Schools  1971-1979 6
  folder
Economic Welfare  1946-1949 7
Publications 
  folder
Annual Meeting  1979-1991 8
 
  folder
 1959-1969 9
  folder
 1981-1983 10
  boxfolder
 1984-January 1986 31
  folder
 Feb 1986-Sept 1988 2
  folder
 Oct 1988-1991 3
  folder
Handbooks  1969-1981 4
  folder
Miscellaneous Materials  1953-1990 5

Subseries 3 All Areas  (1945-1991) 

Scope and Content Notes

The records for all areas are arranged alphabetically with miscellaneous materials arranged to the rear. These records include membership lists, publications and other items documenting all areas in the Pittsburgh region. These items have been segregated into a separate sub-series because they equally document the Allegheny County Council, the Pittsburgh Area League, and other local leagues and provide overlapping information that could not be separated. Of primary note among these records are membership lists for local area groups from numerous years between 1945 and 1990. The bulk of these member lists are for the Pittsburgh Area League. Other publications and items provide more general information on Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the region and were not produced by the League.

  folder
Membership Lists  1945-1990 6
  folder
Non-League Publications  1963-1991 7
  folder
Miscellaneous  1945-1988 8

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Series II State and National  (1948-1991) 

Scope and Content Notes

The State and National Records are arranged alphabetically by folder title with miscellaneous materials arranged to the rear. These records include publications, memorandums, correspondence and other sundry items documenting the statewide and national activities of the League of Women Voters. The bulk of these records is materials relating to the operation of the Pennsylvania Leagues and documents their work across the state and with locals. These eclectic items document a variety of specific issues but fail to provide an overview of the League's national or statewide activities, save from what may be weaned from the publications. Convention material includes agendas, convention reports and program material documenting the planning and implementation of statewide conventions. Like the records in series one, the bulk of records in series two were created in the 1970s and 1980s. Issues documented in these records include Election Information and Collective Bargaining, material from the education fund, and material on public health. The statewide and national programs on a variety of concerns are also documented. Of note is material on Project Pacesetter, a national program that sought to reduce energy consumption during the energy crises of the late 1970s. Publications include a nearly complete set of the Pennsylvania Voter, from 1961 through 1991. Additionally, numerous national publications, including the National Voter from 1964-1991, the newsletter Facts and Issues, 1962-1988, and other are available in these records.

  boxfolder
Convention Papers  1948-1979 41
  folder
Election and Collective Bargaining  1982-1985 2
  folder
Membership  1976-1979 3
Programs 
  folder
 1949-1991 4
  folder
Executive  1970-1991 5
  folder
Global Security  c1984 6
Project Pacesetter 
  folder
 1976-1978 7
  folder
Energy Dialogue  1978 8
  folder
 1977-1979 9
  folder
Public Health  c1949-1950 10
  folder
Women's Rights  1965-1983 11
Publications 
 
  boxfolder
 1961-1978 51
  folder
 1983-1991 2
Publications-National 
  folder
 1962-1988 3
  folder
 1978-1988 4
 
  folder
 1964-1978 5
  folder
 1982-October 1986 6
  folder
 November 1986-1991 7
  boxfolder
 1980-1985 61
Miscellaneous Publications 
  folder
 c1962-1975 2
  folder
 c1976-1980 3

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