Series Descriptions, League of Women Voters of New Jersey
Manuscript Collection 1082,
CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS, 1920-1975. (3 folders in box 1)
Published copies of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey constitution and bylaws and draft copies with emendations. Also includes statements, correspondence and a copy of the National League of Women Voters bylaws (1928).
Of particular interest is the documentation of the constitutional changes which took place during the period 1944-1947 in which the local leagues became more closely integrated into the national league.
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BOARD MINUTES, 1920-1983 and 1986-1988. (3.15 cubic feet beginning in box 1)
Minutes of meetings of the State Board of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey and related documents. The State Board consisted of officers of the state league and representatives of the county and local leagues. This body, which met monthly, was known as the Executive Board from 1920 to 1929, as the Board of Directors from 1929 to 1947, and as the State Board from 1948 to the present.
Document types include meeting minutes, reports from officers, committees and local leagues, correspondence, memoranda, budgets, agendas, lists, organizational charts, and notices. From 1970, the minutes of each Board meeting are preceded by the Pre-Board Briefing, materials which were sent out to each Board member to prepare her for the meeting. In some meetings after 1973, the minutes of the Executive Committee (the President and other League officers) are included as part of the Pre-Board Briefing.
Subjects discussed include bills for which the state league was lobbying, recommendation of planks for party consideration, the State Program, cooperation with other women's organizations, directives from the National League, fundraising, upcoming events, preparation of publications, plans for the annual state convention, the oversight of local leagues, and policy issues such as non-partisanship.
Of particular interest is the discussion of the campaign for the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act (1921), the Sterilization Bill (1926), membership of the World Court (1931), changes in the League's structure (1945-1948), discussion of the Equal Rights Amendment (various years), the repeal of protective legislation (1970), and the attempt to arrive at a position on the abortion issue (1982). Beginning in the early 1960s, the State Board attempted to address the problem of the decline in membership and funding in the urban leagues. In 1980, the State Board forciby disbanded the Woodbridge and Salem leagues.
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COUNCIL MEETINGS, 1946-1966. (7 folders in box 4)
Documentation of meetings of the Council, a body made up of the presidents of local leagues and State Board members. The Council was founded in 1946 after the reorganization of the League and met quarterly until 1960. It had the power to make modifications in the State Program which had been found to be appropriate by the local leagues, and to adopt a budget in non-convention years. In 1955, it became an advisory rather than a policy-making body. Usually only seven or eight members attended. Beginning in 1960, the Council met every two years. It was discontinued in 1967.
Includes reports, programs, agendas, minutes, correspondence, memoranda, budgets and supporting documents.
Subjects discussed include State Board finances, vacancies on State Board committees, Board meetings, nominations of officers, plans for the state convention, raising of money and the management of the state headquarters.
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POST BOARD REPORTS, 1961-1988. (3.4 cubic feet beginning in box 4)
Materials sent to local league presidents, consultants, and county council chairmen by the state president after the monthly State Board meeting. Subjects covered include legislative and program goals of the state league, relations among leagues and between county councils and leagues, fundraising, Voters Service and changes in the League in the 1970s.
Document types include correspondence, reports, testimony, information sheets, minutes, broadsides and other publications, flyers, announcements for conferences hosted by the League and by other organizations, calendars, press releases, budgets and questionnaires. In the early 1960s, the Post Board Report consisted of a few pages reporting on the board meeting, committee work, inter-league and county organizations and the state convention. Beginning in about 1967, the Post Board Reports started to include many attachments, particularly reports and program information. The president often included a letter which provides a useful summary of state league activities. Of particular interest are documentation of the League's support for the Equal Rights Amendment, improvement in the legal status of women and state funding for abortion in the 1970s and early 1980s. Also of interest is the State President's assessment of the causes of the 1970s decline in membership (1978). This series also contains a few special mailings sent out by the State President in months when there was no State Board meeting.
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STATE PROGRAM FILES, 1929-1989. (3 folders in box 7)
Published statement (usually three to four pages) of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey's political agenda. Other documents include drafts, proposed programs, and appendices. The State Program was originally called the Program of Work (1929-1949) and was published annually. In 1949 when the state conventions began to meet biennially, the Program of Work became the State Program and was published in convention years. The purpose of the State Program was to recommend issues for study and for legislative support at the state level. Beginning in the 1930s and 1940s, the Program of Work was incorporated into the Bulletin, a few issues of which are found in this series.
Of particular interest is a 1954 publication summarizing program activity during the years 1933 to 1953. Also of interest are issues of Study and Action, 1975-1978, 1983-1984 and 1988-1989. This explanatory booklet was published in conjunction with the State Program and sent to local leagues in order to provide detailed background information on issues that comprised the current agenda.
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STATE CONVENTIONS, 1920-1965, 1971, 1975 and 1987. (1.9 cubic feet beginning in box 8)
Documentation of the state conventions of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. From 1920 to 1947, state conventions were held annually. After 1947, conventions were held every other year. The only convention records after 1965 are those from 1971, 1975, and 1987. Convention reports consist of minutes, budget reports, legislative reports and resolutions, credentials lists, delegate lists, ballots to elect delegates, committee reports, and foreign policy reports. Other document types include correspondence, newspaper clippings, and convention programs. Issues such as Americanization, birth control, child welfare, war, disarmament, and the cost of living were the focus throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Of particular interest is the League's discussion of prohibition and enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1928. The 1940 convention distinguishes itself as the only one with a theme: "Democracy in Action." Topics discussed include "Children in a Democracy" and "Is the League a Workable Democracy?"
Also of interest are the songs and skits performed at the 1965 convention. Members created a musical called "My Fair Leaguer" and set it to the music from "My Fair Lady."
The series also contains transcripts of conventions from the years 1949, 1953, 1955, and 1957.
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DOCUMENTATION OF MISCELLANEOUS MEETINGS, 1921-1931. (2 folders in box 9)
Grouped by meeting type.
Minutes of the Advisory Board (1928-1931), special meetings of the State Board (1921-1927), and meetings of miscellaneous bodies such as presidents of local leagues, finance committee and standing committee chairmen, and a general meeting of state women's organizations (1922).
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STATE ANNUAL REPORTS, 1930-1968, 1976-1980 and 1986-1987. (.7 cubic feet in box 10)
Retained copies of annual reports of the state league which were required to be sent to the national league. The State Annual Reports consist of local league membership figures, local and state league program activity, Voters Service reports, finance reports, legislative reports, and agenda. Other document types include correspondence between league members, memoranda, flyers, pamphlets, and sample questionnaires given to local leagues. Many of the state reports discuss the league involvement and political position concerning education, environment, U.S. foreign economic policy, the United Nations, and other subjects.
The state annual reports dating from 1976 through 1980 are less cohesive and organized than reports from the previous years. Like the earlier reports, they include financial documents and reports on the status of local leagues. Subjects discussed during these years include the Equal Rights Amendment, energy conservation, and the preservation of natural resources and pristine areas.
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PRESIDENT'S FILES, 1920-1986. (.3 cubic feet in box 10)
Arranged alphabetically by subject heading and chronologically within each folder.
Correspondence of the State President and related materials. Document types include correspondence; newspaper clippings, articles and other printed material referring to the League; reports and correspondence of the Executive Secretary, who also served as secretary to the president; reports, minutes and financial documents from the New Jersey Council for World Organization (1945-1948), a coalition of organizations which supported the United Nations, European relief, aid for refugees, and expanded international trade (of which the league was a constituent member); speeches made by the President; and reports on New Jersey local leagues from a national consultant which were sent to the State President (1922).
Of particular interest is a file of attacks on the League (1944-1956), which includes correspondence criticizing the League, copies of articles from newspapers and magazines, and correspondence among board members discussing how to respond to these attacks. This file also includes discussion of how to respond to two African-American women who asked to join the Trenton League in 1944.
ADMINISTRATIVE FILES I, 1922(1939)-1967. (1.5 cubic feet beginning in box 11; oversize in mapcase folder)
Arranged alphabetically by subject and thereunder chronologically.
File copies of documents received by and sent out from the state headquarters. Documents state league activities including fundraising, relations with the national league, overseeing local leagues and county councils, administering scholarship funds, coordinating programs with other state organizations, and the production and distribution of publications. Document types include correspondence received, copies of correspondence sent, annual reports of committees, memoranda, minutes, agendas, financial documents, lists of board members and local league presidents, questionnaires, transcripts, publications, press releases, information sheets, internal policy statements, bills, programs, brochures, broadsides and newspaper clippings.
Of particular interest are documents relating to the organization of new leagues and the membership statistics of existing leagues. Also of interest are documents relating to the Know Your Town and County studies which began in the 1920s. These documents are accompanied by two charts related to local studies which are oversize.
ADMINISTRATIVE FILES II, 1959(1967)-(1984)1988. (3.5 cubic feet beginning in box 12)
Grouped alphabetically by subject and thereunder chronologically.
Documentation of basic activities of the state league, including the work of the President and committees. The major part (2 cubic feet) of this series concerns the oversight of local leagues and inter-league organizations by the State Board. Types of documents include financial and membership reports and answers to questionnaires sent by each local league to the state and national Leagues, lists of local board members, and correspondence and reference materials concerning local league programs.
This series also includes incoming and outgoing correspondence from the State Membership Chairman, membership statistics, and manuals, flyers and brochures concerning how to retain members. Much of the correspondence is from individuals who wanted to join the League. Also includes copies of materials sent out and received by the State Chairman of Organization, comprised primarily of correspondence with people who wanted to organize new leagues and guidelines on how to structure local leagues. Of particular interest are reports of area consultants on how well local leagues were functioning (1967-1972); reports of the Future of the League Committee (1973-1974); and a questionnaire distributed by the Endangered Species Committee, formed at the national convention in 1976 to address the decline in League membership.
Also includes copies of mailings sent out by the State Public Relations Chairman and press releases announcing meetings, events and official statements and actions by the State Leagues.
LEGISLATIVE FILES, 1930(1945)-(1984)1988. (2.6 cubic feet beginning in box 16)
Arranged alphabetically by subject heading and thereunder chronologically.
Files documenting the League's legislative activities, particularly the work of the State President and the Chairman of Legislation. Document types include correspondence received, copies of correspondence sent, reports, annotated copies of bills the League supported, information sheets sent by the Legislative Chairman to local league presidents and board members, statements of League positions, publications of the League (Green Light/State Legislation Information) and other groups, copies of articles pertaining to particular legislation, transcripts of testimony, questionnaires, broadsides, and newspaper clippings.
Of particular interest are the two subseries U.S. Congress and State Legislature and Officials, which include correspondence and interviews with the New Jersey delegation in Congress, and with state legislators and officials including the governor, regarding their positions on legislation which the League supported and their attitude towards the League. Notable figures represented include U.S. Senators Clifford Case, H. Alexander Smith, and Harrison Williams; U.S. Representatives Millicent Fenwick, James Florio, Frank Thompson, Jr. and Peter Rodino, Jr. These files also include information about legislative measures supported by the League, which, during this period, included affordable housing, increased state support for education, expanded trade and foreign aid, and the conservation of water resources.
The subseries General Files (1941-1976) includes correspondence and supporting documents sent out by the Legislative Chairman to local leagues, statements of League positions, copies of articles, press releases, Post Board Reports, broadsides and publications.
The subseries Vice Chairman (1945-1949) contains correspondence and other documents received by one Vice-Chairman for Legislation, Adele Vermilya of the Princeton League.
DEPARTMENT AND COMMITTEE FILES, 1920-1951. (1.4 cubic feet beginning in box 18)
Arranged alphabetically by subseries (department or committee) name or general heading; arranged chronologically, or alphabetically by subject heading, within each subseries.
Documentation of the work of the departments and committees of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. The distinction between departments and committees is not clear. Some bodies are referred to as departments or committees interchangeably. Some change their designation over the course of time. Most of the departments and committees documented here are concerned with particular public policy areas, although a few are based on function, such as the Finance Committee and Editorial Committee.
Types of documents include correspondence, minutes of committee meetings, agendas, questionnaires, typescript speeches, information sheets, resolutions, ballots, programs, conference proceedings, transcripts, study guides, budgets, publications, and newspaper clippings.
Of particular interest are the files of the Americanization Committee (1922), which includes questionnaires about the foreign-born residents of New Jersey towns and cities; the files of the Economic Welfare Department, which campaigned for pure food and drugs, quality labeling, and better housing; the files of the Social Hygiene Committee which supported compulsory testing for syphilis and sterilization of "persons afflicted with insanity, feeble-mindedness or epilepsy"; and the Women in Industry Committee, which supported child labor laws, the eight-hour day and unemployment relief.
50th ANNIVERSARY CAMPAIGN FILES, 1967-1971. (1 cubic foot in box 20)
Arranged alphabetically by subject and thereunder chronologically.
State President's files documenting the campaign to raise eleven million dollars in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the League of Women Voters of the United States. The campaign was held on the national, regional, state and local levels. The campaign attempted to raise 5 million from the membership and the remainder from corporations, foundations and private individuals. Document types include newsletters, correspondence, press releases, financial documents, reports and lists.
Correspondents include the National Campaign Committee Chairman, State Campaign Committee Chairman, Metropolitan Campaign Committee Chairman (New Jersey was part of the New York metropolitan regional for fundraising purposes), and local campaign committee chairmen, as well as the national president and local league presidents. Some correspondence concerns attempts to coordinate solicitation of corporations (stop lists). This series also includes copies of correspondence sent out by the state president and copies of correspondence at the national level which referred to New Jersey.
The documents reveal that both the New Jersey state and local leagues had difficulty raising the required amount of funds. The state and local league presidents felt unfairly pressured to raise money and questioned if the money raised would benefit the League on the state and local, as opposed to the national level.
RADIO COMMITTEE FILES, 1942-1948. (1 cubic foot in box 21; oversize in box 70)
Documentation relating to the creation and production of radio programs. The Radio Committee also arranged for guest appearances on programs dealing with women's issues or politics.
Documents include scripts, a budget, rules for script writers, correspondence and an oversize blueprint of "Leaguesboro", a fictional town which was the basis for a League radio series.
More than half of the Radio Committee Files are composed of scripts for radio broadcasts written for different radio programs, including The Women's Forum and Leaguesboro broadcasts. The radio scripts cover a variety of political issues and seek to educate listeners on such things as election law, legislative procedures, voting, political parties and civic responsibility. Other scripts tackle specific issues, such as the rewriting of the New Jersey Constitution or child labor. The Leaguesboro scripts focus on support for the war effort, as well as efforts to keep international peace at the end of the war. The rest of the series consists of correspondence related to the Committee and radio broadcasts, such as requests for scripts, letters from script writers, a survey of other League of Women Voters chapters, letters to and from guests, and correspondence with radio stations.
VOTERS SERVICE FILES, 1944-1990. (3.5 cubic feet beginning in box 22; oversize in box 70)
Grouped first by year and thereunder alphabetically by type of material.
Documentation of the voter education function of the state league, including collection and dissemination of non-partisan registration and election information, and moderation of candidate debates and forums. Types of documents include letters received from individuals asking for voting information and copies of replies; correspondence with the national league; mailings sent out by State Voters Service Chairman to local leagues; printed non-partisan election information produced by the state and local leagues; candidate questionnaires (originals and summaries); contracts, correspondence and other materials related to the League's coverage of election night for ABC television; press releases and public service announcements sent to radio stations; reports of Voters Service activities from local leagues; programs and lists of questions from debates organized by the state league; and newspaper clippings about League Voters Service activities.
Also includes records of special projects, like Project Vote, 1970 (a voter education and registration program in Newark run by the state league); minutes of the State Voters Service Committee (1979-1983) which studied voter apathy; correspondence and lists related to voter registration drives co-sponsored by corporations and other institutions; and lists, correspondence, training materials and evaluations of League debate moderators. Also includes several oversize broadsides.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL FILES, 1920-1955. (.2 cubic feet in box 25)
Grouped by type of material. The biographical files are arranged alphabetically by surname.
Biographical material about early presidents and board members as well as general material about the state league's history.
Types of materials include correspondence, typescripts, lists, information sheets, questionnaires, scripts, pamphlets, articles, newspaper clippings, photographs and miscellany.
The lists of board members and general information about early board members were compiled in 1955 when the League was preparing a celebration of the first fifteen years of its history for the state convention, including an exhibition, historical skits, and recognition of individuals still living.
The biographical files were compiled by the publicity office. They include questionnaires dating from the 1930s which reveal information about individual board members' education, occupation, party affiliation, responsiblities within the League and involvement with other organizations as well as correspondence pertaining to issues in which the individual was involved, pamphlets she wrote, and newspaper clippings about her.
SCRAPBOOKS, 1942-1944 and 1970. (1 folder in box 25; oversize in box 70)
Two scrapbooks of newsclippings that focus on activities of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey from 1942 to 1944 and 1970. Most clippings have been photocopied and those which could not be photocopied have been sleeved in polyester; very few original scrapbook pages remain. Includes articles from the Newark Star Ledger, the Newark Evening News, the Bergen Record, the Trenton Times and other local newspapers, which were compiled into scrapbooks by the League.
Subjects of particular interest in the 1942-1944 scrapbook include the League's support of revision of the Constitution of New Jersey, League participation in post-World War II peace planning, and League action promoting economic cooperation with other nations and renewal of the Trade Agreement Act.
Issues discussed in the articles from the 1970 scrapbook include the League's opposition to a proposed sales tax increase, League support of an income tax, the voter registration coalition between the League and the NAACP, League efforts to promote youth awareness of electoral issues and voting procedures, and the League's position on international affairs, especially regarding China.
PUBLICATIONS, 1929-1990. (1.4 cubic feet beginning in box 26; oversize in box 70)
Arranged alphabetically by folder heading and thereunder chronologically.
Publications produced by the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. The series consists of newsletters, manuals and workbooks, kits, legislative information, broadsides, leaflets, flyers, and subject-oriented publications which provide information on League activities and objectives. Of particular interest are the handbooks, kits, and manuals which specified procedural guidelines in various areas for the local leagues, such as Inter-League Organizations, Finance, Voters Service, Public Relations, and Legislation. Other handbooks were geared to women in leadership positions, such as committee heads and local league officers. Included are a Treasurer's Handbook, a manual for the Membership Chairman, and a President's Handbook.
Also of interest are the publications that focused on the State Legislature. The Legislative Roundup (1968-1975) was a monthly newsletter that discussed legislative issues and their implications, highlighted state bills on which the League had a position, and reported on bills, motions, and amendments that had been passed or rejected in the Legislature. In two special issues, August 1973 and September 1975, the League compiled records of New Jersey legislators and the way they voted on 99 different bills, motions, and amendments. Other legislative publications include the Legislative Newsletter, which provided a brief summary of legislative outcomes on major bills and issues, and the State Legislative Program (1947-1954), renamed the Green Light in 1955, which described the bills that the League endorsed. The State Legislative Program was generally only published when the legislature was in session.
The Civic Pilot (1929-1930), the general League newsletter later known as the Bulletin and then as the New Jersey Voter, consisted of articles and editorials by League members and provides a list of upcoming League events. Another newsletter was The Cloverleaf (of which only a few issues are extant), which served as a means for local leagues to exchange ideas and inform one another about their activities. Facts and Issues (1978-1990), presently called Voter's Guide, provides non-partisan information about election issues and candidates. Also included in this series are flyers, broadsides, and leaflets. Many of the leaflets educated women on the benefits of joining the League and informed them of electoral issues and upcoming elections. The subject-oriented publications include broadsides on issues such as education, water, energy, taxes, hazardous waste, and public health standards.
In addition the series contains the League Datebooks (1933-1962), pocket calendars that include important dates and political facts. An additional calendar (1929) is oversize. The League also distributes a Publications Catalog, a list of state league publications which are available for sale.
PUBLICATIONS FROM LOCAL AND OUT-OF-STATE LEAGUES, 1920-1990. (7 folders in box 28; oversize in boxes 70-71)
Grouped by subject and/or document type.
Publications by New Jersey local leagues and leagues from states other than New Jersey, which were received by the state league office. (Publications from state leagues other than New Jersey were presumably used as examples.) Includes pamphlets, newspapers, programs and broadsides.
Local league publications include several studies of towns, announcements of candidates' forums, and non-partisan election information. The non-partisan election information was printed on individual sheets or included in local newspapers. Of particular interest is a typescript study of Union County (1940).
NATIONAL LEAGUE FILES, 1920-1978. (.8 cubic feet in box 28; oversize in box 71)
Arranged alphabetically by subject and thereunder chronologically.
Material from the League of Women Voters of the United States received by the state league office. Primarily publications, including national convention and interim council programs and proceedings, Programs of Work, bylaws, newsletters, pamphlets, flyers, broadsides, committee documents and handbooks. Also includes correspondence, memoranda, and lists of National Board Members and State Presidents.
Of particular interest are several pamphlets detailing the history of the league and its form of organization and the printed speeches of the League's President during the Depression in which the time-consuming procedures of the League are critiqued and defended during calls for emergency legislation. Also of interest are League of Women Voters Education Fund publications which address the rapid social change of the 1960s.
The Equal Rights Amendment file contains testimony presented at a hearing before a Sub-Committee of the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the Equal Rights Amendment (1938). The Honor Roll and Related Materials file documents the League's plan to commemorate notable leaders of the suffragist and women's movements (1929-1931). The Anna Howard Shaw Memorial file (1920-1922) contains fundraising appeals from the League's precursor, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, to commemorate the deceased suffrage leader.
LOCAL LEAGUE FILES I, 1938-(1985)1988. (14 cubic feet beginning in box 29; oversize in box 71)
Arranged alphabetically by league name and thereunder chronologically.
Documentation of relations between the state and local leagues. The records mostly consist of correspondence and supporting materials. Document types include applications for league recognition, inquiries, requests for speakers, recommendations to state and national leagues, annual, program, and treasurer's reports submitted to the state league, local league bulletins, announcements, voter fact sheets, member lists, newspaper clippings, local league constitutions and bylaws, meeting minutes, budgets, copies of various studies conducted by local leagues, and letters urging public officials to take particular actions. The series also includes internal memoranda at the state level concerning local leagues.
Of particular interest are the Willingboro League files which highlight tensions between the state and local leagues. These files also document the controversy over a man joining the League. Allegations of communism brought against the League by Walt Disney are documented in the Wayne file. Also of interest are: the health services guide published by the Gloucester County League (1976), a study of municipal planning published by the Plainfield League (1960), newspaper clippings and correspondence concerning charges of partisanship against the Hamilton League, and the Greater Red Bank League file, which documents a controversy over how the League chose its program.
LOCAL LEAGUE FILES II, 1978(1985)-(1989)1991. (2.4 cubic feet beginning in box 43)
Arranged alphabetically by league and thereunder chronologically.
Documentation of local league operations. The series largely consists of local league newsletters. Also included are local league publications of town handbooks and histories, local league membership counts, memoranda, newspaper clippings, miscellaneous correspondence, and a few meeting minutes.
Local league publications include Inside Bernards Township: A Community Handbook (1985), Know Your Lakes (Mountain Lakes, 1986), This is Trenton (1986), and Ridgewood's Municipal Reporter (1987). Also of interest are copies of New Jersey State Senate and Assembly resolutions honoring former Newark League President, educator, and civil rights activist, Dr. E. Alma Williams Flagg.
INTER-LEAGUE ORGANIZATIONS, 1965-1984. (1.6 cubic feet beginning in box 45)
Arranged alphabetically by folder heading and chronologically within each file sequence.
Documentation of Inter-League Organizations (ILOs) and County Councils, including the Inter-League Council on the Delaware (ILCD). Documents include correspondence between ILOs and the state league, memoranda, publications, meeting minutes, procedural agreements and revisions, contact lists, annual reports, bulletins, pre-board meeting briefings, position statements, surveys, handbooks, directory of ILOs, sample bylaws, model council agreements, convention guides and workshop materials.
The function and purpose of ILOs can be examined through the Handbook of the Middlesex County Council and the New Jersey ILO Handbook. The ILCD files document the League's attempts to organize around a particular environmental issue, namely the Delaware River. Also of interest are The Potential Impact of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on its Surrounding Communities (1966) and Program Material for a Study of County Government in Essex, New Jersey (1962), Where Can I Live in Bergen County? Factors Affecting Housing Supply (1972), and Does Bergen Need a New Charter? (1967).
SUBJECT FILES, 1920-1989. (21.8 cubic feet beginning in box 47; oversize in box 71)
Arranged alphabetically by subject category and grouped by type of document within each topic. Subject areas are further divided chronologically by year, with the exception of the State Tax Chairman's Files which are arranged as found in original binders.
Material documenting League areas of study and action. Includes documents generated by League committees, and material sent by other organizations and individuals and kept for reference purposes. Types of documents include large amounts of correspondence received, copies of correspondence sent, board reports, information sheets, memoranda, newspaper & magazine clippings, committee meeting minutes, agendas, leaflets, pamphlets, workshop materials, kits, speeches & statements, testimony before various government bodies, study guides, questionnaires, survey results, publications, resolutions, copies of actual and proposed legislation, legal briefs, court opinions, booklets, reports, and a few financial documents.
League work on voter education such as registration and get-out-the-vote drives and candidate questionnaires can be found under the Elections heading as well as in the VOTERS SERVICE series. Extensive League work on election, administrative and legislative reform (approx. 5 cu. ft.) can be found under the following headings: State Administration Reorganization (1931-1951) concerns support of greater efficiency and standardization of practices in the state government; Civil Service (1937-1940) shows the League's position against patronage and its support of a qualified civil service for administration of policy; Constitution of New Jersey (1937-1948; 1.5 cu. ft.) details the League's involvement in rewriting the New Jersey Constitution; Optional Charter (1948-1954), pertains to municipal government reorganization; Title 40 (1962-1963) concerns the League's study of the structures and procedures under which county and municipal governments operate; and Apportionment (1966-1978) and Reapportionment (1964-1967) refers to the reconfiguring of electoral districts. Material concerning election and legislative reform can also be found under their respective headings. Election reform included the campaigns for mechanical voting machines, a direct primary and the standardization of electoral procedures. Legislative reform primarily concerned studying the advantages of a unicameral versus a bicameral legislature; the concept of a unicameral legislature for New Jersey was eventually rejected by the League. The League was consistently in favor of a graduated income tax, reduced reliance on property tax, and wary of bonds as a way to pay for public services. Material concerning state and federal budgets and taxation constitute approximately 4 cubic feet, including: Emergency Consumers Tax Council (1938-1942), an anti-tax organization on which the League kept files; State Chairman's Tax Files (1948-1970; approx. 1 cu. ft.); Taxes (1952-1982) and Fiscal Policy (1959-1983), each making up 1 cubic foot of material; and the Tax Reform Coalition (1974-1978), which favored progressive taxes and was chaired by League President Rita Cohen. Other subjects covered in this area include state bonds and attempts to balance the federal budget.
Environmental issues such as conservation, water potability, waste management, and the effects of development are covered in several files. Water conservation and management (1950-1965) was one of the earliest areas of League environmental study and action. The Inter-League Council on the Delaware River (1968-1979; see also INTER-LEAGUE ORGANIZATIONS series) was established in 1958 as a consortium of delegates from the state leagues of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to keep abreast of development in the Delaware River region and supply information for action when needed. Environmental Quality (1961-1976; approx 1 cu. ft.) and Natural Resources (1967-1983; approx. 1 cu. ft.) overlap in dates and in subject matter. Both sets of files encompass subjects that may have their own groupings, such as Water. Overall, the files document the League's promotion of natural resource management and conservation in the public interest. More recent areas of interest are Biomass/Alcohol (1979-1980), which refers to alternative fuels; Energy (1973-1983), which concerns all aspects of energy generation, transport, and disposal of radioactive waste; the Can & Bottle Bill (1981-1983), which documents League involvement, along with other environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Public Interest Research Group, in supporting the placement of a five cent deposit on cans and bottles to encourage recycling.
The Administration of Justice (1969-1983; 2 cu. ft.) concerns various aspects of the court system and application of the law, highlighting League work in standardization of sentencing; in creating a more uniform bail system and more representative juries; and in civil, criminal, and family court reorganization. Related files include: Court Reorganization (1939-1940), Jury School (1930-1939), Juvenile Court Observer Corps (1975-1976), Prison Reform (1975) and JINS Shelter (1975).
Education (1945-1981; approx. 1.5 cu. ft) demonstrates the League's support of financial measures to improve and equalize public education, examines school district organization, and documents the League's support of higher education in New Jersey.
Human Resources (1966-1981; approx. 1 cu. ft.) was a national program item supporting equal rights for all, combatting discrimination and poverty and providing for equal access to housing, employment and quality in education. Human Resources overlaps with several files in time and in subject matter, such as welfare, civil liberties and urban affairs.
The League's position on various civil and voting rights issues is illuminated through Civil Liberties (1945-1963), Civil Rights (1948-1951), and Voting Rights (1964-1976). Several civil rights court cases on which the state or national league served as plaintiff, consultant, or about which it was approached are covered in these files. Women's rights are covered in: Equal Rights (1926-1950); Equal Rights Amendment (1975-1981); and Women's Issues (1971-1983), which also contains material concerning Medicaid funding for abortions (see also Birth Control and Abortion Study, 1981).
Urban Affairs & Urban Crisis (1969-1979) overlaps with Regional Planning (1921-1967; approx. .5 cu. ft.) in subject matter. Both file groupings are concerned with transportation, land use, and development; the more recent "urban" headings concentrate more on anti-poverty programs, urban blight, and redevelopment. Also of interest: Attacks on the League (1949-1966) documents accusations that the League was being infiltrated by communists; Economic Welfare (1941-1952) deals with social security, housing, and price control during and just after World War II; the Majority Response Rally (1968) was organized to show the state legislature that the white middle class supported Governor Richard J. Hughes' proposals for financial aid to urban areas of New Jersey; the Metropolitan Government Project (1972-1974) was a three year study initiated by the League of Women Voters to examine new approaches to organizing cities, counties, and regions; and United Nations (1944-1950) concerns the establishment of the United Nations and a League giveaway of UN flags to local schools. This series also includes files on organizations with which the League cooperated on projects such as the New Jersey Council on Social Issues (1968-1970), which was a loosely-knit coalition created to be a clearinghouse of information concerning social welfare legislation and the New Jersey Coalition for Fair Broadcasting (1972-1978), which sought to get more coverage of New Jersey on televised news broadcasts.
ARTIFACTS, ca. 1960-1985. (3 folders in box 68)
Collected artifacts and promotional material from the League of Women Voters of New Jersey.
Includes five souvenir ballpoint pens used by Governor Brendan Byrne (1974-1982) to sign bills that the League supported; a souvenir pen used by Governor Richard Hughes (1962-1970); the key to Atlantic City given to the League by Mayor Richard S. Jackson in 1973; and sample materials for the LWVNJ flag. Also included are items most likely from the state conventions: one delegate ribbon, two alternate ribbons, and one A.L.B.A. Committee ribbon attached to a name tag holder.
Promotional materials include six bumper stickers (ca. 1960-1965), several flyers, cards, and tags, which promote tax reform, voting and reproductive choice among other issues.
PHOTOGRAPHS, 1920-1985. (.4 cubic feet in box 69; oversize in box 71 and mapcase folder)
Photographs of state league officers and events. Includes portraits of early state league presidents (1920-1950); portraits of state league board members which were printed in the New Jersey Voter (1982-1985); and views of state league conventions, conferences, ceremonies and publicity campaigns. Most of the photographs are in black and white except for some of the snapshots of League events from the 1980s. In addition to the prints, this series contains black and white and color negatives and two contact sheets.
Of particular interest is a portrait of National American Woman Suffrage Association president and League of Women Voters founder Carrie Chapman Catt (ca. 1920). Also of interest are three photographs of window display advertisements for the League at Kresge's department store in Newark (ca. 1945). A panoramic view of the 1980 national convention showing the New Jersey delegation is also present. This series also contains some photographs of candidates and state office holders from the League's Voters Service files.
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Container List (boxes 21-46) |
Container List (boxes 47-71 and mapcase folder)