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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Joan Lipsky papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1941-2008
Creator: Lipsky, Joan (1919-)
Extent: 9.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0071
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Iowa legislator and community acitvisit from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 1169) were donated by Joan Lipsky in 2008 and subsequent years. The papers were held by the Mount Mercy College Archives from 1970 to 2008, at which time Mount Mercy transferred them to the Iowa Women's Archives.

Preferred Citation: Joan Lipsky papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

Joan Miller was born in 1919 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to John and Ruth Miller. Her grandfather, Henry Smulekoff, was an early settler of Cedar Rapids. Joan Miller attended Johnson, McKinley, and Old Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, and graduated from Gulf Park High School in Gulfport, Mississippi. Miller received a BS in psychology from Northwestern University in 1940 and attended graduate school at the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa), where she studied clinical psychology in 1940 and 1941. She was the first person to intern in psychology at the University of Chicago Hospitals, where she then worked as a clinical psychologist until 1942. She married Abbott Lipsky in 1941. During World War II, Joan Lipsky worked as a consulting psychologist in a private practice while Abbott Lipsky worked as a cryptanalyst for the Signal Intelligence Service. After the war, Joan and Abbott Lipsky moved to Cedar Rapids, where they raised three children, John, Ann, and Abbott, Jr. From 1945 until 2008, Abbott Lipsky served as president of Smulekoff's Furniture, a company founded by Joan Lipsky's maternal grandfather. Lipsky became active in community service and women's clubs. In a 1989 oral history interview, she explained, "When I came back here to Cedar Rapids, I had one little baby, and it never occurred to me that I would continue my career."

Lipsky was involved in a number of city commissions and women's clubs in Cedar Rapids. She chaired the Mayor's Commission on Housing, the Mayor's Commission on Alcoholism, and the Employment Security Advisory Council. She was a member of the Cedar Rapids Women's Club, the American Association of University Women, Altrusa, Delta Kappa Gamma, Hadassah, and Sisterhood of Temple Judah. She served as a trustee and a director of the Cedar Rapids Art Association, and a trustee of Coe College and St. Luke's Hospital. She was a founding member of the Cedar Rapids Women's Caucus, which later became the Cedar Rapids chapter of the National Organization for Women. As her involvement in city associations and clubs grew, Lipsky became aware of the structures that prevented women from being elected to leadership positions. During her bid to serve on the Cedar Rapids School Board, Lipsky learned that most members were grandfathered into the board. Retiring members often appointed men to replace them months before an election; the appointees were then listed as incumbents on the ballots during the next election. After she lost the election, Lipsky organized a coalition of women's groups to pressure a retiring school board member to nominate a woman to replace him before the upcoming election. He agreed reluctantly, and Lipsky's interest in politics grew.

After the Lipskys sent their youngest child to prep school, Joan Lipsky explained, "I couldn't imagine what I was about to do with my life. I was tired of club work, and my children were gone." When she was approached in 1966 by a Republican Party official to run for a seat in the state legislature, Lipsky recalled that it "sounded like a great challenge." In November 1966, Joan Lipsky was the first woman elected to represent Linn County in the Iowa General Assembly. Lipsky's background in clinical psychology shaped her interests in the state legislature, where she participated in a study on mental health and juvenile institutions, the Medical Advisory Council, and the Human Resources Committee. Lipsky led efforts to improve Iowa's institutions for mentally retarded people and increase funding for special education programs in public schools. She took a special interest in working for women's legal, economic, and social equality through her work on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment, her support of educational and occupational programs for women, and her interest in reforming women's prisons in Iowa. One of Lipsky's supporters noted, "As an already successful legislator and community pillar, [Lipsky] had nothing to gain in addressing women's issues and much to lose. Yet she never wavered, and indeed, taught the women's rights supporters here [in Iowa] exactly how people of integrity can effect positive change in America." During her tenure as a state representative, Lipsky served as the Assistant Minority Leader of the Iowa General Assembly and a member of the Midwest Conference of State Legislators. She was recognized as an outstanding legislator by the Iowa Welfare Association and the Business and Professional Women. In 1975, she participated in the first World Conference for Women in Mexico City, Mexico. Lipsky served six terms in the General Assembly, from 1967 to 1978.

During Lipsky's final term in office, she began to attend law school at the University of Iowa. After graduating with a JD in 1980, Lipsky practiced law in Cedar Rapids, at the law firm of Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, P.C. In 1986, she ran for lieutenant governor of Iowa on the Republican ticket with Governor Terry Branstad. Branstad was re-elected, but Lipsky lost her bid to serve as lieutenant governor. This was the last election when gubernatorial candidates and candidates for lieutenant governor ran separately in Iowa.

In 1976, Lipsky was awarded an honorary JD from Mount Mercy College and she was named the Cedar Rapids Woman of the Year in 1979. Abbott Lipsky died in 2008.

The Joan Lipsky papers date from 1941 to 2008 and measure 9.5 linear feet. The papers are arranged in six series: Biographical information, Iowa General Assembly, Correspondence, Women in politics, Campaigns, and Cedar Rapids.

The Biographical information series (1941-2008) includes resumes, newspaper articles that feature Lipsky, and letters of recommendation to support Lipsky's nomination to the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame.

The Iowa General Assembly series (1960-1979) consists primarily of topical files maintained by Lipsky during her six terms as a state representative, from 1967 to 1978. This is the largest series of the collection, at five and a half linear feet. Lipsky collected published reports, notes, memoranda, and correspondence on a variety of issues, including the Equal Rights Amendment, juvenile justice, health services, and the state budget. This series includes materials related to Lipsky's efforts to create a state ombudsperson, which culminated in the creation of the Office of the Citizens' Aide in 1972.

The Correspondence series (1966-1978) contains letters written to and from Lipsky's constituents while she served in the Iowa General Assembly. The letters are arranged alphabetically within each year according to the last name of the sender or recipient of correspondence with Lipsky, reflecting her personal filing system.

The Women in politics series (1967-1985) includes newsletters, brochures, and correspondence related to state and national women's partisan and nonpartisan political groups. The newsletters include articles on the Equal Rights Amendment, profiles of women politicians, and meeting minutes. This series also includes newspaper articles about women who served as elected officials at the state and national levels. Lipsky's personal reflections on women's participation in politics complete this series.

The Campaigns series (1969-1985) consists of correspondence, brochures, and newsletters that pertain to Lipsky's campaigns for the Iowa General Assembly and the internal politics of the Republican Party. The brochures include biographical information about Lipsky and summaries of her accomplishments in the legislature.

The Cedar Rapids series (1968-1994) includes materials that relate to the planning and development of businesses, municipal services, and recreational opportunities in Cedar Rapids. Records related to Lipsky's work with Mount Mercy College, particularly with the College of Nursing, complete the series.
A Political Dialogue: Iowa's Women Legislators (IWA): A transcript of Suzanne Schenken's 1989 interview with Joan Lipsky is included in this collection.

Carolyn "Kay" Bucksbaum papers (IWA): This collection includes Lipsky's resumes and letters to support her nomination into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame.

Mary Louise Smith papers (IWA): This collection includes a photograph of Lipsky. This photograph has been digitized by Iowa Digital Libraries, and is accessible through the Iowa Women's Archives Founders Digital Collection.

Jo Ann Zimmerman papers (IWA): Zimmerman, a Democrat, ran against Lipsky for Lieutenant Governor of Iowa in 1986. This collection includes an audiocassette tape and notes from their debate.

Herstory Committee Women at Iowa, UI Council on the Status of Women records (IWA): A DVD of Karissa Haugeberg's 2010 interview with Joan Lipski is included in this collection.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
Series 2: IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Series 3: WOMEN IN POLITICS
Series 4: CAMPAIGNS
Series 5: CEDAR RAPIDS

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
  • Box 1:
  • Biography - 1941-1979
  • Newspaper clippings - 1963-1988, 1996-2008
  • Iowa Women's Hall of Fame - 1991
  • Stories For My Grandchildren, by Joan Lipsky - 1990
  • 'History of the Jewish Community of Cedar Rapids,' by Joan Lipsky - 1955
  • Series 2: IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • Box 1:
  • Abortion - 1970
  • Adoption - 1963, 1970-1974
  • Adoption Laws Study Committee (folder 1) - 1970-1976
  • Adoption Laws Study Committee (folder 2) - 1970-1976
  • Affirmative action - 1975
  • Alcoholism - 1967-1973
  • Box 2:
  • Alcoholism - 1974-1976
  • Commission on Alcoholism - 1967-1969
  • Ambulance and helicopter (folder 1) - 1971-1976
  • Ambulance and helicopter (folder 2) - 1971-1976
  • Anti-Defamation League - 1967-1970
  • Bill covers - 1970-1972
  • Box 3:
  • Child abuse and Iowa Council for Children - 1970, 1976
  • Consumer credit - 1974
  • Commission for the Deaf - 1974
  • Disabled children - 1971-1973
  • Great Plains School District Organization Project - 1967-1968
  • Public education - 1969-1974
  • Educational leave policy - 1968-1969
  • Legislators' handbooks on public instruction, Cedar, Johnson, Linn, and Washington Counties, ca. - 1975
  • School budget committee - 1969
  • Sex education - 1969
  • Sex stereotyping in education - 1975
  • Box 4:
  • Education Standards: A Report to the Sixty-Second General Assembly - 1967
  • Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) (folder 1) - 1969-1980
  • Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) (folder 2) - 1969-1980
  • "Problems in Reduction of Environmental Pollution by Composting and Recycling of Solid Wastes," by H. Hendriks - 1970
  • Families, speeches and conferences - 1972
  • State finances - 1972-1974
  • Subcommittee on Governmental Reorganization - 1967
  • Health (folder 1) - 1967-1974
  • Health (folder 2) - 1967-1974
  • Box 5:
  • Health cost containment - 1976
  • Health, legislative proposals - 1973
  • Highway Commission - 1970-1973
  • Future of the Public General Hospital Conference - 1977
  • Human Resources Committee - 1976-1978
  • Human Services (folder 1) - 1983-1985
  • Human Services (folder 2) - 1983-1985
  • Inauguration program - 1973
  • Juvenile court cases and Iowa Training School for Girls - 1972, 1976
  • Juvenile court study - 1967-1974
  • Juvenile delinquency - 1967-1976
  • Box 6:
  • Juvenile delinquency, Achievement Place workshop - 1973
  • Preliminary Survey of Juvenile Corrections in Iowa - 1977
  • Juvenile justice (folder 1) - 1975-1978
  • Juvenile justice (folder 2) - 1975-1978
  • Juvenile justice (folder 3) - 1975-1978
  • Juvenile justice (folder 4) - 1975-1978
  • Box 7:
  • Juvenile Justice Study Committee joint public hearing - 1976
  • Juvenile Justice Subcommittee (folder 1) - 1974-1977
  • Juvenile Justice Subcommittee (folder 2) - 1974-1977
  • Box 8:
  • Juvenile Justice Subcommittee - 1977-1978
  • Juvenile shelter care - 1974-1976
  • Iowa labor data, Bureau of the Census - 1972
  • Summaries of legislative actions (folder 1) - 1969-1978
  • Summaries of legislative actions (folder 2) - 1969-1978
  • Summaries of legislative actions (folder 3) - 1969-1978
  • Legislative Audit Act - 1973
  • Legislative Committee and Legislative Council - 1973-1974
  • Box 9:
  • Liquor sales - 1964-1969
  • Report on Medicaid reimbursements of pharmacists by John T. Cirn, PhD - 1979
  • National Institute of Justice - 1984
  • Newspaper clippings (folder 1) - 1968-1976
  • Newspaper clippings (folder 2) - 1968-1976
  • Newspaper clippings and correspondence - 1972-1976
    [removed from binder]
  • Newspaper clippings and correspondence - 1972-1976
    [removed from binder]
  • Newspaper clippings and correspondence - 1972-1976
    [removed from binder]
  • Newsletters - 1977-1978
  • Noise - 1977-1980
  • Commission to Study Nursing in Iowa - 1970-1973
  • Box 10:
  • Commission to Study Nursing in Iowa (folder 1) - 1971-1975
  • Commission to Study Nursing in Iowa (folder 2) - 1971-1975
  • Commission to Study Nursing in Iowa (folder 3) - 1971-1975
  • Nursing homes - 1966, 1970
  • Obscenity and minors - 1969
  • Ombudsman and Office of the Citizens' Aide - 1972
  • Poetry - 1977
  • Police - 1977
  • Press releases (folder 1) - 1967-1968, 1974
  • Press releases (folder 2) - 1967-1968, 1974
  • Box 11:
  • Jail Inspection Unit, Department of Social Services, undated
  • Joint Penal and Correctional System Study Committee - 1973-1975
  • National Coalition for Jail Reform - 1978-1979
  • Women's penal study - 1971
  • Professional and occupational licensing boards - 1972-1975
  • Rape - 1976
  • Reapportionment - 1960-1963, 1972
  • Box 12:
  • Sex discrimination in employment - 1970-1973
  • Department of Social Services (folder 1) - 1967-1975
  • Department of Social Services (folder 2) - 1967-1975
  • Department of Social Services (folder 3) - 1967-1975
  • Department of Social Services (folder 4) - 1967-1975
  • Department of Social Services (folder 5) - 1967-1975
  • Department of Social Services, Aid to Disabled Program - 1971-1976
  • Box 13:
  • Department of Social Services, Aid to Dependent Children Program (folder 1) - 1974-1976
  • Department of Social Services, Aid to Dependent Children Program (folder 2) - 1974-1976
  • Department of Social Services, foster care - 1976-1981
  • Department of Social Services, Title XIX Program - 1976
  • Department of Social Welfare - 1966-1967
  • Staff directory - 1977
  • Reports of study committees - 1973
  • Speaking engagements, speeches and notes (folder 1) - 1967-1973
  • Speaking engagements, speeches and notes (folder 2) - 1967-1973
  • Box 14:
  • Taxes (folder 1) - 1967-1976
  • Taxes (folder 2) - 1967-1976
  • Taxes (folder 3) - 1967-1976
  • Taxes (folder 4) - 1967-1976
  • Taxes (folder 5) - 1967-1976
  • Taxes (folder 6) - 1967-1976
  • Taxes (folder 7) - 1967-1976
  • Box 15:
  • Telephone harassment - 1967-1968
  • Department of Transportation - 1978
  • Trucks - 1971
  • Trust funds - 1971-1973
  • Iowa Commission on the Status of Women - 1971-1978
  • "Women, Work, and Poverty: Trends and Their Consequences for Iowa Government" - 1983
  • "Women's Issues in the Legislature," by Joan Lipsky, undated
  • Uniform Probate Code - 1973-1975
  • Veterans - 1973
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation - 1968
  • Voting systems - 1969-1973
  • Thank you letters and general - 1966-1972
  • Bills sponsored by Lipsky - 1969
  • Box 16:
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1967-1970
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1967-1970
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1967-1970
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1967-1970
  • Box 17:
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1969-1970
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1969-1970
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1969-1970
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1969-1970
  • Correspondence (folder 5) - 1969-1970
  • Box 18:
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1970-1972
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1970-1972
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1970-1972
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1970-1972
  • Correspondence (folder 5) - 1970-1972
  • Box 19:
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1970-1975
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1970-1975
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1970-1975
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1970-1975
  • Correspondence (folder 5) - 1970-1975
  • Correspondence (folder 6) - 1970-1975
  • Box 20:
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1975
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1975
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1975
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1975
  • Box 21:
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1976
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1976
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1976
  • Box 22:
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1976-1978
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1976-1978
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1976-1978
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1976-1978
  • Correspondence (folder 5) - 1976-1978
  • Series 3: WOMEN IN POLITICS
  • Box 22:
  • Bibliographies - 1970-1975
  • Conferences - 1970-1981
  • Newspaper clippings - 1967-1976
  • Reports and surveys - 1974-1984
  • Box 23:
  • Spotlight on Women in Public Affairs - 1970-1972
  • Cedar Rapids Women's Caucus - 1972
  • Iowa Republican Women's Task Force - 1979-1981
  • National Republican Women's Task Force (folder 1) - 1972-1985
  • National Republican Women's Task Force (folder 2) - 1972-1985
  • Iowa Women's Political Caucus - 1973-1982
  • National Women's Political Caucus - 1973-1982
  • Women's organizations and legislation - 1971-1979
  • Box 24:
  • Essays, women in politics by Joan Lipsky, undated
  • Series 4: CAMPAIGNS
  • Box 24:
  • Campaign materials - 1969-1977
  • Catholic Charities dinners - 1984-1985
  • Sen. Grassley Advisory Council - 1980-1981
  • Republican Party - 1973-1984
  • Republican state platforms - 1968-1976
  • Workers' campaign - 1976
  • Series 5: CEDAR RAPIDS
  • Box 24:
  • Cedar Rapids Municipal Airport - 1969-1973
  • Czech and Slovak Museum and Library - 1990-1994
  • Mount Mercy College commencement address - 1976
  • Mount Mercy College library - 1970-1975
  • Mount Mercy College Nursing Advisory Committee - 1968-1973
  • Planning and development - 1973-1974
  • Squaw Creek - 1977