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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Laura F. Hutchison Davis papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1880, 1918-1993
Creator: Davis, Laura Hutchison (1916-1993)
Extent: 8.75 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0075
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Social worker in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from the 1930s though the 1960s.

Access: The papers are open for research, except for all tax and income records which are closed until January 1, 2004.

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

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 132) were donated by Joyce Nielsen in 1994.

Preferred Citation: Laura F. Hutchison Davis 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

Laura Francis Hutchison Davis, social worker and community volunteer, was born in Webster County, Iowa, on October 26, 1916, one of eleven children. Her formal education began in 1922 in a rural public school and ended when she became the first graduate of the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) School of Social Work in 1950. In the field of social work, Davis held positions as case worker, case consultant, instructor and program planner.

Laura Hutchison received her undergraduate education at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, earning her bachelor's degree in 1938 before starting to work for the Linn County Relief Department. She married Lloyd L. Davis, a Linn County road engineer, in 1942. They had no children. As the first child welfare worker in the county in 1943, she established daycare centers for mothers employed in war plants during World War II.

President Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty brought a change in how assistance to the needy was provided, including the creation of community action programs that encouraged low-wage earners to become involved in the effort to end economic hardship. Davis began to work as a case consultant for the Linn Economic Action Project (LEAP) in 1965. She was promoted to program planner in 1968 when LEAP merged with the Johnson County Community Action Program and was renamed the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP).

Volunteer service characterized Davis's contribution to others. She served on the Board of Directors of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) (1962-1965), United Community Service (1963-1964), the Geneva Corporation and Foundation (1965-1979) and the Family Services Agency (1959-1965), all in Cedar Rapids. On the state level Davis served on several Governor's commissions, most notably the Iowa Commission for Senior Citizens (1960-1962). Davis chaired the Social Services Committee of this commission and was a delegate to the 1961 White House Conference on Aging.

The Laura H. Davis papers date from 1880 to 1993 and measure 8.75 linear feet. The papers are arranged in five series: Social work; Clubs, church and civic groups; Education; Personal; and Financial records. This collection provides a glimpse of one woman's role in social welfare from Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s to the period following Johnson's war on poverty of the 1960s.

Davis's professional life is illuminated through the Social work series (1942-1985 and undated). The series documents her role in various positions, from paid caseworker to her voluntary membership on community boards and task forces. Davis worked to start a Family Service Agency in Cedar Rapids and this effort is documented by a report in 1956 and through her involvement with the committee that hired the first director of the agency. The topical speeches and notes provide insight into Davis's views on child welfare, the elderly and the community's role in the life of all individuals. The series also contains Davis's notes and the policy statement she wrote for the 1961 White House Conference on Aging.

Davis was involved in her community through volunteer activities that closely corresponded with her professional social work. The Clubs, church and civic groups series (1880-1989 and undated) documents her connection with the Red Cross, YWCA, Quota Club and the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Cedar Rapids. Through her church, Davis volunteered as the secretary of the Board of Directors of the Geneva Corporation and Foundation which built the thirteen-story retirement apartment building, Geneva Tower, in downtown Cedar Rapids. The series includes three booklets entitled Topics for Prayer Meetings that date from 1880s.

The Education series ([1928]-1993 and undated) contains records of Davis's education from primary school to the graduate level, with notes and papers she wrote for grade school through her master's degree in social work. The series also includes the outlines and lecture notes Davis used for the classes in community organization and sociology she taught at Mount Mercy College and St. Luke's School of Nursing located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Davis was interviewed by the University of Iowa School of Social Work in 1988 as part of an oral history project. The transcript of this interview provides insight into the changing public view of social work from the 1930s through the 1950s.

Davis's domestic and married life are represented in the Personal series (1918-1993 and undated), which includes extensive correspondence with family and friends. This series also includes papers and letters to and from Lloyd Davis during World War II. There is one folder of victory mail (V-mail), used to minimize the bulk of mail delivered and to expedite delivery during the war. The series has many photographs of Davis and family members. The photograph album of Davis's maternal aunt, Bessie C. Thompson, depicts Thompson's life as a young school teacher in 1918 in Iowa and Wyoming.

The Financial records series (1891-1993) contains Laura Lloyd Davis' personal tax records and estate papers of relatives. This series is closed to researchers.
Mrs. Lloyd (Laura) Davis Collection, State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: SOCIAL WORK
Series 2: CLUBS, CHURCH AND CIVIC GROUPS
Series 3: EDUCATION
Series 4: PERSONAL
Series 5: FINANCIAL RECORDS

  • Series 1: SOCIAL WORK
  • Sub-Series: Social Agencies: Council of Social Planning
  • Box 1:
  • Board of Directors: correspondence - 1955-1965
  • Board of Directors: minutes - 1955-1962
  • Committee on the Care for the Aged: Correspondence - 1955-1959
  • Committee on the Care for the Aged: Minutes and program reports - 1955-1956
  • History - 1962
  • Notes on the Council of Social Planning - 1955
  • Sub-Series: Social Agencies: Family Service Agency
  • Box 1:
  • Board of Directors: Correspondence - 1957-1962
  • Board of Directors: Minutes - 1959-1965
  • Personnel committee: Notes and reports - 1959-1963
  • Personnel committee: Personnel policy and practices - 1962
  • Personnel committee: Director search correspondence (folder 1) - 1959
  • Personnel committee: Director search correspondence (folder 2) - 1960
  • Study committee: " Chronological Report of Activities Related to Securing a Family Service Agency in Linn County" - 1956
  • Study committee: Minutes - 1956, 1959
  • Study committee: Notes and survey results, undated
  • Study committee: "Range and Emphasis of a Family Service Program" - 1963
  • Homemaker services - 1961-1962
  • Sub-Series: Social Agencies: Heritage Agency on Aging
  • Box 1:
  • Abstract of the Area Ten Agency on Aging - 1973
  • Advisory council minutes (folder 1) - 1973-1974
  • Advisory council minutes (folder 2) - 1975
  • Advisory council minutes (folder 3) - 1976
  • Assessment report - 1974
  • Box 2:
  • By-laws and constitution, undated
  • Care review committee report - 1980
  • Handbook: Intro to the agency - 1978
  • Handbook: Advisory council - 1978
  • Handbook: Task force - 1978
  • Handbook: Nutrition council - 1978
  • Handbook: Task force minutes - 1978
  • Handbook: Nutrition council minutes - 1978
  • Handbook: Policy study group on the elderly - 1978
  • Handbook: Nursing home standards - 1978
  • Handbook: Public hearing results - 1978
  • Handbook: Task force evaluation - 1978
  • Iowa regional conference on aging - 1974
  • Linn County task force: Appointment - 1979-1985
  • Linn County task force: By-laws, undated
  • Linn County task force: Minutes ( folder 1) - 1972-1974
  • Linn County task force: Minutes (folder 2) - 1975
  • Linn County task force: Minutes (folder 3) - 1976, 1978
  • News releases - 1973-1977
  • Notification of grant award - 1973
  • Nutrition program - 1973-1975
  • Box 3:
  • Progress report - 1974
  • Statistics on the elderly - 1973
  • Sub-Series: Social Agencies: State Tuberculosis Sanatorium
  • Box 3:
  • Annual report - 1951
  • Correspondence - 1951-1953
  • Monthly social services reports, undated
  • Training outlines - 1951
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 3: Office of Civilian Defense
  • Day care - 1942-1943
  • Sub-Series: Social Agencies: United Community Service (UCS)
  • Box 3:
  • Correspondence - 1963, 1965, 1980
  • Community Action Programs (CAP): Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP): Comments on CAP mission objectives - 1968
  • CAP: HACAP: Fifteenth anniversary - 1979-1980
  • CAP: HACAP: History - 1968
  • CAP: HACAP: Merger of HACAP and LEAP programs - 1967-1968
  • CAP: HACAP: Notes on organizational structure and purpose - 1972
  • CAP: HACAP: Personnel action - 1966-1979
  • CAP: HACAP: Personnel policies, undated
  • CAP: HACAP: Program planning - 1971
  • CAP: HACAP: Saving HACAP - 1973
  • CAP: HACAP: Staff training - 1966, 1968-1972
  • CAP: Linn Economic Action Project (LEAP): Adult basic education - 1965
  • CAP: LEAP: Case work reports - 1965-1969
  • CAP: LEAP: Neighborhood centers - 1966-1968
  • CAP: LEAP: Staff meeting notes - 1966
  • CAP: LEAP: Staff training, undated
  • CAP: LEAP: Community needs - 1965
  • "History of Jane Boyd" committee - 1979-1980, 1986
  • Human services planning resource center - 1980-1981
  • Sub-Series: Health Services
  • Box 3:
  • Mental Health Center of Linn County - 1957
  • Evaluation committee report - 1977
  • Maternal child health grant, undated
  • Box 4:
  • Health Service Center, Linn County, Iowa - 1967
  • Report to committee on health services to the medically indigent - 1976-1977
  • Sub-Series: Conferences and commissions
  • Box 4:
  • Conference on the Status of Women - 1965
  • White House Conference on Aging: Correspondence - 1960-1961
  • White House Conference on Aging: Family life and social service work group - 1961
  • White House Conference on Aging: News release - 1960
  • White House Conference on Aging: Linn County survey - 1957-1963
  • Governor's special commissions: Aid to dependant children - 1946
  • Governor's special commissions: Alcoholism - 1960
  • Governor's special commissions: Employment of the physically handicapped - 1957-1959
  • Governor's special commissions: Iowa Commission for Senior Citizens - 1960-1961
  • Governor's special commissions: Juvenile behavior - 1958
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 4: Professional associations
  • Iowa Welfare Association - 1944-1968
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW) - 1951-1982
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 4: Topical Speeches and notes
  • Adoption - 1949
  • "Case work: Definition, Attitudes, Treatment and the Family, undated
  • Child development, undated
  • Child welfare service, undated
  • Community priorities, undated
  • "The Content of the Liberal Education", undated
  • "Growing Up and Growing Old", undated
  • "Inadequacy, Jealousy, Alcohol and Aging", undated
  • Juvenile delinquency - 1945
  • "People and Puzzles" - 1967
  • Public health nursing, undated
  • Series 2: CLUBS, CHURCH AND CIVIC GROUPS
  • Sub-Series: American Red Cross
  • Box 4:
  • Disaster Committee - 1966-1987
  • Home Service Committee - 1942-1966
  • United Community Service Committee - 1962-1970
  • Sub-Series: Westminster Presbyterian Church
  • Box 5:
  • Board of Deacons - 1962, 1982-1983
  • Geneva Tower: history - 1971
  • Geneva Tower: Retirement home in Cedar Rapids: Correspondence - 1967
  • Geneva Tower: Retirement home in Cedar Rapids: Membership - 1967
  • Geneva Tower: Retirement home in Cedar Rapids: Resolution - 1967
  • Geneva Tower: Cedar Rapids housing survey - 1967
  • Geneva Corporation: Articles of incorporation - 1967-1972
  • Geneva Corporation: Board of Directors minutes - 1967-1972
  • Geneva Corporation: Board of Directors retirement - 1980
  • Geneva Corporation: Brochure development, undated
  • Geneva Corporation: By-laws - 1970
  • Geneva Corporation: Correspondence (folder 1) - 1966-1969
  • Geneva Corporation: Correspondence (folder 2) - 1966-1969
  • Geneva Corporation: Directory of tenants - 1973
  • Geneva Corporation: Management program and staff - 1970-1971
  • Geneva Corporation: Newspaper clippings - 1968-1974
  • Geneva Corporation: Personnel relationtees committee - 1972-1978
  • Geneva Corporation: Construction - 1967-1971
  • Box 6:
  • Geneva Corporation: Finance: Audits (folder 1) - 1971-1979
  • Geneva Corporation: Finance: Audits (folder 2) - 1971-1979
  • Geneva Corporation: Finance: Audits (folder3) - 1971-1979
  • Geneva Corporation: Finance: Deed and mortgage modifications - 1972, 1978
  • Geneva Corporation: Finance: HUD contract - 1976-1977
  • Geneva Corporation: Finance: Income and expense reports - 1970, 1979
  • Geneva Corporation: Geneva Foundation - 1968-1979
  • Geneva Corporation: Religious education - 1880-1889, 1965, 1982
  • Sub-Series: Quota Club of Cedar Rapids, Iowa - 1945-1976
  • Box 6:
  • General - 1945-1976
  • Sub-Series: Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Cedar Rapids and Linn County
  • Box 6:
  • General - 1939-1965
  • Series 3: EDUCATION
  • Sub-Series: Primary
  • Box 6:
  • Composition book (6th grade) - 1928
  • Diploma (8th grade) - 1930
  • Spelling certificates - 1929-1930
  • Sub-Series: Secondary
  • Box 6:
  • General - 1931-1932
  • Sub-Series: Undergraduate (Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
  • Box 7:
  • Course work: English 1R, English 203 and Resoration English - 1934
  • Course work: French, undated
  • Course work: General economics - 1936
  • Course work: Geology log - 1937
  • Course work: Old testament history - 1934
  • Course work: Psychology and abnormal psychology - 1935
  • Diploma, grades and graduation - 1938
  • Reunion memorabilia - 1963-1993
  • Sub-Series: Graduate: Loyola University
  • Box 7:
  • Advanced social casework - 1940
  • Sub-Series: Graduate: State University of Iowa
  • Box 7:
  • Correspondence - 1968-1991
  • Course work: Casework theory - 1939
  • Course work: Child welfare, undated
  • Course work: Field work supervisors - 1941
  • Course work: Social Administration - 1939-1940
  • Box 8:
  • Course work: Social case work, undated - 1949
  • Course work: Social insurance: class notes - 1939
  • Course work: "The Iowa Old Age Assistance System" - 1939
  • Course work: Advanced psychiatric social work - 1950
  • Course work: Community organization - 1950
  • Course work: Culture and personality - 1949
  • Course work: Education in human relations - 1948-1949
  • Course work: Methods of social research - 1949
  • Course work: Psychodynamics - 1949-1950
  • Course work: Public welfare services - 1949-1950
  • Box 9:
  • Course work: Social case work classes - 1949-1950
  • Course work: Social group work - 1949
  • Diploma - 1950
  • Box 10:
  • Course work: Thesis notes - 1949
  • Course work: Transcript of grades - 1950
  • Course work: 25th anniversary of UI social work - 1950
  • Sub-Series: Teaching
  • Box 10:
  • Mount Mercy College: Community organization - 1964-1967
  • Mount Mercy College: Social services - 1970-1974
  • Mount Mercy College: Transcript of grades - 1950
  • Saint Luke's School of Nursing: Sociology - 1945
  • Series 4: PERSONAL
  • Box 10:
  • Awards - 1960-1989
  • Biographical information: Birth Certificate - 1976
  • Biographical information: Joyce Nielsen's activity log - 1992-1993
  • AC360: Memorial service - 1993
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1918-1929
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1930-1933
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1934-1935
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1936-1937
  • Correspondence (folder 5) - 1938-1939
  • Correspondence (folder 6) - 1940
  • Correspondence (folder 7) - 1941
  • Box 11:
  • Correspondence (folder 8) - 1941
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, Lloyd Davis (folder 1) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, Lloyd Davis (folder 2) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, Lloyd Davis (folder 3) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, Lloyd Davis (folder 4) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, Lloyd Davis (folder 5) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, friends and family (folder 1) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, friends and family (folder 2) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, friends and family (folder 3) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, friends and family (folder 4) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, friends and family (folder 5) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Incoming, friends and family (folder 6) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: World War II: Outgoing, Lloyd Davis (folder 1) - 1942
  • Correspondence: World War II: Outgoing, Lloyd Davis (folder 2) - 1942
  • Box 12:
  • Correspondence: World War II: Outgoing, Lloyd Davis (folder 1) - 1942-1944
  • Correspondence: World War II: Outgoing, Lloyd Davis (folder 2) - 1942-1944
  • Correspondence: World War II: Outgoing, Lloyd Davis (folder 3) - 1942-1944
  • Correspondence: World War II: Outgoing, Lloyd Davis (folder 4) - 1942-1944
  • Correspondence: World War II: Outgoing, Lloyd Davis (folder 5) - 1942-1944
  • Correspondence: World War II: Outgoing, Lloyd Davis (folder 6) - 1942-1944
  • Correspondence: World War II: Outgoing, Lloyd Davis (folder 7) - 1942-1944
  • Box 13:
  • Correspondence: World War II: Outgoing, Lloyd David - 1945
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1946-1964
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1946-1964
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1946-1964
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1946-1964
  • Correspondence (folder 5) - 1946-1964
  • Correspondence (folder 6) - 1946-1964
  • Correspondence (folder 7) - 1946-1964
  • Correspondence (folder 8) - 1946-1964
  • Correspondence (folder 9) - 1946-1964
  • Correspondence (folder 10) - 1946-1964
  • Correspondence (folder 11) - 1946-1964
  • Box 14:
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1965-1976
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1965-1976
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1965-1976
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1965-1976
  • Correspondence (folder 5) - 1965-1976
  • Correspondence (folder 6) - 1965-1976
  • Correspondence (folder 7) - 1965-1976
  • Correspondence (folder 8) - 1965-1976
  • Correspondence (folder 9) - 1965-1976
  • Box 15:
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1977-1984
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1977-1984
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1977-1984
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1977-1984
  • Correspondence (folder 5) - 1977-1984
  • Correspondence (folder 6) - 1977-1984
  • Correspondence (folder 7) - 1977-1984
  • Correspondence (folder 8) - 1977-1984
  • Box 16:
  • Correspondence: Letters to legislators - 1983-1986
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1985-1993
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1985-1993
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1985-1993
  • Box 17:
  • Correspondence: Family: Incoming, Lloyd Davis (folder 1) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: Family: Incoming, Lloyd Davis (folder 2) - 1942-1945
  • Correspondence: Family: Military documents, Lloyd Davis - 1942-1945
  • AC361: Memorial service - 1993
  • Souvenir currency: European Currency, undated
  • Souvenir currency: German reichmarks, undated
  • Souvenir currency: North African francs, undated
  • Genealogy: Davis family, undated
  • Genealogy: Dice family, undated
  • Genealogy: Hutchison family, undated
  • Genealogy: Straume family, undated
  • Genealogy: Stromme family - 1973-1978
  • Genealogy: Thompson family, undated
  • Genealogy: Townsend family, undated
  • Marriage certificates - 1942
  • AC275: Oral history interview by the Junior League of Cedar Rapids - 1984
  • Transcript - 1984-1985
  • Oral history transcript State University of Iowa, School of Social Work - 1988
  • Recipes, undated
  • Resume information - 1941-1978
  • Photographs: Laura and Lloyd L. Davis - 1941-1976
  • Photographs: Lloyd L. Davis: Civilian life - 1924-1928, 1941, 1969
  • Photographs: Lloyd L. Davis: World War II: France and Germany - 1944-1945
  • Photographs: Lloyd L. Davis: World War II: North Africa - 1944
  • Photographs: Lloyd L. Davis: World War II: Recruit training - 1942
  • Photographs: Perry M. Davis family - 1906
  • Box 18:
  • Photographs: Perry M. Davis family: Friends - 1946-1979
  • Photographs: Perry M. Davis family: Moorehead family album - 1869-1905
  • Photographs: Perry M. Davis family: Bessie C. Thompson album - 1918
  • Photographs: Perry M. Davis family: Bessie C. Thompson in Dallas, Texas and Laura Thompson - 1949-1950
  • Series 5: FINANCIAL RECORDS
  • Box 18:
  • Estate papers: Lloyd L. Davis - 1993
  • Estate papers: Millie Davis - 1942-1943
  • Estate papers: Perry M. Davis - 1891-1896, 1941-1946
  • Estate papers: Bessie C. Hutchison - 1964-1966
  • Estate papers: Glen Hutchison - 1967-1992
  • Box 19:
  • Estate papers: Ida M. Hutchison - 1941-1946
  • Estate papers: John Hutchison
  • Estate papers: John J. and Kenneth J. Hutchison - 1991-1993, 1978
  • Estate papers: Tom J. Hutchison - 1982-1993
  • Donations - 1943, 1977-1985
  • Will and revocable living trust - 1991-1993
  • Tax records (folder 1) - 1937-1969
  • Tax records (folder 2) - 1937-1969
  • Tax records (folder 3) - 1937-1969
  • Box 20:
  • Tax records (folder 1) - 1970-1992
  • Tax records (folder 2) - 1970-1992
  • Social security payments for housekeepers - 1965-1967, 1980-1982