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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Lena Belle Bock papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1960-1981
Creator: Bock, Lena Belle (1904-2007)
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0118
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 1960 to 1964.

Access: The scrapbooks are open for research.

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

Acquisition: The scrapbooks (donor no. 182) were donated by Lenabelle Bock.

Preferred Citation: Lena Belle Bock 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

Lena Belle Bock was born June 30, 1904 in Linden, Iowa. She was raised on farms in Dallas and Fayette counties. Bock graduated from Stanley Iowa Consolidated Schools, then attended Iowa State and Iowa State Teachers College (now Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa respectively.) For eight years she taught home economics, government, and history in Swaledale and Klemme, Iowa. During World War II, Bock also taught in Hayfield, Iowa. Bock married Edwin F. Bock in 1931 and raised two daughters, Mary B. (Meg Bushnell (Mrs. Frederic R. Bushnell)) and Virginia M. (Virginia Lemire (Mrs. Robert A. Lemire)) in Garner, Iowa.

Bock was politically active for over twenty-five years before her election to the Iowa House of Representatives. Her activities included memberships on the Garner Town and Country Planning Committee, Building Committee of the Methodist Church, and Recital Club. She was the only female member and secretary of Hancock County Conservation Commission.

Stressing the impact of legislation on women's lives, particularly in the area of taxes and industrial growth, Bock, a Republican, campaigned for and won the House seat for Hancock County. Bock was one of the five women elected to the House in 1960. She is noted for her statement on women in the legislature: "Women in the legislature need to look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, and work like a dog.""

Bock served two terms in the legislature, from 1960 to 1964. During her tenure she was appointed to eight committees: Agriculture, Board of Control, Institution of Higher Learning, Motor Vehicles and Trucks, Commerce and Trade, School Libraries and State Education, State Planning and Development, and Roads and Highways. Bock was also involved in the remodeling of the House and Senate Chambers.

The Lena Belle Bock papers consist of three scrapbooks, measuring 5 linear inches and date from 1960 to 1981. The scrapbooks consist primarily of newspaper clippings that cover Bock's legislative career (1961-1964) and various political issues. Also included in the scrapbooks are small amounts of correspondence, photographs, political memorabilia, conference programs (National Order of Women Legislators, September 19-22, 1961 and the Family Life Conference, April 13, 1963), political satire, and fabric swatches from the remodeling of the House and Senate Chambers.

Among the issues addressed in the newspaper clippings are Bock's election and legislative career, the death penalty, liquor by drink, women in politics, education, reapportionment, and the remodeling of the House and Senate. The collection also contains Bock's newspaper column, "From the desk of..," which she wrote for the Garner Leader, dating from 1961 to 1964.

The correspondence in the scrapbooks consists for the most part of congratulatory letters on Bock's election and her work in the legislature. Also included is a letter and poem from the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs addressing Bock's legislative career and women's role in politics.

The photographs are primarily of Bock, her female colleagues in the legislature, and other political figures.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: Legislative career

  • Series 1: Legislative career
  • Box 1:
  • Scrapbook - 1960-1961
  • Scrapbook - 1962-1964
  • Scrapbook - 1960-1981
    shelved in map case