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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Ruth Ashton Johnson papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1971-1994
Creator: Johnson, Ruth Ashton (1933-)
Extent: 10.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0162
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Physical education teacher whose papers include records of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women and of the Association for Girls and Women in Sport.

Alternate Extent Statement: Artifacts in Box 2
15 audiocassettes [AC277-AC291]

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. 234) were donated by Ruth Ashton Johnson in 1994.

Preferred Citation: Ruth Ashton Johnson 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

Ruth Ashton Johnson, coach, teacher, women's and girls athletics advocate, was born in Clinton, Iowa, on September 20, 1933 to Ned Ashton and Gladys Brooker Ashton. Both her parents were collegiate athletes, and her mother was a member of the physical education department at the University of Iowa. With parental encouragement, Ruth Ashton became proficient in a number of sports, including swimming, tennis, and rifle. While a college student at the University of Iowa, Ashton majored in physical education and continued her athletics, adding field hockey to her repertoire. She married Ron Johnson after college and they moved to Davenport, Iowa, where they raised three sons.

Johnson began teaching physical education in the public school system, and became director of the Davenport Park Board swimming program in 1956. She taught at St. Katherine's part-time from 1957 until 1967, when she began a full-time position at West High School.

While at West, Johnson's activism on behalf of young women's competitive opportunities led her to be elected chair of the Iowa Division for Girls' and Women's Sports Committee. In 1971 Johnson was sent to the National DGWS Conference where she was instrumental in formulating resolutions for women's athletic competition that resulted in the 1972 Title IX legislation. The National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) organized the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) in 1971-1972 in part to implement the new federal legislation.

During her long career at West (she retired in 1990) Johnson coached girls' field hockey, swimming, and gymnastics at different times, and she remained a leader in the local community of girls' competitive athletics. Since retirement, Johnson has remained involved in teaching swimming, leading girl scout trips to the boundary waters, and organizing senior swim meets.

The Ruth Ashton Johnson papers date from 1971 to 1994 and measure 10 linear inches. The papers are arranged in three series: Biographical , AIAW , and Artifacts . The papers document Johnson's interest and professional involvement in promoting equal opportunity for female athletes within schools at all levels.

Browse by Series:
Series 2: AIAW
Series 3: AIAW - Region VI

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • Personal reminiscences and newspaper article - 1982, 1991
  • Series 2: AIAW
  • Sub-Series: Administrative files
  • Box 1:
  • President's report - 1977
  • Policy guidelines and membership lists - 1977-1978
  • Federal sex discrimination policy - 1973-1978
    [oversize chart in map case drawer 5]
  • Title IX - 1978
  • Pamphlets and sample budget - 1977-1978
    [oversize newsletter in map case: drawer 5]
  • Organization of Girls' and Women's Sports state and district chairpersons - 1977-1978
  • [ AC277-AC291]: 15 audiocassettes of NWISC and AIAW meetings - 1975-1976
  • Series 3: AIAW - Region VI
  • Sub-Series: Administrative files
  • Box 1:
  • Governing council membership lists - 1971-1977
  • Memos and reports - 1971-1976
  • Minutes and reports of governing council - 1971-1977
  • Policies, constitution, and bylaws - 1971-1975
  • Governing council reports to AIAW - 1971-1973
  • Correspondence and memos - 1973-1976
  • State newsletters and reports - 1974
  • Box 2:
  • Northwest College Women's Sports Association policy handbooks - 1972-1975
  • Policy and procedure manuals - 1973-1975
  • Sub-Series: Athletic events
  • Box 2:
  • Basketball championships - 1972-1975
  • Small college basketball tournament - 1975-1976
  • Field hockey tournament - 1975-1976
  • Gymnastics championships - 1972-1975
  • Swimming meet survey - 1974
  • Tennis - 1974-1975
  • Track and field championships - 1975
  • Volleyball tournaments - 1973
  • Volleyball tournaments - 1974
  • Volleyball tournaments - 1975
  • Series 4: ARTIFACTS
  • Box 2:
  • Ribbons from the AIAW Region VI First Annual Championship