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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Opal Miller papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1960-1998
Creator: Miller, Opal (1915-)
Extent: 4.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0359
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Democrat, educator and clubwoman who served in the Iowa House of Representatives in the 1970s.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in box 1.

Access: The papers are open for research.

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

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 502) were donated by Opal Miller in 1998.

Preferred Citation: Opal Miller 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

Opal Dellinger was born on October 6, 1915 in Rockwell City, Iowa. Dellinger graduated from Rockwell City High School in 1933. She then studied elementary education and music at the Iowa State Teacher's College (now the University of Northern Iowa) for three years. Dellinger married Raburn Gray "Hap" Miller of Zearing, Iowa in 1935. The Millers had six children. "Hap" Miller was a college coach, and the family moved several times as he took jobs at different schools. During this time, Opal Miller served as Deputy Recorder of Warren and Allamakee counties. Upon "Hap" Miller's retirement the couple moved back to Rockwell City.

In 1972 "Hap" Miller was elected to represent District 47 in the Iowa House of Representatives. In April of 1974, before the General Assembly had ended the session, "Hap" Miller died suddenly. Opal Miller ran successfully for his seat in the election of 1974. During her two terms as a Democratic Representative in the Iowa House, Miller served on the House Committees of Agriculture, County Government, Education, the Juvenile Justice Interim Committee, and the Social Services Division of the Budget Committee. After running and winning again in 1976, Miller served her last two years in the Iowa Legislature.

In January of 1978 Miller married her brother-in-law of forty-one years, Charles Sergeant. Sadly, Charles Sergeant died in June of 1979. Shortly thereafter, Opal Sergeant changed her name back to Opal Miller. Miller then moved to Sitka, Alaska to do three semesters of volunteer secretarial work with Volunteers In Mission (VIM), a Presbyterian group. Miller worked at Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska, for one and a half years. She then volunteered for three years as secretary at a hospital in Katmandu, Nepal; spent thirteen months in Rutland, Massachusetts with the Heifer Project International (an organization that sent animals to underdeveloped countries), and volunteered at the Menaul School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After four years of work at the Menaul School, Miller moved to Des Moines, Iowa.

Miller has been involved with the Legislative Ladies' League, Eastern Star, Business and Professional Women's Club, Iowa Women's Political Caucus, National Organization of Democratic Women State Legislators, Calhoun County Historical Society, Federated Women's Club, and the Board of Northwest Iowa Presbyterial.

The papers date from 1960 to 1998 and measure 4 linear inches. The papers contain biographical material, correspondence, newspaper clippings, speeches, and writings and information on Miller's political career and volunteer work.
"A Political Dialogue: Iowa's Women Legislators" oral history project. This collection contains the transcript of an oral history interview conducted by Suzanne Schenken, December 28, 1989.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical material - 1974-1998
  • Campaigning - 1972-1977
  • Correspondence - 1974-1987
  • General political information (2 folders) - 1974-1980
  • Legislature - 1977
  • Newspaper clippings - 1960-1978
  • Speeches and writings - 1975-1977
  • Volunteer activism - 1980-1987
  • Sheldon Jackson College (Sitka, Alaska): Elderhostel - 1987
  • Sheldon Jackson College: Newsletters - 1980
  • Sheldon Jackson College: College newspapers - 1979-1981, 1984, 1987
  • Sheldon Jackson College: Volunteers in Mission reunion, undated
  • Sheldon Jackson College: Oldest Alaskan College Wavers" - 1981
  • Photographs - 1974-1980
  • Artifacts, undated