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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Dale McCormick papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1958-1997
Creator: McCormick, Dale (1947-)
Extent: 4.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0513
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Carpenter and activist for women in non-traditional jobs.

Alternate Extent Statement: Slides in Box 4
6 audiocassettes [AC1237-1242]
1 videocassette [shelved in non-standard formats]

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. 890) were donated by Dale McCormick in 2003.

Preferred Citation: Dale McCormick 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

Dale McCormick-carpenter, author, teacher, activist, and politician-was born in 1947 in New York City. Her mother, Elizabeth Tibbetts McCormick Kramer, was a teacher and her father, Kenneth Dale McCormick, was editor-in-chief at Doubleday. McCormick's parents divorced and her mother remarried Dale Kramer, author of numerous books. Dale McCormick's family moved to Sigourney, Iowa, in 1955; she graduated from Sigourney High School in 1965, and earned a BA and a teaching certificate from the University of Iowa in 1970.

After graduation, McCormick remained in Iowa City, where she participated in the anti-war, women's, and lesbian movements in the early 1970s. She apprenticed as a carpenter in 1971 with the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, and in 1975, Dale McCormick became the first journeywoman carpenter in the nation. McCormick wrote and illustrated Against the Grain: A Carpentry Manual for Women , published by the Iowa City Women's Press in 1977. (A copy of this book is shelved in the printed works collection of the Iowa Women's Archives.) McCormick ran her own company, McCormick Construction & Cabinetry, in Iowa City from 1977 to 1980.

In the early 1980s, McCormick moved to Maine, where she founded Women Unlimited, a job training program for women in trade and technical occupations. McCormick served as executive director of Women Unlimited until 1995. She taught classes, attended conferences, held workshops, wrote grants, and initiated partnerships with governmental agencies and educational institutions. In 1987, McCormick published her second book, Housemending: Home Repair for the Rest of Us.

McCormick worked on many issues as a political activist in the 1980s, including gay and lesbian issues, healthcare, welfare reform, women in non-traditional work, and housing. She was a founder and past president of the Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance, and a delegate to the 1984 and 1988 Democratic National Conventions. In 1990, she ousted an incumbent in an upset election for the Hallowell seat in the Maine Senate. In 1996, McCormick was elected state treasurer of Maine, the first woman to hold that position. She served as treasurer for eight years, when Maine's term limits forced her to give up her post. In 2005, Maine's governor appointed McCormick as director of the Maine State Housing Authority, a quasi-governmental organization that finances affordable housing, weatherizes homes, and assists low-income Mainers purchase their first home. McCormick has received many honors including the Maryann Hartman Award for political leadership and for training women in non-traditional careers (1997) and the Crystal Vision Award from the National Association of Women in Construction (2006). In 2007, McCormick was inducted into the Maine Women Hall of Fame. McCormick and her partner have three children.

The Dale McCormick papers date from 1958 to 1997 and measure 4.5 linear feet. The papers are arranged in six series: Biographical, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, Women Unlimited, and Electoral Politics. The bulk of the collection relates to women's work in non-traditional careers, including documents related to McCormick's own experiences as a carpenter and those that relate to the organization she founded, Women Unlimited. Much of the collection remains in its original order with original folder titles.

The Biographical series consists of a folder containing resumes and other information on Dale McCormick's life and work. Most of the materials in the 1960s series (1958-1969) relate to McCormick's formal education. The series includes a workbook on the history of Iowa for elementary students and research papers, notes, and tests from McCormick's high school and college courses. Miscellaneous personal and official correspondence, two University of Iowa photo IDs, and a 4-H record book complete the series.

The 1970s series (1969-1981) includes documents related to McCormick's political, personal, and professional activities. The student teaching folder includes a description of McCormick's philosophy of education and her lesson plans for units on McCarthyism and the American judicial system. The folder on the military draft includes a 1969 issue of The New Prairie Primer , an alternative newspaper published in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The folder on women's poetry includes several small self-published booklets of original poetry, none by McCormick. The items in the business documents folder were removed from an accordion file that was arranged in alphabetical order. McCormick's union documents (Carpenter's Local 1260) include her dues book, pay stubs, and receipts for dues.

The 1970s series also contains documents related to a sexual harassment complaint that McCormick filed with the Iowa City Human Relations Commission in 1974, including the reports written by the commission's investigator after interviewing the concerned parties and McCormick's notes citing specific incidents of harassment. The notebook in this series contains many entries, often rather cryptic, related to the production of Ain't I a Woman? , a local women's liberation newsletter that was nationally distributed. The notebook also includes several loose documents such as a handwritten history of Sparky Daycare, a controversial project within the Iowa City women's community, and notes about class conflicts within the women's and lesbian communities of Iowa City. A videotape featuring McCormick on an unnamed television program completes the series. (Note: The videotape was recorded on a Sony-AV-860 solid state video recorder and must be played on same; the IWA does not own such a recorder.)

The 1980s series (1980-1987) contains notes, invoices, and blueprints related to McCormick Construction & Cabinetry. It includes notes McCormick took at workshops for women in the construction trades. McCormick's notebooks contain many technical drawings and blueprints. A letter from Sue Buckley, former director of the Women's Resource and Action Center at the University of Iowa and later a university administrator, describes the successful campaign waged at the University to include sexual orientation in the anti-discrimination policy. This series includes materials related to a television series on homebuilding that McCormick worked on in the early 1980s, including an audiocassette of McCormick and a friend brainstorming ideas for the show. A handbook on vapor barriers written by McCormick includes many early drafts and slides. Two more audiocassettes complete the series: a radio interview with McCormick and a Christian leader debating Maine's proposed gay rights ordinance, and a 1985 interview by an unnamed woman with a young man diagnosed with ARC (AIDS-Related Complex).

The Women Unlimited series (1987-1995), the largest series in the collection, includes administrative files and information on workshops, conferences, policies, programs, clients, grants, trade organizations, and the government agencies with which Women Unlimited partnered. The papers are in their original files and order. Some contain resource materials such as data on jobs and wages in Maine. The series includes three audiocassettes of workshops McCormick attended. Additional notes about the audiocassettes in McCormick's collection complete the series.

The Electoral Politics series (1984-1997) includes memorabilia and newspaper articles related to the 1984 and 1988 national Democratic Party conventions that McCormick attended. McCormick's delegate badges, a ribbon with a button declaring her a member of the Gay and Lesbian Caucus, and coverage of the 1984 convention in the gay and lesbian press are included. The series also contains a small amount of information on McCormick's 1990 campaign for the Maine senate and newspaper articles reporting on her victory. The series includes information on two issues McCormick worked on in the legislature's welfare reform and health care. Telephone logs show the wide range of issues McCormick dealt with on a regular basis.
Ain't I a Woman? (IWA): McCormick belonged to the collective that published Ain't I a Woman?
Dale McCormick papers (Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity at the University of Southern Maine).

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
Series 2: 1960s
Series 3: 1970s
Series 4: 1980s
Series 5: WOMEN UNLIMITED
Series 6:
Series 7: ELECTORAL POLITICS
Series 8: ELECTORAL POLITICS

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
  • Box 1:
  • Resumes and general materials, undated
  • Series 2: 1960s
  • Box 1:
  • "Text and Workbook in the History of Iowa" - 1958-1959
  • 4-H Club record - 1962-1963
  • High school: English - 1962-1965
  • High school: Typing - 1963-1964
  • High school: Biology - 1962-1963
  • High school: Government - 1964
  • University of Iowa: Debate - 1966
  • University of Iowa: History of Ideas - 1965
  • University of Iowa: American History - 1969
  • University of Iowa: Education - 1969
  • University of Iowa: Correspondence - 1966-1969
  • University of Iowa: Writings - 1968-1969
  • Series 3: 1970s
  • Box 1:
  • Student teaching - 1970
  • The draft - 1969-1970
  • Box 2:
  • Women's poetry - 1972-1978
  • Welfare - 1970
  • Herbs, undated
  • Carpenter's union documents - 1972-1977
  • Business documents - 1971-1976
  • Sexual harassment complaint (folder 1) - 1974-1975
  • Sexual harassment complaint (folder 2) - 1974-1975
  • Gay lit info - 1974-1975
  • Notebook - 1971-1973
  • Videotape of McCormick - 1979
    Appears as a guest on a television show; tape must be played on a Sony-AV-860 solid state video recorder, which is not available at the IWA [shelved with non-standard formats]
  • Women in trades - 1978
  • Shelter Institute, Bath, Maine: Notebook 1 - 1979
  • Shelter Institute, Bath, Maine: Notebook 2 - 1979
  • Box 3:
  • Shelter Institute, Bath, Maine: Folder of handouts - 1979
  • Cornerstones: First women's class journal - 1979
  • Cornerstones: Housebuilding for women - 1981
  • Series 4: 1980s
  • Box 3:
  • McCormick Construction & Cabinetry - 1980-1981
  • "Iowa Nuclear Bulletin" - 1980
  • St. Clements (folder 1) - 1981-1982
  • St. Clements (folder 2) - 1981-1982
  • Memo book
  • Mitchell - 1981
  • Penobscot Indian Nation - 1982
  • Housebuilding for women - 1986
  • My house Granite Rd., Yarmouth, Maine - 1983
  • Box 4:
  • Letter from Sue Buckley re: UI anti-discrimination policy - 1985
  • Miscellaneous papers - 1982-1986
  • "Dale's Turning 40" skit - 1987
  • "Vapor Barriers: Definition and Detail," by Dale McCormick - 1983
    [includes slides]
  • TV show: Notebook - 1982-1984
  • AC1241: TV show: Dale and Chateau Chapin on "Housemending" pilot - 1982
  • AC1240: Gay rights radio program with Dale and Kasper Wyman
  • AC1240: ACR/AIDS audiocassette: Sean and Janice - 1985
  • Series 5: WOMEN UNLIMITED
  • Box 4:
  • Aspire training - 1988
  • Work force/personnel conference - 1989
  • Bangot Hydro home repair workshop - 1988
  • Iowa City pre-voc - 1991
  • UI physical plant
  • Building housing into the '90s
  • Racism workshop
  • NE regional tradewsomen - 1987
  • Women in management - 1987
  • Business and Professional Women - 1990
  • Women in medicine P-town - 1990
  • Summer training management - 1988
  • All in a days work - 1987
  • Business workshop--women in trades
  • Gay pride - 1991
  • Cab and Gaby Howard
  • Series 6:
  • Box 5:
  • Women Unlimited - 1989
  • Financing aids
  • Tradeswomen Association Maine
  • NTO public policy - 1987
  • Sex equity in education
  • Networking LA area
  • Maine Teacher's Association - 1988
  • Central Maine Vocational Tech Institute
  • Rowe camp
  • Time management
  • Racism conference - 1988-1989
  • DOR conference - 1989
  • Building Tomorrow conference (folder 1)
  • Building Tomorrow conference (folder 2)
  • Planning - 1989
  • Mailing list--agencies
  • Miscellaneous - 1989
  • Fall program clients - 1989
  • NTO legislation
  • Katodin area project
  • Anybody's construction
  • Program ideas--NTO
  • Belanger project
  • JTPA
  • Masters
  • PR documents
  • Logo
  • Press releases
  • Personnel policies
  • Budgeting
  • Ms. Foundation grant
  • Box 6:
  • Grants - 1990-1991
  • Carl Perkins - 1990
  • Women's Bureau RFP 91-11
  • Women's Unlimited taxes - 1990
  • Grants
  • MDOT grant - 1991
  • York Co. shelter grant
  • Grants - 1991
  • Correspondence
  • Reports
  • Pre-appreticeship program
  • Apprenticeship
  • Apprenticeship policy
  • Wage statistics
  • Box 7:
  • Step-Up
  • NJ pre-voc
  • Wider Opportunities for Women
  • DOT
  • Non-traditional Employment for Women
  • Women's trade center
  • WEET
  • NTO statistics
  • Non-traditional women
  • Women contractors and carpenters
  • Clipboard lists
  • Box 8:
  • Tests - 1988
  • Building for Tomorrow conference - 1990
  • Frayer eval - 1989
  • Lesbians - 1989
  • Results masters - 1988-1992
  • Syllabus
  • Clients fall '89
  • Clients fall '90
  • Pre-apprenticeship class - 1990
  • Class spring '90
  • Class fall '88
  • Clients spring '90
  • Client contract current
  • Client contracts past
  • Client resumes
  • Clients Oct '88
  • Clients Summer '89
  • Womankind - 1988-1989
  • WU student resources
  • Fall '89 CMVTI
  • Profile NTO
  • Office
  • Impact analysis
  • CMTC admission data
  • SMVTI
  • Jobs
  • Fall '89 planning
  • Mother truckers
  • Carl Perkins Grants
  • Dale--DHS contract - 1990
  • Pre/post evaluations
  • My proposal - 1988-1989
  • Box 9:
  • Clients Feb '80
  • Telephone counseling
  • Calls Sept-Oct '89
  • Step-Up - 1989
  • Contractors
  • Vocational education for women
  • NMVTI - 1987
  • Trade women
  • Media list
  • Welfare reform articles by Dale (folder 1)
  • Welfare reform articles by Dale (folder 2)
  • WBDC article by Dale
  • Tax and welfare savings worksheet
  • Janice Goldfrank
  • Fundraising ideas
  • NTO future conference - 1995
  • 1990 census--NTO
  • Carl Perkins letters students
  • Gateway Project Cleveland
  • Graduates info
  • Box 10:
  • Video project (folder 1)
  • Video project (folder 2)
  • Memo of agreement
  • USA Today article on affirmative action - 1995
  • Notebook of Dale's - 1993-1994
  • Notes from Tradeswomen's summit - 1994
  • Staff meeting
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1993-1995
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1993-1995
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1993-1995
  • Audiocassette notes
  • AC1237: Panel on women in non-traditional work
  • AC1238: Non traditional NYU Conference
  • AC1239: ACRA Conference
  • Series 7: ELECTORAL POLITICS
  • Box 10:
  • 1984 National Democratic Party convention - 1984
  • 1984 National Democratic Party convention - 1984
  • 1984 National Democratic Party convention - 1984
  • 1988 National Democratic Party convention - 1988
  • My campaign
  • Dale's correspondence - 1992
  • Series 8: ELECTORAL POLITICS
  • Box 11:
  • Dale's telephone logs (folder 1) - 1995-1997
  • Dale's telephone logs (folder 2) - 1995-1997
  • Phone calls answered
  • Welfare reform (folder 1)
  • Welfare reform (folder 2)
  • Dale's notebook on health care - 1992-1993
  • Econ growth council
  • Dal info/articles (newspaper clippings)
  • Dale bio current and historical
  • Signs: "Vote No Maine Won't Discriminate" and "Thanks for Making the Gay Vote Heard"
    [shelved in map case]