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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Carolyn "Kay" Bucksbaum papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1949-1998
Creator: Bucksbaum, Carolyn "Kay"
Extent: 2.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0591
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Civic activist involved in the Jewish community, the Des Moines symphony, the League of Women Voters, and the Proteus Club.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 2

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. 730) were donated by Kay Bucksbaum in 2000.

Preferred Citation: Carolyn Bucksbaum 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

Carolyn Swartz, known by her nickname Kay, was born in Des Moines, Iowa on February 17, 1929 to Mose Swartz and Ethelyn Cohen Swartz. She was educated at Hubbell elementary and Roosevelt junior and senior high schools in Des Moines, graduating from high school in 1947. Swartz then attended her father´s alma mater Grinnell College, where she majored in English and journalism and edited the college newspaper before graduating with honors in 1951. Following a 700-mile bicycle trip in Europe, Swartz was working on the executive training program of the Meredith Publishing Company in Des Moines when she met Matthew Bucksbaum of Marshalltown, Iowa. The couple married within the year and Kay Bucksbaum became a homemaker in Marshalltown. A daughter, Ann Louise Bucksbaum, was born in 1954 in Marshalltown. The family moved to Cedar Rapids, building the state´s first shopping mall in 1955, where a son, John Louis Bucksbaum was born. In 1959 the family moved to Bettendorf and built Duck Creek Plaza. In 1964 the family relocated to Des Moines and formed the basis of the publicly held real estate development company that became General Growth.

Formative experiences for Bucksbaum included summer camp counseling for five years in various parts of the country, a number of American Athletic Union state swimming championships, and continuous membership in the League of Women Voters from her college days onward. Bucksbaum served as president of the League of Women Voters of Scott County, Iowa and vice-president of the League of Women Voters of Iowa. She has served as both president and as a board member for the Des Moines Symphony Association, chairman and trustee on the Grinnell College Board of Trustees, vice-president of the Jewish Welfare Federation, a board member for Des Moines United Way, a board member for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, a board member for DanceAspen, and a trustee for the Des Moines Art Center. Bucksbaum has also served as the first "outside" director for the Des Moines Register and Tribune Company, director of Hawkeye Cablevision, president of the Grinnell Communications Corporation, vice-president and board member for the Foundation in National Public Radio, and a founder of Friends of Iowa Educational Broadcasting.

The Carolyn 'Kay' Bucksbaum papers date from 1949 to 1998 and measure 2 linear feet. The papers are arranged in three series: Biographical, Civic activism and Writings.

The Biographical series contains Bucksbaum's 1998 resume, a biographical paper describing three generations of women in her family, a copy of a newspaper article announcing Buckbaum's election as the first woman to chair the Grinnell College Board of Trustees, and two speeches Bucksbaum wrote for events at Grinnell College.

The Civic activism series makes up the bulk of the Bucksbaum papers and is divided into several sub-series: AAUW (American Association of University Women), Jewish community, Des Moines Symphony, Grinnell College, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association), Young Women's Resource Center, The Iowa Center for the Book, Planned Parenthood, League of Women Voters and Proteus Club. The Jewish community sub-series includes a history of Iowa Jewry written by Dr. Michael Bell and Temple Sisterhood social actions in which Bucksbaum was involved. The Des Moines Symphony has quite a bit of information on fundraising efforts spearheaded by Bucksbaum, including a series of successful needlework shows. Bucksbaum's efforts for the Des Moines Symphony were considered pivotal and lasting.

The Grinnell College sub-series includes two folders of information on the I Have a Dream Foundation. There is also the text for Bucksbaum's 1973 speech, 'Directions: The Year 2001, or, For What Kind of Society Are We Educating Men and Women?' The YWCA sub-series contains information from Bucksbaum's participation on the Women of Achievement steering committee, including nominations for Ann Green Anderson, Mary Louise Smith and Joan Lipsky.

The League of Women Voters (LWV) sub-series includes several documents pertaining to the Des Moines chapter of the League of Women Voters successful efforts in 1949 to change Des Moines' mayoral system to a city manager system. The documents include studies, questionnaires and workshop materials used by the Des Moines League during the initial campaign to change the municipal government system and as review measures in the following years. Also included in the LWV sub-series are documents from the organization's state level: state program planning, legislative studies and the League's position regarding the 1959-1960 Iowa Constitutional Convention. A 1953 paper on individual liberties was written by the Iowa City LWV chapter, a project chaired by Helen Lemme.

The Proteus Club sub-series includes several of the papers Bucksbaum presented to the group over a ten-year span. Also included are the Agriculture reference files Bucksbaum collected while researching for her paper, 'There Goes the Family Farm.' These files contain articles, brochures, and correspondence, along with information from the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

The Writings series contains a variety of samples of Bucksbaum's authorial skills, including book reviews, letters to the editor, articles, poetry and fiction. One piece, 'Get the Whole Town Talking!' describes the first outdoor art fair held in Marshalltown, Iowa.
League of Women Voters, Des Moines records (Iowa Women's Archives)
League of Women Voters ,Iowa records (IWA)
Louise Noun papers (IWA)
Proteus Club records (IWA)
Kay Stroud papers (IWA)
YWCA records (IWA)

Browse by Series:
Series 3: WRITINGS

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • General - 1973-1998
  • Series 2: CIVIC ACTIVISM
  • Box 1:
  • AAUW Techniques of Communication conference - 1958
  • "Summary of History of Iowa Jewry," Dr. Michael Bell - 1990
  • Des Moines Jewish community's response to 1973 Holy War in Israel - 1973
  • Temple B'nai Jeshurun centennial - 1973
  • Temple Sisterhood: Marc Chagall presentation - 1965
  • Temple sisterhood: Social action - 1955-1959
  • Des Molines Symphony: Newsletters - 1957, 1975, 1982
  • Des Moines Symphony: Fundraising (1) - 1974-1975
  • Des Moines Symphony: Fundraising (2) - 1974-1975
  • Des Moines Symphony: Oklahoma City panel talk - Temple
  • Des Moines Symphony: Needlework 75 - 1975
  • Des Moines Symphony: Needlework 75 articles - 1975
  • Des Moines Symphony: Needlework 76 (1) - 1976
  • Des Moines Symphony: Needlework 76 (2) - 1976
  • Des Moines Symphony: Needlework 76 (3) - 1976
  • Des Moines Symphony: Needlework 76 (4) - 1976
  • Box 2:
  • Des Moines Symphony: Needlework show 78 (1)
  • Des Moines Symphony: Notes for talk on needlework show, undated
  • Des Moines Symphony: Editing notes for cookbook - 1977
  • Des Moines Symphony: Needlework photographs, undated
  • Des Moines Symphony: Needlework slides
  • Grinnell College conference: "Direction, the Year 2001" - 1973
  • Grinnell College Sesquicentennial - 1996
  • Grinnell College: I Have a Dream Foundation (1) - 1988-1998
  • Grinnell College: I Have a Dream Foundation (2) - 1988-1998
  • YWCA: Women of Achievement steering committee - 1982-1983
  • YWCA: Women of Achievement nominations: Ann Green Anderson, undated
  • YWCA: Women of Achievement nominations: Mary Louise Smith, undated
  • YWCA: Women of Achievement nominations: Joan Lipsky - 1991
  • Young Women's Resource Center - 1989
  • Iowa Center for the Book - 1993
  • Planned Parenthood fundraiser - 1994
  • League of Women Voters, Des Moines: City governor report - 1949
  • LWV, Des Moines: "The Des Moines Plan Old and New" - 1956
  • LWV, Des Moines: City council questionnaire - 1967
  • LWV, Des Moines: Mrs. J. R. Austin correspondence - 1966-1967
  • LWV, Des Moines: General correspondence - 1967
  • LWV, Des Moines: General correspondence - 1970-1972
  • LWV, Des Moines: speech, undated
  • LWV, Des Moines: local government studies - 1966-1967
    [other states]
  • LWV, Des Moines: Des Moines government studies - 1959-1969
  • Box 3:
  • LWV, Des Moines: city government workshop - 1957-1969
  • LWV, Iowa City: Individual liberties - 1953
  • LWV of Iowa: State program planning (1) - 1958-1970
  • LWV of Iowa: State program planning (2) - 1958-1970
  • LWV of Iowa: State program planning (3) - 1958-1970
  • LWV of Iowa: Iowa Legislative Proccesses Study Committee - 1968
  • LWV of Iowa: "Iowa in the '80s" - 1980
  • LWV of Iowa: Louise Noun, "Relationship between state and Municipal Governments in Iowa"
  • LWV of Iowa: Iowa Constitutional Convention (1) - 1959-1960
  • LWV of Iowa: Iowa Constitutional Convention (2)
  • LWV of Iowa: Miscellaneous newsletters, pamphlets, and brochures - 1959-1967
  • Box 4:
  • Proteus Club: History - 1896-1993
  • Proteus Club: Kay Bucksbaum, "Anyone for Adventeure?" - 1986
  • Proteus Club: Kay Bucksbaum, Personal reflections
  • Proteus Club: Kay Bucksbaum, "The Press - Freedon For or Freedom From?" - 1980
  • Proteus Club: Kay Bucksbaum, "Ripe times" - 1992
  • Proteus Club: Kay Bucksbaum, notes for "Ripe Times" - 1992
  • Proteus Club: Agriculture articles and brochures - 1994-1998
  • Proteus Club: Agriculture articles and brochures - 1994-1998
  • Proteus Club: Agriculture newspaper articles - 1997
  • Proteus Club correspondence: Dale Cochran, Iowa Secretary for Agriculture - 1998
  • Proteus Club correspondence: Mary McBride, Pioneer Hybrid International - 1998
  • Proteus Club correspondence: Neil Hamilton, Agricultural Law Center, Drake University - 1998
  • Proteus Club: International Food Policy Research Institute - 1994-1997
  • Proteus Club: Kay Bucksbaum, "There Goes the Family Farm" - 1998
  • Proteus Club: Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture - 1991-1998
  • Series 3: WRITINGS
  • Box 4:
  • Supporting educational television, undated
  • Book reviews - 1972, 1976
  • Review of Charles Reich, The Greeing of America - 1971
  • Correspondence - 1996
  • Creative writings, undated
  • "Audrey Hirsch," undated - 1971
  • Letters to the editor - 1955-1959
  • Carolyn S. Bucksbaum, "A 1976 Victorian in Aspen" in This Old House Journal - 1976
  • Kay Swartz, "Get the Whole Town Talking!" undated
  • Carolyn Bucksbaum, A Place to Grow: Remembering an Iowa Childhood - 2009
    [shelved in printed works collection]