Table of Contents

Overview of the Collection

Historical Information

Charter Members

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Items

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Administrative Information

Series Description

Series 1: Annual Reports

Series 2: Minute Books

Series 3: Subject Files

Series 4: Publications

Contents List

 

 

Plainfield Public Library
League of Women Voters of Plainfield [1920-1981]

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Finding aid written and encoded by Sarah Hull in June 2009

Overview of the Collection
Repository: Plainfield Public Library, Local History Department, 800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060
Creator: League of Women Voters of Plainfield
Title: Records of the League of Women Voters of Plainfield
Dates: 1920 - 2012 [bulk dates 1952-1973]
Quantity:

3 linear feet of records
Comprised of 4 boxes:
Two (2) 10” x 15” x 12” archival storage box
One (1)  10” x 12” x 5” document case
One (1) 21” x 25” x 3” newspaper box

Abstract:

The Records of the League of Women Voters of Plainfield document the creation and history of the Plainfield League from 1920 to 1981.  The collection includes administrative materials, financial documents, annual reports, minute books, publications, newsletters, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and ephemera.  The bulk of the material dates from 1952 to 1973.

Language: The records are in English.

Historical Information

The League of Women Voters is a grassroots, “non-partisan organization whose purpose is to encourage the informed and active participation of all citizens in government and politics."  The national (http://www.lwv.org) and state (http://www.lwvnj.org) Leagues were established in 1920, when women were finally granted the right to vote in the United States through the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. The League functions on local, county, state and national levels of government.  One of its major programs is Voter Service, which provides information regarding candidates and their platforms to the membership.  On the local level, the League engages in a variety of programs related to city government.  Some important local issues in the past, for example, have been the quality of the public schools, the effectiveness of the city charter, and a study of the city’s budget.

The League of Women Voters of Plainfield is one of the oldest active leagues in the United States.  After a mass meeting on May 10, 1920 to form a Plainfield League, the first meeting of the League of Women Voters of Plainfield and North Plainfield took place on May 14, 1920 (three months to the day after the formation of the National League of Women Voters, and a mere one month after formation of the New Jersey league).  It was originally open only to women.  By September of 1920, over 3,000 women in Plainfield registered to vote after attending a citizenship school over the summer.  Dues were only 20¢ a year for a regular membership. There were departments for: Child Welfare, Social Hygiene, Women in Industry, Legislation, Citizenship, and Fair Price. There were standing committees for: publicity, finance, speakers, entertainment, and enrollment.  North Plainfield formed its own League in September 1953.

Today, the Plainfield League continues to educate and inform by providing local residents, both men and women, with factual, nonpartisan information on candidates and ballot issues.  The League distributes this information through voter's guides, candidate forums, town meetings or debates.  The Plainfield League also encourages registration and engages in voting drives.

Source: 1973-74 membership booklet, Box 1 folder 45

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Additional Historical

The predecessor of the League of Women Voters was the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association (NJSA). The NJSA was founded in 1867 at a meeting in Vineland, NJ. It was attended by Lucy Stone, her husband Henry Blackwell, Lucretia and James Mott of Philadelphia, reformer Robert Dale Owen, dress reformer Susan Pecker Fowler, and John Gage of Vineland, brother-in-law of reformer and journalist, Frances Dana Gage. 

According to the founding convention records, “all adult citizens of the State shall be eligible and of which the object shall be to use all honorable means to secure to woman the same political rights which are now enjoyed by white men.”  On April 23, 1920, the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association became the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, a non-partisan organization devoted to informed citizenship, which still exists today.  The NJSA record group consists of a War Relief Enrollment Form.

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Charter Members, 1920

Mary Charles, first president
Julia Buckley Cox
Marie Murray Joost
Esther Egerton
Edythe P. Parsons
May Blaine Lipscomb
Louise S Corbusier
Elizabeth D. White
[Elinor] M[eleiels]
Edith P. Bond
Ida H. Riley
Anne Luery
Edna M. Brown
Sarah Elvira Sutphen
Hilda Mary Knott
Florence Bailey Lawrence
Lucy J. Weiss
Elizabeth Taylor
Edith C. Burnett
Delphina B O’Donnell
Elizabeth M. Kenney
Louise H. Abbe
Emilie B. Cowperthwaite
Dr. Clara De Krans
[Ida] Jones
Marie E VanSyckel
Mary A. Bailey
Estelle B Crane
Katrina G. S. Pierce
Claire W. Robinson

Source: Minutes Book 1, general minutes, pages 11-12, 1920.

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Scope and Contents

The Records of the League include a variety of historical material spanning from 1920 to 1981, with the bulk of records dating between 1952 to1973.  The documents offer a glimpse into the creation of the League from its beginning in 1920, up to the 1980s. There is a list of the charter members, dated May 1920, that includes the signatures of the initial 29 members (noted above).  Record types include: annual reports, newsletters, annual dinner & event programs, constitution and by-laws, financial records, correspondence, minutes (bound and unbound), sample ballots, informational reports, membership questionnaires and statistics, and newspaper clippings. Related ephemera include two small voting tags.  There is a stretch of the League’s newsletter, “The Plainfield Voter,” that runs, with gaps, from April 1962 to January 1981.  Other publications focus on the town of Plainfield and the city’s school system.  Materials are typed and handwritten, in both original and photocopied formats.

The League of Women Voters of Plainfield celebrated its 80th birthday in 2001, and is still in operation today.

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Arrangement

The Records of the League are arranged into four series:

Series 1: Annual reports
Series 2: Minute books
Series 3: Subject Files
  Subseries A: Education  
  Subseries B: History & PPL Vertical files materials
  Subseries C: Housing  
  Subseries D: Regional Planning  
  Subseries E: Voter Service  
Series 4: Publications
  Subseries A: General publications  
  Subseries B: “The Plainfield Voter” newsletters

 

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Access and Use

Restrictions on Access

The "Records of the League of Women Voters of Plainfield" are available for research.

Access is restricted to materials prepared by the Local History department staff. All materials must be viewed in the Plainfield Room and may not be removed to another area of the library without permission of the Library Director or designee. Materials must be handled carefully and kept in order. Materials must not be leaned upon, altered, folded, ripped, or traced upon. Marks may not be added or erased from materials. Materials must be returned directly to Local History department staff and inspected before the researcher leaves the Plainfield Room.

Restrictions on Use

One photocopy may be made (by Plainfield Public Library staff) of each document for the purpose of research; official Local History departmental reproduction fees may apply. Permission to publish must be obtained by the Plainfield Public Library Board of Trustees as delegated to the Library Director. Permission to publish does not constitute a copyright clearance. The researcher is responsible for further copyright restrictions. The Plainfield Public Library is not responsible for the misuse of copyrighted material.

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

People:

Charles, Mary
Sanger, Margaret Higgins (1879-1966)

Organizations:

New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association
League of Women Voters of Plainfield

Places:

North Plainfield (N.J.)
Plainfield (N.J.)

Subjects:

Feminism - United States - History
Plainfield, NJ - Clubs and organizations
Plainfield, NJ - History
Politics and government - Local
School desegregation
Women’s studies
Women - Suffrage
Voting

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Related Items

Photograph C21192, League of Women Voters, 1929.

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection consists of paper documents and ephemera, which do not require any additional technology for access.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation for Collection

Identification of item; Date (if noted); "The Records of the League of Women Voters of Plainfield", Box and Folder Number; Local History Department, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Preferred Citation for Finding Aid

Author. "Title of Finding Aid." Location. Date <URL>

For example:
Hull, Sarah. “A Finding Aid for the Records of the League of Women Voters of Plainfield [1920-1981].” The Plainfield Public Library. 22 June 2009 <http://www.plainfieldlibrary.info/Departments/LH/FindingAids/LWV.html>

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Mrs. Rose Slomin, Plainfield League President from 1972-1974, on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Plainfield.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sarah Hull in June 2009. The finding aid was written by Sarah Hull in June 2009. Finding aid content follows the guidelines suggested by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.

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Series Description of the Collection
Series 1: Annual Reports [1941--1978]

1973Series Description
Series 1 contains annual reports recording administrative and financial information.  Reports contain annual dinner and meeting programs, meeting agendas and ballots, membership questionnaires, report notes, and League statistics.  It is composed solely of typed and handwritten paper documents.

Arrangement
Series 1 is arranged chronologically by date and fills ½ of a storage box.





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Series 2: Minute books [1920--1941]

Series Description
Series 2 contains four minute ledgers: three for the executive committee and one for general League meetings. It is composed solely of four bound ledgers. Documents are handwritten. Three ledgers contain papers that are pasted or clipped to the pages.  Some attachments include: the original Constitution & Bylaws of the Plainfield League. One ledger has an additional folder containing loose paper items, such a 1923 Constitution and Bylaws, handwritten notes, League flyers, a blank membership form, informational pamphlets about government and governmental agencies

Arrangement
Series 2 is arranged chronologically and fills one box.

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Series 3: Subject Files & Addenda  [1951--1973]

Series Description
Series 3 consists of five subseries:

Subseries A--Education, 1952-1970 – contains documents dealing with the Plainfield Board of Education and the town’s public school system. Topics include school desegregation, board officials, special education students, the reorganization of public schools, and the Plainfield Area Urban Coalition. SEE ALSO: Publications.

Subseries B--History & PPL Vertical Files, 1920-1974 – consists of secondary LWV historical research, as well as primary sources once kept in the Library’s general vertical files, such as a typed history and timeline of the Plainfield League, a pamphlet, excerpts from minutes, a 1924 & 1928 membership lists, handwritten notes, a “resume of activities authorized by platform items from 1933 to 1953,” a document dealing with establishment of a local league organization, 2 copies of the annual program from 1935-1936.

Subseries C--Housing, 1957-1973 – contains documents dealing with local issues such as low income housing and standards. Documents include housing studies, reports, and newspaper clippings.

Subseries D--Regional Planning, 1963-1968 – contains documents dealing with the establishment of regional planning boards within New Jersey.  The purpose of such boards or committees was to “encourage the cooperation of municipalities and counties within the region in matters concerning the integrity of the plan, and to formulate development programs and budget for use by governmental units within the region.”  Documents include memos, reports, bibliographies, discussion outlines, a questionnaire, and newspaper clippings.

Subseries E--Voter Service, 1951-1971 – contains documents dealing with League stances on local and national voting practices and elections, including candidates and issues. Record types include sample ballots, correspondence, reports, and ephemera.

Record types include letters, committee annual reports, task force materials, consultant reports, ballot information, newspaper clippings, and ephemeraDocuments are typed and handwritten. There are addenda items at the end of this series including: annual dinner & meeting programs, a 1973-74 membership booklet, League bylaws, and newspaper clippings.

Arrangement
Series 3 is predominantly arranged chronologically by subject, and fills 1 and ½ boxes. Some of this series is housed with the oversize materials in box 4.

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Series 4: Publications [1965--1981]

Series Description
Series 4 contains two Subseries:

newsletter
Subseries A--General publications, 1965-1975 – consists of mostly bound publications dealing with Plainfield and the public schools.

Subseries B--Newsletter “The Plainfield Voter,” 1969-1981 – consists of issues of “The Plainfield Voter,” the monthly newsletters of the League. It contains some gaps and duplicates.  This publication is now available online: http://plainfieldleague.blogspot.com/

All records in this series are printed or photocopied, typed and handwritten paper documents.


Arrangement
Series 4 is arranged chronologically, and fills one box.

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Contents Listing

Box

Folder

Title

Date

1

1

Annual Report

1941-1942

 

2

Annual Report

1942-1943

 

3

Annual Report

1949-1950

 

4

Annual Report

1950-1951

 

5

Annual Report

1951-1952

 

6

Annual Report

1952-1953

 

7

Annual Report

1953-1954

 

8

Annual Report

1954-1955

 

9

Annual Report

1955-1956

 

10

Annual Report

1956-1957

 

11

Annual Report

1957-1958

 

12

Annual Report

1958-1959

 

13

Annual Report

1959-1960

 

14

Annual Report

1960-1961

 

15

Annual Report

1961-1962

 

16

Annual Report

1962-1963

 

17

Annual Report

1963-1964

 

18

Annual Report

1964-1965

 

19

Annual Report

1965-1966

 

20

Annual Report

1966-1967

 

21

Annual Report

1967-1968

 

22

Annual Report

1968-1969

 

23

Annual Report

1969-1970

 

24

Annual Report

1970-1971

 

25

Annual Report

1971-1972

 

26

Annual Report

1972-1973

 

27

Annual Report

1974-1975

 

28

Annual Report

1975-1976

 

29

Annual Report

1977-1978

 

30

Subject: Education

1952, 1957-1958

 

31

Subject: Education

1961, 1963-1967

 

32

Subject: Education (Englehart Report)

1968-1970

 

33

Subject: Education

1970

 

34

Subject: History & Vertical File

1920-1974

 

35

Subject: Housing & Planning

1957-1958

 

36

Subject: Housing & Planning

1958

 

37

Subject: Housing & Planning

1959-1967

 

38

Subject: Housing & Planning

1967-1969

 

39

Subject: Housing & Planning

1970-1973

 

40

Subject: Regional Planning Committee

1963-1968

 

41

Subject: Voters Service

1954-1959

 

42

Subject: Voters Service

1960-1969

 

43

Subject: Voters Service

1970-1974

 

44

Subject: Voters Service ++

1951--1970

 

45

Subject: Slonim Addendum: Annual meeting programs and 1973-74 membership booklet

1970-1976

 

46

Subject: Slonim Addendum: Bylaws

1967

 

47

Subject: Slonim Addendum: Clippings

1965--1972

 

 

 

1967

2

1

Minute book I, executive committee

1920-1930

 

2

Minute book II, executive committee

1931-1935

 

3

Minute book III, executive committee

1936-1941

 

4

Minute book I, general minutes

1920-1925

 

5

Minute book I, loose inserts

1920-1927

 

 

 

 

3

1

Publications: “Evaluation of the Functions of the Plainfield City Council”

1975

 

2

Publications: “Evaluation of the Plainfield City Council – phone survey print-out”

1975

 

3

Publications: “Know Your Schools” (6 copies)

1962

 

4

Publications: “Local School Study Report, 1974-1975”

1975

 

5

Publications: “This is Plainfield”

1965

 

6

Publications: “This is Plainfield”

1972

 

7

Publications: “This is Plainfield”

1982

 

8

Publications: “What’s ahead for Plainfield”

1961

 

9

Publications: “Plainfield Voter”

April 1962-Nov 1965

 

10

Publications: “Plainfield Voter”

Jan 1966-Nov 1968

 

11

Publications: “Plainfield Voter”

Feb 1969-Dec 1970

 

12

Publications: “Plainfield Voter”

Jan 1971-Nov 1972

 

13

Publications: “Plainfield Voter”

Jan 1973-Dec 1973

 

14

Publications: “Plainfield Voter”

Jan 1974-Dec 1974

 

15

Publications: “Plainfield Voter” (no Oct. issue)

Jan 1975-Dec 1975

 

16

Publications: “Plainfield Voter”

Jan 1975-Dec 1975

 

17

Publications: “Plainfield Voter”

Jan 1976-Nov 1977

 

18

Publications: “Plainfield Voter” (no Nov. issue)

Jan 1978-Dec 1978

 

19

Publications: “Plainfield Voter” issues include: Apr-Sept 1979, Jan-Mar 1980, Jun 1980, Sept 1980, Jan 1981

1979, 1980, 1981

 

20

Ephemera: Voter Education Postcard

2012
  27 Ephemera: Achievement Award 2009

 

 

 

 

4++

Oversized

Sample voting ballots and political information flyers

1951-1970

 

 

Voting registration comic, “Get action with vote power”

1967

 

 

 

 

 

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