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League of Women Voters of Kansas records

Call Number: RH MS 279


The League of Women Voters of Kansas was founded in 1919, an outgrowth of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association. This collection contains administrative records of the league as well as documentation regarding various projects and programs the league created or participated in regarding elections and political causes in Kansas and at a local and national level.


  • Creation: 1920-2013 (bulk 1970s-1990s)


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Audio visual materials located at KC AV 58 are stored in the KU Annex off-site storage area.

All researchers interested in reviewing this material must consult Spencer Research Library Public Services staff (785-864-4334 or, 9-5 M-F CST) before a planned visit; staff will respond within three days, though materials may not be available in that timeframe. Access to audio visual materials may require digitization first. Be advised that drop-in requests for this material cannot be accommodated.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the League of Women Voters of Kansas

The National League of Women Voters was formed by the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in response to the anticipated victory of the Woman Suffrage movement, achieved in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. In 1919, NAWSA President Carrie Chapman Catt proposed the formation of an organization of women voters as a "mighty political experiment" aimed to help newly-enfranchised women exercise their responsibilities as voters and "finish the fight." In February 1920, NAWSA held its Victory Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

Knowing that the suffrage amendment would be ratified later that year, the Association reconstituted itself as the League of Women Voters. Having won the vote, women wanted to ensure that they were well-informed and would use it wisely. At the 50th Anniversary Jubilee Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, in St. Louis, Missouri, Jane Brooks of Wichita, president of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association (KESA), was elected chairman of the National League of Women Voters. She went home to Kansas and set about dissolving the KESA and establishing the first local League of Women Voters in the country.

The Kansas League of Women Voters (KLWV) was formed by members of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association in Wichita (Sedgwick County), and held its first meeting June 10-11, 1919 at the Hotel Lassen. By 1920 there were Local Leagues in Topeka, Enterprise, Hutchinson, Emporia, Manhattan, Wichita, Lawrence, Leavenworth, and Winfield. In 1925 the state league officially incorporated as the Kansas League of Women Voters. By 1971 the Kansas League had members in 15 local units, as well as many members-at-large from rural areas too thinly populated to support active local organizations.

There are presently 7 active leagues located in Kansas in Emporia, Great Bend, Johnson County, Lawrence-Douglas County, Manhattan-Riley County, Salina, Topeka, and Wichita. The League's original purpose was to teach new voters the basics of voting. Today the League, with its state and local affiliates, stresses active participation in government by supporting legislation, educating its members and other voters on issues, and sponsoring voting drives. The Kansas League of Women Voters and its local units have collected information and prepared reports on state and regional issues ranging from Civil Service, tax, and constitutional reform to environmental and water quality. The League finances its activities through membership dues and contributions.


46.75 Linear Feet (49 boxes + 1 oversize box, 2 CDs)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection is organized into four large records series: administrative records, financial records, records related to programs and projects conducted by the Kansas League of Women Voters, and externally-facing communications of the league.

The bulk of the collection consists of records and reference material related to programs and projects conducted by the league, as well as the minutes of the State Board and local Leagues. The collection also contains the records of some of the local units, and State League reports to the National League. Most of this material covers the internal organizational history of the state and local Leagues. The local records also contain a number of reports on local governments in Kansas.

The state League also kept topical files on state and regional issues. These files include reports prepared by the League, as well as reports collected by the League from other sources, such as governmental agencies.

Because materials have been received over time by the Spencer Research Library, materials related to each of the four series in the collection will be found at multiple locations. Materials have therefore typically been noted at which call number they may be found at a sub-series level.

Physical Location

RH MS 279

Physical Location

RH MS 868

Physical Location

RH MS 1050

Physical Location

RH MS 1107

Physical Location

RH MS Q242

Physical Location

KC AV 58

Physical Location

RH MS 1469

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposit, League of Women Voters of Kansas.

Processing Information

Previously shelved at RH MS 280.

Guide to the League of Women Voters of Kansas Collection
League of Women Voters of Kansas records
Finding aid prepared by sh, 2007; revised by rw, 2008; cl, 2010; hc, 2013; mwh, 2017; rmk 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
League of Women Voters of Kansas records, Kansas Collection, RH MS 279, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States