Inventory of the League of Women Voters of the Akron Area Records, 1940-2004

League of Women Voters of the Akron Area Records, 1940-2004
Archives and Special Collections, University Libraries, The University of Akron
Phone: 330-972-7670
League of Women Voters of the Akron Area
11 cubic feet
The League of Women Voters of Akron was established in 1940. It combined with the Cuyahoga Falls and Stow chapters to form the League of Women Voters of the Akron Area in 1978. The records include the administrative and program files of the organization. These records are valuable to those interested in the foundation and operation of the organization and also for non-partisan information concerning the issues facing Akron area voters and other stake holders during the mid to late twentieth century.
The records are in English
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For complete inventory of the League of Women Voters of Akron, 1940-2004

Biography of Biography or History

The League of Women Voters (LWV) is a national American civic organization that was formed to help women take a larger role in public affairs as they won the right to vote in 1920. It was founded that year by Carrie Chapman Catt during the last meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, approximately six months before the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution gave women the right to vote. Catt was an American women's suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment and was also at the time the President of the International Alliance of Women, an international non-governmental organization that worked to promote women's human rights around the world.

The LWV is officially non-partisan and neither supports nor opposes candidates for office. It does take policy and issue positions, including support of expanded early voting, the Affordable Care Act, climate change advocacy, abortion rights, and gun control. The organization sponsored the Presidential debates in 1976, 1980 and 1984, but in 1988 voted unanimously to pull out of the debates and issued a press release condemning the demands of the major candidates' campaigns. However, many chapters have since sponsored local candidate debates. Originally, only women could join the league, but in 1973 the charter was modified to include men.

Today, the LWV operates one of the largest and longest running non-partisan voter registration efforts in the nation. The League encourages participation in elections by all eligible citizens. They do this by sponsoring National Voter Registration Day, registering new citizens at naturalization ceremonies, reaching out to young people through its high school voter registration project and community college registration program, and offering voter registration forms online,

The organization sponsors seminars and produces manuals, pamphlets, and editorials to educate the voting public on the political issues it deems important. It also sponsors voter's guides, supports "an open governmental system that is representative, accountable and responsive," and has worked to reduce barriers to voting, to implement campaign finance reform, and to prevent gerrymandering, a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts. The league also is a strong supporter of transparency in government and freedom of information laws.

The league also works to "secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all, to promote social and economic justice, and to secure the health and safety of all Americans." In addition, the organization has worked on a broad range of activities under the rubric of "Social Policy," including ending racial discrimination, providing equal access to quality education, fair housing, health care, and gun control. Furthermore, the LWV supports the abolition of the death penalty and advocates affirmative action programs for minorities and women and opposes private school vouchers. Finally, they support a system for unauthorized (illegal) immigrants already in the country to earn legal status, including citizenship.

LWV operates at the local, state, and national level with over 1,000 local and 50 state leagues (chapters) that have their own directors and officers and are organized in order to promote the purposes of the league and to take action on local and state governmental matters. This includes the Akron, Ohio chapter.

The Akron chapter of the League of Women Voters originated on September 19, 1940 when members of the prospective organization met at the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) to discuss the organization. The by-laws for the organization were adopted at the October 1, 1940 meeting. The stated objective of the local league was to "promote education in citizenship, needed legislation, enforcement of laws, and responsible administration of government in conformity with the program of the National League of Women Voters." Like the national organization, the Akron chapter is strictly unpartisan and therefore does not ally itself with nor support or oppose any political party or endorse candidates. It does however endorse measures and policies. The local chapter urges every woman to become an enrolled voter. The Akron league also has continually encouraged informed and active participation in government, worked to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influenced public policy through education and advocacy.

In 1978, the Akron League of Women Voters combined with the leagues of Cuyahoga Falls and Stow, Ohio to form the League of Women Voters of the Akron Area. This organization still exists today.[1]

[1] Information for this historical sketch was taken from the League of Women Voters Website at and the League of Women Voters Wikipedia page at

Scope and Content

The League of Women Voters of the Akron Area Records are composed of eight series including administrative material, correspondence, programs, financial records, conventions and councils, publications, scrapbooks and memorabilia, and audiovisual materials. Researchers interested in the foundation and operation of this organization will find valuable material in the administrative files and the financial records. Administrative materials consist of board meeting minutes and annual reports to the state and national League of Women Voters. The programs and publications will be valuable for researchers looking for non-partisan information on issues that were a concern for the voting public and also how they educated people about the roles of government. The scrapbooks are composed of newspaper clippings reporting the activities of the Akron area league


Statement of Arrangement

Folders are organized alphabetically then chronologically

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Political participation--Ohio--Akron Region
Women’s rights--Ohio--Akron Region


League of Women Voters of Akron (Akron, Ohio)
League of Women Voters of the Akron Area

Preferred Citation

[Identification of Item], League of Women Voters of Akron Records, Archival Services, University Libraries, The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio