Guide to the Durham/Dover League of Women Voters, 1926-1994

Collection number: MC 333
Size: (8 boxes) (2.5 cu.ft.)

About the Durham/Dover League of Women Voters (1926-1994)

The Durham League of Women Voters was founded in 1926 in the wake of the legalization of women's right to vote. They were part of the New Hampshire League of Women Voters, which in turn continues to be part of the national League of Women Voters. The Durham group functioned on a local, state, and national political level to bring non-partisan political information to voters regardless of gender and to foster informed civic engagement. The chapter also promoted local issues such as water quality, recycling, civic engagement, adequate school facilities, denuclearization, and candidates' forums. At some point during or after the 1940s the Durham L.V.W. combined with the Dover chapter. The group was disolved in 1994 because of lack of membership. Today, the New Hampshire League of Women Voters still exists as part of the National League, but only five local chapters exist. As of 2018, a Seacoast League of Women Voters was forming; this group would be the continuation of the Durham/Dover chapter.

About the Durham/Dover L.W.V. Papers (1926-1994)

The Durham/Dover L.W.V. Papers include internal organizational papers and minutes, publications, a newsletter called "The Voter", town voter guides, and other material promoting civic engagement on a local, state, and national level. The collection also includes material related to the various causes supported by the local group, including clean water, voter registration, access to voting for active duty military personnel, school expansion, energy conservation, and women's access to health care. Note that the collection was incomplete upon aquisition; some materials are missing from the newsletters, board minutes, and financial areas especially.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder Number], [Box Number], Durham/Dover League of Women Voters Papers, 1926-1994, MC 333, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Unknown; after 1994.

See also The League of Women Voters of New Hampshire Records, 1920-2000 at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord.

Separated Material

Some material was separated and discarded during processing: disintegrating newspaper clippings, duplicate newsletter copies, non-L.V.W. publications, and materials/publications from the national League. Local and state-level materials were retained.

Collection Arrangement

This collection is grouped into three series: Organizational papers & minutes from the local league (1026-1994); "The Voter" Newsletter and other N.H. chapter newsletters (1948-1994); and Issues (1950s-1994). Original order was unascertainable during processing.

Collection Contents

Series 1: Organziational Papers and Minutes, 1926-1994

(3.5 boxes)

Internal materials produced by the local and state level L.V.W., including statements of purpose, minutes, and annual convention materials.

Box 1
By-laws, Publications, Misc. Financials, 1975-1994

This box contains local and state by-laws, statements of position on various issues, correspondence (including related to the 1994 disbandment), publications of the Durham/Dover L.V.W., 1940s-1950s Durham and surrounding area voting guides, 1990s membership records, and misc. financials from 1975-1981 & 1994-1994.

Box 2
Minutes, 1926-1961

This book contains the meeting/board minutes beginning with the formation of the Durham L.V.W. in 1926. Associated papers are interspersed, such as treasurer's reports, membership minutes, and by-law ammendments. The minutes contain a mixture of discussion of local issues, resolutions, and reports from members relative to their activities.

Box 3
Minutes, Voting Guides, & Fundraising, 1961-1994

The first six folders of this collection continue the previous box with minutes and correspondence from 1961 until the chapter's closure in 1994. Voter registration and local voter guides fill the next several folders, while the last 4-5 folders consist of Durham/Dover L.V.W. fundraising materials. This last section includes everything related to the annual "Tailgate Fleamarket" fundraiser held 1980-1993.

Box 4
State-Level Conventions, 1956-1991

The New Hampshire League of Women Voters holds an annual convention for all the chapters. Materials for each year in these folders include a schedule of speakers, workshop materials, financial and membership information, and current issues faced by the League as a whole.

Series 2: Newsletters, 1948-1994

(2.5 boxes)

"The Durham Voter" (later simply "The Voter") was produced monthly September-June from 12/1948 through 5/1994. The locally-produced newsletters included upcoming civic events, candidates' forums, updates on issues of local concern, and much more. They represent the backbone of the Durham/Dover League's public work throughout its existence. This is a complete run save for some issues from the 1966 through 1980 which were not acquired with the original collection. Some newsletters from other local NH L.V.W. groups are also included at the end.

Box 4
The Voter, 1948-1962

A 1983 guide to publishing The Voter, followed by monthly newsletters from 1948-1962.

Box 5
The Voter, 1963-1994

Monthly newsletters from 1963-1994, with the exception of 1966-1981.

Box 6
Other NH Leagues, ca. 1980s-1994

Misc. unsorted newsletters from the following New Hampshire L.V.W. groups:

  • The New Hampshire Voter (state-level newsletter, 1951-1966)
  • Exeter L.W.V.
  • Kearsarge L.W.V.
  • Lakes Region L.W.V.
  • Manchester L.W.V.
  • Milford L.W.V.
  • New London L.W.V.
  • North Country L.W.V.
  • Portsmouth L.W.V.
  • Souhegan L.W.V.
  • Upper Valley L.W.V.

Series 3: Local Issues Files, 1950-1994

(2 boxes)

Local issues of importance to the Durham/Dover L.V.W., and materials generated during their work related to them. Topics are listed by box below, and the files are roughly choronological.

Box 6
Issues, 1950s-1962

Durham zoning; New Hampshire educational quality; National/international trade; and the expansion of the Oyster River school buildings.

Box 7
Issues, 1958-1976

Oyster River school expansion; women's participation in jury duty; Durham water quality and solid waste disposal; Durham zoning; State resources for mental health treatment; Environmental quality; Recycling initiatives; and the 1970s energy crisis.

Box 8
Issues, 1980-1993

Energy conservation/energy efficient home building; Nuclear disarmement; unrest in Nicaragua, Voter services; and Women's Healthcare.