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League of Women Voters of Hampton Roads Records

Collection ID: MG 72

Scope and Contents

This collection contains records of the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Hampton Roads, an organization dedicated tto provide information and programs to encourage women to vote. Included in the collection is information about the business and organization of the group, finances, correspondence, newspaper clippings, newsletters, projects, programs, and studies. The bulk of this collection falls under three main categories: meeting agendas and minutes; the Voter's Service program; as well as studies and publications produced by the organization.


  • circa 1940-2014, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/10/2000



19.95 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

The League of Women Voters (LWV) was established in 1920, the year that women's suffrage was finally incorporated into the Constitution of the United States. The League was originally part of the National American Women's Suffrage Association, which led the 72-year drive for full and equal suffrage for women of the United States. The League was founded primarily to help 20 million newly enfranchised women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. The Norfolk League of Women Voters was begun in the fall of 1955. Mrs. Clement Kester was elected president of the Provisional League. In the 1930s a League had been active in Norfolk, but was disbanded at the beginning of World War II. In March 1957, Norfolk was recognized as an official League. Mrs. Hugh Fortescue was elected the first president with a membership of 85. This was the 11th Virginia League. The Virginia Beach membership in the League became stronger after the merger of old Princess Anne County and the city of Virginia Beach in 1962. A unit of the Norfolk League began to meet regularly there in the winter of 1963. In 1964, the State Board Organizational Committee agreed that Norfolk and Virginia Beach should become an area League. The modern day League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, volunteer organization, established to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation in government. The League holds regular monthly meetings to informally discuss common concerns and periodic full membership meetings with speakers on topics of interest. Members include teachers, housewives, and women of various backgrounds, who are interested in good government. Some members are well informed in certain areas because of special interest or training. The League cannot work for candidates or political parties as a group, though it encourages each member to work for the candidate of her choice. The League does take stands on issues, once they have studied the issues thoroughly and achieved a consensus among members, or when the issue is pertinent to the statement of principles of the national League. League action includes testifying at public hearings, the use of television, radio, and newspapers, public forums and panel discussions to inform voters, and letters to local, state, and national officials. The League's two most prominent programs are the Voters Service and the League Program. The primary concern of the League is service to the voter. The Voters Service program serves this purpose by informing the public about registration, voting procedures, and voting calendars; urging citizens to vote, explaining proposed amendments and referenda appearing on the ballot; giving factual information about the candidates based on their records and opinions on important issues; holding candidate meetings, forums, and debates; and publishing candidate questionnaires and voting records. In the League Program, members select an issue of interest from local, state, and national levels of government. Two national, two state, and two local issues are selected for study each year at the League of Women Voters Annual Meeting and at State and National Conventions. Committees throughout the year study these items and the committees prepare information to keep members informed on the issues.

More information about the organization can be found on their website. Abbreviations: LWV – League of Women Voters LWV-US – League of Women Voters - United States (National Organization) LWV-VA – League of Women Voters – Virginia (State Organization) LWV-SHR – League of Women Voters – South Hampton Roads (Local Organization)

Note written by Special Collections Staff

Language of Materials



Includes handbooks, correspondence, newsletters, agendas, minutes, membership lists, and financial records of the League of Women Voters of Hampton Roads. Contains information on the action program, education fund, speakers bureau, voters service, and studies on various issues.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into eleven series: Series I: Business and Organization; Series II: Meetings and Conventions; Series III: Events and Workshops; Series IV: Correspondence; Series V: Newsletters; Series VI: Programs and Projects; Series VII: Voter's Service; Series VIII: Issues and Studies; Series IX: Know Your Government; Series X: Photographs; and Series XI: Artifacts.

Source of Acquisition

Susan L. Goranson, President LWVSHR

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A2000-1

Accruals and Additions

Additional accessions from Susan L. Goranson and Jeannette Franklin.

A Guide to the League of Women Voters of Hampton Roads Records
Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU Community Collections Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US