Collections Home > Collections >League of Women Voters of East San Gabriel Valley: Historical Collection
The collection represents the work of the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The collection is a unique record of political activity in the East San Gabriel Valley covering a span of almost 50 years, from 1956 to 2005.
The League of Women Voters/ESGV has endured through 49 years of historic change in the East San Gabriel Valley. In June of 1956, a group of 43 women from West Covina met at the home of Phyllis Ogden to express a desire to form the Provisional League of Women Voters of West Covina. The November VOTER publicized a meeting concerning education as one component of the required “Know Your Town” study. School lunches went for 30 cents and a teacher’s starting salary was close to $4,000 a year. In April 1959, Susie Milette was elected president, and it was decided to keep dues at $5 a year. The new league was active in local affairs through formation of an Observer Corps to attend meetings of the West Covina City Council, local school board, and meetings of the Board of Supervisors. The following years found the League involved in local studies to evaluate West Covina’s Master Plan and develop a Recreational and Cultural Survey, and later, a study of the West Covina annexation to the Metropolitan Water District, a study that produced consensus and enabled the League to support the annexation.
Rapid expansion of the entire area continued, and in 1969 the League officially became the League of Women Voters of East San Gabriel Valley, allowing the League to extend membership and participation to nine surrounding communities. Studies of public issues included local community planning, land use, water conservation and energy education projects. Voter education through the medium of Candidates Forums became popular, bringing voters and candidates for elective public offices together in a personal, face-to-face setting. “Go-See” tours were arranged for members to educate them on matters of water and air quality, waste management and land use. Another medium came into use, the videoconference, which connected local leagues with nationally televised forums and allowed local participation in national debates on issues of public concern. Among these was a Ford Foundation grant that financed a major project called “The Common Good: Social Welfare and the American Future.” Other topics included “Safe Drinking Water” and “Preventing Youth Violence.”
Eventually the loop was complete, and league documents and directives were committed to the electronic medium of the computer, and we have since learned to “download” the essentials, then transmit them in brokered format via PDF, MIME and similar coding languages. The National League of Women Voters, with which we are affiliated and which sets the pace for all other Leagues, will celebrate its 85th birthday in the year 2005. We celebrate with our leaders, honor them, and trust we will follow faithfully in their footsteps
The collection was removed from the home of a past-president at the time the property was sold and moved to Cal Poly University Political Science Department, where it was prepared for inclusion in the Special Collections Department of the Cal Poly Library.
The collection contains files; notebooks; photographs and laminated displays; recognitions and other memorabilia; representative samples of publications and videos; and other items associated with the organization’s operations, public service and activities from 1956 to 2005.
Because the League functions on four different levels, local, regional, state and national, some materials originating at these levels are included in the collection. This occurs where the integration of policy directives, program (both study and action) and/or administrative edicts have a direct impact on the local league.
League of Women Voters/ESGV Collection SC2005/12_
Boxes 1-3: Administration & Operations (some files in chronological order)
Series 1: Administration & Operations
Annual Meeting Kits/Annual Meeting Minutes/Annual Meeting Reports
Series 2: Program: Study & Action
Program Planning: Study Principles and Dynamics
Legislative Interviews – Principles and Dynamics – Selected Issues (Action on)
Studies (Representative samples by topic)
Campaign Finance – Elections – Gun Control – Initiative & Referendum – Reapportionment/Redistricting – State and Local Finance – Voting Rights
Arms Control – Foreign Aid – Military & Defense Policy – Trade – U.N.
Air – Energy – Environmental Protection – Land Use – Transportation – Water – Waste Management
Child Care – Children and Family – Education – Health Care – Housing – Juvenile Justice – (Meeting) Basic Human Needs – Violence Prevention – Youth/ Citizenship Awareness
Series 3: Voter Service and Citizen Information
Series 4: Special Projects, Videos (representative samples) and Other Organizational Memorabilia including Selected League Publications
Series 5: Supplemental Material (Oversize)
Series 6: Publications
Box #1 Administration
Box #2 Administration
Box #3 Administration
Budget & Finance;
Box #5 Program: Study & Action
Box #6 Program: Study & Action
Box #7 Voter Service & Citizen Information
Box #8 Voter Service & Citizen Information
Box #9-10 Special Projects, Videos (representative samples) and Other
Box #11 Supplemental Material (Oversize)
Box #12 Publications
University Library Special Collections