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Scope and Content Note

The records of the League of Women Voters of Polk County were donated to the Special Collections unit of the Lakeland Public Library in increments in 1992 and 1999 by Martha Franklin and Ann Books respectively. Both were officers of the organization. The records were in no particular order when received and the condition of the records varies. The scrapbooks are in fair condition, while the rest of the collection is in good to excellent condition.

The records in this collection represent but a small fraction of the records generated by the League of Women Voters since its organization in 1938 in Winter Haven. The Lakeland branch became a provisional League in 1948, became a unit of the Winter Haven League in 1961 and was renamed the League of Women Voters of Polk County in 1964. The officers of the League of Women Voters changed periodically and, as records were transferred from one set of officers to the next, some were no doubt misplaced, lost, or inadvertently destroyed. The records that remain, particularly the scrapbooks, issues of concern, and minutes of meetings, provide a broad overview of the goals and activities of the League of Women Voters since its creation.

After processing, the records were organized into seven series as follows:

Series I, Subject Files, 1939-2003, contains records documenting the administrative history of the League of Women Voters and includes minutes of Annual and Board meetings, membership lists, financial records, by-laws, election guides, and forums of local candidates.

Series II, Issues, 1951-1996, contains local, state and national topics of concern to the League and legislators.

Series III, Newsletters, 1964-2003, contains copies of "The Polk County Voter" and "The Voter."

Series IV, Scrapbooks, 1941-1980, consists of scrapbooks compiled by League of Women Voters members and documenting its many programs and events over the years in Lakeland and Winter Haven.

Series V, Winter Haven Unit, 1940-1970, contains minutes, membership lists and other administrative files that pertain to the predecessor organization of the Polk County League of Women Voters.

Series VI, Blue Ribbon Committee, 1973, includes a study and recommendations regarding the future of Polk County.

Series VII, Polk County Library System, 1951-89, was a major project of the League. This series includes studies, surveys, funding and plans.

The Special Collections unit also owns a history of the League entitled Recollections: a History of the League of Women Voters of Florida, 1939-1989 by Arnetta Brown.