Mary T. O'Halloran Papers, 1954-1978
Title: Mary T. O'Halloran Papers, 1954-1978
Record Series: MsC-85
Creator: O'Halloran, Mary T.
Extent: 14 boxes (17.5 linear feet)
Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, University of Northern Iowa
Language: Materials entirely in English.
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Mary Therese O’Halloran was born on May 1, 1943, in Norfolk, Nebraska, the youngest child of James “Leo” O’Halloran (1903-1960) and Leone Eby O’Halloran (1906-2001).
She had four siblings, James Patrick (1926-1982), Joan Pettibone (b. 1928), Peggy Huntzinger (b. 1931), and Maureen McCormick (b. 1941).
Ms. O’Halloran graduated from Ord Public High School in Ord, Nebraska, in 1961. That year the American Legion honored her with its Outstanding Young Woman Award. In the fall of 1961, she began her college career under a competitive honors scholarship at Creighton University in Omaha.
A year later she transferred to Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, from which she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1966. She also did graduate work at Loras College and the University of Northern Iowa.
From 1962-1970 she was a nun in the order of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, she left the order before taking her final religious vows.
After college Ms. O’Halloran became a teacher in parochial schools in Dubuque, Mason City, and Waukon, where she taught government, economics, and history. In 1970 she moved to a public school, Logan Junior High in Waterloo, Iowa. In 1971 she was transferred to Hoover Junior High in Waterloo, where she was named chair of the English Department.
At the same time she was an advisor at the Catholic Student Center at the University of Northern Iowa. She also taught a class there, “Theology of Women of the Church.”
She was a member of the National Education Association, the Iowa State Education Association, the Waterloo Education Association, and the League of Women Voters. She organized the Black Hawk County Women’s Political Caucus and was its first co-chairperson.
In 1972 she took a leave of absence from the Waterloo School District to run for the Iowa General Assembly. A Democrat, Ms. O’Halloran was elected State Representative for District 36, the first woman to be elected from that district. She was subsequently re-elected in 1974 and 1976.
While in the General Assembly, she served on the Iowa House’s standing committee on Education, Natural Resources, and County Government. She was on the Interim Land Use Study Committee in 1973, chaired the Democratic Caucus Task Force Committee on Education, and was assistant Democratic minority whip. She was elected to represent Iowa at the National Women’s Political Caucus steering committee.
She championed women’s rights, working on laws concerning credit discrimination, tax inequities, and rape, as well as discrimination in educational institutions, athletic programs, and curricula.
Ms. O’Halloran was also an advocate for the environment and a leader in land use and energy legislation. She was instrumental in getting Iowa’s “bottle bill” passed, which established a deposit on bottles and cans.
In 1978 she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to head the Midwest region of the Department of Energy, a position she held until Mr. Carter left office in 1981.
Ms. O’Halloran currently resides in Kansas City, where she is a media and political consultant.
Scope and Content
Mary O’Halloran was a state legislator in Iowa from 1973 through 1978. Most of those papers are from her time in the General Assembly. Aside from high school yearbooks belonging to Ms. O’Halloran and her sister Maureen from 1954-1960, and some schoolwork, there is little material before 1970, and nothing after 1978.
Her papers do not contain a great deal of information about Ms. O’Halloran’s personal life. What can be gleaned from them is discussed below.
BOX 1 – Personal, Biographical
There is little personal material about Mary O’Halloran in this collection. Most of what is available here is in the form of class notes from when she was a student; teaching materials from when she was a teacher; high school yearbooks; miscellaneous handwritten notes; and a few personal artifacts. The files are in alphabetical order, but within the files, no attempt has been made to organize the contents into any particular order. The exception are the high school yearbooks from Ord, Nebraska, which are arranged chronologically. The yearbooks are sometimes titled Chant and other times Chants.
Personal and Biographical
Folder 1: Bills sponsored in the Iowa legislature by Mary O’Halloran
Folder 2: Biographical information
Folder 3: Campaign material for Ms. O’Halloran
Folder 4: Christianity
Folders 5-13: Classwork
Folders 14-15: Creative teaching materials
Folder 16: Expense requests to the legislature
Folder 17: Governor Robert Ray inauguration brochure
Folders 18-21: Handwritten notes
Folder 22: High school booklets
Folder 23: High school yearbook, 1954
Folder 24: High school yearbook, 1955
Folder 25: High school yearbook, 1956
Folder 26: High school yearbook, 1957
Folder 27: High school yearbook, 1958 (2 copies; one owned by Ms. O’Halloran, the other by her older sister Maureen)
BOX 2 – Personal, Biographical, Correspondence
Personal and Biographical
Folder 1: High school yearbook, 1959
Folder 2: High school yearbook, 1960
Folder 3: “How-to” manuals for people running for public office
Folder 4: Newspaper articles written by Ms. O’Halloran
Folder 5: Newspaper clippings written about Ms. O’Halloran
Folder 6: Poster made by school children
Folder 7: Folder H: Published articles by Ms. O’Halloran
Folder 8: School papers written by Wartburg College students
Folder 9: Speech by Mary O'Halloran
Folders 10-11: Teaching materials
Folder 12: Viet Nam
Ms. O’Halloran received hundreds of letters during her years in the legislature, most of them business-related material from constituents, colleagues, and lobbying interests. She also retained copies of her responses to some of her incoming mail. Save for a few letters from 1970-1972, all of the correspondence here was written in the years 1973-1978. There is some correspondence that was neither written to or by her. Most of these are letters between fellow legislators. All correspondence is arranged in chronological order by date, without regard to correspondent or topic, and filed in folders labeled by year and month. Letters for which a date could not be determined were placed in undated folders, which are filed before the dated folders. No envelopes have been retained.
Folder 13: Undated cards
Folder 14: Undated cards and notes
Folder 15: Undated letters
Folder 16: 1970-1972
Folder 17: 1973, January 1-February 14,
Folder 18: 1973, February 15-March 31
Folder 19: 1973, April-June
Folder 20: 1973, July-December
Folder 21: 1974, January 1-February 14
Folder 22: 1974, February 15-March 31
Folder 23: 1974 April-December
BOX 3 - Correspondence
Folder 1: 1975, January-March
Folder 2: 1975, April-May
Folder 3: 1975, June-September
Folder 4: 1975, October-December
Folder 5: 1976, January-February
Folder 6: 1976, March-May
Folder 7: 1976, June-August
Folder 8: 1976, September-October
Folder 9: 1976, November-December
Folder 10: 1977 January-March
Folder 11: 1977 April-June
Folder 12: 1977, July
Folder 13: 1977, August
Folder 14: 1977, September-October
BOX 4 – Correspondence, Editorials, Energy
Folder 1: 1977, November-December
Folder 2: 1978, January
Folder 3: 1978, February
Folder 4: 1978, March 1-20
Folder 5: 1978, March 21-31
Folder 6: 1978, April
Folder 7: 1978, May
Folder 8: 1978, June-July
Folder 9: 1978 August-September
These are primarily transcriptions of editorials broadcast on local television news stations between 1973 and 1978. However, there are a few newspaper editorials as well.
Folder 10: Editorials, 1973-1977
Folder 11: Editorials, 1978
Energy was a major interest of Ms. O’Halloran. The material in this collection concerns energy from a legislative point of view. Files arranged by the kinds of energy are listed in alphabetical order, but no attempt was made to organize the contents of individual files.
Additional material about energy can be found in Box 14.
Folders 12-15: Energy, Coal
Folder 16: Energy, Conservation
BOX 5 – Energy
Folders 1-3: Conservation
Folders 4-5: Electric
Folder 6: Natural gas
Folders 7-10: Nuclear
Folder 11: Petroleum, oil, and gasoline
Folders 12-15: Policies and reports
BOX 6 – Energy
Folders 1-10 Policies and reports
Folders 11-14: Solar
Folder 15: Energy transportation system maps
Folder 16: Winter emergency planning guide
BOX 7 - Women's Rights
Attention to women’s rights and issues were of growing concern during Ms. O'Halloran's time in the Iowa General Assembly. She was active in this area of concern in many ways. Additional material about women's rights can be found in Box 14.
Folder 1: Black Hawk County Women’s Caucus
Folders 2-3: Discrimination in education, credit, etc.
Folder 4: Domestic abuse
Folder 5: Equal Rights Amendment
Folder 6: Iowa Connections, reports
Folders 7-9 Iowa Women’s Political Caucus
Folder 10: Mary O’Halloran audio cassette concerning women’s political movement
Folder 11: National and International Women’s Year
Folders 12-14: National Women’s Political Caucus
Folder 15: Rape laws
Folder 16: Theology
BOX 8 – Environment
Ms. O’Halloran was instrumental in the passage of Iowa’s “bottle bill,” which required deposits on bottles and cans of soda and beer. Additional material about the environment can be found in Box 14.
Folder 1: Aerosol sprays
Folder 2: Automobile emissions
Folder 3: Bottle bill, Iowa (general)
Folder 4: Bottle bill, Iowa, statements pro and con
Folders 5-6: Bottle bill, Oregon
Folders 7: Bottle bill, other states
Folder 8: Chemicals
Folder 9: Clean air
Folder 10: Conservation
Folder 11: Electricity
Folder 12: Land use
BOX 9 – Environment, Fiscal
Folders 1-8: Environment, Land use
Folder 9: Environment, Mining
Folder 10: Environment, Nature conservancy and preserves
Folders 11-12: Environment, Nuclear waste
Folder 13: Environment, Oil and Petroleum
Folders 14-15: Environment, Solid waste management
Folder 16: Environment, Water quality and resources
Folders 17-25: Fiscal
BOX 10 – Other Legislative and Political Matters
Folder 1: Agriculture
Folder 2: Alcohol
Folder 3: Annual reports
Folder 4: Bicentennial
Folder 5: Carter-Mondale campaign
Folder 6: Child care
Folder 7: China-U.S. relations
Folder 8: Civil rights
Folder 9: Collective bargaining
Folder 10: Commonwealth Conference
Folders 11-12: Contracts
Folder 13: Credit
Folder 14: Crime
Folder 15: Democratic Caucus, 1975
Folder 16: Democratic Committee
Folder 17: Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University
Folder 18: Economy
Folders 19-21: Education
BOX 11 – Other Legislative and Political Matters
Folders 1-2: Education
Folder 3: Employee handbook for the Iowa House of Representatives
Folder 4: Governor’s address, June 21, 1977
Folder 5: Governor’s Condition of the State report, January 13, 1976
Folder 6: Governor’s veto power (Iowa Supreme Court ruling)
Folders 7-8: Health
Folder 9: House of Representatives expense reports
Folder 10: Insurance
- And housing discrimination
- No fault
Folder 11: Jesse Jackson speech, July 6, 1978
Folder 12: Labor and unions
Folder 13: Majority rights bill (drinking age)
Folder 14: Minutes of meetings
Folders 15-19: Miscellaneous
BOX 12 – Other Legislative and Political Matters
Folder 1: Miscellaneous
Folder 2: Model Committee Staff Project
Folders 3-7: Nation Conference of State Legislatures
8H: Noise control
Folder 9: Optometry
Folder 10: Public affairs
Folder 11: Questionnaires for Iowa House secretaries
Folder 12: Substance abuse
Folder 13: Taxes
Folder 14-16:: Transportation
Folder 17: Urban development building codes
BOX 13 – Miscellaneous Personal Items
Folder 1: Candle holders (2)
Folder 2: Mary O’Halloran campaign pencil
Folder 3: Metal cross
Folder 4: Necklace: peace sign made of barbed wire
Folder 5: 1974 “Win with Women” campaign button
Folder 6: Old-style metal iron, miniature collectible
Folder 7: Rocks
- Flat and smooth with a striated pattern
- Round with the etched words “The Lord be with You”
Folder 8: Small brass stamp with a peace sign on the bottom
Folder 9: Small jars containing coal (2)
Folder 10: Small wood block from Mexico with the words “Bread of life” in Spanish
Folder 11: Small wood panel with the words, "Help me to be more authentically a woman - Loving gentle strong and fearless"
Folder 12: Small wood panel with the words “There are two suns that brighten my day – the one in the sky and you.”
Folder 13: Trophy to aluminum industry for "best polluter," facetious, using Pepsi can
Folder 14: Trophy for world’s best teacher
Folder 15:Votive candles (3)
Box 14 – Books, pamphlets, and magazines
Folder 1: Black Man in America, The
Folder 2: Budget Highlights
Folder 3: Christian Involvement
Folder 4: Clipboard of Energy-Saving Ideas in Home-Building
Folder 5: Concern (2 issues, #12 and 15)
Folder 6: Context
Folder 7: Corporal Works of Mercy
- Celebrating Life
- Light on Life
Folder 8: Critical Choice, A: New Energy Horizons … or Horizontal Disintegration
Folder 9: Decide for Women
Folder 10: Decision, July 1978
Folder 11: Economic Analysis of Solar Water and Space Heating
Folder 12: Energy Impact Assistance
Folder 13: Energy: 1977
Folder 14: Family
Folder 15: Family Planning/Population Reporter, v.7 #3
Folder 16: Governor’s Conference on Iowa in the Year 2000
Folder 17: Iowa Public School Education, A Search of Equity and Equality
Folder 18: Legal Status of Homemakers in Iowa, The
Folder 19: Myth of Race, The
Folder 20: Negro Americans
Folder 21: Peace, War, and the Christian Conscience
Folder 22: Save Energy, Save Money
Folder 23: Selected Results from the National Assessment of Science: Energy Questions
Folder 24: State Planning for Winter Energy Emergencies
Folder 25: State Policies for Geothermal Development
Folder 26: Study of the Underemployment and Underutilization of Women in Iowa, A
Folder 27: Supergirl comic book
Folder 28: “To Form a More Perfect Union,” Justice for American Women
Folder 29: Transitional Storm, The
Folder 30: Unfolding of Afro-American History, The
Folder 31: U.S. Energy Prospects, An Engineering Viewpoint
Folder 32: Worldwatch Paper #11, Energy: The Solar Project
Collection processed by Library Associate David Hoing, July-September 2015; updated, September 8, 2015 (GP); last update, September 27, 2017 (dh). Linear feet count updated on August 7, 2017.