Skip to main content

Lynn Cutler papers

Identifier: MsC-48

Scope and Contents

The Lynn Cutler papers, 1968 to 2004, offer insight into Cutler's career, primarily her involvement with the Democratic Party and her role in the Clinton administration in the 1990s. It additionally provides information about the Democratic Party and its work during the 1980s and 1990s. The extensive run of official Democratic National Committee (DNC) correspondence gives a good overview of the day-to-day concerns of the Democratic Party during that era and the collection overall contains strong materials related to women's issues, which was a matter of particular interest for Lynn Cutler.

Pre-2021 acquisitions:

The first two boxes include materials about the DNC, the Jewish Democratic Study Group, voting projects, and medical aid to El Salvador. Box 3 focuses mainly on the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The fourth and fifth boxes contain papers on different subjects, such as the Board of National Endowment for Democracy, the DNC, political campaigns, and women's issues, along with congressional correspondence. Box 5 also includes several photographs.

Included in boxes 6 and 7 are additional materials related to the Fourth World Conference on Women, the DNC, the Institute for Women's Policy Research, and the Clinton / Gore campaign. There are additional folders dealing with women and the organizations with which Cutler was involved. Boxes 8 and 9 consist of materials related to such topics as the Fourth World Conference on Women, the Center for Policy Alternatives, scleroderma research, President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, and women's issues. Also includes in these boxes are several videotapes, an audiocassette tape, and three photographs of Cutler with well-known political figures. In the folder with speeches by President Clinton and Hillary Clinton is a photograph of Cutler with the President and Tom Harkin.

Boxes 10 and 11 contain, among other items, Cutler's appointment calendars (dating from December 1997 to January 2000), information from trips to Iowa, political lists, and materials related to women's issues and Indian Affairs. About half of the materials in boxes 12 through 17 consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence from the DNC. Cutler either wrote or received most of the correspondence, though there are also copies of correspondence written by or to other members of the organization. The rest of the material consists of information about Cutler's activities, campaigns, and career; preparations for the Democratic National Convention during her term as DNC vice chair; and matters related to women and American Indians. Box 18 includes materials from Cutler’s campaigns, the DNC, information about American Indians, along with subject files.

2021 acquisition:

The bulk of box 19 onwards contains materials primarily from the 1990s and covers Cutler's time at the DNC and her years working in the Clinton administration. These boxes include a variety of ephemeral materials, such as invitations to White House functions and inaugurations; signed notes from President Clinton and Secretary of State (then First Lady) Hillary Clinton; and Cutler's copies of presidential trip booklets dating from 1997 to 1999. The acquisition also includes topical materials ("Unfinished Business of the Women's Movement" and "Institutional Racism in America Society" along with records pertinent to other aspects of her work, such as international trips (Africa and Israel) and correspondence from elected officials supporting Cutler's bid to become Chair of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

There are also a variety of photographs, including two albums from Cutler’s trip to Africa with Ronald H. Brown (then chairman of the DNC, later Secretary of Commerce); her time with the Gore campaign; images from Clinton’s Pine Ridge visit; and photographs of Cutler and notable people, including the Clintons, Gore, elected officials, and celebrities. Some of these latter photographs are signed. An additional album focuses on the 1986 “Business Women and the Political World: New Partnerships” conference organized by Cutler.


  • 1968-2014


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

Technical Access

Some content is recorded on VHS, Betamax, audiocassettes, and DVDs and requires special playback equipment for access and use. It may require the production of a listening or viewing copy. SC&UA staff will determine options for use on a case by case basis

General Use, Reproduction, and Copyright Policies

Many items housed in the Rod Library Special Collections & University Archives, including unpublished images and manuscripts, may be protected by copyright, publication rights, trademarks, or model release rights which the library does not own and for which the library cannot grant permission or licensing. Materials currently under copyright are usually still available for research and limited reproduction under Fair Use laws. However, it is the sole responsibility of the patron to determine whether or not their use of a given material falls within Fair Use guidelines and to obtain permission for said use from the rightful copyright owner. If you are unsure where to begin, please consult the Copyright LibGuide. Please note that it is not the library's responsibility to locate or contact copyright holders for a patron, and neither the library nor library employees are responsible for copyright violations of the materials to which they facilitate research access.

Please see our full General Use and Service Policies for more information.

Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Lynn Cutler was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1938. She attended the University of Illinois from 1955 to 1957, before enrolling at the Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa), from which she graduated with a bachelor's degree in Social Science in 1962. She also received her master's degree in Education, Guidance and Counseling from UNI in 1967. She entered politics in 1962 and was appointed to the Iowa Commission on Children and Youth in 1963. She also taught in public schools and served as a Head Start administrator.

In 1974, Cutler became the first woman elected to the Black Hawk County (Iowa) Board of Supervisors. She also chaired the Board for two years. She ran unsuccessfully for the United States Congress in Iowa's third congressional district in 1980 and 1982, losing narrowly both times. President Jimmy Carter appointed Cutler to the United States Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations in 1977 and served as its vice chair in 1978.

Cutler was heavily involved in the Democratic Party and served in leadership roles. In 1981, she was elected vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), where she liaised with state and local elected officials, fundraised, and oversaw outreach efforts to women and the Jewish community. She held her DNC position until 1993. Cutler then served in the Clinton administration as deputy assistant to President William Clinton and as senior advisor to the White House chief of staff on Indian Affairs. President Clinton also selected her as the permanent White House delegate to the United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing.

She also worked as a senior consultant with The Kamber Group Communications Firm beginning in 1985 and later served as a senior policy advisor in the Chicago office of Holland and Knight, where she worked on municipal and Indian tribal matters.

Cutler has served on a variety of regional, state, and national boards, such as the National Women's Political Caucus advisory board, the National Democratic Women's Institute board, and more. She is also the recipient of various awards and recognitions.

Cutler has four children and is married to L. Ronald Scheman. More information about her life and professional honors and activities can be found in boxes 4 and 17.


25 Linear Feet (24 boxes)

3.58 Linear Feet (oversize folder)


This collection is arranged according to acquisition dates: Pre-2021 acquisitions 2021 acquisitions

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to SC&UA over the course of about 30 years by Lynn Cutler. Boxes 1 and 2 were donated to SC&UA on August 10, 1992, box 3 in December 1996, boxes 4 and 5 in January 1997, and Boxes 6 and 7 were donated on January 31, 1997. Boxes 8 and 9 were donated on March 31, 1997 and boxes 10 and 11 in 2001. In October 2005, SC&UA acquired boxes 12 through 17. The most recent acquisition, boxes 19 to 24, were received in September 2021.

Processing Information

The collection and finding aid has been processed, written, and updated by the following people: University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson (Boxes 1 and 2, January 1993; Box 10, March 2001; Boxes 12-17, March 2007); Library Assistant Susan Witthoft (Boxes 3-5, January 1997; Boxes 6-7, February 1997; Boxes 8-9, April 1997); Public History intern Julie Tilton (Box 11, August 2001); and the 2021 acquisition was processed and finding aid updated by Archival Processor Tessa Wakefield, September 2021. Peterson and Library Associate Dave Hoing provided additional updates in January 2016 and October 2017, respectively. Linear feet county updated on August 9, 2017.

Lynn Cutler papers
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collection Repository