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Alderfer, Lyn (1930-) | Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Name: Alderfer, Lyn (1930-)

Historical Note: Lyn Alderfer, a board member of the League of Women Voters of the Springfield Area and the League of Women Voters of Illinois, was born Marilyn M. Ruth, on January 28, 1930 in West Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. She attended high school at a Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1947. She graduated from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA with a B.A. in 1951. She married William K. Alderfer, who later became Illinois State Historian (1967-1981), on June 2, 1951. They had two sons, Ken and Jack. Ms. Alderfer taught seventh grade at Churchville-Chile Schools, New York from 1953-1955. When the family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, she worked as a researcher and writer for the American Association for State and Local History from 1956- 1961. The Alderfers’ lived in Springfield, Illinois from 1967-1981. Ms. Alderfer was an active member of the LWV of the Springfield Area, as well as the LWV of Illinois. She served as Human Resources Chair for both leagues and lobbied the state legislature and members of Congress on behalf of league positions, primarily in the area of civil rights. Also in that capacity, she helped determine state league policies on the environment, child welfare, election laws, judicial reform, corrections, equal employment, equal rights, and fair housing. She was particularly effective in interpreting and disseminating information to league members and in building coalitions. Alderfer was also an active volunteer for the United Way of Sangamon County from 1973-1978, serving on the board, the Urban Needs Committee, Executive Committee, and State Task Force on Emergency Services. She was named Citizen of the Year by United Way before being appointed to its Board, for heading a committee that compiled a directory of social services available in Sangamon County. Alderfer volunteered at the Community Action Agency of Sangamon County from 1967-1980, where she was co-chair for the Emergency Food and Medical Committee, the annual Low-Income Dinner and the Lead Poisoning Clinic. She was a member of C.U.R.E, a coalition of citizens working to integrate Springfield public schools for 1975-1978. C.U.R.E.’s efforts along with those of the NAACP’s legal defense resulted in a court-ordered desegregation plan for Springfield. She also served as treasurer of MOVE, Inc., an advocacy group for low-income housing in Springfield, from 1978-1980. In 1978, she was appointed to the Illinois State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where she served for two years. Alderfer’s husband left his position as Illinois State Historian in1981 and the couple moved to California.

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