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Ramona Barnes papers

Guide to the Ramona Barnes papers
circa 1980-2000

Collection number: HMC-0502.
Creator: Barnes, Ramona L.
Title: Ramona Barnes papers.
Dates: circa 1980-2000.
Volume of collection: 39 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Collection materials in English.
Collection summary: The political papers of a long-time Alaska legislator.

Biographical note:

Ramona Lee Etta Barnes (1938-2003), also known as Ramona Barnes and dubbed Rambona by the Anchorage Daily News editorial cartoonist, was born in Pikeville, Bledsoe County, Tennessee on July 7, 1938.  She was educated in Bledsoe County High School and Waipahu Community College.  Prior to arriving in Alaska, Barnes was a military wife in 1971, married to Larry Barnes and served with the CIA as an undercover agent in the Philippines.  In Alaska she raised three children and managed a beauty school and salon in Anchorage.  A social conservative, Barnes was elected to the Alaska Legislature in 1978. As of 2008, she held the record as the longest-serving woman legislator in Alaska history.  She represented East Anchorage for 20 years broken only by a single term when she was defeated for re-election by Marco Pignalberi in 1984.  She was the first woman to hold every legislative leadership position, from Majority Leader to Minority Whip, and became Speaker of the House speaker in 1993.  Barnes was an old style politician in an era when running roughshod over an opponent was standard. Being a woman did not hinder her rise to a prominent position in Republican politics.  She was just as tough as the men, which prompted the President of the Senate, Richard Halford, to give her a set of brass balls.  The brass balls were actually a pair of two-pound fishing sinkers painted gold.  Barnes kept them prominently displayed as ornaments on her desk for years.  She died in Anchorage on November 26, 2003 from pneumonia, a complication from her fight against cancer.  [Biographical note courtesy of Steven C. Levi.]

Collection description:

This collection consists of Ramona Barnes’ political papers.  Records series include Legislative files, Subject files (including budgets, subsistence, and energy), Commission and organizational records, Lawsuits, Personal associates and colleagues files, Speeches, Office files, Photographs, and Artifacts, disks and tapes.

Arrangement: The materials in this collection are grouped by series. The subject files series are arranged chronologically by subject and the commission and organizational records are grouped by organization.

Digitized copies: This collection has not been digitized. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: Archives and Special Collections holds copyright to materials in the collection created by Ramona Barnes.

Preferred citation: Ramona Barnes papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Acquisition note: The papers were transferred to Archives and Special Collections in 2001 and 2004 from Mrs. Barnes’ legislative office.  The collection was donated to the Archives by Michelle A. Barnes on behalf of the Barnes family in March 2008.

Processing information: This collection was described by Arlene Schmuland in 2008.

Container list:

Box Series Description Dates
1-4 Legislative files. Undated
5-7 Subject files. C through E subject files. Undated
8-11 Subject files. Energy subject files. Undated
12-21 Subject files. Subsistence subject files. Undated
22-23 Subject files. Trade subject files. Undated
24 Commission and organizational records. Drug Commission records. Undated
25 Commission and organizational records. Arctic Research Commission records. Undated
26-27 Commission and organizational records. Council of State Governments, National Conference of State Legislatures, and National Republican Conference records. 1997-2000
28-29 Lawsuit records. Undated
30-31 Personal associates and colleagues files. Undated
32 Speeches. Undated
33 Office files. Undated
34-37 Photographs. Undated
OSF Photographs. Oversize. Undated
38 Artifacts, disks and tapes. Undated

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