Ellen M. Bozman Papers, 1961-2004
Collection NumberRG 333
HistoryEllen M. Bozman, a community activist and politician for Arlington County, guided Arlington as it transitioned from a suburban to urban community during the latter half of the 20th century. Though perhaps most well-known as the longest serving Arlington County Board member (1974-1997), Bozman’s civic influence extended beyond her tenure as a board member through participation in various community organizations and governmental bodies.
Bozman’s work prior to the County Board is associated with human relations and planning. As part of the League of Women Voters, Bozman conducted educational programs to assist with the integration of the public school system in Arlington in the 1950s. Later, as a member of the Community Relations Committee in the 1960s, which researched and reported on acts of discrimination to the Arlington County Board, she investigated County hiring practices of African-Americans and pushed for the adaption of non-discriminatory policies. As part of the County’s Planning Commission from 1971-1973, Bozman focused on ways to revitalize Clarendon, Arlington’s major commercial center at the time, which was soon to be disrupted by the coming Metrorail. Before running for the County Board, Bozman gained other leadership experience chairing Arlington’s Health and Welfare Council, the Committee of 100, and serving as President of the Church Council of the Rock Spring Congregational Church.
Bozman ran for the County Board in 1973 as an Independent candidate, though she was backed by the local Democratic party. She ran on a platform that promoted controlled growth, especially around new Metro corridors, opposition to Interstate 66 in favor of other mass-transit options, maintaining neighborhoods, increasing park and recreational space, and providing new services to retired and elderly residents. She captured more than fifty percent of the vote in a three-way race, becoming the first woman elected to the County Board since 1958. Bozman won all of her subsequent elections. She ran as an Independent candidate in every race except for her last election in 1993, during which she ran as a Democrat. She served as chairman of the County Board in 1976, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1992, and 1997.
As a board member, Bozman was known for advocating for improving child care, such as starting extended-day programs at schools, providing services to elderly residents (including getting the first nursing homes built in Arlington), and advocating for tenant rights and affordable housing. She was instrumental in bringing the Metrorail through Arlington, including fighting to keep costs down for Arlington residents. Her careful eye and knack for planning ensured that Metro corridors between Rosslyn and Ballston were developed with plenty of high-rise buildings containing retail, living, and office space. However, she made sure other areas of Arlington remained full of parks, recreation areas, and single-family dwellings. Bozman also instituted the first farmers market in the county at Arlington Courthouse, and Neighborhood Day, an annual countywide block party to celebrate the diverse neighborhoods Arlington offers.
As a board member and citizen, Bozman held leadership or membership roles in numerous local organizations.
Known commissions, groups, and organizations she was a part of are listed below in alphabetical order. Approximate dates and positions held are included, if known:
- Alliance for Housing Solutions
- Arlington Community Foundation
- President, 2002
- Chairwoman of Board of Directors, 2003
- Arlington County Planning Commission (1971-1973)
- Chairman, Clarendon Center Committee
- Arlington Health and Welfare Council, Chairman (1967-1969)
- Arlington Health Center Commission
- Arlington Symphony
- President, 2001
- Committee of One Hundred, Chairman (1970-1971)
- Community Appearance Alliance
- Governor’s Advisory Council on Local Government (1976-1978, 1982-1985)
- Health and Welfare Council of National Capital Area (1967-1971)
- League of Women Voters, 1960s/1970s
- President: 1963-1965
- Development Committee: 1971
- Metropolitan Air Quality Committee, Chair (1993)
- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
- Board of Directors: 1975-1978, 1984
- Human Relations Committee: 1979-1985 (Chair, 1981-1983)
- Chairman: 1988-1989
- Northern Virginia Planning District Commission (1974-1982)
- Chairman: 1975-1977
- Northern Virginia Potomac River Basin Committee (1989, 1993)
- Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (1963-1967)
- Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (1978-1993, Chairman-1983, 1991)
- Rock Springs United Church of Christ, President of Church Council, (1971-1973)
- Veterans Branch YMCA
- Virginia Association of Counties, Executive Board (1974-1979, 1984-1992)
- Virginia Home Care Alliance
- Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, member
In 2017, the Arlington County Board voted to rename the county building at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard at Courthouse Plaza the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center to honor Bozman’s 24 years of service to the County Board.
Bozman was born in Springfield, Illinois, as Ellen McConnell in 1925. She graduated from Northwestern University in 1946 with a degree in political science. After graduating, she moved to Washington, D.C, later working in the U.S. Bureau of Budget from 1947-1952. She married William M. Bozman. She died on January 8, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia at age eighty-three.
Scope and ContentThis collection spans approximately three linear feet and contains materials covering the dates 1960-2003. The bulk of the materials date from the late 1970s to early 1990s. The documents and photographs within the collection offer a glimpse of Bozman’s incredibly active civic life in Arlington County. A vast majority of the materials cover Bozman’s six campaigns for the Arlington County Board, which include campaign binders that contain campaign literature, precinct operations information, letters to voters, press schedules, opposition research, speeches, and the like. The collection also features a large collection of press clippings from newspapers and various newsletters in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. that detail Bozman’s duties and public life as an Arlington County Board member. There are smaller collections of Bozman’s speeches (given before, during, and after her service on the County Board), a selection of her working papers as a County Board member and prior service on the Community Relations Committee, and correspondence. Lastly, the collection contains a small number of photographs that all primarily depict Bozman at events as a County Board member, though some after retirement depict her on vacation with her husband or at other community events.
Arrangement and DescriptionThis collection is divided into eight series based on type of material or subject matter. When possible, original file names from the accretions have been preserved in quotes (“ ”) and additions to titles from the archivist have been included in brackets ([ ]) where clarification was needed.
Series 1 covers Bozman’s campaigns for the Arlington County Board. It is divided into six subseries, one for each campaign (1973, 1977, 1981, 1985, 1989, 1993), to help researchers find relevant materials. It reflects Bozman’s original organizational schema of filing her campaign materials by year. For additional press coverage during campaigns and elections, researchers may find Series 6 of use (see below).
Series 2 contains Bozman’s speeches, written statements, and remarks. Series 3 holds the few working files we have from Bozman’s civic career before the County Board. Series 4 has Bozman’s remaining working files from her tenure on the County Board. To aid the researcher, this series has been divided into four subseries based on subject matter: Human Services; Development, Planning, and Parks; Financial; and Other/Assorted.
All the above series maintain original order. The archivist decided to construct Series 5, Correspondence, Series 6, Press, Series 7, Photographs, and Series 8, Subject Files, to help the researcher find appropriate materials. The large majority of these materials originally were loose and mixed together in large manila envelopes (except for the “Good Complaints” file in Series 5, “Washingtonian of the Year” file in Series 6, and the “Photographs” file in Series 7). Many of these envelopes were labeled with just the approximate year the materials enclosed dated from (i.e. “1976”). Many of these contained mostly newspaper clippings, some of which were labeled “Press, 1976” etc. Any correspondence or other supplemental materials that referenced clippings, press appearances, or other instances of Bozman in the media were kept in the Press series.
Series 5 and Series 6 are arranged chronologically. Series 6 is divided into two subseries, one for clippings, which includes articles from local newspapers, newsletters and government publications Bozman is featured in, as well as any correspondence that referenced a specific newspaper article. The second subseries of Series 6 contains materials on the awards Bozman won, which includes clippings, certificates, and letters of congratulations. All newspaper clippings in Series 6 (and the rest of the collection) have been photocopied and the originals thrown away for preservation purposes. Series 7 contains approximately sixty photographs. Series 8 contains miscellaneous materials that did not fit well into any other series.
ProvenanceThese materials were donated to the Center for Local History in 2009 by William Bozman. Five files containing some of Bozman’s speeches (Series 2, files 7-10) and information on legal cases (Series 4, subseries 4, file 5) were donated by Martha Bozman in March 2018.
RestrictionsThere are no known restrictions associated with this collection.
Related CollectionsSince Bozman was such an active figure in Arlington County, many other collections in the Center for Local History holdings might be useful to researchers. For those interested in her campaigns, RG 26, Campaign Literature may contain more publicity materials featuring Bozman during each election, plus many of the materials of her opposing candidates. RG 94 Arlingtonians for a Better County or RG 31 Miscellaneous Records of Non-Partisan Political Organizations, which includes more records from the ABC may shed light on Bozman’s political campaigns, since she was endorsed by the ABC in all elections.
Additionally, researchers may find the collections of some of the groups Bozman was active in helpful, such as RG 44 League of Women Voters, RG 54 Arlington Symphony (partially-processed as of 2018), RG 130 Arlington County Planning Commission, and RG 336 Committee of 100 (unprocessed as of 2018).
Lastly, a number of collections can help researchers uncover more about Bozman’s career on the County Board, including RG 58 Arlington County Government Publications and RG 172 Arlington County Board (in-process as of 2018). Collections related to issues Bozman testified on and worked toward as a County Board Member, such as RG 37 Metropolitan Washington Airports, RG 39 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or RG 43 I-66, may be of use.