20th Anniversary Category

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Leading the Field: Women and Sport at Iowa, Thu, Mar 28 at 4pm

Celebrate Women’s History Month with the Iowa Women’s Archives

In collaboration with the UI Council on the Status of Women, IWA will welcom Susan Birrell for a talk and Janet Schlapkohl for a dramatic reading on Thursday, March 28 starting at 4pm in the Iowa Women’s Archives (3rd floor south of the Main Library).

University of Iowa is a recognized leader in women in sport and physical education. Four years ago, the University of Iowa Libraries celebrated that legacy by digitizing a collection of the UI Department of Physical Education for Women. Below is more information about this remarkable digital collection.

Almost 1000 historic photographs of University women’s physical education classes – from archery and synchronized swimming to basketball and dance – are now publicly available online. In celebration of Women’s History Month, the University of Iowa Libraries has released the UI Department of Physical Education for Women digital collection: http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/wpe .

The photographs, spanning almost 100 years (1906-2004), are part of a larger manuscript collection that documents the rise of women’s athletics at Iowa from the one-member Department of Physical Culture and Athletics to the dawn of women’s intercollegiate sports. The Department of Physical Education for Women at the University of Iowa was a pioneer in the development of graduate study and professional training as well as athletic opportunities for women.

“These photographs offer a fabulous window into women’s sport—and campus life—over the past century.  They’re very appealing, from the expected team portraits and sports action shots to the more surprising images of laboratory experiments, rifle enthusiasts, and slumber parties,” says Kären Mason, Curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives. “The digital collection provides easy access to these photos, and I hope it will inspire people to explore the equally fascinating records of the Department of PE for Women that are available in the archives.”

Intercollegiate athletics for women at The University of Iowa originated in the Department of Physical Education for Women in the late 1960s and early 1970s and maintained that association until 2000.  This relationship stemmed from the philosophy of the women physical educators and the value they placed on education and women-centered and -controlled sport.

“Those two key, related notions are still at the heart of the current Department of Health and Sport Studies: that sport and physical activity should be part of a liberal arts education and that they can contribute greatly to both individual well-being and the social good,” says Catriona Parratt, Associate Professor in the Department of Health & Sport Studies. “We are delighted that the Iowa Women’s Archives digital photographic collection will make it easier for many more people to appreciate this aspect of the University’s mission.”

This historic image collection is the latest edition to the Iowa Digital Library — http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu — which contains more than 225,000 digital objects, including photographs, maps, sound recordings and documents from libraries and archives at the UI and their partnering institutions as well as faculty research collections.

To explore the vast digital holdings from the Iowa Women’s Archives, a portal that allows users to browse by subject, time period or artifact type is available online at http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa . It will be continually updated with new items drawn from the IWA’s 1100 manuscript collections, which have provided valuable primary source materials for books, articles, theses and class projects on women’s history.

For more information about the collection, contact Kären Mason, Curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives, at 335-5068.

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Biographer of Mary Louise Smith to read on November 10th

As part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Iowa Women’s Archives, Suzanne O’Dea will read from her new biography of Archives co-founder Mary Louise Smith and take questions about her research for  the book.  

Join us for coffee and pastries at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 10th, in the North Exhibition Hall of the University of Iowa Main Library. After the program, enjoy the exhibition Pathways to Iowa: Migration Stories from the Iowa Women’s Archives, or join Curator Karen Mason for a tour of the Iowa Women’s Archives.

Parking is available in the cashiered lot west of the library.   The library opens at 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays.

 Madam Chairman: Mary Louise Smith and Revival of the Republican Party After Watergate, published in October by the University of Missouri Press,   is based on extensive interviews O’Dea recorded with Smith and her staff at the Republican National Committee in the early 1990s, and on archival research in the Mary Louise Smith Papers at the Iowa Women’s Archives and the Gerald Ford Papers at the Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Madam Chairman explores the career of Mary Louise Smith, a woman in a world of politics run by men, to recount Smith’s and the GOP’s changing fortunes but also the challenges Republican women faced as they worked to gain a larger party presence.  Like many women, Smith started out making coffee, stuffing envelopes, and knocking on doors at the precinct level, and honed her political skills in Republican women’s organizations at the state and national level before being elected Republican National Commiteewoman from Iowa in 1964.

Smith became the first woman to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee when President Ford appointed her to the position in 1974.  During her twenty-eight months as chairman, Smith worked to rebuild the party following the devastation of Watergate, developing innovative fundraising strategies still used today. A supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, reproductive rights, and gay rights, Smith grew increasingly alienated from the Republican Party as its leadership shifted from the moderate views espoused by Ford to the more conservative leadership still seen today, yet she remained loyal to the party.

Suzanne O’Dea is the author of three books, including Legislators and Politicians: Iowa’s Women Lawmakers. She lives in McKinleyville, California. 

 

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About our exhibition “Pathways to Iowa”

 

Ruth Salzmann, Germany, c. 1938.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Iowa Women’s Archives, we have mounted an exhibit in the North Exhibition Hall of the University of Iowa’s Main Library. The inspiration for this exhibit came from the many visits made to the archives by families and friends of donors. Earlier this year, Sam Becker brought his grandchildren to the archives to look at the papers of their grandmother, Ruth Salzmann Becker. As they learned of her narrow escape from Nazi Germany in 1938, Ruth Salzmann’s story became one of the migration paths featured in the exhibit.

“Pathways to Iowa: Migration Stories from the Iowa Women’s Archives” seeks to acknowledge the donors of the precious letters, photos, diaries, and memoirs that make up the collections preserved in the Iowa Women’s Archives. At the same time, it seeks to re-frame our understanding of Iowa history. Beginning with the migration path of Iowa’s first people, the Meskwaki, it integrates the familiar story of European settlement with a lesser known history of African American and Mexican migration in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.

LULAC women share their stories, Davenport, 2007.

For the past seven years, through its  Mujeres Latinas Project, the archives has worked to preserve the early history of Mexican migration to Iowa. We chose to highlight these materials in this exhibit because it is a history that has been hidden for too long. The Iowa Women’s Archives wishes to thank all of those who shared their stories with the Iowa Women’s Archives. A special thanks goes to the members of the Davenport League of United Latin American Citizens – LULAC Council 10 – who have done so much to preserve and bring to light the rich history of Iowa Latinas, their families, and organizations, and donated their records to the Iowa Women’s Archives so that others could learn this important history.

 

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Pathways to Iowa: Migration Stories from the Iowa Women’s Archives

Join Iowa Women’s Archives Curator Kären Mason, Assistant Curator Janet Weaver, and faculty members Omar Valerio-Jiménez and Claire Fox for a brown-bag discussion of Latina history in Iowa at the opening of the newest exhibit at the UI Main Library.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 12:00- 1:00 p.m.

 University of Iowa Main Library, North Exhibition Hall

“Pathways to Iowa: Migration Stories from the Iowa Women’s Archives” explores a theme common to many of the collections: migration. Since its founding, the Iowa Women’s Archives has gathered documents, photos, and oral histories that illuminate the lives of diverse Iowa women. Through the day-to-day work of the Archives and projects to preserve Latina, African-American, and rural women’s history, the Archives has opened up new avenues of research and laid the foundation for a more complete history of Iowa, the Midwest, and the nation.

Bring your lunch. Cookies and iced tea will be served.

The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular Main Library hours through November 30, 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: The South entrance to the UI Main Library is closed; you will need to use the North entrance.

Pathways to Iowa - Migration Stories from the IWA