Last week, the Iowa Women’s Archives welcomes Lauren Feldman, a doctoral candidate in history from Johns Hopkins University. Lauren is the latest recipient of the Linda and Richard Kerber Fund for Research in the Iowa Women’s Archives, a $1000 travel grant to bring researchers to the IWA.
In her research, Lauren looks at the changing conceptions of marital engagement in the 19th century. She argues Americans worried about the future of marriage as divorce rates rose. She believes that in response to this fear engagement increased in importance and became a trial period for the marriages that would follow. Lauren wants to expand the scope of her research to include minorities, rural women, and sources outside of the Eastern United States. After finding the Kerber Grant on H-Net, she felt the IWA’s Kerber Fund would be a good fit for her research.
While here for the week, she consulted the papers of Lucy Van Voorhis White, Jennifer Riggs Cosson, and Mae Atkinson Robinson, among others. She also hopes to research in Giving Voice to their Memories: Oral Histories of African American Women in Iowa.
When asked at the beginning of her week here what her favorite documents were so far she admitted that she hadn’t had much time to read them yet. However, she couldn’t wait to sink her teeth into Van Voorhis White’s and Riggs Cosson’s courtship correspondences with the men who they would marry. It isn’t common to have both sides of a correspondence and, as Lauren says, “that’s exactly what I’m looking for.”
We were so happy to have Lauren visit us for the week as a Kerber Fund recipient, and cannot wait to hear about the scholarship she produces.