As of August 23rd, 2018 the Iowa Women’s Archives has started using Aeon, a new reading room management system! Thanks to Aeon, visitors to any of the special collections reading rooms will be able to:
Set up an online account in advance of their visit.
Schedule upcoming visits
Order scans or photocopies
Keep track of past visits and requests
Patrons can expect a few changes in the reading room the next time they visit. There will be much less paper work, and first-time researchers will be asked to present a photo ID.
We expect that after they register, using Aeon will help researchers maximize their time in our reading rooms and make it easier for them to manage their requests.
Ready to set up your Aeon account? You can start by clicking here. And, of course, if you have any questions along the way, our staff will be happy to help!
Maritza Lopez- Campos joined the IWA student staff to work on the Mujeres Latinas Project. Since then she’s learned about processing, written finding aids, and been an invaluable member of the team at several 25th anniversary events. We’re all wishing her the best as she leaves the archives and begins her career in social work! Here is Maritza’s reflection on her time at IWA:
“I am very grateful to have spent a year and a half working with the amazing individuals at the Iowa Women’s Archives. I was mostly involved with the Mujeres Latinas project, but I found myself also working with other materials and at various events, including the Feminist Reunion in 2017. On one special occasion, I found an album with newspaper clippings about a friend I made during my first job at a retirement home in Sioux City, IA. The Iowa Women’s Archives connected me with people whose lives had much in common with mine. As a Latina, I found similarities between the oral histories I reviewed and transcribed and the story of my family as they navigated a new home country. My hope for these materials is that others will also know women have been persevering for many, many centuries. What I will miss most about IWA is the tranquility inside the archives and working with my caring colleagues.”
Thank you, Maritza, for all of your hard work, and good luck in your future career!
In 1972, the University of Iowa’s Manuscript Librarian, Robert McCown, wrote a letter to Nora Leander. He hoped that she would donate the papers of her aunt, Esther Bacon, an Iowan and missionary to Liberia from 1941 – 1972. In 2018, Leander’s niece, Ann Prekker, found the letter among Bacon’s papers and decided to contact the Iowa Women’s Archives. She knew it had been almost 50 years, but were we still interested? Oh yes, we were!
Originally from Sioux City, Esther Bacon was a medical missionary in Liberia from 1941 – 1972 where she worked in the hospital at Zorzor. Through her work as a midwife, Bacon delivered over 20,000 babies and provided medical care to people of all ages. She died in Liberia after succumbing to Lassa fever in 1972. The collection includes photographs of Bacon’s time in Liberia, missionary newsletters, and many moving tributes to Bacon describing the lives she saved and the children she brought into the world. Bacon’s papers will join the papers of other Iowa women who chose to be missionaries such as Myrtle Hinkhouse, Marian Farquhar, and Marianne Michael.
Prekker, her husband, and their two daughters traveled to Iowa City this week to donate Esther Bacon’s materials and we are so glad they did. It may have taken 46 years for the papers to get here, but they were worth the wait!
Our 2018 Linda and Richard Kerber Fund travel grant recipient is Ezra Temko, a Sociology PhD candidate at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). The Linda and Richard Kerber Fund was established to help researchers travel to the Iowa Women’s Archives. Temko has come to Iowa City from the state of Delaware, where his research investigates how cultural power and ideology are navigated around issues of racial and gender representation.
Temko became interested in Iowa after learning that in 2009, it became the only state in the U.S. to require gender balance for state and local boards and commissions. After interviewing proponents of the 2009 law, he discovered its roots went back to 1986, when a law requiring gender balance on only state boards and commissions was first passed.
Temko hoped that the papers available at the Iowa Women’s Archives would provide context for the 1986 law and the efforts to extend it. For the past week he has accessed a wealth of useful materials in the Iowa Women’s Political Caucus records, the Minnette Doderer papers, the Johnie Hammond papers, and Governor Ray’s Commission on the Status of Women records to name just a few collections.
After four days in IWA, Temko says the highlights of his research include reading constituent letters to Iowa politicians and learning more about ERA campaigns in the state. Most of all, he’s enjoyed learning about about the feminist victories of the 1970s and 1980s that we take for granted today such as the right of a married woman to have her name in the phone book without paying for it, or women’s ability to change their names after divorcing. Iowa, he says, is unique, but through his research he’s seeing connections to the feminism of the 1970s and 1980s everywhere. We can’t wait to see the results of his work!
This week, Anna Tunnicliff joined the IWA staff as Processing Librarian. Tunnicliff earned her MLIS with a Certificate in Book Studies from the University of Iowa earlier this May. She has been a graduate research assistant at the Iowa Women’s Archives for the past three years and is very excited to continue working here in a new position.
If you see her around the archives, be sure to say, “Welcome back!”
What makes this night different from all other nights? That’s a good question, and one that has been asked by generations of children celebrating the Passover or Pesah, the Festival of Spring. According to the Reuben family’s 1958 copy of The Jewish Home Beautiful, “Pesah tells of the rebirth of a nation, the redemption from slavery to freedom, the restoration to the disinherited among men of their God-given rights to life and liberty. […] Pesah is so called because of the Biblical account regarding the angel of Death who passed over the homes of the Israelites” (28).
Sandra Reuben recalls Passover fondly in her article, “Recollections of Growing up Jewish in Forest City, Iowa”:
“My Mother, Lillian Reuben, usually hosted our extended Iowa family for seders in Forest City. . . With my Dad and two sisters, Marlene and Joanie, we fit 16 people around tables that filled the entire living room. Then add Jenny and Meier Friedman, the only other Jews in our small “Norwegian” city. It was a challenge for my Mother to cook the traditional foods as Forest City had no stores that carried Passover foods. The matzo, matzo meal and other foods were brought from the Kropman grocery store in Mason City. . .some 30 miles away. Grandma came from Mason City to help Mother make gefilte fish from scratch, clean and roast the chickens, make the haroses, simmer the chicken soup band matzo balls and produce the rest of the traditional dishes. Years later my cousin Elinor (Elly) remembers these seders as an important foundation for our Jewish family.”
Reuben’s account of the Passover seder is not so unusual for residents of Iowa in the 1950’s. To this day, Jewish communities still make up a relatively small percentage of the overall Iowa population, but this has not deterred the traditional celebrations from taking place with ample amounts of attention and preparation. Throughout Iowa history, Jewish women have played important roles in community and family life, maintaining cultural and religious traditions, working in businesses and on farms, and participating in civic life. The documents and images included here were gathered from 2014-2017 as part of the Jewish Women in Iowa project at the Iowa Women’s Archives.
This post and poem were written by Zayetzy Luna Garcia, student worker at the Iowa Women’s Archives
Family unity is the center of Latinx culture. It is our base, our guide and our future. However, sometimes, we forget the glue that really keeps our family together: our mothers. While today is not Mother’s Day, it is International Women’s Day and being a mother is a challenge many women still choose to take on today. To celebrate the strength and beauty of Latinx women in Iowa, we present to you some excerpts and photos from the Migration is Beautiful website at the Iowa Women’s Archives in the University of Iowa Libraries.
Despite her years of experience, many factories dismissed her applications. When she applied to work at International Harvester’s Farmall tractor plant, they refused her application on the basis that they believed Mexican women were too short to work on the assembly line.
“We joined the craft club and then afterwards I can’t remember who the director was and they asked me if I’d be on the board…I was the only Mexican…All the clubs, like my sewing guild, my quilt guild, the PTA, we went wherever the Mexican people just did not. “
“We were the first multi-cultural doctor’s office,” Mary remembered. “He was black and I was brown. And we serviced everybody, pink, yellow, blue, whatever color. We had the first bilingual medical practice that I know of here in Des Moines.”
These women took head on the challenge of being Latina in place and time where being a brown woman was not easy. Not only did they persistently fight for their own rights, but they instilled a sense of justice, compassion and honor into their children who would go on to continue fight for women’s and Latinx rights in Iowa and across the country.
These are just a few stories of our hidden Latina history in Iowa. Feel free to continue to be inspired by reading more amazing Latina stories at the Migration is Beautifulwebsite.
Today we’re celebrating National Girls and Women in Sport Day! Since it was inaugurated in 1987 by a Presidential Proclamation, NGWSD has recognized the on and off-field achievements of female athletes, from girls active in school and community sports to elite international athletes.
[side note–if you’re not already following our #WPAscrapbook project about a 1930s Work Project Administration photographer who documented women’s recreation at the University of Iowa, join us in February as we document this exciting find]
But February is also Black History Month, and opening ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympics kick off this week, so we wanted to share materials from the Nadine Domond Papers, which were donated by Domond in 2001. Check out our Twitter and Tumblr channels for more objects from the Domond Papers.
A Connecticut native and the top-ranked guard in the country, Domond made headlines in 1994 when she chose to play basketball at the University of Iowa.
In her freshman season (1994-1995), Domond played on the last team coached by legendary women´s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer during her time at the University of Iowa. For the next three years, under head coach Angie Lee, Domond and the Hawkeyes won a Big Ten Championship and made it to the 1996 NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen round.
During this time, Domond also played for various USA Basketball teams, including the squad that won the silver medal in the 1997 Jones Cup. Domond graduated from the University of Iowa in 1998 with a degree in African American World Studies and Instructional Design. As of 2017, Domond held the number five spot in all-time Hawkeye women´s three-point shooting.
Domond was the nineteenth-overall pick in the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) 1998 draft, which was the WNBA’s second draft.
After a professional career overseas, she because the Head Coach for Grambling State’s women’s basketball team before joining longtime-Iowa coach Vivian Stringer at Rutgers University, where Domond now works as an Assistant Coach.
Thank you, Nadine, for letting the Iowa Women’s Archives be part of sharing your story and amazing accomplishments. And as we get ready to kick off another Olympic Games, we’ll let Nadine have the last word.
One of our graduate student workers spent last semester processing additions to IWA’s University of Iowa Department of Physical Education for Women collection. The new material included everything from Women as Leaders conference records to faculty publications. But one item in the new material surprised us–a scrapbook from the 1930s with “Work Projects Administration” inscribed on the inside cover.
One of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal economic stimulus programs, the Works Progress Administration (WPA, renamed the Work Projects Administration in 1939) made significant contributions to American infrastructure in the 1930s, building roads, bridges, and the University of Iowa’s original Theatre Building.
Federal Project Number One, a subset of the WPA, provided employment for artists, actors, writers, directors, and musicians by sending them to local communities across the United States, including Iowa City and towns.
Research on the scrapbook continues, but we are excited about this find and wanted to share these images with those who aren’t able to visit the Archives in person. So stay tuned to our social media channels (Twitter and Tumblr) in February, as we dive into this scrapbook together and see how an unknown WPA photographer documented women’s physical education at the University of Iowa.
A few sneak previews:
The 2017-2018 academic year is the 25th anniversary of the Iowa Women’s Archives, but 2018 also marks 25 years since 6-on-6 girl’s basketball was played in Iowa. IWA is partnering with the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service for their Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America exhibit. Click here to learn more about IWA’s role in this exhibit.
Here at the Iowa Women’s Archives, we believe every woman has a story and every girl has a voice. And if you were part of the 6-on-6 movement or participated in women’s athletics, physical education, or recreation, we’d love to hear from you and talk about the possibility of adding your story to our collection. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-335-5068.
It is in part thanks to the Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission that the IWA has such a collection of materials on the suffrage movement in Iowa. The commission, incorporated in 1922, was organized “to commemorate the efforts of the Pioneer Suffragists and the long procession of workers who helped secure the final enfranchisement of women.” In addition to successfully erecting a bas relief memorial by native Iowan artist Nellie Walker in the state capitol building, the commission worked to preserve materials relating to the women’s suffrage movement through 1941. Many years later, Lindsay Shannon, Assistant Professor of Art History at North Central College and author of “Uncharted Territory: The Iowa Suffrage Memorial and the Pioneer Spirit“, found the collection quite useful. Shannon, who received her Ph.D. in American art history from the University of Iowa, had this to say about the collection:
“The Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission records are a true gem! I often begin a research project on a female artist expecting to find very little documentation of their working methods or process, but was delighted to find a detailed account of these politically astute women debating and deciding how best to represent their achievements in a work of public art. This collection has been crucial to my efforts to give the Iowa Suffrage Memorial the recognition it deserves through published research and public presentations, such as the exhibition “Women’s Suffrage in Iowa: 90 Years after the ‘Winning Plan'” at the Blanden Art Museum. What excites me the most is knowing that the Iowa Women’s Archives is custodian to historical collections like this and that it continues to actively seek out new material that represents overlooked or undervalued voices.”