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!
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!
Dr. Annessa Babic, coordinator of interdisciplinary studies at the New York Institute of Technology and Dr. Tanfer Tunç of Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey are the most recent recipients of a research grant from the Linda and Richard Kerber Fund for Research in the Iowa Women’s Archives, a grant that helps researchers travel to the Iowa Women’s Archives.
Collaborators since 2008, Tunç and Babic met in graduate school at SUNY Stony Brook where each produced feminist scholarship. In 2008, the pair co-edited The Globetrotting Shopaholic: Consumer Products, Spaces, and Their Cultural Places. Since then they have continued to produce articles together and apart examining consumerism, nationalism, and Wonder Woman, among other subjects. Although the two collaborators had planned to travel to Iowa City together, the political unrest in Turkey stifled Tunç’s plans at the last minute. Nevertheless, Dr. Babic had a fruitful week in the archives hunting for places where feminism and food activism collide.
Tunç and Babic’s current project will extend “common discussions concerning food waste, overabundance, and safety by connecting food activism to consumer activism and social and civil rights, particularly the environmental and women’s movements.” Babic believes that movements surrounding food safety and packaging are gendered due to the heavy marketing of food products to women. She and Tunç hope to explore the parallels they see between the environmental and women’s movements of the late twentieth century. Although this project is in its early stages, Babic and Tunç expect that it will result in an article that will put food activism in the cultural context of the United States from 1970 – 1990.
The duo were drawn to the Iowa Women’s Archives by its diverse holdings about grassroots movements as well as its collections of oral histories. Additionally, they were interested in exploring resources of the Midwest, a region less studied than the American coasts. Babic, who is also a travel writer, confessed that she had never been to Iowa before, and expects to produce work about the trip itself as well as the resources she found in the archives.
While here, Babic looked at the papers of farm activists such as Denise O’Brien, Carol Hodne, Ericka Peterson-Dana, and Janette Ryan-Busch, as well as the records of food activist organizations like the Mothers for Natural Law and the Women, Food and Agriculture Network. What was her favorite collection? With three days of research behind her, Babic said she most enjoyed reading oral histories from Voices From the Land, a collection produced as part of the Iowa Women’s Archives’ Rural Women’s Project. It includes interviews with rural women who were politically active in the 1980s farm crisis. Babic said she found the farm women’s take on that era interesting and refreshing. We look forward to finding both qualities in the future work of Tunç and Babic.
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.
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.
Say hello to Hannah Dudley-Shotwell, a scholar who is visiting the Archives this week, thanks to assistance from the Linda and Richard Kerber Fund for Research in the Iowa Women’s Archives. Hannah is one of the first recipients of the grant, which was inaugurated last spring. She’s a doctoral candidate in History at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and is conducting research on self-help in the women’s health movement from 1970 to the start of the 21st century.
Hannah describes her research as revisiting an area of women’s activism that many assumed ended after Roe v. Wade. She argues that, while the early focus of self-help in the women’s health movement was on gynecology, after Roe v. Wade many self-help activists transformed their work, incorporating fertility consciousness, donor insemination, and holistic medicine.
Hannah’s had a great time here at IWA! Records like those of the Emma Goldman Clinic will provide important primary material for several chapters of her dissertation, and she was delighted to find material on yet another clinic in the Carol Hodne papers. Hannah describes the many newsletters and publications on women’s health that have been collected and even produced by some of the clinics she’s researched here, which played an important role in educating women about their own health.
None of this would have been possible without the help of the Linda and Richard Kerber Fund. It was this fund that first drew Hannah’s attention to our archives; little did she know how much material she would find here! We’ve been enjoying getting to know Hannah this week, and look forward to seeing where her project goes.