Sisters, There’s a Women’s Center in Iowa City!

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Women’s Resource and Action Center with a piece of cake and a lively discussion of the early days of WRAC and the women’s liberation movement in Iowa City.  Panelists will include Sondra Smith, Gayle Sand, Sandy Pickup, Jill Jack, with Laurie Haag moderating.   

Friday, March 23, 2012
4:00-6:00 p.m.
Iowa Women’s Archives
3rd floor, Main Library, University of Iowa

Reach for your rights

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re featuring a few of the thousands of artifacts in our Iowa Women’s Archives Digital Collections:

Holy City residents, Bettendorf, Iowa, 1920s | Mujeres Latinas
Holy City residents, Bettendorf, Iowa, 1920s | Mujeres Latinas
Basketball practice, 1938 | University of Iowa Physical Education for Women
Basketball practice, 1938 | University of Iowa Physical Education for Women
Betty Ford at the National Republican Convention, Kansas City, 1976 | Iowa Women's Archives Founders
Betty Ford at the National Republican Convention, Kansas City, 1976 | Iowa Women's Archives Founders
Girls' dance troupe, Roland, Iowa, 1910s | Noble Photographs
Girls' dance troupe, Roland, Iowa, 1910s | Noble Photographs
Fence climbing, The University of Iowa, 1920s | African American Women in Iowa
Fence climbing, The University of Iowa, 1920s | African American Women in Iowa

Remember the Triangle Fire, March 25

We will close women’s history month on Friday, March 25th  with “In Memoriam:  The Triangle Factory Fire 100th Anniversary,” an event to commemorate the 146 young, immigrant garment workers who lost their lives in this tragedy. 

Friday, March 25
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Second Floor Conference Room (2032), UI Main Library

Remarks by Professor of History Linda K. Kerber and dramatic readings by Carol Macvey and UI theater students will follow, with comments by playwright Janet Schlapkohl. 

For further information call 319-335-5068.  Event is free and open to the public.

Filmmaker Booth to speak in Iowa Women’s Archives, March 22

Award-winning filmmaker Marlene Booth will present a talk entitled “Tell Me a Story:  Making and Learning From Documentary Films” on Tuesday, March 22nd. Born and raised in Des Moines, Booth looks back – with clips from her films – on 35 years of filmmaking as a woman, a feminist, and a dyed-in-the-wool Hawkeye. 

Iowa Women’s Archives, third floor UI Main Library
March 22, 2011
4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
  Reception at 4:00 p.m., followed by presentation from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Booth, a lecturer in film at the University of Hawaii, has worked in film since 1975, both as an independent and for public television station WGBH-TV in Boston. She has produced and directed several major documentary films screened on PBS, at national and international film festivals, and in classrooms nationwide. Her most recent film, Pidgin: the voice of Hawaii (2009), examines the language spoken by over half of Hawai’i’s people, and confronts issues of language and identity, and who gets to decide what language we speak. 

Booth’s 1999 film “Yidl in the Middle: Growing Up Jewish in Iowa” (1999) explores her Iowa-Jewish roots and uses home movies, period photos, her high school reunion, and interviews, to examine the process of negotiating identity, as an American, a Jew, and a woman.  “Yidl in the Middle” will be screened at Hillel (122 E. Market St.) on Wednesday, March 23rd at 7:00 p.m., followed by a question and answer with the director.

Iowa Women’s Archives Tour, Nov. 4

The University of Iowa Alumni Association’s Lifelong Learning Program is hosting a behind-the-scenes tour of the Iowa Women’s Archives in the UI Main Library starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4. Registration is required.

Archives curator Kären Mason will give the tour, where participants will examine photos, diaries, letters, scrapbooks, and other items. Mason will discuss the archives’ founders and its development over the past 18 years.
The Iowa Women’s Archives holds more than 1,100 manuscript collections that chronicle the lives and work of Iowa women, their families, and their communities. These personal papers and organizational records date from the 19th Century to the present. Together with oral histories, they document the activities of Iowa women throughout the state and beyond its borders.

This program, co-hosted by the UI Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, begins at 5 p.m. in Room 2032 (on the second floor, south side) of the Main Library and move up to the third floor at 6 p.m. for the tour.

Cost for the event is $5 and is open to UI Alumni Association and Osher Institute members and their guests. RSVP by Thursday, Oct. 28 at For more information, email or call 1-800-IOWALUM.

Celebrate 90 years of “Votes for Women”, Aug 26

August 26, 1920 marks the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote.  But the campaign for women’s suffrage began long before that and the story of Iowa women reflects the stories of women across the country.

As we celebrate 90 years of equal suffrage, the Iowa Women’s Archives (IWA) is undertaking a project to make these valuable and unique items of local and state history available online. IWA has received a grant from the State Historical Society, Inc. to digitize important documents pertaining to the women’s suffrage movement in Iowa and create a resource page linking Iowa suffrage materials across the state.

For a brief history of the women’s suffrage movement in Iowa and examples of the resources that will be available through the Iowa Digital Library in summer 2011, take a look at Women’s Suffrage in Iowa: A Sneak Peek of a New Digital Collection.

Posted in IWA

LGBT Life in Iowa City, Iowa: 1967-2010 Online Exhibit Earns Honorable Mention, the award-winning website on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer U.S. history, announced the winners of its “Since Stonewall Local Histories Contest,” 41 years after the start of the rebellion that marks the beginning of the modern movement for LGBTQ rights and liberation.

“LGBT Life in Iowa City, Iowa: 1967-2010” online exhibit curated by University Archivist David McCartney and Iowa Women’s Archives Curator Karen Mason earned an honorable mention in the competition. The exhibit is a timeline featuring over 70 images chronicling the history of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender communities in Iowa City. Content was drawn from collections in the Iowa Women’s Archives, the University Archives, and from the personal collections of several members of the community, who contributed their time to the UI Libraries’ effort.

The contest—the first of its kind—invited people from across the country to create exhibits on about the history of LGBTQ life in their village, town, city, county, or state since the Stonewall riots, 40 years ago. The contest also offered five cash prizes, from $5,000 to $1,000, to the creators of the top five exhibits. The awards were provided by the Arcus Foundation, which funded for four years. received over thirty exciting exhibits about LGBTQ history. One of the contest’s major goals was to draw attention to LGBTQ history in places that scholars have overlooked. Exhibits include entries about states such as Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, and Virginia, among others.

The “Since Stonewall” exhibits are all geographically-based, but range dramatically in subject, from one New Yorker’s memoirs, to a history of the Gay Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., an account of a long-lived gay bar in Michigan called The Flame, and a timeline of The Lesbian Mothers National Defense Fund in Seattle. All the entries are listed on the site.

Professors and historians of homosexuality John D’Emilio and Leisa Meyer served as judges of the contest.