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The University of Iowa Libraries

Iowa Women's Archives

Iowa Women’s Archives

The Iowa Women’s Archives holds more than 1100 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 nineteenth century to the present. Together with oral histories, they document the activities of Iowa women throughout the state and beyond its borders. The Iowa Women’s Archives is open to the public.

News from the Archives

  • 25 for 25: Edna Griffin

    Edna Griffin’s civil rights activism earned her the title of the “Rosa Parks of Iowa.” Griffin moved to Des Moines with her husband and children in 1947 and by 1948 she was agitating for change. She led a campaign to desegregate the lunch counter at the local Katz Drug Store,…

  • 25 for 25: Lenabelle Bock

    Today, the Iowa Women’s Archives commemorates Lenabelle Bock. Bock, whose name is spelled variously Lenabelle and Lena Belle, was politically active in Iowa for over twenty-five years before her election to the Iowa House of Representatives. Bock, a Republican, campaigned for and won the…

  • 25 for 25: Ernest Rodriguez and Estefania Rodriguez

    Ernest and Estefania Rodriguez’s father, Norberto, migrated to the United States from the state of Jalisco, Mexico in 1910. He met their mother, Muggie Adams, an African-American woman from Alabama in Iowa. The Rodriguez family lived in Holy City, a box car community in Bettendorf, Iowa for…

  • 25 for 25: Evelyn Birkby

    Evelyn Birkby began her decades-long careers as a radio homemaker in 1950. Her program, “Down a Country Lane,” focused on her life in rural Iowa. She continued to broadcast as a part of Kitchen-Klatter, a program with listeners in six states. She has written a weekly column for the…

  • 25 for 25: Mary Louise Smith

    Today, at the Iowa Women’s Archives commemorate one of our founders, Mary Louise Smith! Smith was born Mary Louise Epperson on October 6th, 1914 in Eddyville, Iowa. She became involved with the Republican Party in the 1950s and quickly rose through the ranks. In 1974, just after Watergate,…

  • 25 for 25: Ruth Salzmann Becker

    Ruth Salzmann Becker’s papers represent several common themes found in IWA’s collections, including Jewish women in Iowa, German immigration, and feminist activism. Elizabeth Heineman, professor and chair of the University of Iowa’s history department, has used Becker’s…