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Iowa Women’s Archives

The Iowa Women’s Archives holds more than 1200 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

  • Feminist Activism on Display in IWA

    Over the next year, we’ll be celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. Already, we’re marking important dates.  100 years ago on June 4th, Congress passed the 19th amendment, and July 2nd was the 100th anniversary of Iowa’s becoming the […]

  • Playing, Pretending, Becoming: Iowa Girls and Their Dolls

    Shirley Briggs had a lot of toys. As a very little girl in the early 1920s, Shirley had dozens of pictures taken of her ensconced in an oversized chair with children’s book, playing in a wheel barrow, sitting in the sun, all with a coterie of stuffed animals and dolls. The most frequent […]

  • History Reflected Back: Part II

    Below is a reflection from Micaela Terronez, Olson Graduate Assistant, on a recent talk about her interest in the Mexican barrios of the Quad Cities at a local community gathering in Davenport, Iowa. She will be giving a version of this talk at “Workers’ Dream for an […]

  • History Reflected Back: Part I

    Below is a reflection from Micaela Terronez, Olson Graduate Assistant, on a recent talk about her interest in the Mexican barrios of the Quad Cities at a local community gathering in Davenport, Iowa. She will be giving a version of this talk at “Workers’ Dream for an […]

  • Activists in the Archives: Connecting High School Students with Local LGBTQ History

    Guest post by Dr. Heather Cooper, Visiting Assistant Professor in History and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies During LGBTQ History Month in October 2018, I worked with the Iowa Women’s Archives and University Special Collections to organize an archives visit for students from […]

  • An Iowa Woman in Japan: Kären Mason’s Trip to Rikkyo University

    Kären Mason, Iowa Women’s Archives curator, traveled to Tokyo in November to speak at Rikkyo University. Sixty library students, archivists, and others attended her lecture, entitled “Archives for All: Creating More Inclusive Archives in the United States.” Kären was […]

  • New Website Celebrates Mildred Wirt Benson, the First Carolyn Keene

    In 1930, the Stratemeyer Syndicate published the first Nancy Drew mystery, The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene. Since then, Nancy Drew has become known around the world. But who was behind Carolyn Keene? The mystery of the pseudonym persisted until a 1980 court case identified Mildred Wirt […]