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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 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

  • 25 for 25: Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission

    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…

  • 25 for 25: Nurses and nursing

    The collections in the Iowa Women’s Archives feature women from all walks of life. For Karissa Haugeberg, Assistant Professor of History at Tulane University, the papers regarding nursing and nurses are of special interest. Collections in this broad topic include papers authored or…

  • 25 for 25: Equal Rights Amendment

    The Iowa Women’s Archives features several collections related Iowa’s rejected 1980 Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was the first state ERA initiative after the passage of the national ERA in 1972. These include the Iowa ERA Coalition papers, and the Iowa Women Against the ERA…

  • 25 for 25: Dieman-Bennett Dance Theatre of the Hemispheres

      “Diversity in Dance.” This was the motto of Edna Dieman and Julia Bennett  when they founded the Dieman-Bennett Dance Theatre of the Hemispheres in 1951. The Cedar Rapids dance school operated until 1997, with classes in classical ballet, as well as dance styles from Spain…

  • 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…