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Iowa Women's Archives


The diaries held in the Iowa Women’s Archives illuminate the daily lives of Iowans from a variety of social and economic backgrounds and occupations.  Dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, the majority of the diaries are preserved alongside other primary source materials within the manuscript collections of Iowa women and their families. Together, these documents provide a rich context for understanding and interpreting the past.




Allen, Hilda Ellyson (1888-19xx)
Educator and writer from West Branch, Iowa. Two diaries, 1934 and 1935 to 1936.  The first describes a family trip to Minnesota and the second was written by Hilda Allen’s daughter, Hermione, when she was a teenager.
In the Hilda Ellyson Allen Papers.
Anderson, Delvena (1887-1973)
Thirteen-page diary of a trip from Iowa City through eastern Canada in 1958.
View finding aid.

Backes Lenora
The diaries of an east central Iowa farm woman written between 1944 and 1946.
View finding aid.
Bamford, Helen (1902-1994)
Professional photographer from Muscatine, Iowa.  Four diaries written between 1979 and 1989.
In the Helen Bamford Papers.
Becker, Ruth Salzmann (1922-2007)
Nurse, community activist, and Jewish immigrant to the United States in 1940.  The papers include the diary of Becker’s 1964 trip to South America as well as the 1923 diary of her grandfather, Hugo Salzmann.
In the Ruth Salzmann Becker Papers.

Bradley, Lué
The daughter in an affluent New York family.  Lué Bradley’s diaries were written between 1879 and 1897 and describe family activities and her education.
In the Bradley Family Papers.
Brant, Alice Sophia (1882-1956)
Twenty-four diaries, 1932 to 1946, of a homemaker and mother who helped manage the family funeral home in Oelwein, Iowa. The diary of her daughter, Naomi Brant, chronicles the period when the family was quarantined for smallpox in 1921.
In the Alice Sophia Brant Papers.

Briggs, Lela Powers (1896-1953)
The diaries, written between 1934 and 1952, of an artist who farmed with her husband near La Porte, Iowa.
In the Lela Powers Briggs Papers.
Brown, Paula Watts (1909-1974)
Activist from Des Moines, Iowa.  Three diaries written between 1930 and 1972.
In the Paula Watts Brown Papers.

Bunkers, Suzanne (1950- )
English professor and diarist.  Fifty volumes of diaries written between 1970 and 1999.
View finding aid.


Cech, Annette (1922-  )
Iowa City housewife and mother.  The journal was written in 1989, the year her son, Thomas Cech, won the Nobel Prize.
In the Annette Cech Papers.
Cheney, Anna Susan Moore (1877-1953)
The collection consists of the diaries of a mother and minister’s wife written between 1892 and 1953.
View finding aid.
Christen, Inez (1906-1999)
Hired girl, farm woman, and mother from Northeast Iowa.  The collection consists of transcripts of her diaries, written between 1922 and 2000.
View finding aid.
Conn, Gladys (1910-2005)
Social worker from Marne, Iowa.  Her 1922 to 1955 diaries describe her daily activities as a mother and community member.
In the Gladys Conn Papers.
Cowden, Ruth M. Rowland (1894-1978)
The transcription of Cowden’s 1929 travel diary details her journey by car from Des Moines, Iowa, to Los Angeles, California.
View finding aid.

Crary, Julia
A performer in the Chatauqua circuit.  The six diaries of Julia Crary (the sister of Evelyn Crary Bacon) begin in 1917 when she was fifteen years old.
In the Evelyn Crary Bacon Papers.


DeCook, Besse De Prenger
Farm woman from Pella, Iowa.  The 1932 farm diary details daily activities on the farm the year her daughtrer was born.
In the Van Zante and DeCook Family Papers.
Ducommon, Minnie (1906-1988)
Rural Iowa housewife and mother. The diary, written between 1936 and 1939 records her experiences during the Depression.
View finding aid.
DeLand, Ida Sherman
Homemaker and wife of a district judge in Storm Lake, Iowa.  The diary was written between 1905 and 1939.
In the Swope and DeLand Family Papers.


Eblen, Charlene “Mac” (1923- )
English professor at the University of Northern Iowa. Eblen’s journals date from 1976 to 1995.
In the Charlene “Mac” Eblen Papers
Everett, Beverly George (1926-2001)
Family farmer and community activist from New Sharon, Iowa.  Everett’s 1945 to 1946 diary.
In the Beverly George Everett Papers.


Farquhar, Marian
(1917- )
Missionary to the Sudan who spent her childhood in Page County, Iowa.  The 1931 to 1943 diaries describe her years in the United States.
In the Marian Farquhar Papers.
Faxon, Charlotte (ca 1846- )
A 67-page travel diary written between1864-1867.
View finding aid.

Filipowska, Patricia (1924-1993)
Poet from Burlington Iowa. Her diary entitled “Letters to Myself” was written from 1974 to 1978.
In the Patricia Filipowska Papers.



Hall, Arlene Gardner (1908-1999)
Washerwoman and housekeeper from rural Iowa.  Thirteen journals written between the 1930s and 1990s.
In the Arlene Gardner Hall Papers.

Hansen, Lorraine Rogers (1920-1980)
Homemaker and bakery owner from Manson, Iowa.  Thirteen diaries record her daily activities between 1958 and 1973.
In the Lorraine Rogers Hansen Papers.
Harris, Claudine (1926-)
French immigrant to the United States in 1941.  The journals of Claudine Harris were written in the 1940s and 1950s.  The collection also includes portions of the World War II journal of her brother, Jacques Maroni.
In the Claudine Harris Papers.
Haygarth, Georgia Peeso (1882-1952)
The collection includes the 1941 to 1952 diaries of Georgia Peeso Haygarth, a resident of Spoencer, Iowa, as well as a transcript of the 1859 diary of her father, Melvin Moses Peeso, a logger in California.
In the Georgia Peeso Haygarth Papers.
Hein, Gwendolyn Johnson (1911- )
Farm woman whose 1961 to 1964 five-year diary records farm work as well as sports and social activities.
In the Gwendolyn Hein Papers.
Herr Catharine King (1885-1978)
Transcripts of 1976 and 1978 excerpts from diaries.
View finding aid.
Hill, Willow (1954- )
The 1964 to 1972 diaries describe growing up in rural Iowa; the 1992 to 2001 diaries contain poetry and self-reflection.
In the Willow Hill Papers.
Holden, Ida “Belle” Bandfield (died 1905)
The 1898 to 1905 diary of “Belle” Holden records daily events and her husband’s death from tuberculosis in 1899.
View finding aid.
Homan, Gladys (1899-1996)
Diaries written between 1916 and 1966 provide insight into local events and family life in Corning, Iowa.
In the Gladys Homan Papers.



Keck, Maude Barkley (1883-1976)
Diaries written between 1941 and 1975, record farm chores and finances, housekeeping and family life of a Cherokee, Iowa, woman.
In the Maude Barkley Keck Papers.
Kelley, Alice (1915- )
The papers include Kelley’s diaries written from 1926 to 2002, the diaries of her sister, Mary Kelley, 1992 to 2003, and travel diaries about trips they took together between 1947 and 1975.
In the Alice Kelley Papers.
Keppy, Myrtle (1924-2009)
Champion hog breeder, farm woman, 4-H leader, and president of the Iowa Porkettes. Her papers include sixteen diaries written between 1936 and 2000. Three diaries of her mother, Mildred Wiese, were written between 1930 and 1951.
In the Myrtle Keppy Papers.
Kern, Jean (1913- )
Incudes a diary written between 1929 and 1931.
In the Jean Kern Papers.
Klemesrud, Judy (1939-1985)
New York Times journalist whose diaries were written between 1978 and 1981
In the Judy Klemesrud Papers.

Knoop, Pearl
Journals of the daily birdwatching activities of a woman from Marble Rock, Iowa, 1933 to 1998.
In the Pearl Knoop Papers.

Kromminga, Maria Margaretha
A single parent who lived on her parents’ farm in Monticello, Iowa.  Her diaries cover the period from 1897 to 1921.
In the Maria Kromminga Papers.
Laughlin, Lois (1925- )
Forty diaries, written between 1953 and 2007, of a West Branch, Iowa, feminist and activist.
In the Lois Laughlin Papers.
Laughlin, Ruth (1954-1986)
Social activist and writer whose diaries date from 1969 to 1986.
In the Ruth Laughlin Papers.
Liers, Louise (1887-1983)
The 1918 journal of a World War I army nurse from Clayton, Iowa.
In the Louise Liers Papers.
Lindahl, Carrie (1887-1977)
The extensive diaries of a rural Linn County banker were written between 1940 and 1955.  There is also a travel diary from 1928.
In the Carrie Lindahl Papers.

Lucas, Beulah Marie
A transcript of the diary of Beulah Marie Lucas of Pocahontas, Iowa, was compiled by her son, Jerry Yocum.
In the Jerry Yocum Papers.

Ludemann, Mae Irene
A native of Parkersburg, Iowa, Ludemann kept a diary of her 1929 trip to Europe.
In the Mae Ludemann Papers.

Martin, Irene
A widow whose 1921 to 1969 journal records how she made ends meet after her husband’s death in 1938.
In the Off and Holsteen Family Papers.
Martinson, Kate (1858-1941)
The diary of an Iowa farm woman, written between 1872 and 1917, chronicles her marriage, childrearing, family farm management, divorce, and remarriage.
View finding aid.
McDonald, Helena Jongewaard (1894-1989)
A teacher who attended Iowa State College in 1914; her diaries date from 1913 to 1934.
View finding aid.
Means, Edna (1887-1979)
Characterist and dramatic reader from Tama, Iowa.  Six diaries, written between 1921 and 1936, record her travel experiences and performances given throughout the United States.
In the Edna Means Papers.

Michael, Marianne
(1917- )
A missionary who served in Garkida, Nigeria, from 1948 to1961 and kept a diary of her experience there.
In the Marianne Michael Papers.

MIitchell Ruby Crumley
(1880- )
The diaries of an Iowa woman, who lived in Los Angeles after her marriage in 1900, were written between 1930 and 1966.
View finding aid.

Miller, Ellen Mowrer
1868 to 1869 diary of Ellen Mowrer who lived in Boone County, Iowa.
In the Ellen Mowrer Miller Papers.


Nielson, Pauline Petersen

Country school teacher near Harlan, Iowa.  Peterson’s journals describe daily life in rural Iowa from 1907 to 1910.
In the Dallner-Petersen Family Papers.



Patten, Grace (1888-19xx)

Midwife and nurse from Thornton, Iowa, who kept a notebook of her work.
In the Grace Patten Papers.
Perkins, Jesse Antrim Virginia (1893- )
Rural grade school teacher in western Iowa whose papers consist of three partial journals, written in 1905, 1914 and 1927.
View finding aid.
Petersen, Thelma (1909- )
A homemaker from Kirkman, Iowa, who kept extensive diaries between 1949 and 1998.
In the Thelma Petersen Papers.
Pierce, Mary
Daily household activities and community life  are recorded in the 1927 to 1947 diaries of a Harlan, Iowa, homemaker.
In the Pierce-Stuart Family Papers.

Pollock, Cora Belle
Elementary school teacher from Rolfe, Iowa, whose diaries chronicle the years from 1915 to 1938.
In the Cora Belle Pollock Papers.


Reed, Iowa Byington (1851-1936)
Iowa City seamstress.  Extensive diaries chronicle her life from young adulthood to old age.
In the Iowa Byington Reed Papers.

Reger-Wilkinson, Mary Frances
Diary of an American National Red Cross worker, 1942-1947.
In the Mary Frances Reger-Wilkinson Papers.
Ricketts, Ruth Keran
Percival, Iowa, school teacher.  Two journals written in 1941 and 1943.
In the Wilda Jean Schobert Papers.
Robinson, Mae Atkinson (1887-1952)
Two diaries of an Iowa Falls woman, 1907 and 1941.
In the Mae Atkinson Robinson Papers.
Robinson-Lacy Family
Diaries of three members of a Dubuque-area family encompass the period between 1874 and 1913.
In the Robinson-Lacy Family Papers
Rutledge, Almira Safely (1869-1950)
Wife and mother from Early, Iowa, whoses diaries span the years from 1885 to 1950.
In the Almira Safely Rutledge Papers.


Schwartz, Lilian Prentiss (1897-1935)
Artist and teacher who lived in Scarsdale, New York. Her diaries cover the period from 1909 to 1918.
In the Prentiss Family Papers.
Scriabina, Helene (1906-1996)
The diaries of a University of Iowa professor were written in Russian between 1984 and 1991.
In the Helene Scriabine Papers.

Shideler, Mary McDermott
Theologian’s papers include her extensive diaries written between 1929 to 1966.
In the Mary McDermott Shideler Papers.
Shipton, Janet (1923- )
Includes one folder of diaries of the daughter of the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee.
In the Janet Shipton Papers.
Shloss and Mannheimer families
Two prominent Des Moines, Iowa, families.  The diary of Irma Shloss Mannheimer was written between 1908 and 1910 while attending Bryn Mawr College.  The diaries of her husband, Rabbi Eugene Mannheimer, were written between 1918 and 1951.
In the Shloss and Mannheimer Family Papers.
Sies, Jennie (1859-1880)
The diary of a young farm woman provides insight into life in Oxford, Iowa, between January and October 1880.
View finding aid.
Skott, Clara Steen (1888-1994)
Farm woman.  Twenty-seven volumes of diaries detail her life in Iowa, Wisconsin, and China between 1908 and 1970.
In the Clara Steen Skott Papers.
Smith, Laura Gibson (1891-1973)
Country school teacher from Casey, Iowa. Six journals written between 1917 and 1925.
In the Laura Gibson Smith Papers.
Swanson, Alma Erickson (1889-1985)
Swedish farm woman who lived near Ogden, Iowa.  The diaries date from 1903 to 1972.
In the Alma Erickson Swanson Papers.



Talcott, Carrie V. (1890-1981)
Fayette County, Iowa, farmer, writer, and clubwoman. The diaries date from 1913 to 1969.
In the Carrie V. Talcott Papers.
Thorpe, Vina (1906- )
Des Moines newspaper columnist and editor.  The journals date from 1979 to 1995 and concern her daily activities and concerns.
In the Vina Thorpe Papers.

Tylee, Magdalena “Helen”
The diaries of a German war bride who came to Iowa in 1922 date from 1936 to1987.  Also included is a travel diary of a 1958 trip to Germany.  Tylee ran the family farm while her husband served in the military during the Second World War.
In the Magdalena Tylee Papers.

Vallejo, Martina Morado
The diary, “The Labor of a Mother,” was written between 1953 and 1958.  It was transcribed and translated from Spanish by Vallejo’s daughter, Florence Vallejo Terronez. Martina Vallejo emigrated to Kansas from Mexico in 1910.
In the Florence Vallejo Terronez Papers.
Van Zante, Mary (1876- )
The daughter of a Dutch immigrant farm family near Pella, Iowa.  Her diary was written between 1888 and 1900.
In the Van Zante and DeCook Family Papers.



Ward, Myrle Olive (1897-1992)

Missionary from Hamburg, Iowa, who was assigned to work in the Belgian Congo between 1928 and 1948.  Two volumes of diaries, 1935 to 1945.
In the Mryle Olive Ward Papers.
Wherry, Elizabeth (1893-1956)
A farm magazine writer whose diaries, from 1930 to 1953, encompass gardening, travel, and the management of the Wherry farm in Wyoming, Iowa.
In the Elizabeth Wherry Papers.

White, Lucy Van Voorhis
School teacher and farm wife in Dallas County, Iowa.  Her diaries were written between 1882 and 1898.
In the Lucy Van Voorhis White Papers.
Wood, Mary Elizabeth (1902-1998)
Social worker and YWCA executive director from Des Moines, Iowa. Undated diary?


Yates-Glandorf, Janie (1929- )
Iowa City high school drama and English teacher.  She kept a diary from 1943 to 1945 when she was living in North Carolina.
In the Janie Yates-Glandorf Papers.


Zastrow, Katherine Falvey (1904-1997)
Iowa state legislator.  The 1932 to 1995 diaries concern her daily life and activites with occasional references to politics.
In the Katherine Falvey Zastrow Papers.
Zeller, Mildred “Micki” (1940-2000)
Costume designer  and world traveller from Independence, Iowa.  Diaries written between 1954 and 2000 describe world travels, illness, and divorce.
Mildred “Micki” Zeller Papers.

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