The University of Iowa Libraries

Skip to content
print page header

Oral Histories

This is a list of nearly all of the oral histories held in the Iowa Women’s Archives.  It includes individual oral history interviews, oral histories contained within the manuscript collections of Iowa women and their organizations, as well as oral history projects. The oral histories encompass a wide variety of topics from rural Iowa women to Iowa police women, artists, feminists, and civil rights activists.  Together, they constitute a rich resource, providing insight into aspects of Iowa history that are often unavailable through written documentation. For example, many of the interviews shed light on the history of previously under-represented or marginalized populations in Iowa including the history of Latinas and African American women.

The interviews were recorded in different formats including audiotapes, videotapes, and digital recordings.  Additional biographical information, photographs, and associated materials accompany many of the interviews.

A

African American History Project

Nine interviews with African Americans (predominantly women) from different parts of Iowa formed the basis of a research project conducted by Frances Hawthorne in 1992.

In the Frances Hawthorne Papers.

African American Women in Iowa Oral History Project

Sponsored by the Iowa Women’s Archives.  Fourteen interviews conducted between 1996 and 1997.  Audiotapes and transcripts.

In the Giving Voice to their Memories: African American Women in Iowa Oral History Project Collection.

Aguilera, Maria Mercedes

Former resident of Cook’s Point in Davenport, Iowa.

In the Mujeres Latinas Oral Histories Collection [unprocessed].

[See also Maria Mercedes Aguilera Papers.]

Artists in Iowa Oral Histories

Interviews with seventy Iowa women artists conducted by Jane Robinette, 1998-1999.  Audiotapes and transcripts.

In the Iowa Women Artists Oral History Project Collection.

Atalig, Angelica Lynn Rose

The narrator describes growing up in a bilingual, biracial family in Garner, Iowa. Oral history conducted in 1999.  Audiotape and transcript.

View finding aid.

B

Benton County Women

Interviews with ten women from Benton County, Iowa, were conducted through an oral history project of the Benton County Association of American University Women in 1994.  Transcripts only.

In the Her Own Story: Ten Benton County Women.

Birkby, Evelyn

Radio homemaker.  Interview conducted in 2006. Two audiotapes.

In the Birkby Collection of Radio Homemaker Materials.

Black Des Moines: Voices Seldom Heard

Eleven interviews conducted by Verda Williams for her documentary film, Black Des Moines: Voices Seldom Heard.  Audiotapes and transcripts.

In the Verda Williams Papers.

Boedeker, Margaret (1919-2000)

Teacher for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  One audiotape.

In the Margaret Talcott Boedeker Papers.

Boller, Betty

Des Moines wife and mother who worked as a secretary during World War II.  Oral history conducted in 1999. Audiotape and transcript.

View finding aid.

Boulware, Lois

University of Iowa physician.  Oral history conducted by James Beilman for the University of Iowa Libraries, 1977. Transcript.

View finding aid.

Braverman, Rosalie (1910- )

Jewish immigrant in Iowa and University of Iowa student in the 1920s.  Oral history conducted in 1996. Audiotape and transcript.

In the Rosalie Braverman Papers.

Burns, Jean

Muscatine area teacher, farm woman, and the niece of early twentieth century Iowa labor activist, Pearl McGill.  Oral history conducted in 2005. Four audiotapes.

In the McGill Family Papers.

Burton, Lena Josephene Nelson

Burton, a suffragist and WCTU member, is remembered on tape by her grandaughter, Carol Deters. One audiotape.

C

Coleman, Mary Sue

Former president of the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Interview conducted in 1997 by Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Curator, Archives of Women in Science and Engineering at Iowa State University, Ames.  Transcript only.

D

Davis, Aldeen (1916-2001)

Muscatine newspaper columnist and civil rights activist from Centerville, Iowa.  Two videotapes and one audiotape, “Muscatine Black Families and the AME Church.”

In the Aldeen Davis Papers.

Davis, Laura (1916-1993)

Social worker in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Interview conducted in 1984.  Audiotape and transcript.

In the Laura Davis Papers.

Dendel, Esther (1910-2002)

Iowa author and artist. Seven audiotapes and transcript.

In the Esther Sietmann Warner Dendel Papers.

E

Everett, Beverly George (1926-2001)

Family farmer, volunteer, and community activist who served on U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and the International Women’s Year Commission. One audiocassette.

In the Beverly George Everett Papers.

F

Feminists of the Second Wave in Iowa

Twenty-one interviews conducted by Louise Noun with Iowa feminists, social reformers, and community organizers as research for her book, More Strong-Minded Women: Iowa Feminists Tell their Stories (Ames, Iowa, 1992).  Audiotapes and transcripts.

In the Louise Noun Papers.

Ferns, Grace

Rural Iowa school teacher.  Oral history conducted by Jan Losby for the Johnson County Historical Society, 2002. Transcript.

In the Grace Ferns Papers.

G

Garcia, Inez

Fort Madison wife and mother. Interview conducted by her daughter, Teresa Garcia, in 1999. Two audiotapes and transcript.

In the Inez Garcia Papers. [unprocessed]

A second interview, conducted in 2005 by Rachel Carreon, is shelved in the Mujeres Latinas Oral Histories Collection.

Gernes, Elizabeth Anna (1907-1996)

Educator and Red Cross worker. Interview conducted in 1996. Audiotape and transcript.

View finding aid

Griffin, Edna

Des Moines civil rights activist and Progressive Party member.  Interview conducted by Verda Williams, ca. 1985.  Audiotapes and transcript.

In the Verda Williams Papers.

An Interview with Griffin’s daughter, Phyllis Griffin, conducted by Noah Lawrence, 2004.  Audiotape and transcript.

In the Edna Griffin Papers.

H

Hamblin, Dora Jane

Reporter for Life magazine from Bedford, Iowa. Oral history recorded in 1988, videotape.

In the Dora Jane Hamblin Papers.

Hata, Kay

Japanese-American nurse who was imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Oral history recorded in 1999.  Audiotape and transcript.

Hoidalh, Florence

Newspaper columnist. Interview conducted by Gladys Rife in 1985.  Audiotapes and transcript.

In the Gladys Talcott Rife Papers.

Home Economics Professors at the University of Iowa

Interviews with three former professors in the University of Iowa Home Economics Department, conducted in 2000, nine years after the department was closed. Audiotapes and transcripts.

In the Oral Histories of University of Iowa Home Economics Professors Collection. [in process]

I

Interviews with Iowa Women Judges

Interviews with the first generation of Iowa’s women jurists.   Five oral histories conducted by political science undergraduate students at Iowa State University, Ames, 1997-1998.  Transcripts only.

In the Iowa Women Judges Project Collection.

Interviews with Iowa Women Legislators

Interviews with fifty Iowa women legislators conducted by Suzanne O’Dea Schenken between 1988 and 1993. Transcripts only.

In A Political Dialogue: Iowa’s Women Legislators.

J

Judges

See: Interviews with Iowa Women Judges.

K

Kubby, Karen

Iowa City feminist and city council member.  Interview conducted by Kit Murray, 1999.  One audiotape [AC500].

L

Legislators

See: Interviews with Iowa Women Legislators.

Lewis, Catherine

Eleven interviews conducted by Catherine Lewis in 1995 for the Smithsonian Insititute’s Festival of American Folklore & Iowa Festival of Iowa Folklife. Eight audiotapes.

View finding aid .

Louden, Kathryn

A member of the Iowa Porkettes.  Interview conducted by Doris Malkmus, 2001.  One audiotape.

In the Iowa Porkettes Records.

Lyon, Pauline

Navy WAVE during World War II.  One audiotape [AC352].

M

Mackay, Dora E.

Des Moines singer and beauty shop owner. Interview conducted in 2006. Audiotape.

In the Dora E. Mackay Papers.

McCormick, Dale

Iowa City feminist and activist.  Interview conducted by John McKerley, 2003.  Two audiotapes.

In the Dale McCormick Papers.

McKenzie, Betty

Red Oak, Iowa, farm woman.  Interview conducted by Karen Mason, 2005.  Two audiotapes.

In the Betty McKenzie Papers [unprocessed]

Meade, Magdalen

Farm woman and political organizer from Riverside, Iowa.  Interview conducted by Andor Skotnes, 1991-1992. Seven audiotapes and transcript.

In the Magdalen Meade Papers.

Mujeres Latinas Oral History Project

Sponsored by the Iowa Women’s Archives. Over one hundred interviews with Iowa Latinas and their families (predominantly Mexican American women) were conducted between 2004 and 2008.  In addition to audiotapes and transcripts, the collection includes associated materials such as photographs and newspaper clippings.

In the Mujeres Latinas Oral Histories Collection [in process].

N

Neff. Ortha P.

Red Cross worker and Girl Scout executive director from Nichols, Iowa.  Interview conducted by Mary Evans of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library as part of the Library of Congress Veterans Oral History Project.  One videotape.

In the Ortha P. Neff Papers.

Noun, Louise

Feminist, activist, and co-founder of the Iowa Women’s Archives.  Oral histories conducted by J. Vacchiano, in 1992, and by Virigina Wadlsey, in 1999. Audiotapes and transcripts.

In the Louise Noun Papers.

P

Peiffer, Eva

Oral history interview conducted in 1994 by Rachel Casteel.  One audiotape.

In the War Brides of World War II Collection.

Policewomen in Iowa

The entry of women into law enforcement agencies in Iowa is documented through fifteen oral history interviews conducted by retired police officer Phylliss Henry, 1997-2005. Audiotapes and transcripts.

In the Oral Histories of Iowa Policewomen Collection.

[See also Phylliss Henry Papers]

R

Rural Women’s Oral History Project

A collaborative effort sponsored by the Iowa Women’s Archives and Iowa State University. Thirty-five interviews with Iowa farm women were conducted from 2001 to 2002. Audiotapes and transcripts.

In the Voices From the Land Collection. [In process]

S

Schallau, Elsie Boddicker (1913-1997)

Iowa farm woman.  Interviewed by her daughter, Mona Anne Guerrant, in 1980 and 1982.  Audiotapes and transcript.

View finding aid.

Seiberling, Nancy

Iowa City conservationist and founding member of Project Green.  Interviewed in 2001 by Linda K. Kerber, University of Iowa May Brodbeck Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences.  Audiotape [AC623] and transcript.

[See also Gretchen Harshbarger Papers]

Sioux City, Diocese of

Interviews conducted with five members of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Sioux City, 1991. Audiotapes and transcripts.

In the Women’s History Project (Catholic Church, Diocese of Sioux City) Collection.

Smith, Mary Louise

First woman to chair the Republican National Committe and co-founder of the Iowa Women’s Archives.  Interview conducted by Kim Fradgley.  One audiotape [AC813].

In the Mary Louise Smith Papers.

T

Thornhill, Esther

Mother and homemaker from Ida Grove, Iowa. Oral history recorded by her grandson, Derik Cranston, 1995. Audiotape.

View finding aid.

Tucker, Bertha Korn

Jewish writer from Des Moines, Iowa.  Interview conducted by Michael Pollock and Susan Demas, 1999. Audiotapes.

In the Bertha Korn Tucker Papers

V

Vandervelde, Marjorie

Writer and traveler who lived among the Kuna Indians.  Interview conducted in 2003, Emmetsburg, Iowa.  Audiotapes.

In the Marjorie Vandervelde Papers.

W

Williams, Catherine Gayle

Professional dancer and former deputy commissioner of the Iowa Department of Social Services.  A series of interviews conducted by David Smith,1982. Six audiotapes.

In the Catherine Gayle Williams Papers.

A second interview was conducted in 1995 for the Smithsonian Institute’s Festival of American Folklore and Iowa Festival of Iowa Folklife. Audiotape [AC352].

Women’s Resource and Action Center

Fourteen interviews with founding members of WRAC to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary.  Audiotapes and transcripts.

In the Women’s Resource and Action Center Records.

Y

Z

 

[return to top of page]

[return to Autobiographical Resources]