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The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Records of the River City Housing Collective
RG 02.03.42
Collection Dates: 1977-2007
5.5 linear ft.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Acquisition and Processing Information: The Records of the River City Housing Collective were transferred to the University Archives in May 2008 as Accession 2008-21. Guide posted to the Internet March 2010.

Photographs: Box 10









Scope and Contents

The Records of the River City Housing Collective consist of five series: Administrative, Houses, Issues, Cooperatives (other), and History. Included are Board of Directors minutes and meeting agendas, financial records such as rent payment histories and expense reports, and newsletters.

Historical Note

The River City Housing Collective was established in 1977 as a means to provide low-cost cooperative living arrangements for University of Iowa students. Although founded as an independent, non-profit organization, the Collective at its onset was closely associated with the University, receiving the support of the UI Student Senate and renting two University-owned houses.

The Collective by the late 1980's grew to five houses, three of which were purchased by the organization. As of 2010, there are three houses comprising the Collective. Members are responsible for house cleaning, yard work, cooking, washing, bookkeeping, and grocery shopping, as well as much of the buildings' maintenance and repairs. In most arrangements members work 16 hours per month and attend house meetings.

An overall administration includes representatives from each house, as well as separate administrations for individual houses. These groups are responsible for guidelines and rules of the co-op. One of the houses documented in this collection, Bloom County House (935 East College Street), is named for the nationally-syndicated comic strip of the same name, which appeared in newspapers from 1980 until 1989. Its cartoonist, Berke Breathed, lived there during the early 1980s. The Collective purchased the building in 2003.

The Collective has continued a long tradition of organized and ad-hoc cooperative housing in Iowa City. Additional resources documenting earlier co-op activity at the University of Iowa are noted under Related Materials.

Related Materials

Berger, Elizabeth A. "The Student Cooperative Dormitory and Democratic Group Life as Illustrated by Russell House." Master's thesis, State University of Iowa, 1939. T1939.B49.

Charlotte Enger Jones Papers (RG 02.09.14)

Jones, Charlotte Enger. “Memories of Co-op Dorm Living: 1931 -- 1955.” University of Iowa Historical Papers Collection (RG 01.01.03)

Everett E. Sterner Papers, 1931-1943 (RG 02.09.09)

Subject Vertical Files Collection, Miscellaneous category, "Coop housing" folder (RG 01.15.05)

Box Contents List

Box 1


Board member profiles. Undated.

Board of directors. Index to Minutes. 1978-1983.

Board of directors. 1977-1990 (8 folders).

Box 2

Administration, cont.

Board of directors. 1991-2004 (6 folders).

Budget and balance sheets. 1991-2000.

Box 3

Administration, cont.

Budget reports. 2002-2004.

Budget versus actual. 2000-2002.

By-laws and history. 1979-2002.

Correspondence. 1981-2001.

Credit union. General account. 1987-2005 (3 folders).

Box 4

Administration, cont.

Credit Union. Maintenance. 1999-2004.

Delinquency files. 1986-2003.

Expenses. General. 1997-1998 (2 folders).

Income. 1996-1997.

Income-expenses. 1996-1997 (folder 1).

Box 5

Administration, cont.

Income-expenses. 1996-1997 (folder 2).

Income. 1998.

Income. 1999.

Income-expenses. 1998-1999.

Income. 2000.

Income-expenses. 2000.

Income. 2001.

Box 6

Administration, cont.

Income-expenses. 2001.

Income. 2002.

Income-expenses. 2002.

Income. 2003.

Income-expenses. 2003.

Income. 2004.

Income surveys. 1982-1998.

Maintenance checks. 1996-1999.

Box 7

Administration, cont.

Perpetual Savings Bank. 1995-1997.

Promissory notes. 1996-2000.

Savings. 1996-2004.

Savings. Certificates of deposit. 1998-2004.

Maintenance Committee. 1994-2002.

Membership. 2002.

National Consumer Cooperative Bank. 1981-1991.

Organization. 1990-1993.

Rental process. 2001-2003.

Secretary’s notebook. Undated.

Vice-President’s notebook. 2004-2005.


Anomy meetings. 1988-1990.

Box 8

Houses, cont.

Anomy meetings. 1993-2007 (6 folders).

Bellatrix. 1991-1992.

Bloom County house. 1992.

Box 9

Houses, cont.

Bloom County house. #1-#3. 2003-2006.

----. #4-#7. 2005.

----. #8. 2006.

----. #9-#10. 2003-2006.

Haddock house.1996-2003.

Lametry Hall. 2002.

River House. 1996-2002.

Summit house. 1995-1996.

Virago. 1995-1996.

Woodchuck. 1991.

614 Iowa Avenue. 1993.

Box 10

Houses, cont.

Photographs. Undated.

Conflict. Undated.


Discrimination. Undated.

Facilitation. 2002; Undated.

Feminist process. 1989.

Harassment. 1989-1991.

Human rights. Undated.

Referral. Undated.

Cooperatives - other

North American Student Cooperative Organization (NASCO). 2003.

NASCO Institute. 2004.

Box 11


Cooperatives. 1992; undated.


Early records and information, including newsletters. 1975-1982 (2 folders).

News Archive, including newsletters. 1988-1999.