November 2002 – February 2003

“Women have always, as have men, been agents and actors in history, but they have been excluded from recorded history.” – Gerda Lerner, Why History Matters

Women make history—in the home, in the community, in the state house. Over the past decade the Iowa Women’s Archives in the University of Iowa Libraries has actively collected the letters, diaries, photographs, oral histories, and other materials that illuminate the diverse experience of Iowa women. The themes of this exhibition—community, family, work, activism, sports, and the arts—provide a window into women’s activities and suggest possibilities for research. “Women Making History” also touches on women’s roles in wartime and their efforts for peace, and includes a sampling of documents that illustrate some of the many aspects of women’s lives in Iowa over the past century and a half. This exhibition celebrates not only the history of Iowa’s women, but the legacy of Louise Noun and Mary Louise Smith, who ensured that this history would be preserved when they founded the Iowa Women’s Archives.

Prepared by Kären Mason, Amy Cooper, Jacque Roethler, Kathy Wachel and Kristin Baum with assistance from Janet Weaver, Emily Broeckling, Tatiana Ginsberg, Lisa Mott, Julie Cobb Smith, and Heather Stecklein.