Preserving 'Her' story

Preserving 'Her' story

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Iowa Women's Archives celebrates 20 years of documenting, preserving women's history
ERA rallyA young girl sits on her father's shoulders during a rally in support of the Equal Rights Amendment in the early 1980s.

For 20 years, the Iowa Women’s Archives has been carrying out the vision of its founders, Louise Noun and Mary Louise Smith, two prominent Des Moines women who saw the necessity of a repository to document the experiences and achievements of the women of Iowa.

Noun was an art collector, historian, social activist, and philanthropist; Smith was a Republican Party activist and the first woman to chair the Republican National Committee, serving from 1974 to 1977.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, University of Iowa Libraries will host author Suzanne O’Dea, whose latest book Madam Chairman: Mary Louise Smith and the Republican Revival after Watergate was published last month. She will speak about her research and take questions from those gathered in the North Lobby of the UI Main Library from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 10.

The IWA now holds more than 1,100 manuscript collections, dating from the 19th century to the present, that chronicle the lives and work of Iowa women and their families. The collection is open to the public and many pieces are available digitally,

Click on the thumbnails below for a sample of the IWA holdings.


Kristi Bontrager, University Libraries, 319-335-5960


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