The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News

Nov. 28, 2005

UI Offers Dec. 6 Lecture On Cedar County Poorhouse

Marilyn Olson, clinical pharmacist and graduate student in the University of Iowa Department of History , will speak on "Sick and Poor in Cedar County, Iowa: Local Government and the Poorhouse in the 1860s to 1880s" at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, in Room 401 of the UI Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.

The presentation is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. The lecture is part of a series of presentations sponsored by the UI History of Medicine Society.

Olson will discuss local governments' responsibility for the care of the poor before the advent of the New Deal and how the Board of Supervisors in Cedar County, Iowa, dispensed poor relief and managed the medical care of the sick. The board opened a poorhouse in 1871 with the goal of providing care in a more economical manner. However, poorhouse records reveal that the poor sometimes used the facilities to procure aid beyond the guidelines established.

Medical bills were the most contested of all the poor claims submitted to the board. After 1875, the board contracted with physicians for a flat yearly fee to care for the sick and poor. Olson will examine the relationship between local government, physicians and access to medical care by the poor.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Ed Holtum at 319-335-9154 or

For directions to Hardin Library and information on parking, visit

For more information about the UI History of Medicine Society lecture series, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACTS: Media: Becky Soglin, 319-335-6660,; Program: Susan Lawrence, UI associate professor of history, UI History of Medicine Society, 319-353-4681,