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University of Iowa News Release


March 8, 2007

UI Libraries Honors Iowa Homemakers And Activists For Women's History Month

The University of Iowa Libraries is celebrating Women's History Month by highlighting archival collections about rural women and civil rights activists from the Iowa Women's Archives (IWA). A selection of digitized photographs, correspondence, audio recordings and other artifacts documenting the lives of Iowa women is currently featured on the university's Iowa Digital Library site:

In addition to the online collections, two public events are scheduled in March to celebrate the history of women in Iowa. The first event, highlighting the African American Women in Iowa collections and located online at, will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at the Afro-American Cultural Center at 303 Melrose Ave. in Iowa City.

The Mujeres Latinas Project, found at, will be featured during a brown bag lunch event "Latinas and the Emergence of a Grassroots Civil Rights Movement in Iowa" at noon Tuesday, March 27, in the UI Main Library as part of the campus-wide Latinos in Action Week: Honoring Cesar Chavez.

"Every month is a celebration of women's history in the Iowa Women's Archives," says Karen Mason, curator of the IWA. "We're happy to take part in the celebration of Women's History Month, which gives us a chance to highlight some of the many exceptional women who have changed the course of Iowa history in ways large and small."

The Iowa Digital Library, an online repository of the University's locally created digital collections, is featuring the following digitized selections from IWA in honor of Women's History Month:

--Evelyn Birkby Collection of Radio Homemaker Materials: Wife, mother, homemaker, newspaper columnist, and radio personality, Birkby is a journalist with a passion for rural history.

--Noble Photograph Collection: Mary Noble, a librarian at the University for over three decades, has collected thousands of historic photographs, postcards, glass plate negatives and other images of and by Iowa women.

--Virginia Harper Papers: As a student at the UI, Harper helped integrate Currier Residence Hall in 1946; after graduation, she went on to become president of her local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

--Shirley Sandage Papers:

Activist Sandage managed a variety of social programs to help migrant farm workers, impoverished children, and people with disabilities.

SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory 319-384-0012,; Program: Kristi Bontrager, public relations coordinator University of Iowa Libraries, 319-335-5960

PHOTOS: High-resolution images from the collections are available here: