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Women in Sport: An Iowa Women's Archives Resource Guide: Professional & Recreational Sports

A guide to the collections housed at the Iowa Women's Archives from and about girls and women in sports, athletics, and gender equity.


Bolin, Molly. Papers. 1972-1997. 4 linear inches and audiovisual materials. Professional basketball player from Moravia, Iowa; played for Iowa Cornets from 1978-81 and for San Francisco and Columbus (OH) teams until 1984. Her renowned basketball career began in her first high school game as a junior for the Moravia Mohawkettes when she scored sixty-three points on her sixteenth birthday. At seventeen, she was selected to participate in final try-outs for the 1976 U. S. Women's Olympic Basketball Team. In 1978 Bolin was the first player to sign with the Women's Basketball League (WBL) when she joined the Iowa Cornets, founded by George Nissen of Cedar Rapids. She became known as 'Machine Gun' Molly for her remarkable scoring records. Bolin was inducted into the Iowa High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 1986.

Domond, Nadine. Papers. 1994-1998. 7 linear feet. Domond graduated as an All-American basketball star from Bridgeport Central High School in Connecticut in 1994. She led her high school team to the state title and went on to play four years of Big Ten basketball at the University of Iowa. Domond played on the last team coached by legendary women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer during her Iowa tenure from 1994 to 1995. As of 2010, Domond was fifth in all-time Hawkeye women's three-point shooting. The New York Liberty's fledging WNBA team drafted Domond as the nineteenth overall pick. She also played for the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs and went overseas to play basketball for teams in France, Poland and Israel.

Francis, Betty. Papers. 1944-2016. 5 linear inches. Professional Baseball player from Iowa who played five seasons for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league lasted from 1943 until 1954. She first played for the Chicago Colleens rookie development team in 1949. Then, she was promoted to the Muskegon Lassies late in the season and stayed with the franchise once it was renamed the Kalamazoo Lassies. She played four seasons with the Kalamazoo Lassies before ending her career with the South Bend Blue Sox. In her final season, she batted .350 (5th in the league) and was 7th in doubles. 

Iowa Cornets. Records. 1978-1997. 1.5 linear inches. Professional women’s basketball team that played in the Women’s Basketball League from 1978-1980. The Iowa Cornets, first team to become a member of the Women's Basketball League (WBL), was created in 1978 based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The collection consists primarily of newspaper clippings about the Iowa Cornets, along with brochures, publicity material, and a program for the 1979-1980 season. Also included are newspaper clippings about the filming of Dribble and girls’ basketball, and articles concerning women's professional basketball leagues of the late 1970s.

Lewis, Catherine. Papers. 1995. 2 linear inches and 9 audiocassettes. Tapes of interviews with women softball players, quilters, hand spinners; photographs; and field reports prepared by Lewis for the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folklore.

Noble Photograph Collection. Photographs and papers. 1870s -1990s (bulk 1900-1920), 5 linear feet. Postcards and photographs of various Iowa subjects. Includes photographs of women in sport and recreational activities. Digitized photographs are available on the Iowa Digital Library.

Penquite, Rhonda. Papers. 1967-1998. 5 linear inches. Professional basketball player and coach. All-American college player. Played professionally for the Iowa Cornets and the New Mexico Energee. Head coach of women’s basketball at Oral Roberts University, 1986-1989.

YWCA Of Greater Des Moines. Records. 1895-1995. 12 linear feet. Local chapter affiliated with the National Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) in 1896. Over the years the YWCA has provided numerous programs and activities which were not traditionally offered to women. For example, in 1898, the first women's basketball game ever played in Des Moines was held in the YWCA's gymnasium. Since 1901, the YWCA of Greater Des Moines has also offered a variety of courses to women. In the 1880s and 1890s, the National YWCA aided immigrants in rural communities. Today the YWCA continues such programs, to attain "peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people," and works to eliminate "racism wherever it exists and by any means necessary." (Box 1, Administrative records, Histories).

From the Molly Bolin papers

Iowa Cornets Season Program, 1979-1980.

From the Betty Francis papers

Betty Francis with the Kalamazoo Lassies, 1951.

From the Noble Photograph Collection

Adults playing croquet on the lawn, Iowa, 1900s.