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Diaries, Memoirs & Oral Histories: An Iowa Women's Archives' Autobiographical Resource Guide: Diaries

The Diary of...

Allen, Hilda Ellyson (1888-19xx). Educator and writer from West Branch, Iowa. Two diaries, 1934 and 1935 to 1936.  The first describes a family trip to Minnesota and the second was written by Hilda Allen’s daughter, Hermione, when she was a teenager.

Anderson, Delvena (1887-1973). Thirteen-page diary of a trip from Iowa City through eastern Canada in 1958.

Backes, Lenora The diaries of an east central Iowa farm woman written between 1944 and 1946.

Bamford, Helen (1902-1994). Professional photographer from Muscatine, Iowa.  Four diaries written between 1979 and 1989.

Becker, Ruth Salzmann (1922-2007). Nurse, community activist, and Jewish immigrant to the United States in 1940.  The papers include the diary of Becker’s 1964 trip to South America as well as the 1923 diary of her grandfather, Hugo Salzmann.

Bradley, Lué (1868-1922). The daughter in an affluent New York family.  Lué Bradley’s diaries were written between 1879 and 1897 and describe family activities and her education.

Brant, Alice Sophia (1882-1956). Twenty-four diaries, 1932 to 1946, of a homemaker and mother who helped manage the family funeral home in Oelwein, Iowa. The diary of her daughter, Naomi Brant, chronicles the period when the family was quarantined for smallpox in 1921.

Briggs, Lela Powers (1896-1953). The diaries, written between 1934 and 1952, of an artist who farmed with her husband near La Porte, Iowa.

Brown, Paula Watts (1909-1974). Activist from Des Moines, Iowa.  Three diaries written between 1930 and 1972.

Bunkers, Suzanne (1950- ). English professor and diarist whose academic publications focus on women's history and diaries. Her own diaries reflect both her professional development and her personal life. 129 volumes of diaries, five of which are pocket-size travel journals, between 1970 and 2017. Bunkers wrote about academic life, current events, politics, feminism, travel, sexuality, divorce, motherhood, grief, and health.

Cech, Annette (1922-  ). Iowa City housewife and mother.  The journal was written in 1989, the year her son, Thomas Cech, won the Nobel Prize.

Cheney, Anna Susan Moore (1877-1953). The collection consists of the diaries of a mother and minister’s wife written between 1892 and 1953.

Christen, Inez (1906-1999). Hired girl, farm woman, and mother from Northeast Iowa.  The collection consists of transcripts of her diaries, written between 1922 and 2000.

Conn, Gladys (1910-2005). Social worker from Marne, Iowa.  Her 1922 to 1955 diaries describe her daily activities as a mother and community member.

Cowden, Ruth M. Rowland (1894-1978). The transcription of Cowden’s 1929 travel diary details her journey by car from Des Moines, Iowa, to Los Angeles, California.

Crary, Julia. A performer in the Chatauqua circuit.  The six diaries of Julia Crary (the sister of Evelyn Crary Bacon) begin in 1917 when she was fifteen years old.

DeCook, Besse De Prenger. Farm woman from Pella, Iowa.  The 1932 farm diary details daily activities on the farm the year her daughtrer was born.

Ducommon, Minnie (1906-1988). Rural Iowa housewife and mother. The diary, written between 1936 and 1939 records her experiences during the Depression.

DeLand, Ida Sherman. Homemaker and wife of a district judge in Storm Lake, Iowa.  The diary was written between 1905 and 1939.

Eblen, Charlene “Mac” (1923- ). English professor at the University of Northern Iowa. Eblen’s journals date from 1976 to 1995.

Everett, Beverly George (1926-2001). Family farmer and community activist from New Sharon, Iowa.  Everett’s 1945 to 1946 diary.

Farquhar, Marian (1917- ). Missionary to the Sudan who spent her childhood in Page County, Iowa.  The 1931 to 1943 diaries describe her years in the United States.

Faxon, Charlotte (ca 1846- ). A 67-page travel diary written between 1864-1867.

Filipowska, Patricia (1924-1993). Poet from Burlington Iowa. Her diary entitled “Letters to Myself” was written from 1974 to 1978.

Hall, Arlene Gardner (1908-1999). Washerwoman and housekeeper from rural Iowa.  Thirteen journals written between the 1930s and 1990.

Hansen, Lorraine Rogers (1920-1980). Homemaker and bakery owner from Manson, Iowa.  Thirteen diaries record her daily activities between 1958 and 1973.

Harris, Claudine (1926-). French immigrant to the United States in 1941.  The journals of Claudine Harris were written in the 1940s and 1950s.  The collection also includes portions of the World War II journal of her brother, Jacques Maroni.

Haygarth, Georgia Peeso (1882-1952). The collection includes the 1941 to 1952 diaries of Georgia Peeso Haygarth, a resident of Spoencer, Iowa, as well as a transcript of the 1859 diary of her father, Melvin Moses Peeso, a logger in California.

Hein, Gwendolyn Johnson (1911- ). Farm woman whose 1961 to 1964 five-year diary records farm work as well as sports and social activities.

Herr, Catharine King (1885-1978). Transcripts of 1976 and 1978 excerpts from diaries.

Hill, Willow (1954- ). The 1964 to 1972 diaries describe growing up in rural Iowa; the 1992 to 2001 diaries contain poetry and self-reflection.

Holden, Ida “Belle” Bandfield (died 1905). The 1898 to 1905 diary of “Belle” Holden records daily events and her husband’s death from tuberculosis in 1899.

Homan, Gladys (1899-1996). Diaries written between 1916 and 1966 provide insight into local events and family life in Corning, Iowa.

Keck, Maude Barkley (1883-1976). Diaries written between 1941 and 1975, record farm chores and finances, housekeeping and family life of a Cherokee, Iowa, woman.

Kelley, Alice (1915-2005). The papers include Kelley’s diaries written from 1926 to 2002, the diaries of her sister, Mary Kelley, 1992 to 2003, and travel diaries about trips they took together between 1947 and 1975.

Keppy, Myrtle (1924-2009). Champion hog breeder, farm woman, 4-H leader, and president of the Iowa Porkettes. Her papers include sixteen diaries written between 1936 and 2000. Three diaries of her mother, Mildred Wiese, were written between 1930 and 1951.

Kern, Jean (1913- ). Includes a diary written between 1929 and 1931.

Klemesrud, Judy (1939-1985). New York Times journalist whose diaries were written between 1978 and 1981.

Knoop, Pearl (1904-1998). Journals of the daily birdwatching activities of a woman from Marble Rock, Iowa, 1933 to 1998.

Kromminga, Maria Margaretha (1874-1937). A single parent who lived on her parents’ farm in Monticello, Iowa.  Her diaries cover the period from 1897 to 1921.

Laughlin, Lois (1925-2008). Forty diaries, written between 1953 and 2007, of a West Branch, Iowa, feminist, and activist.

Laughlin, Ruth (1954-1986). Social activist and writer whose diaries date from 1969 to 1986.

Liers, Louise (1887-1983). The 1918 journal of a World War I army nurse from Clayton, Iowa.

Lindahl, Carrie (1887-1977). The extensive diaries of a rural Linn County banker were written between 1940 and 1955.  There is also a travel diary from 1928.

Lucas, Beulah Marie. A transcript of the diary of Beulah Marie Lucas of Pocahontas, Iowa, was compiled by her son, Jerry Yocum.

Ludemann, Mae Irene (1900-1997). A native of Parkersburg, Iowa, Ludemann kept a diary of her 1929 trip to Europe.

Martin, Irene. A widow whose 1921 to 1969 journal records how she made ends meet after her husband’s death in 1938.

Martinson, Kate (1858-1941). The diary of an Iowa farm woman, written between 1872 and 1917, chronicles her marriage, childrearing, family farm management, divorce, and remarriage.

McDonald, Helena Jongewaard (1894-1989). A teacher who attended Iowa State College in 1914; her diaries date from 1913 to 1934.

Means, Edna (1887-1979). Characterist and dramatic reader from Tama, Iowa.  Six diaries, written between 1921 and 1936, record her travel experiences and performances given throughout the United States.

Michael, Marianne (1917- ). A missionary who served in Garkida, Nigeria, from 1948 to1961 and kept a diary of her experience there.

Mitchell, Ruby Crumley (1880- ). The diaries of an Iowa woman, who lived in Los Angeles after her marriage in 1900, were written between 1930 and 1966.

Miller, Ellen Mowrer (1848-1922). 1868 to 1869 diary of Ellen Mowrer who lived in Boone County, Iowa.

Nielson, Pauline Petersen. Country schoolteacher near Harlan, Iowa.  Peterson’s journals describe daily life in rural Iowa from 1907 to 1910.

Patten, Grace (1888-19xx). Midwife and nurse from Thornton, Iowa, who kept a notebook of her work.

Perkins, Jesse Antrim Virginia (1893- ). Rural grade schoolteacher in western Iowa whose papers consist of three partial journals, written in 1905, 1914 and 1927.

Petersen, Thelma (1909- ). A homemaker from Kirkman, Iowa, who kept extensive diaries between 1949 and 1998.

Pierce, Mary. Daily household activities and community life are recorded in the 1927 to 1947 diaries of a Harlan, Iowa, homemaker.

Pollock, Cora Belle (1906-1998). Elementary school teacher from Rolfe, Iowa, whose diaries chronicle the years from 1915 to 1938.

Reed, Iowa Byington (1851-1936). Iowa City seamstress.  Extensive diaries chronicle her life from young adulthood to old age.

Reger-Wilkinson, Mary Frances (1909-2006). Diary of an American National Red Cross worker, 1942-1947.

Ricketts, Ruth Keran. Percival, Iowa, school teacher.  Two journals written in 1941 and 1943.

Robinson, Mae Atkinson (1887-1952). Two diaries of an Iowa Falls woman, 1907 and 1941.

Robinson-Lacy Family. Diaries of three members of a Dubuque-area family encompass the period between 1874 and 1913.

Rutledge, Almira Safely (1869-1950). Wife and mother from Early, Iowa, whose diaries span the years from 1885 to 1950.

Schwartz, Lilian Prentiss (1897-1935). Artist and teacher who lived in Scarsdale, New York. Her diaries cover the period from 1909 to 1918.

Scriabine, Helene (1906-1996). The diaries of a University of Iowa professor were written in Russian between 1984 and 1991.

Shideler, Mary McDermott (1917-2000). Theologian’s papers include her extensive diaries written between 1929 to 1966.

Shipton, Janet (1923- ). Includes one folder of diaries of the daughter of the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee.

Shloss and Mannheimer families. Two prominent Des Moines, Iowa, families.  The diary of Irma Shloss Mannheimer was written between 1908 and 1910 while attending Bryn Mawr College.  The diaries of her husband, Rabbi Eugene Mannheimer, were written between 1918 and 1951.

Sies, Jennie (1859-1880). The diary of a young farm woman provides insight into life in Oxford, Iowa, between January and October 1880.

Skott, Clara Steen (1888-1994). Farm woman.  Twenty-seven volumes of diaries detail her life in Iowa, Wisconsin, and China between 1908 and 1970.

Smith, Laura Gibson (1891-1973). Country schoolteacher from Casey, Iowa. Six journals written between 1917 and 1925.

Swanson, Alma Erickson (1889-1985). Swedish farm woman who lived near Ogden, Iowa.  The diaries date from 1903 to 1972.

Talcott, Carrie V. (1890-1981). Fayette County, Iowa, farmer, writer, and clubwoman. The diaries date from 1913 to 1969.

Thorpe, Vina (1906- ). Des Moines newspaper columnist and editor.  The journals date from 1979 to 1995 and concern her daily activities and concerns.

Tylee, Magdalena “Helen” (1894-1988). The diaries of a German war bride who came to Iowa in 1922 date from 1936 to1987.  Also included is a travel diary of a 1958 trip to Germany.  Tylee ran the family farm while her husband served in the military during the Second World War.

Vallejo, Martina Morado. The diary, “The Labor of a Mother,” was written between 1953 and 1958.  It was transcribed and translated from Spanish by Vallejo’s daughter, Florence Vallejo Terronez. Martina Vallejo emigrated to Kansas from Mexico in 1910.

Van Zante, Mary (1876- ). The daughter of a Dutch immigrant farm family near Pella, Iowa.  Her diary was written between 1888 and 1900.

Ward, Myrle Olive (1897-1992). Missionary from Hamburg, Iowa, who was assigned to work in the Belgian Congo between 1928 and 1948.  Two volumes of diaries, 1935 to 1945.

Wherry, Elizabeth (1893-1956). A farm magazine writer whose diaries, from 1930 to 1953, encompass gardening, travel, and the management of the Wherry farm in Wyoming, Iowa.

White, Lucy Van Voorhis (1869-1935). School teacher and farm wife in Dallas County, Iowa.  Her diaries were written between 1882 and 1898.

Wood, Mary Elizabeth (1902-1998). Social worker and YWCA executive director from Des Moines, Iowa.

Yates-Glandorf, Janie (1929- ). Iowa City high school drama and English teacher.  She kept a diary from 1943 to 1945 when she was living in North Carolina.

Zastrow, Katherine Falvey (1904-1997). Iowa state legislator.  The 1932 to 1995 diaries concern her daily life and activites with occasional references to politics.

Zeller, Mildred “Micki” (1940-2000). Costume designer and world traveller from Independence, Iowa.  Diaries written between 1954 and 2000 describe world travels, illness, and divorce.

From the Bradley Family papers

Bradley Diaries, 1885 (original and transcript), Box 3.

From the Alice Sophia Brant papers

Smallpox Quarantine Diary, 1921, Box 1.

From the Minnie Ducommun papers

Five year Diary, 1936-1939, Folder 1.

Ida "Belle" Bandfield Holden papers

"Belle's Diary," 1889, transcription, Folder 1.

From the Maria Margaretha Kromminga papers

Diary, 1916, Box 3.

From the Iowa Byington Reed papers

Diary of Iowa B. Reed, 1872-1979, No. 1-5.

From the Clara Steen Skott papers

Diary, 1981, Box 5.

From the Magdalene "Helen" Tylee papers

Diary with key, 1971, Box 2.

From the Myrtle Olive Ward papers

Five Year Diary, 1935-1939, with Pullman Company train ticket from Indianapolis, Indiana, Box 1.