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Disabled Women & Disability Advocacy: An Iowa Women's Archives Resource Guide: Home

A beginner's guide to the primary sources of women with disabilities and disability advocacy organizations located in the Iowa Women's Archives.

An Introduction

Disabled Women & Disability Advocates

This guide brings together the collections in the Iowa Women’s Archives (IWA) that contribute to our understanding of disability history and advocacy in Iowa. The collections featured here are organized into two groups: disabled women and disability advocates.  The descriptions for each collection provide a brief overview of the individual or organization, as well as note the specific boxes where the materials are located. A more detailed account of the collection and its relation to a particular topic is included in the finding aid in ArchivesSpace. 


Content Warning:

This guide contains content that may be harmful or difficult to view. The IWA’s mission is to collect and make available primary sources about the history of Iowa women from all walks of life, including the history of groups underrepresented in archives. As a result, some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions. In addition, some of the materials may relate to violent or graphic events and are preserved for their historical significance. The IWA is committed to working with the disabled community in updating and repairing these descriptions to illustrate a more accurate and positive view of disability history.  

A cover of the L Word zine, Searching for Access, featuring a woman in a wheelchair swearing at a flight of stairs that leads to a Womyn's picnic.

The "L" WordMartha Havlic papers, 1992, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

About the Iowa Women's Archives

Mary Louise-Smith and Louise Noun, Des Moines, 1996.


The Louise Noun – Mary Louise Smith Iowa Women’s Archives is named for its founders, who established the archives in 1992 as a repository dedicated to collecting the history of Iowa women. The Archives fulfills its mission by collecting and making available primary sources about the historical experience of Iowa women throughout the state and beyond its borders from the nineteenth century to the present, reflecting the diversity of Iowa women across race, class, ethnicity, and gender identity.  It undertakes a robust outreach program to gather and preserve the history of groups underrepresented in archives. Some of our collection strengths include materials relating to rural and farm women, women in politics, LGBTQ individuals, African American women, Latinas, and Jewish women.

Contact Information for the Iowa Women's Archives

The Iowa Women’s Archives is located on the third floor of the Main Library of the University of Iowa.

Open to Researchers: 

Tuesday-Friday, 9:00-12:00 and 1:00-4:00

Mailing Address:

Iowa Women’s Archives

100 Main Library

University of Iowa Libraries

Iowa City, Iowa  52242-1420

Campus Mail: 3094 LIB

Phone: (319) 335-5068


Social Media: Facebook

Guide Authorship

The content of the LibGuide was assembled and created by IWA Student Specialist, Abbie Steuhm, in 2023.

An olive green background with light green mushrooms and a black line art image of a fairy in the center.