Iowa Women’s Archives, Part 1

“My mother was a librarian in elementary school libraries, and both my grandparents worked in college libraries in their later years. So I thought about being a librarian, but I really got the history bug when I was in college. I hated history in high school because it all seemed to be about wars and politics and memorizing dates, and I was no good at that. I thought it was sort of boring. Then I took a class in college on American history where we did things like look at family budgets of people who lived in tenement houses. I realized, ‘Oh. History is about a lot more than just the wars and the politics; it’s about everyday people and their lives.’ And that’s when I got really excited about history.

I wanted study women’s history, but I went to a small college and by the time I got interested in history, the person who taught those courses was on leave. And in the 70’s, too, many people who wanted to do women’s history were told, ‘Oh, you can’t study that, because there aren’t any sources.’”

Kären Mason, Curator, Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries

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