“About a year after I finished my dissertation, my husband, who is also an archivist, my infant son, and I were at the Society of American Archivists Conference in Philadelphia. I was up in the room taking care of my son, and my husband came into the room holding up a piece of paper. He said, ‘Kären, here’s your job!’ It was an ad for the Iowa Women’s Archives. They had just got the funding for all of it, and they were seeking a curator. I applied and got the job! I was so excited, because I wanted to be in the Midwest.
When I first came, I spent a lot of time on the road driving around Iowa, visiting with people, giving presentations, and telling them about what we were trying to do in the Iowa Women’s Archives. I really loved that. I do it now somewhat, but not as much as I did. It’s just wonderful to meet all these people and hear their stories and realize that everyone has a story. Most women never have thought of their stories as being part of history, so it’s great to be able to say, ‘Yes, your story is very important and we want to preserve it in the Iowa Women’s Archives so that other people will know about your life and lives of women in similar situations.”
Kären Mason, Curator, Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries