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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release April 21, 2011

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

State Historical Library presents “Iowa History Mysteries” May 3

UI Professor Linda Kerber and history students discuss research findings

(DES MOINES) – University of Iowa Professor Linda Kerber and her students will discuss “Iowa History Mysteries” next month as part of an ongoing lecture series at the State Historical Library in Iowa City.

“Iowa History Mysteries” will be at 2 p.m. May 3, 2011, at the State Historical Library, 402 Iowa Avenue in Iowa City. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Contact Mary Bennett at 319-335-3911 for more information.

Over the past few months, Kerber and her students used library resources such as newspaper microfilm and census records, as well as primary source materials found at State Historical Library and the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa to explore the following topics:

  • World War II prisoner of war camps in Iowa.
  • A coalition between farmers and labor unions at the end of World War II.
  • A report on fair housing in Iowa City prepared by the League of Women voters.
  • The efforts of Sister Irene Muñoz, a Latina activist working on behalf of migrant workers in Muscatine.
  • A doctor from Roland, Iowa, who was involved in a landmark Iowa court case in the 1950s because he had performed illegal abortions.

In preparation for the research projects, Kerber brought UI students in the Colloquium for History Majors program to the State Historical Library to examine collections and identify possible themes and topics.

“Much of the history of Iowa remains to be written,” Kerber said. “University of Iowa students have made important contributions to our knowledge of Iowa history. …The purpose is to have the experience of writing history ‘from scratch’ – identifying a significant question, finding historical resources that can help develop an answer to it, analyzing those resources and, finally, writing an essay that is intellectually persuasive and gracefully written.”

Kerber is May Brodbeck Professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, Professor of History, and Lecturer in the Law at the University of Iowa. Kerber was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 2009.

Preeminent among historians of her generation, Kerber has served as president of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the American Studies Association. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Kerber has long been a champion of libraries and archives, and has been a stalwart supporter of the State Historical Society of Iowa for decades.

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The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa’s past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa’s historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

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