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Lemme family



Frances Helen Renfrow Lemme, known as Helen Lemme, a civil rights and community leader in Iowa City, Iowa, was born on February 25, 1905 in Grinnell, Iowa. She was a research technician in the Department of Internal Medicine at the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) and was active in many organizations, including the League of Women Voters of Johnson County and the Iowa City Area Council of Churches. During the 1930s and 1940s, she and husband Allyn Lemme opened their home to African-American male students (and occasionally to African-American female graduate students) when they were not allowed to live in University of Iowa dormitories. In 1955, Helen Lemme was elected the first Woman of the Year in Iowa City. Lemme died in a house fire on December 15, 1968. The Helen Lemme Elementary School in Iowa City, Iowa is named in her honor.

Helen and Allyn Lemme had two children, Lawrence and Paul.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Lemme Family papers

 Collection — Folder 1
Identifier: IWA0260

Traces the family history of Helen Lemme, a civil rights activist who was named Iowa City's first Woman of the Year in 1955.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Dates: 1970-1998