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Schramm, Dorothy (1909-2006)



  • Existence: 1909 - 2006


Dorothy Schramm, art collector and political activist, was born in Tilton, New Hampshire, on June 16, 1909.She married James Schramm and made Burlington, Iowa her permanent home. Schramm's family owned the J.S. Schramm department store in downtown Burlington, which served its community for more than 150 years before it closed in 1987. The Schramms avidly supported and collected African sculpture and post-1940 American and European painting, sculpture, and prints. Dorothy Schramm's active support of art encompassed Works Progress Administration projects, Grinnell College's Art Collection, and the Governor's Art Commission. She was listed in the1989-1990 Who's Who in American Art.

In addition to her interest in the arts, Dorothy Schramm participated in a wide variety of political organizations. She was a founding member of the Burlington League of Women Voters in the late 1930s and authored a nationally recognized handbook, You are Democracy for the organization in 1948. She actively supported the United Nations, and served as both the state president and national vice president of the American Association for the United Nations. She chaired the first United Nations Day and helped organize activities promoting the United Nations and its issues for over two decades. She spoke in favor of the organization throughout the United States.

In the 1950s, Schramm participated in a number of activities to combat racism. She and several other Burlington residents sponsored the 1950 Burlington Self-Survey on Human Relations that analyzed the relationships between the races in Burlington, Iowa. Schramm promoted the report through radio programs, speeches, and her work with groups such as the Mayor's Committee on Civic Unity and the Burlington Commission on Human Rights. She was a member of the Iowa National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as its vice president in 1953.

Schramm's work has earned her a number of awards. She was a 1971 recipient of The University of Iowa's Distinguished Service Award, and received honorary degrees from Grinnell College and Morningside College. She was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1986. Dorothy Schramm passed away in 2006.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Dorothy Schramm papers

Identifier: IWA0183

Human rights advocate from Burlington, Iowa who was active in local and international issues, particularly UNA-USA and the League of Women Voters.

Dates: 1938-2006