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Rouse, Mary, 1911-2000



  • Existence: 1911 - 2000


Mary Rouse, a journalist and teacher, was born on May 17, 1911 in Boone, Iowa. When she was four years old, her family moved to a farm five miles from Thompson, Iowa. She attended Thompson High School until her family moved to Iowa City, Iowa in the middle of her junior year. After graduating from Iowa City High School, she attended the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) where she obtained a bachelor's degree in English in 1930 and a master's degree in journalism in 1940.

Rouse taught high school English in Zeigler, Illinois from 1930 to 1939 and English and Journalism in Fort Madison, Iowa from 1940 to 1943. She then spent thirty-six years in college public relations, twenty-nine of which were at the University of Iowa News Services. The News Services later became known as the Office of Public Information (OPI). Before coming to the University of Iowa, she held the position of publicity director at Marygrove, a liberal arts college for women in Detroit, Michigan (1943-1946); Central State College in Edmond, Oklahoma (1946-1947); and the College of Saint Teresa in Winona, Minnesota (1948-1951). At the time of her retirement in 1981, she held the position of Senior Editor at the University of Iowa's OPI Humanities/Science News Service.

While at the University of Iowa, Rouse worked as an editor and features writer. Most Iowa newspapers, both weeklies and dailies, carried some of her stories over the years, but many also appeared in metropolitan newspapers outside of Iowa. Between 1978 and 1981, AP Newsfeatures accepted ten of her stories for use by newspapers across the country affiliated with the Associated Press. She wrote many other stories which were picked up by United Press International and the Associated Press, resulting in wide usage. Centered around university faculty members and their areas of specialty, her features brought their expertise to newspaper readers and those listening to radio and television news. Rouse interviewed faculty from all ten colleges on campus at one time or another. Her subjects dealt mainly with how to solve problems of daily living, ranging from the best ways to insulate your house against winter cold and summer heat, to how to cope with stress on the job. Her work at the university won her various awards, including eight Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awards in 1976 alone.

After retiring Rouse wrote seven or eight features per year for the Cedar Rapids Gazette as a guest columnist. Called "Outlooks," the column gave eastern Iowans a chance to express themselves about any topic. She covered topics that ranged from being a better letter writer to remembering great teachers. Rouse served as a board member of the Johnson County Chapter of the American Red Cross from 1978 to 1982 in addition to writing news and feature stories on Red Cross activities. She was also a board member of the Cardinal Council of Girl Scouts (local branch). In 1962, Rouse became a charter member of the Pilot Club of Iowa City, a women's service club. One project included raising money for vans to transport handicapped persons in Iowa City. She remained a member until 1980.

Rouse also held offices at the state level during the 1960s in the American Association of University Women and the Iowa League for Nursing. In 1979 she became a member of the Iowa City Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, from which she received an Adeline M. Hoffman Award at the national level in 1984.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Mary Rouse papers

Identifier: IWA0101

Journalist who worked for the Office of Public Information at the University of Iowa.

Dates: 1937-2000