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River City Housing Collective Records

Identifier: RG02.0003.042

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Scope and Contents

The Records of the River City Housing Collective consist of five series: Administrative, Houses, Issues, Cooperatives (other), and History. Included are Board of Directors minutes and meeting agendas, financial records such as rent payment histories and expense reports, and newsletters.


  • Creation: 1977-2007


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

The River City Housing Collective was established in 1977 as a means to provide low-cost cooperative living arrangements for University of Iowa students. Although founded as an independent, non-profit organization, the Collective at its onset was closely associated with the University, receiving the support of the UI Student Senate and renting two University-owned houses.

The Collective by the late 1980's grew to five houses, three of which were purchased by the organization. As of 2010, there are three houses comprising the Collective. Members are responsible for house cleaning, yard work, cooking, washing, bookkeeping, and grocery shopping, as well as much of the buildings' maintenance and repairs. In most arrangements members work 16 hours per month and attend house meetings.

An overall administration includes representatives from each house, as well as separate administrations for individual houses. These groups are responsible for guidelines and rules of the co-op. One of the houses documented in this collection, Bloom County House (935 East College Street), is named for the nationally-syndicated comic strip of the same name, which appeared in newspapers from 1980 until 1989. Its cartoonist, Berke Breathed, lived there during the early 1980s. The Collective purchased the building in 2003.

The Collective has continued a long tradition of organized and ad-hoc cooperative housing in Iowa City. Additional resources documenting earlier co-op activity at the University of Iowa are noted under Related Materials.


5.50 Linear Feet

Method of Acquisition

The Records of the River City Housing Collective were transferred to the University Archives in May 2008 as Accession 2008-21.

Related Materials

Berger, Elizabeth A. "The Student Cooperative Dormitory and Democratic Group Life as Illustrated by Russell House." Master's thesis, State University of Iowa, 1939. T1939.B49.

Charlotte Enger Jones Papers (RG02.0009.014)

Jones, Charlotte Enger. Memories of Co-op Dorm Living: 1931 -- 1955. University of Iowa Historical Papers Collection (RG01.0001.003)

Everett E. Sterner Papers, 1931-1943 (RG02.0009.009)

Subject Vertical Files Collection, Miscellaneous category, "Coop housing" folder (RG01.0015.005)

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242