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Bernice Larson Boyum papers

Identifier: IWA0194

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Scope and Contents

The Bernice Larson Boyum papers date from 1943 to 1993 and measure 1 linear inch. The papers provide a glimpse into the experiences of a young woman in the military during World War II and how she, as a veteran, utilized the GI bill. They include official Navy correspondence and forms regarding Larson's status and benefits, newspapers clippings about her, WAVES memorabilia, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1943-1993


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Clara Bernice Larson, WAVES (Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service) enlistee, social worker and women's dean, was born on July 15, 1922 in Story City, Iowa, and raised on a farm near Ellsworth, Iowa. After graduating from high school in 1940, she worked as a nanny and domestic servant for a Jewish family in Des Moines, Iowa. Wanting to attend college but lacking the financial means, Larson worked at a variety of other jobs, and farmed on her family's farm until she decided to enlist in the Navy WAVES in 1943. She attended boot camp at Hunter College in New York and was transferred to Columbus, Ohio, and then to Great Lakes Naval Station in Chicago. Larson served as a supply office worker and achieved the rank of storekeeper, second class, by the time she was honorably discharged in February 1946. Larson used her benefits from the Servicemen's Readjustment Act (commonly known as the GI Bill) to attend college and graduated from Luther College in 1949 as a social studies major. Larson found employment as a social worker with Lutheran Social Services in Des Moines. She married Arnie Boyum. When they adopted a child in 1962 she stopped working outside the home. Boyum later became dean of women at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa. Boyum is a member, and co-historian, of the Des Moines chapter of WAVES National, an organization of former WAVES that undertakes community support work.


1.00 linear inch

Language of Materials



Ellsworth, Iowa, woman who served in World War II.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 275) were donated by Bernice Larson Boyum in 1995.

Rachel Bohlmann, 1996.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)