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Annette Cech papers

Identifier: IWA0593

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Scope and Contents

The Annette Cech papers date from 1974 to 2002 and measure 1 linear inch. They consist of a timeline of Annette Cech's life and the programs, photographs, and private journal in which she described the Nobel Prize ceremony honoring her son Thomas Cech held December 10, 1989 in Sweden. In addition, Cech has written a memoir dedicated to her grandchildren, describing a loving and frugal childhood in Chicago, family gatherings with special foods and memories, the joy of marriage, and the work and promise that comes with raising a family. The papers also contain a scrapbook about her married life.


  • Creation: 1945-2002


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

Annette Cerveny was born October 13, 1922 in Chicago. Her father, Joseph Cerveny, emigrated from Bohemia (now Czech Republic) in 1913 where he had learned the art of shoemaking. Originally he maintained a shop in Chicago that sold and repaired shoes, but in time gave up the retail shoe business and continued his shoe repair work. Her mother, Rose Cerveny, worked while the children were in school at a Chicago department store selling shoes. Following high school graduation Annette Cerveny worked for Home Federal Savings and Loan Association of Chicago. She became secretary to the treasurer and then to the president of the Association.

In 1945 she married Robert Cech. They had two children: Tom, born in 1947, and Barbara, born in 1950. The Cechs moved to Iowa City in 1953 where Robert Cech was a staff physician for the Veterans Administration Hospital. In 1955 another son, Richard, was born. During her children's school years Annette Cech spent many hours volunteering as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader, a Cub Scout leader, and with the school library. She helped run school Fun Nights and supported her son Tom's Science Fair projects. The family spent summers camping and hiking in the national parks.

The family moved to Des Moines in 1969 when Robert Cech became chief of the Nuclear Medicine Section of the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Annette Cech volunteered with the annual Des Moines Planned Parenthood Book Sale, chairing the event twice and working with it for thirty years. In 1989, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences presented the Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly to Thomas Cech and Sidney Altman for their discovery of catalytic properties of RNA. The entire family of Annette and Thomas Cech attended the ceremony in Sweden, December 10, 1989.


3.00 linear inch

Language of Materials



Iowa City housewife and mother whose son, Thomas Cech, won the Nobel Prize in 1989.


Two folders, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 516 ) were donated by Annette Cech in 1998.

Margaret Richardson, 2003.
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)