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Gertrude Cohen papers

Identifier: IWA0358

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Scope and Contents

The Gertrude Cohen papers date from 1964 to 1991 and measure 1 linear inch. The papers consist almost exclusively of material documenting Cohen's term in the Iowa General Assembly. The correspondence is mostly congratulatory. However, there are some letters from constituents. Two photographs, one of former Governor of Iowa Harold Hughes with Cohen and the other of Cohen's husband, Ben Cohen, are also included.


  • Creation: 1964-1991


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

Gertrude Siegel was born on November 1, 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. Siegel graduated from North High School in Minneapolis, and continued her education at the University of Minnesota where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology in 1934. In 1936, Siegel married New Yorker Ben Cohen; the couple moved to Waterloo, Iowa in 1941. The Cohens had two children, a son Loren, and a daughter Devra (later Devra Marcus). In 1965 Gertrude Cohen became the first Jewish woman elected to the Iowa Legislature. Cohen served a term (1965-1966) in the Iowa House of Representatives as a Democrat from Black Hawk county. Cohen served on the House Committees of Education, Industrial and Human Relations, and Public Health. Cohen has also been active in a variety of civic, political, and religious organizations. Gertrude Cohen passed away in 2016.


1.00 linear inch

Artifacts and photographs in Box 1 boxes

Language of Materials



Member of the Iowa House of Representatives, 1965-1966, and the first Jewish woman elected to the Iowa Legislature.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 501) were donated by Gertrude Cohen in 1998.

Related Materials

A Political Dialogue: Iowa's Women Legislators oral histories (IWA): This collection contains the transcript of an oral history interview with Cohen conducted by Suzanne Schenken in 1991.

James Boucher, 1998.
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)