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Muriel Anne Dryden papers

Identifier: IWA0203

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Scope and Contents

The Muriel Anne Dryden papers date from 1935 to 1990 and measure 2.5 linear feet. The papers are arranged in five series: Personal, Professional, Writings, Newspaper clippings, and Photographs. The bulk of the papers document Dryden's personal life through photographs and memorabilia as well as her work on a book about the translation of the Holy Bible from Aramaic and the cultural history of the peoples of Kurdistan.

The Personal series (1935-1990 and undated) contains family memoirs, personal correspondence, a journal discussing Dryden's social and political views, school memorabilia and travel logs from her journeys to England. The personal correspondence provides insight into Dryden's political views, especially in the "letters to the editor" correspondence. One noteworthy item is a draft of a letter to Julie Nixon discussing Dryden's personal perspective of Watergate as "an injustice of the entire show which is all it was." (Correspondence, Personal, 1984-1990 and undated.) This appears to be the only place in the collection where Watergate is mentioned.

The Professional series (1944-1985 and undated) encompasses Dryden's years as a government employee. This series has abundant personnel records from her employment, including a "Security Investigation" document. This series also contains some of the social invitations she received from the White House and prominent Republican Party politicians.

The Writings series (1958, 1976-1986 and undated) includes two written chapters of the book and copious notes from which the manuscript would have been written. The notes cover a broad scope, ranging from the Aramaic language, to Eastern thought and expression, to descriptions of Assyria. This series also contains the paper "Eastern Scriptures in Western Language" written by Dryden on the subject she was expanding upon to create the book. This series also contains two unpublished articles.

The Newspaper clippings series (1960-1976 and undated) includes a few articles written by Dryden as well as articles on her participation in notable choral performances with Duke Ellington and for President Eisenhower at the White House.

The Photographs series (1938-1981 and undated) consists primarily of personal photographs of family and friends, along with a few professional photographs of Dryden in various places of employment. An autographed photograph of President Nixon and his staff is also included.


  • Creation: 1935-1990


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

Muriel Anne Dryden was born on December 26, 1911 to Clifford and Grace Dryden. The eldest of four sisters, Dryden grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, and graduated from East High in 1930. She attended business college in Des Moines as well as communications school to qualify for duty in World War II. Dryden's professional career was spent in governmental service. In 1944, she joined the Office of War Information and continued her employment with the United States government until her retirement in 1974.

She spent twelve years in New York City working in communications for the Office of War Information, the United States Mission to the United Nations and the Voice of America (VOA). Most of her work during these positions involved handling news desk copy. In 1956, she moved to Washington, D.C. with the VOA under the wing of the United States Information Agency (USIA). She transferred to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, taking a position in a research library in 1962.

From 1969 to 1974, she spent five years at the White House during the Nixon administration as a mail analyst in the Executive Office Building. Throughout her professional career in Washington, Dryden worked at the Washington bureau for several newspapers including Newsweek, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Baltimore Sun. In these positions, she moonlighted as a part-time teletypist responsible for minor editing on both government and private-sector news items. Upon retirement from the White House in 1974, Dryden wrote but did not finish a book about Dr. George Lamsa and his translation of the Holy Bible from the Aramaic language. The book remains unpublished. Dryden passed away on December 14, 1993.


2.50 Linear Feet

Photographs in boxes 2 and 5 boxes

Language of Materials



Federal government employee who held various positions during her career, including White House mail analyst.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 284) were donated by Jean Henderson in 1995.

Related Materials

Pauline Lyon papers (IWA): Lyon was Muriel Anne Dryden's sister.

Heather Ritchie, 1995.
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Script of description
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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)