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Kate Martinson papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0084

Scope and Contents

The Kate Martinson diary dates from 1872 to 1944 with the bulk of the material dating between 1872 and 1917 and measures 1 linear inch. Almost each year on October 2 from 1872 until 1893 she wrote about the previous year's activities including a recitation of marriages, births, and deaths in her family. She described some of the joys and hardships of life in rural Iowa including a tender account of the brief life and death of an infant child. Her husband George worked away from home for long periods of time, and in 1889 she learned that he had another wife and other children; although she was pregnant, she sent him away and eventully divorced him.

After her marriage in 1897 to Andrew Martinson she resumed writing in her diary, although not with the regularity and depth as previously. Generally it was a report of the comings and goings of their children.

Obituaries of Kate and Andrew Martinson are included.


  • Creation: 1872-1944


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

Kate Emily Anderson was born on October 16, 1858 in Rockford, Illinois. At age eleven she moved with her family to a homestead in Dickinson County, Iowa. In 1877 she married George Emerson and had four children, one of whom died in infancy. For twenty years she managed their home and land in Dickinson and Worth counties, eventually divorcing Emerson. In 1897 she married Andrew Martinson and they and their ten children farmed in the same area. She and Andrew moved to the town of Milford in 1917, where she was active in church affairs and in her favorite pastimes of writing and painting until her death in 1941.


1.00 linear inches

Language of Materials



Journals chronicle the life of an Iowa farm woman including her marriage, childrearing, family farm management, divorce, and remarriage.


Two folders, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 141) were donated by Bea Ann Ziegler in 1993.

Leslie Czechowski, 1995.
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)