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Ruth Perkins Messenger Papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0516

Scope and Contents

The Ruth M. Perkins Messenger papers date from 2000 and consist of a single volume: Memories, a compilation of Messenger's writings by her son, Dale E. Messenger. Following her husband's death in 1959, Ruth Messenger began writing down family stories, including stories about her life and that of her husband's. Messenger's writings reflect growing up and raising a family in rural Iowa, teaching in country schools, and living at a retirement home. She describes setting up housekeeping, learning to milk a cow, putting up ice every winter, churning butter and the arrival of each of her children, along with her reflections on World War I, the Spanish Flu Epidemic and reaching the age of ninety-nine. Also included in the volume are poems, and fictional works, written as a result of Messenger's involvement in a creative writing class as a senior citizen. A final section in Memories is comprised of recollections of Ruth and Frank Messenger written by their children and grandchildren. Also included with the papers is a section-by-section synopsis of Memories written by Margaret Richardson, Iowa Women's Archives volunteer.


  • Creation: 2000


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

Ruth E. Perkins was born on April 4, 1899 on a farm near Castana, Monona County, Iowa, to Henry Wills Perkins and Martha "Mattie" Rosetta Davis Perkins. Perkins graduated from high school in 1915. In 1917, she earned her teacher's certificate from the Iowa State Normal School in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Perkins taught for three years before marrying Franklin Lloyd Messenger on February 17, 1920. The couple had three sons, Donald (born 1922), Dale (born 1926), and Dwight (born 1935). Franklin Messenger died in 1959. Ruth Messenger died in 2000.


0.25 linear inches

Language of Materials



Reflections on growing up and raising a family in rural Iowa.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no.895) were donated by Dale E. Messenger in 2003.

Lisa Mott and Margaret Richardson, 2004.
Language of description
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)