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Mary Rouse papers

Identifier: IWA0101

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Scope and Contents

The Mary Rouse papers measure 7 linear feet and date from 1937 to 2000. The papers are arranged into two series: Personal and University of Iowa News Services. The collection centers on Rouse's professional career at the University of Iowa, where she worked at UI News Services until her retirement in 1981.

The series titled Personal consists of two boxes. Rouse's manuscript, "I Hear A Meadowlark Singing" is not open to researchers. This series also contains correspondence from the Associated Press, kudos, and rejection letters. Her 1967 second- place award for news bureau feature is enclosed, as well as a copy of the winning story of a test developed at the University of Iowa to measure musical talent in children. Enclosed are short stories, biographical information, and details of her retirement. This series houses her early poetry about children and nature, and her short stories where she dabbled with the pen name Christopher King in "Reprieve". Her membership in AAUW is detailed here, as is her early employment in Fort Madison, Minnesota and at Marygrove college for women in Detroit.

The second series is University of Iowa News Services, largely made up of Rouse's articles on the accomplishments and discoveries of faculty and staff. Subseries include: Handbooks, Faculty and Staff, UI Departments, Features, Usage, and C.A.S.E.

Three handbooks outline procedures for new employees of University of Iowa News Services. Faculty and Staff articles are arranged alphabetically by member name. UI Department articles focus on events by department. The subseries, Features, consists of her news stories not limited to University of Iowa personages. She wrote extensively about the arts, how to stay healthy, and home economics, which included cooking, housework, and home repairs. The first box is arranged chronologically; the next two boxes are arranged alphabetically; the fourth box is arranged by newspaper title, and box five by magazine title. Rouse maintained records of the many publications that ran her stories, and these are in subseries Usage. Rouse was involved in Council for Advancement and Support of Education (C.A.S.E.), and her work is preserved in this subseries.


  • Creation: 1937-2000


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by donor has been retained by Mary Rouse and her heirs on her manuscript, "I Hear a Meadowlark Singing".

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

Mary Rouse, a journalist and teacher, was born on May 17, 1911 in Boone, Iowa. When she was four years old, her family moved to a farm five miles from Thompson, Iowa. She attended Thompson High School until her family moved to Iowa City, Iowa in the middle of her junior year. After graduating from Iowa City High School, she attended the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) where she obtained a bachelor's degree in English in 1930 and a master's degree in journalism in 1940.

Rouse taught high school English in Zeigler, Illinois from 1930 to 1939 and English and Journalism in Fort Madison, Iowa from 1940 to 1943. She then spent thirty-six years in college public relations, twenty-nine of which were at the University of Iowa News Services. The News Services later became known as the Office of Public Information (OPI). Before coming to the University of Iowa, she held the position of publicity director at Marygrove, a liberal arts college for women in Detroit, Michigan (1943-1946); Central State College in Edmond, Oklahoma (1946-1947); and the College of Saint Teresa in Winona, Minnesota (1948-1951). At the time of her retirement in 1981, she held the position of Senior Editor at the University of Iowa's OPI Humanities/Science News Service.

While at the University of Iowa, Rouse worked as an editor and features writer. Most Iowa newspapers, both weeklies and dailies, carried some of her stories over the years, but many also appeared in metropolitan newspapers outside of Iowa. Between 1978 and 1981, AP News features accepted ten of her stories for use by newspapers across the country affiliated with the Associated Press. She wrote many other stories which were picked up by United Press International and the Associated Press, resulting in wide usage. Centered around university faculty members and their areas of specialty, her features brought their expertise to newspaper readers and those listening to radio and television news. Rouse interviewed faculty from all ten colleges on campus at one time or another. Her subjects dealt mainly with how to solve problems of daily living, ranging from the best ways to insulate your house against winter cold and summer heat, to how to cope with stress on the job. Her work at the university won her various awards, including eight Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awards in 1976 alone.

After retiring Rouse wrote seven or eight features per year for the Cedar Rapids Gazette as a guest columnist. Called "Outlooks," the column gave eastern Iowans a chance to express themselves about any topic. She covered topics that ranged from being a better letter writer to remembering great teachers. Rouse served as a board member of the Johnson County Chapter of the American Red Cross from 1978 to 1982 in addition to writing news and feature stories on Red Cross activities. She was also a board member of the Cardinal Council of Girl Scouts (local branch).

In 1962, Rouse became a charter member of the Pilot Club of Iowa City, a women's service club. One project included raising money for vans to transport disabled persons in Iowa City. She remained a member until 1980. Rouse also held offices at the state level during the 1960s in the American Association of University Women and the Iowa League for Nursing. In 1979 she became a member of the Iowa City Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, from which she received an Adeline M. Hoffman Award at the national level in 1984.


7.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Journalist who worked for the Office of Public Information at the University of Iowa.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 162) were donated by Mary Rouse in 1993 and 2000.

Related Materials

Marie Shultz Meyer papers (IWA): These papers contain a 1962 survey on the alumnae of the College of Nursing that Rouse edited. (Box 2, Miscellaneous, "Survey of Professional History of Alumnae of the College of Nursing," 1962)

Kirsten Clark, 1994; Denise Anderson, 2001; Sharon M. Lake, 2005.
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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)