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Nancy Pfeiffer Towner papers

Identifier: IWA0378

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Scope and Contents

The Nancy Pfeiffer Towner papers date from 1966 to 2004 and measure 12 linear inches. The Exhibit files contain newspaper clippings, receipts, correspondence, and notes from Towner's exhibitions. Unpublished works in the collection include Towner's "Fairy tales for grownups," assorted poems from the late 1990s, essays on art, and two artist's books containing art and poetry. Towner's published works in the collection include eleven years of bulletin cover art and poetry from Trinity Church in Iowa City and works that she published in journals including Format: Art in the World, Diacritics, Permafrost Literary Journal, The Literary Review, The Hamden-Sydney Poetry Review, and Standing Alone. Biographical information includes Towner's resume, her obituary (and that of her husband), and the program from her memorial service. The second series contains fourteen other artist's books created by Towner.


  • Creation: 1966-2004


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

Nancy Pfeiffer Towner, artist and writer, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1924. She studied art at the University of Iowa under Philip Guston from 1943 to 1944 and then proceeded to the Art Institute of Chicago for study until 1947. From 1955 to 1956, Towner acted as exhibit director for the Evanston Community Center Gallery, and from 1963 to 1965 she used a scholarship to study under Paul Weigardt at the Evanston Art Center.

Towner acted as exhibit director of the Evanston Art Center in 1968 and participated in a number of art exhibitions throughout the 1970s. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1975 and served on the board of directors for the West Hubbard Gallery in Chicago from 1979 to 1980. In 1982, Nancy Pfeiffer Towner and her husband Robert Towner moved to Iowa City. She studied poetry under Daryl Hine and continued to exhibit her works in Iowa City and at the E.V. Gallery and Circleworks Vision Gallery in New York City.

Her drawings and poetry have been published in poetry journals including Iowa Woman, Diacritics, Lyrical Iowa, Midwest Poetry, 100 Words, Rhino, Standing Alone, and The Literary Review. Her poetry has received many prizes, including the Illinois Arts Council's Prize for Poetry (1981). Towner was active in the National League of American Pen Women, Iowa City Branch, and received numerous awards at the organization's national competitions in sculpture, drawing, and painting. She presented lectures on her art at Arts Iowa City and participated in the Iowa Women Writers program. Nancy Pfeieffer Towner passed away on January 2, 2003 in Iowa City.


12.00 linear inches

Language of Materials



Iowa City artist and poet who published in a variety of journals and won numerous awards for her work.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 540) were donated by Nancy Pfeiffer Towner and Mark Towner in 2000 and subsequent years, and by Lois Muehl (donor no. 709) in 2003.

Related Materials

National League of American Pen Women, Iowa City Branch (IWA): Nancy Pfeiffer Towner was a member of this organization.

Heather Stecklein, 2002; Ashley Goulden, 2007; Jillian Phillips, 2013.
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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)