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Van Zante and De Cook Families papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0721

Scope and Contents

The Van Zante and De Cook Family papers consist of photocopies of diaries and reminiscences and measures one linear inch. The diary of Mary Van Zante De Cook is a well-written, factual diary of a twelve-year old daughter of a Dutch immigrant farm family near Pella, Iowa. It recounts her day-by-day activities--school, church, chores, and other farm events--from 1888 to 1900. A second item in the collection are her son, Ernest De Cook's, three brief reminiscences: one about chicken thieves; another describing the drop in land prices after 1920; and a third about country doctors. A second item in the collection is the 1932 diary of his wife, Besse De Prenger De Cook, that details the daily activities on their farm the year their daughter June De Cook was born. The collection thus provides an interesting comparison between generations, and between farm-girl adolescence and the life of a young married farm woman.


  • Creation: 1888-1969


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright of the Besse DeCook diary has been transferred to the University of Iowa. Copyright of all other material has been retained by the owner.

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

The Anthony and Elizabeth Van Zante and their fourteen children were Dutch-American immigrants who farmed near Pella, Iowa in the late nineteenth century. Mary Van Zante, born in 1876, went to rural school in South Porterville and attended Pella First Reformed Church. She married Conrad De Cook, a neighboring farmer, and together they had three sons. Her husband died of a heart attack in 1926, and the boys farmed her farmon shares until she died in 1949. Ernest De Cook, one of the three sons of Mary and Conrad DeCook, married Bess De Prenger in 1929. Their daughter June De Cook married Willis Van Haaften, the son of Mabel Korver Van Haaften.


1.00 linear inch

Language of Materials



Late 19th century diary of adolescent Dutch-American farm girl and 1932 farm diary of her daughter-in-law.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 586) were donated by June Van Haaften in 1999.

Related Materials

Mabel Korver Van Haaften papers (IWA).

Doris Malkmus, 1999.
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)