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Sarah White papers

Identifier: IWA0077

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Scope and Contents

The Sarah Dykstra White papers date from 1915 to 1979 and measure 7.5 linear inches. The papers are arranged in two series: Biographical and Correspondence.

The Biographical series contains a biographical sketch of Sarah Dykstra White written by her daughter Jeane Van Voorhis White. It also contains a pedigree chart of the Dykstra family and copies of family photographs.

The Correspondence series supplies the bulk of the White papers. White took part in a "circle letter" which went around to her siblings. When letters came to her, she took out the last letter she had written and saved it. She also saved individual letters she received. The letters are arranged in chronological order, spanning the years 1941 to 1979. White's daughter Jeane Van Voorhis White transcribed the letters and provided a personnel glossary for various names mentioned in the letters.


  • Creation: 1915-1979


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

Sarah Berniece Dykstra was born on November 3, 1905 to Della Bonthius Dykstra and Ralph Dykstra. Sarah Dykstra was the second child, coming two years after her sister Dorothy, and preceding two boys, Clarence and Andrew. Dykstra grew up in Roseland, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago heavily populated by Dutch immigrants.

Just before her senior year in high school, the Dykstra family moved to a farm near Rock Valley in northwest Iowa. Because Sarah Dykstra had not had algebra in her previous high school she was required to take it at Rock Valley. Stanley White, her future husband, on leave from his studies at Iowa State University, was the algebra teacher that year.

After graduating from high school in 1923, Sarah Dykstra and her family moved to Pasadena, California. Shortly after the move, her father left the family, taking the two boys and moving to Chicago. Following the separation there was some bitterness between the boys and their sisters, and it would be several years before relationships between the siblings improved.

After his graduation from Iowa State University in 1925, Stanley White hitchhiked to California to renew his acquaintance with his former pupil. Sarah Dykstra, who had been working at I. Magnin's department store, decided to get additional education at this time and entered Pasadena Community College. Stanley White took various jobs until Dykstra graduated in 1927.

The couple married on June 28, 1927 and in March 1928 they returned to Dallas Center, Iowa where Stanley took over the operation of his father´s farm. The White family lived on the farm for fifty years, raising their four children: Jeane (b1928), Carolyn (b1929), Donald (b1933) and Janice (b1938). In 1979 Sarah Dykstra White died in a single car accident.


7.50 linear inches

Language of Materials



Correspondence and circle letters of a northwestern Iowa farmwoman.

Method of Acquisition

The Sarah Dykstra White papers(donor no. 131) were donated by Jeane Van Voorhis White in 1999.

Related Materials

Lucy Van Voorhis White papers (IWA): Lucy Van Voorhis White was Sarah Dykstra White's mother-in-law.

Lisa Mott, 2003.
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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)