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Basilisa Herrera papers

Identifier: IWA0868

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Scope and Contents

The papers are 5 linear inches. The Basilisa Herrera papers are divided into four series: Biographical, Family, Photographs, and Artifacts.

The Biographical series (1971-2014) contains the transcript of Basilisa Herrera's 1993 oral history interview, funeral and obituary information of Herrera family members, and a selection of Basilisa's identification cards.

The Family series (1924-2010) contains various material related to the descendants of Basilisa and Primitivo Herrera. Several of the folders are sub-organized by the subject line(s) of descent from the Herreras.

The Photographs series (1942-2005) contains several photographs of members and descendants of the Herrera family, including some early photographs of Basilisa and Primitivo Herrera.

The Artifacts series contains a commemorative plaque distributed to the senior citizens of Cook's Point, Davenport, in 2002.


  • Creation: 1924-2003


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

Basilisa Torres Herrera was born in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico in 1899. In her early teens, the Torres family emigrated by train to North Dakota and from there to Bettendorf, Iowa. She married Primitivo Herrera when she was eighteen and the couple had five children: Aurora, Juan, Marcelino, Angelita, and Enedina. The Herreras moved to the Cook's Point community in Davenport, Iowa shortly after the birth of Marcelino.

Basilisa Herrera was widowed in 1936 when Primitivo was killed in an accident at the foundry where he worked. In order to support her young family she found employment outside the home, first at the Black Hawk Hotel and later at the Oscar Mayer packinghouse, where she worked until her retirement. In 1984, Basilisa Herrera became a naturalized United States citizen. She lived in close proximity to her family in Davenport until her death at age 104.


5.00 linear inches

Photographs in box 1. boxes

Language of Materials



Mexican immigrant to Iowa in the 1910s, member of the Cook's Point community in Davenport, and matriarch of a large family.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1280) were donated by Laura Nelson in 2013.

Related Materials

Mujeres Latinas Collection, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Margaret Halterman
Language of description
Script of description

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)