Skip to main content

Sarah Poppen De Koster papers

Identifier: IWA0841

  • Staff Only
  • Please navigate to collection organization to place requests.

Scope and Contents

The Sarah Poppen De Koster papers date from 1896 to 1932, and measure 5.00 linear inches.

The Biographical series (1896-1932) contains letters to De Koster, most written during World War I. Many letters are from De Koster's brother John, who served in the war as a medical officer and struggled with loneliness and family obligations. Life during the war is further reflected in a U.S. Food Administration letter on sugar rations as well as correspondence from other friends at home. Also included are wedding and newborn announcements and personal correspondence.

Completing the collection is a family retrospective by State Senator Lucas De Koster, Sarah Poppen De Koster's son, called The Books of Our Years.


  • Creation: 1896-1932


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 Poppen was born in 1891, to Anna Van Zwaalenberg, a homemaker, and Rev. Jacob Poppen. The oldest of three children, Poppen was born in Holland, Michigan, but the family moved frequently - from Michigan to New Jersey to Oklahoma to Japan - due to Jacob Poppe's work as a pastor. Poppen attended Vassar College on a scholarship but left after her first year. She later graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan and settled in Hull, Iowa, where she taught high school German and Latin. On June 14, 1917 Poppen married John De Koster and retired from teaching. She had five children. The couple co-founded the American Reformed Church, where Sarah De Koster led the women’s groups and became the first woman elected to the school board. De Koster died in car accident in 1957 on her way to visit her daughters in Texas.


5.00 linear inches

Language of Materials



Family correspondence received by a pastor's wife during the early twentieth century.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1268) were donated by Sarah Hart in 2012.

Becky Boyle, 2012
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)