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Greenberg Family papers

Identifier: IWA0830

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Scope and Contents

The Isabel Greenberg Alt family papers measure 2.5 inches and date from 1917 to 1975. The contents are arranged into one series, Biographical.

The Biographical series contains documents related to Joseph Greenberg, Isabel Greenberg Alt’s father, and his business in Algona, Greenberg Auto Supply. It also includes of one script of a 1926 comedy called “Applesauce,” a newspaper clipping about Alt’s civic engagement in the Des Moines area, and her 1983 obituary in the Des Moines Register.

In addition, the collection contains several photographs of Isabel Greenberg Alt and her extended family from the time of her birth until 1975. The series includes photographs of Isabel Greenberg Alt’s daughter, Marilyn; sister-in-law, Dorothy Greenberg; mother, Sonya Stein Greenberg; and grandmother, Yetta Oberman Stein.

One Sigma Delta Tau sorority pin that belonged to Isabel Greenberg Alt and Dorothy Greenberg completes the collection.


  • Creation: 1918-1975


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Isabel Greenberg Alt was born on October 17, 1917 in Algona, Iowa to Sadie and Joe Greenberg. She graduated from Algona High School in 1935 and attended the University of Iowa where she studied speech, drama and music and was active in Sigma Delta Tau, a Jewish sorority. Upon graduation in 1939, she moved to New York City to pursue work in theater and radio. There she lived in a boarding house with Jewish girls from the theater and found several small jobs. Alt returned home to Iowa just a few months later to assist her family when her father was seriously injured. In January 1940, she joined KVFD, a new radio station in Fort Dodge, Iowa, where she was heard on air as “Dorothy Dodge.” She married Don Alt in 1941 and the two worked together at KVFD and WMT radio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

When WWII broke out Don became a U.S. Army officer, and Isabel moved back to Algona to live with her parents. Between 1944 and 1946, Alt was active in the Algona Prisoner of War Camp United Services Organization (USO) performing for the troops stationed at the POW Camp.

The Alt’s moved to West Des Moines where Isabel raised three children, Marilyn, Sara, and James. Alt served on boards and committees for the Des Moines Hearing and Speech Center, Hawkeye Council of Camp Fire Girls, Des Moines Community Playhouse. In 1966, she worked as community relations director for Easterseals Iowa (formerly the Polk County Society for Crippled Children and Adults). She worked closely with her husband during his time as Republican Representative in the Iowa State Legislature from 1969 to 1971. Alt finished her career as executive director for the Des Moines Hearing and Speech Center, retiring in 1982 and died in 1983.


2.50 linear inches

Language of Materials



Des Moines, Iowa community activist whose husband, Don D. Alt served as a State House Representative.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1416) were donated by Sara Alt in 2015.

Processing Information

This collection contains materials from the organization Easterseals Iowa, formerly known as the Polk County Society for Crippled Children and Adults, prior to their name change in 1967.

Greenberg Family papers
Jeannette Gabriel, Annie Tunnicliff
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)