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Camp Fire Iowana-Camp Hitaga Records

Identifier: IWA0993

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Scope and Contents

The Camp Fire Iowana-Camp Hitaga records date from 1852 to 2014 and measure 55 linear feet. The records are arranged in nine series: Iowana Council, Other Councils, Iowa Camps, National Camp Fire, Photographs, Books, Artifacts, Other Donors, and Audio-Visual.

The Iowana Council series (1937-2014) consists of histories; administrative documents; awards and certificates; newspaper clippings and public relations documents; brochures; newsletters for parents, leaders, alumni, and youth; documents relating to and created by leaders, parents, and youth; and documents relating to Iowana Council activities and events, including ceremonials. The Iowana Council included girls (and, later, boys) from the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area, and later came to include other councils from the surrounding area in Davenport, Spring Grove Township, and Washington, Iowa.

The Other Councils series (1915-1993) contains administrative merger documents, scrapbooks, and other materials relating to the Okiya Council (Davenport, Iowa), Wetomachik Council (Spring Grove Township, Iowa), Heart of the Hawkeye Council (Des Moines, Iowa), and Washington Council (Washington, Iowa). The series also includes a scrapbook relating to a Denver, Colorado council and a 1953 charter for an unknown council.

The Iowa Camps series (1852-2010) consists of materials relating to camps created and maintained by the Iowana Council: Camp Wohelo, Camp Hitaga, and Camp Menahka. Camp Wohelo was the precursor to Camp Hitaga, which were both overnight camps. Camp Menahka was the day camp, held in area parks in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Muscatine, Iowa City, Anamosa, Mount Vernon, and Manchester, Iowa. The Camp Wohelo subseries contains two scrapbooks with photographs and commentary. The Camp Hitaga subseries contains the majority of the documents, including histories, administration, newspaper clippings and public relations documents, brochures and registration forms, items relating to counselors and campers, and documents relating to Camp Hitaga activities and events. Documents relating to organizations outside of Camp Fire are included in the Camp Hitaga subseries, as the camp hosted and rented space to other groups throughout the year. The Camp Menahka subseries contains accreditation documents, brochures, and registration forms. Because Camp Hitaga and Menahka operated simultaneously, mailings, brochures, and registration forms frequently featured both camps. Thus, the Camp Hitaga and Camp Menahka subseries overlap in their content.

The National Camp Fire series (1913-2009) contains items created by or relating to Camp Fire in the United States. It includes histories, administration, awards and certificates, catalogs, magazines, and documents relating to activities and events, including ceremonials. Some items in this series are associated with the Iowana Council.

The Photographs series (1925-2007) consists of photographs of the Iowana Council, Camp Hitaga, Camp Menahka Day Camps, and miscellaneous photographs and negatives. The Iowana council photographs document youth and leaders; grand council fires, annual meetings, and ceremonies; and activities and events. The Camp Hitaga subseries contains photographs of buildings and renovations; directors, counselors, and campers; and ceremonials and celebrations.

The Books series (1914-1996) contains books published by Camp Fire as well as other publishers and authors. It is organized according to purpose: as histories; ceremonial guides; guides for activities, projects, and outdoor exploration; summer and day camps; guides for leaders and youth; conferences; and popular fiction.

The Artifacts series (1978-2010 and undated) includes Camp Fire-associated accessories, small artifacts, clothing, and memorabilia. Accessories include pins, patches, jewelry, hats, ceremonial headbands, scarves and handkerchiefs, and footwear. Small artifacts include wooden beads, toys, and other artifacts. Clothing consists of vests and sashes, Camp Fire uniforms, ceremonial gowns, and individual belongings (for Martha and Nancy Noyes, Sheryl Jo Stephan, and Dorothy Stinson). Camp Fire memorabilia include flags, plaques and trophies, and craft projects and miscellaneous artifacts.

The Other Donors series contains documents, clothing, craft projects, songbooks, and Camp Fire guides of former Camp Fire girls and Camp Hitaga campers and counselors. These items were donated by Sara Ingram, Joan Harn Landas, Mary McCoy, Tim Negro (items of Ann Negro), Deanne Reeve Robinson, Carol Smith, Dian Smith, Ruby Smith, and Nora Lee Duffe Steinbrech.

The Audio-Visual series contains digitized photographs on DVD, scanned photographs and scrapbook pages on Compact Disc (CD), and slides.


  • Creation: 1852-2014

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

In 1910, educator and reformer Luther Gulick Jr., M.D. and his wife, Charlotte Gulick, created the Camp Fire Girls of America, America’s first nonsectarian and multicultural organization for girls. Two years later, Cedar Rapids, Iowa founded its own council, sponsored by the YWCA, and by 1918, Cedar Rapids-area churches also sponsored individual Camp Fire groups. In 1927-1928, Camp Fire was admitted to the Cedar Rapids Community Chest and given a budget allocation. Since 1927, the council has been known as the Cedar Rapids Council of Camp Fire Girls (1927-1949), the Iowana Area Council of Camp Fire Girls (1950-1955, serving Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha, Springville, Central City, Anamosa, Lisbon, Mount Vernon, and Tipton), the Iowana Council of Camp Fire Girls (1956-1980), and finally, the Iowana Council of Camp Fire (1980-2014) to include boys, following the enactment of Title IX. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Okiya (Davenport, Iowa) and Washington (Washington, Iowa) Camp Fire councils merged with the Iowana council. Over the years, the Iowana council also served as a repository for other councils’ documents.

Cedar Rapids-area Camp Fire girls began overnight camping in the summer of 1923, using multiple locations: a two-week session and later Camp Wohelo at the limestone “Old Green Mansion” in Stone City, Iowa (1923, Camp Wohelo 1928-1930, since destroyed by fire in 1963); Camp Wohelo, using the Y.M.C.A. “Wapsi-Y” camp site along the Wapsipinicon “Wapsie” River (1925-1927); and finally, Camp Hitaga (1931-2014). Camp Fire purchased 55 acres of land and forest in Walker, Iowa, along the Wapsipinicon River between Central City and Troy Mills in January of that year, for a total of $2,000. That summer, Camp Hitaga hosted over 400 girls. In the following decades, as interest and participation grew, cabins, health centers, telephone lines, a horse stable, a pool, and other buildings and amenities were built. Although Camp Hitaga was purchased, owned, and maintained by the Iowana council, many other groups made use of the campsite. In 1939, the Camp Menahka Day Camping program was started, with sessions held in local parks in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Muscatine, Iowa City, Anamosa, Mount Vernon, and Manchester, Iowa. The 1975 Title IX enactment also impacted the camps, as both Camp Menahka (1977) and the overnight Camp Hitaga Resident Camp (1982) soon expanded the programs to include boys.

In August 2014, after 83 years, Camp Fire USA, Iowana Council Corporation and Camp Hitaga informed alumni and friends of the council’s dissolution and the sale of the camp, citing financial difficulties and low participation. In their closing letter, they described Camp Hitaga as “an oasis…that fostered lifelong friendships….where campers and counselors sang, laughed, cried, and learned things they’ll carry with them forever.” At the time of this collection’s processing, the remaining Camp Fire councils were Camp Fire Heart of Iowa (Des Moines, Iowa) and Camp Fire Monticello (Monticello, Iowa). Camp Hantesa (Boone, Iowa) was still in operation.


55.00 Linear Feet

Slides housed in S-11, 2 CDs [d0338 - d0339] in audiovisual collection items

Language of Materials



Eastern Iowa regional branch of Camp Fire (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and its associated summer camp, Camp Hitaga, in Walker, Iowa.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 587) were donated by Joyce Moore, on behalf of the Camp Fire, Iowana Council and Camp Hitaga, in 2015. Other donors include Dian Smith (donor no. 1506), Ruby Smith (donor no. 1437), Carol Smith (donor no. 1490), Deanne (Reeve) Robinson (donor no. 1438), Nora (Lee Duffe) Steinbrech (donor no. 1379), Sara Ingram (donor no. 1375), Joan Harn Landas (donor no. 1369), Mary McCoy (donor no. 1370), and Tim and Ann Negro (donor no. 1371), between 2015 and 2017.

Related Materials

The Georgana Falb Foster papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, IWA0435: Series 2 contains Camp Fire Girls and Camp Hitaga documents, including a memoir, correspondence, scrapbooks, dance and song booklets, anniversary documents, newsletters, and training materials. The artifacts series also includes Camp Hitaga awards, patches, and other items.

The Welch and Angrick collection, Iowa Women’s Archives, IWA0095, contains a series on Campfire Girls, containing annual reports and Heart of Hawkeye council program bulletins and golden jubilee materials.

The Hilda Ellyson Allen papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, IWA0371, contains material relating to the Camp Fire Girls from 1927 (Hilda Ellyson Allen series, Clubwork).

The Ruth Fuller papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, IWA0482, includes a high school essay about Camp Fire Girls from 1925.

The Julie Litchfield Tallman papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, IWA0285, include a Camp Fire Girls beaded vest and beanie from the 1950s-1960s.

The Lola Moeller Zook papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, IWA0462, contains Camp Fire Girls patches, beads, and a dress from the 1920s.

The Joan Lipsky papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, IWA0071, contain two photographs of girls at Camp Hitaga from 1932.

Camp Fire Iowana - Camp Hitaga records
Katheryn Lawson, 2017
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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)