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Wenger, Helen Lee Hensleigh, 1922-2006



  • Existence: 1922 - 2006


Helen Lee Hensleigh was born in rural Page County, Iowa on November 21, 1922 to Eula Fern Bair Hensleigh and Albert "Bert" Hensleigh. She was the third of four children, each born two years apart. Helen Lee Hensleigh and her family moved several times, residing in Missouri, Texas, and Kansas. The Hensleigh family ultimately returned to Iowa, first with a stint in Hamburg, followed by a move to Iowa City. In Iowa City, Hensleigh completed her high school education at City High. She then went on to attend the University of Iowa in 1940. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa three and a half years later.

Hensleigh became engaged to her freshman botany instructor, William Fox, when she was twenty and married him the following year. The couple lived in Delray Beach, Florida from 1944-1945, where Helen Lee Fox obtained her first teaching job. The couple then lived in Pullman, Washington until Bill Fox was offered a job in the Botany Department at North Carolina State College in Raleigh. The Foxes resided in Raleigh for seven years and had a son, Steven William Fox, in 1948. While in Raleigh, Helen Lee Fox became involved with the League of Women Voters and worked as a lobbyist for various social causes.

After Bill Fox was killed in an accidental shooting, Helen Lee Fox and her son Steve moved back to Iowa City. Shortly thereafter, Helen Lee Fox married Mustafa Inci and moved to North Carolina and then Illinois. However, after ten years of enduring physical abuse by her husband, Helen Lee Hensleigh Inci and her son fled Mustafa Inci and moved to California. In California, Helen Lee Hensleigh taught at the University of Redlands. She resigned her teaching position to marry Howard Wenger, a lawyer from her home town of Hamburg, Iowa in 1969. Helen Hensleigh and Howard Wenger began their retirement embarking on travel overseas. They became involved in the movement to abolish apartheid in South Africa, and in aiding Jews wanting to flee Russia, referred to as "Refusenik" Jews. Helen Hensleigh Wenger and Howard Wenger eventually moved to Iowa City. Helen Hensleigh Wenger passed away on July 20, 2006.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Helen Lee Hensleigh Wenger papers

Identifier: IWA0142

University of Iowa graduate and teacher whose papers include correspondence and scrapbook files relating to her work on a variety of social issues.

Dates: 1922-2006

Shirley Goldstein papers

 Collection — Folder 1
Identifier: IWA1145

An activist on behalf of Soviet Jewish dissidents (known as refuseniks) to help them leave the USSR for Israel and the U.S.

Dates: 2006

Additional filters:

2001-2010 1
20th century 1
Archives (groupings) 1
College students 1
Correspondence 1