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Identifier: 4

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Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

The Magdalena Tylee papers date from 1917 to 1988 and measure 2.25 linear feet. The papers are arranged in four series: Biographical, Diaries, Photographs, and Scrapbooks.

The Biographical series (1921-1988) includes many letters Helen Tylee wrote to her husband during his service in World War II, and also a large collection of letters she received from family members in Germany (written in German). Tylee's letters to her husband illuminate her daily life managing the family farm while he was stationed in Texas and Florida during World War II. The radio transcript in this series is an interview with Tylee that aired on a Waterloo, Iowa, radio station; the topics covered include why she came to Iowa, how Iowa differs from Germany, and how she managed to handle the farm without her husband. The poetry and a brief memoir of Helen Tylee's mother-in-law, Frances "Frankie" Tylee, a telephone operator in Toddville, Iowa, are also included. Frankie Tylee's poetry addresses many themes including her work, her religious convictions, family issues, and historical events such as World War II and JFK's assassination.

The Diaries series (1936-1987) include nearly twenty diaries Tylee kept over her lifetime. Entries in the late 1930s, 1940s and 1950s are scattered and sketchy, while those of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s are more regular and detailed (1970 is the only year for which there is no diary in these later decades). Tylee described her activities on and off the farm, always noted the day's weather and temperature, and sometimes pasted in short newspaper clippings. A travel diary she kept during a trip to Germany in 1958 is also included.

The Photographs series (1917-1984) holds a substantial collection of photographs of Tylee's family members in Germany; most are undated, but appear to be from both the World War I and World War II eras. The series includes a few photos of the Tylees later in life, but the majority of them were taken before 1970. Also included (in folder 5) are the original, 8x10 prints of photos, taken by the Cedar Rapids Gazette in 1942, of Helen Tylee doing farm chores during her husband's military service in the Second World War. The Gazette published the photos in an article on Tylee called "She's a Soldier, Too." A copy of the article is in the photo album in this series. The photo album also includes family photos taken from the 1940s-1980s.

The Scrapbooks series consists of three albums of newspaper clippings. The bulk of the first and third albums have clippings from the late 1930s through late 1950s including stories about family and friends, and news of interest to Helen Tylee such as articles about the Dionne quints, the British royal family, and inspirational poems. The second album is full of editorial cartoons about World War II, and includes a copy of "She's a Soldier, Too."


  • Creation: 1917-1988


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.


From the Collection: 2.25 Linear Feet

From the Collection: Photographs in Box 4. boxes

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

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)