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Helen Bamford papers

Identifier: IWA0193

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Scope and Contents

The Helen Bamford papers date from 1911 to 1994 and measure 12.1 linear inches. The papers are arranged in four series: Biographical information, Professional photography, Photographs, and Artifacts.

The Biographical information series (1926-1994, scattered) includes newspaper clippings about Bamford, her obituaries, and diaries from the years 1979, 1981, 1983 and 1989. Account books including household, charity, and medical expenses, and miscellaneous notes in spiral notebooks complete the series.

Bamford's professional career as a photographer is detailed in the series Professional photography (1949-1980) which includes information about the awards she received, memorabilia, and newspaper clippings about her studio, as well as a number of studio portraits.

The Photographs series (1913-1994) includes two albums of family snapshots from the years 1913 to 1941 and various photos of the Bamford family.

A Photography Hall of Fame medal and miscellaneous nametags comprise the Artifacts series (1967, 1969 and undated).


  • Creation: 1911-1994


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

Helen Bamford was born on November 16, 1902, in Muscatine, Iowa, to Frank and Mary Dietrick Bamford. She spent her entire life in Muscatine except for five years in California as a young child. Bamford graduated in 1920 from Muscatine High School and started in the photography business as a receptionist at the J. A. Chamberlin studio in 1924. It was there that she learned the profession. In 1949 she opened her own studio. She specialized in portrait photography and won many awards, including the Medlar Award for Iowa's best portrait in 1968. She was a member of Professional Photographers of America, Professional Photographers of Iowa and Southeast Iowa Photographers. Bamford retired in 1978 and died in 1994.


12.10 linear inches

Photographs in boxes 1-3, Artifacts in Box 3 boxes

Language of Materials



Professional photographer from Muscatine.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 274) were donated by Mary Zoller in 1995.

Natalie S. Brody, 1995.
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Script of description
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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)