Skip to main content

Esther Christensen papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0596

Scope and Contents

The Esther Christensen papers date from 1908 to 1987 and measure 0.5 linear inches. The papers consist of seven short newspaper accounts and a photocopied sixty-five page memoir, "Our Heritage," by Esther Christensen. She begins with quotes from her father's written description of his service in the Civil War. He describes battles in Missouri, Tennessee, and Mississippi, and the wounds that sent him to Keokuk, Iowa for recovery. His reminiscences of war, some painful, some funny, are included. The Christensen memoir includes descriptions of church services, boating tragedies, tornadoes, house calls and baby deliveries by the local doctor. She describes the building of a homestead, the discovery of Indian arrowheads, county fairs and perfect three layer cakes with seven minute frosting! Christensen also tells of country school, her recitations, Gypsies camping in the woods, and the loss of a brother due to a gun accident, the Spanish Influenza, the loss of a son. Her memoir concludes with her reflections on her ninety-first birthday. Family pictures are reproduced throughout the memoir.


  • Creation: 1908-1987


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been retained by the donor.

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

Esther Downs was born May 9, 1895 in Auburn Township, Fayette County, in northeastern Iowa. After finishing eighth grade she 'hired out,' taking care of sick people. She also worked as a waitress and at the County Farm. On November 12, 1919 she married Morris Christensen, who had just returned from participating in World War I. They raised two sons and twin daughters. Morris Christensen died April 26, 1979 and Esther Christensen died October 5, 1987.


0.50 linear inches

Language of Materials



65-page memoir of Fayette County, Iowa farmwoman.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no.36) were donated by Miriam Colvin in 2000.

Margaret Richardson, 2003.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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)