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Jennifer Riggs Cosson papers

Identifier: IWA0431

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Scope and Contents

The Jennifer Riggs Cosson papers date from the 1890s to 1943 and measure 13 linear inches. The papers are arranged in six series: Biographical, Correspondence, Essays Reviews, Simpson College and Speeches.

The Biographical series (1902-1943) consists of Bible verses Cosson collected, newspaper clippings, poems, invitations, writings, programs for women's clubs, World War I activities and the travel log Cosson kept when traveling to Europe with her family in 1914. The biographical series also contains the condolence cards and letters the Cosson family received after Jennifer Cosson's unexpected death in 1943. The condolence letters are testimonies to the character and influence of Cosson on her friends and acquaintances.

The Correspondence series primarily consists of the courtship letters (July 1904-December 1904) exchanged between Jennifer Riggs, living in Indianola at the time, and George Cosson, living in Audubon, before their wedding in December 1904. There is also some general correspondence pertaining to Jennifer Riggs Cosson's association with the Des Moines' Parks Board.

The Essays series (undated) contains essays Jennifer Cosson wrote throughout her adult life on a variety of topics, such as women's rights, philosophy, and religion.

The Reviews series (undated) consists of magazine and book reviews by Jennifer Cosson. The reviews cover books and magazine articles written mostly by women, and cover such topics as sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy, and comparisons between women of different eras.

The Simpson College series (1894-1902 and undated) contains poems, essays, book reviews and speeches Jennifer Riggs wrote while attending Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. Many of the essays deal with political themes and women's issues.

The Speeches series (1916, 1937, 1939 and undated) contains speeches Cosson wrote or presented at various events. The majority of the speeches are political and humorous in nature.


  • Creation: 1890-1943


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

Jennifer Riggs was born in Lamoni, Iowa. She attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and graduated in 1899 with a bachelor's degree in education. Riggs taught school in Indianola until December 1904, when she married George Cosson and moved to Audubon, Iowa where he established a legal practice. In 1909 George Cosson was elected to the Iowa Senate, and from 1911 to 1917 he held the office of Attorney General of the State of Iowa. Jennifer Cosson became very active in politics and the community, serving on the Des Moines Parks Board, the Simpson College Board, the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) committee, P.E.O., and the Ladies Legislative League. In 1925 Cosson was inducted into Epsilon Sigma Sorority as an alumna and faculty member of Simpson College. Cosson was a talented and sought-after speaker who was known to infuse humor and her knowledge of many subjects into her speeches. She also wrote many speeches for her husband in his various political endeavors. Cosson was a vocal suffragist, writing and delivering speeches on the value of women's rights, and participating in debates. Traveling to California to visit her new granddaughter in February 1943, Cosson contracted pneumonia on the train trip and died a week after arriving at her son's home.


13.00 linear inches

Language of Materials



A known suffragist who was active in community and political circles in Des Moines, Iowa.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 631) were donated by George Cosson in 1999 and ensuing years.

Andrea Rasmussen, 2001; Lisa Mott, 2004.
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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)