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Grace Ferns papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0608

Scope and Contents

The Grace Ferns papers date from 1987 to 2002 and measure 0.5 linear inches. The papers consist of a resume of Ferns' professional work experience, affiliations, honors and awards; a memoir she wrote about one-room rural schools; the transcript of a 2002 interview taken by Jan Losby for the Johnson County Historical Society; and a 2001 newspaper article celebrating Ferns' experiences as a rural Iowa school teacher.


  • Creation: 1987-2002


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

Grace Helen Johnson was born April 27, 1909 near Cambridge, Illinois and moved with her family to Washington County, Iowa in 1911. After attending a one-room school in Franklin Township, Johnson attended Washington High School. In her junior and senior years she took the Normal School training courses, graduating in 1927. That fall she began her long teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse near the former villages of Titus and Grace Hill, near Washington, Iowa.

In 1928, Johnson married Lloyd Ferns. For the next fifteen years she taught in four rural schools: Pleasant in Franklin Township, Oregon No. 3 in Oregon Township, Havre in Washington Township, and New Haven in Dutch Crick Township. During the summers, Ferns attended Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, Iowa, (now called the University of Northern Iowa). Ferns received her two-year degree from that institution in 1948, followed by a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1951. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in education from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa in 1955. Ferns continued her education with graduate courses at both the University of Iowa and Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Ferns taught seventh and eighth grade students in the Keota school system from 1944 to 1950, when she was hired by Superintendent of Schools Frank Snyder of Johnson County. Ferns held the position of Rural School Supervisor for Johnson County for sixteen years, supervising over ninety teachers. From 1967 to 1973, she was the elementary school principal in North Liberty, Iowa.

Upon her retirement in 1974, Ferns volunteered at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City. She also helped organize the Iowa City chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma and the Johnson County Retired School Personnel Association.


.25 linear inches

Language of Materials



Memoir and oral history transcript of a rural Iowa school teacher.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 867) were donated by Grace Ferns in 2002.

Lisa Mott and Margaret Richardson, 2004.
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)