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Louise Goldman papers

Identifier: IWA0307

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Scope and Contents

The Louise Goldman papers date from 1933 to 1997 and measure 12.25 linear inches. The papers are arranged in eight series: Personal material, State University of Iowa, Public Service, Feminist Activism, Speeches and notes, Poetry and other writings,  Photographs, and Artifacts.

The Personal material series (1933-1997) includes an autograph book from Goldman's childhood, diaries of trips she made by car and train to visit relatives in Colorado Springs in 1933 and 1936, and a short autobiography Goldman wrote for her grandchildren. It also includes materials from services and events at Goldman's synagogue, Temple Emanuel in Davenport, Iowa. Of particular note is a videotape of a special inter-generational Shabbat service organized by Goldman.

The State University of Iowa series (1943-1996) contains materials relating to Goldman's sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, including issues of the sorority's newsletter, The Torch of Sigma Delta Tau, which Goldman edited. This series also contains the 1944-45 Code for Coeds handbook, edited by Goldman for the University Women's Association. Also included in the series are scrapbook pages and memorabilia documenting Goldman's induction into the Alpha of Iowa chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa society, and reunion materials, including a poem Goldman wrote and presented at her fiftieth reunion in 1996.

The Public Service series (1970-1997) contains correspondence and newspaper clippings that document Goldman's volunteer service to many organizations, including the Vera French Community Mental Health Center, Community Health Care, Reach to Recovery, United Way, the Davenport Civil Service Commission, and the State Advisory Committee to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights. It also contains materials from Goldman's campaign for the Iowa House of Representatives in 1974.

The Feminist Activism series (1972-1996) consists of newspaper clippings and memorabilia from Goldman's involvement with the Women's Community Leadership Institute Program (WCLIP), her articles about women in government positions in Latin America, and materials from the women's conferences she attended. This series contains newspaper clippings about the Equal Rights Amendment, including publicity generated from a day-long pro-ERA vigil in which Goldman participated. An audiotape of a 1978 interview with Goldman in which she discusses the barriers women face in career advancement completes the series.

The Speeches and notes series (1971-1979) contains notes, drafts, and related materials from various speeches Goldman presented as the featured speaker at many local conferences and events. Her talks had titles such as "The Truth About Women's Lib," "Women: Underdeveloped Natural Resource," and "Early Detection of Breast Cancer."

The Poetry and other writings series (1956-1997) includes newspaper clippings, memorabilia and some of Goldman's poetry, including the collection Six Seasons. This series contains notes and information from writing workshops and classes Goldman attended, as well as information about a writing group, The Quint-City Poets' Society, to which she belonged. The series includes material from the Davenport Public Library's Salute to Authors, at which Goldman was a guest, as well as a copy of the Bettendorf Public Library video of Goldman reading and discussing her poetry, entitled "Louise Goldman: Iowa Poet." This series also contains a 1957 article Goldman wrote for Baby Post magazine.

The Photographs series (1970-1996) contains photographs of Goldman and of Betty Ford taken at a 1972 rally for Republican Jim Leach, and photographs of Goldman taken for newspaper articles about Reach to Recovery. It also includes a group of photographs taken at a 1995 parade which celebrated women in Iowa's state legislature.

The Artifacts series (1944 and undated) consists of pins that Goldman collected during her educational, activist, and public service activities.


  • Creation: 1933-1997


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

Louise Hilfman Goldman, public servant, feminist activist, and poet, was born in 1924 and grew up in Davenport, Iowa. She attended the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) and was a Phi Beta Kappa scholar who graduated with a degree in journalism in 1946. She married Bernard Goldman, then a medical resident, in 1947. He later became a doctor. The couple had two daughters.

Goldman's concern for community mental health services led to appointments to the first Iowa Comprehensive Health Planning Council and the State Committee on Mental Hygiene. She served on the board of the Vera French Community Mental Health Center and on the founding board of Community Health Care of Davenport.

In 1958 Goldman was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy. That experience led her to become one of the first volunteers in the Reach to Recovery program. Reach to Recovery volunteers, all former mastectomy patients, visited new mastectomy patients in the hospital to offer hope and practical advice for coping with the experience.

Goldman was the first woman to chair the Davenport Civil Service Commission. She ran as a Republican candidate for the Iowa House of Representatives in 1974 (losing by just four votes), and served on the State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Her involvement in the women's movement included writing for the Quad City Times about the role of women in Latin American government, leading classes for the local Women's Community Leadership Institute Project (WCLIP), and speaking, writing, and marching in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. She participated in several women's conferences, including the 1977 National Women's Year Conference in Houston, Texas.

In her later years, Goldman began to spend more time nurturing her talent for writing. She became the poet-in-residence at Davenport's Lincoln Center for the Cultural Arts, where her efforts to foster the love of reading, writing, and reciting poetry in children and adults earned her the nickname "Grandma Goldman." Her first book of poems, Six Seasons, was published in 1990. Louise Goldman died in 1998 in Davenport, Iowa.


12.25 linear inches

Artifacts in Box 3. boxes

Language of Materials



Public servant, feminist activist, and poet from Davenport, Iowa.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 421) were donated by Louise Goldman in 1997.

Kate Jones and Kathryn Neal, 1998.
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)