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Iowa Porkettes records

Identifier: IWA0626

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Scope and Contents

The Iowa Porkettes records date from 1964 to 1996 and measure 19.2 linear feet. The collection consists primarily of committee and board records from the late 1970s and 1980s, materials relating to promotional events, and a series of scrapbooks, called "project books"compiled by Porkettes to document their activities. One oral history interview was conducted by Doris Malkmus as part of the Rural Women's Project at the Iowa Women's Archives and has been added to the collection. It is filed in the History and structure series. This interview was conducted as a means of gathering information to supplement the official Porkette records. Documents of the interview includes transcribed notes of round-table discussions on March 21, 2001 and April 18, 2001. At the first roundtable, officers Kathryn Louden, Karen McCreedy, Donna Keppy, Joan Nossaman, Esther VerMeer,Karen and Robin Gingerich, Joyce Oberman, and Margaret Ledger discussed founding and the later history of the Porkettes. Robin Gingerich and Doris Malkmus kept notes and Doris Malkmus moderated. At the April 18th roundtable, founding members Mary McNutt, Kathryn Louden, and Myrtle Keppy discussed the founding of the National Porkettes and the Iowa Porkettes. Neither roundtable was taped, but afterward, members unanimously selected Kathryn Louden as a spokesperson for a recorded interview of the founding years of the Porkettes and Judy Anton as spokesperson for the history of the Iowa Pigskin Sales Company. Esther Ver Meer, IPPA member and President of the National Pork Board, agreed to be interviewed about the growth and dissolution of the Porkettes. An interview with Kathryn Lauden was conducted, but interviews of the other women have not been done. These oral and written records contain detailed documentation of women's roles in commodity organizations and the subtleties of gender identities as women's auxiliaries integrated the previously all-male organizations.

The collection is divided into ten series: History and structure, Board of directors, Meetings, Committees, County organizations, Promotionalevents, Activities, Iowa Pigskin Sales Company (ISPC), Other organizations,and Photographs.

The History and structure series includes organizational chronologies, taped interviews by Doris Malkmus, lists of leaders and award-winners, and by-laws. It also contains by-laws from organizations with formal and informal links to the Iowa Porkettes.

The Board of directors series includes a fairly complete record of the minutes and correspondence of the full board andthe executive committee of the board. Sporadic minutes from joint IPPA and Iowa Porkette executive boards arealso included. The Meetings series includes minutes and correspondence related to the quarterly meetings of the full membership.

The Committees series provided detailed information on most of the activities of the organization. It includes therecords of committees on finances, by-laws, promotions, Pork Queen contests,the State Fair, and educational activities. The project books, located in this series, form a complete and readily accessible account of all Porkette activities for any given year.

Although most counties in Iowa had Porkette organizations, county records are rarely included in this collection. Existing records have been preserved under the County organization series.

The Promotional events series includes records of a wide variety of annual, single-time,and on-going events. The files of several committees--State Fair, Metropolitan, and Queens--also contain information about promotional events.

The Activities series includes a full run of the Lady's Pork Journal, other intermittent publications, and a speaker corps manual. Before the Porkettes published their own journal, the Porkette president wrote a column for the IPPA newsletter. These columns are found in a scrapbook compiled by Kathryn Louden covering 1964 to 1972. Annual project books from 1973 to 1988 are included in this series. After 1977, state project books were assembled with standardized plastic covers provided by the IPPA. The 1977 project book is boxed in its original cover. The plastic covers oflater project books have been removed and any ornamentation on the cover storedwith the contents of its scrapbook.

The Iowa Pigskin Sales Company series includes financial records, sewing manuals, slides of pigskin fashions, and a scrapbook. More information about the IPSC can be found on the oral history tapes of Judy Anton.

The series Other organizations includes materials from affiliated groups--the Iowa and National Pork Producers Association and the National Women's Pork Council--as well as related industry groups.

The Photographs series consists primarily of photographs of Pork Queens contestants and a photo album of Pork Queens. Additional photographs of Porkette officers and members at various events are located in the annual project books.


  • Creation: 1964-1996


Conditions Governing Access

The records 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

On the initiative of the newly formed National Porkettes, the Iowa Porkettes organized in January 1964 as an auxiliary to the Iowa Pork and Swine Producers Association (IPSPA). Starting with a group of forty members, the first president of the Iowa Porkettes Jan Jackson recruited over two hundred members by the end of the year. Within the first two years, the Porkettes adopted pork promotion as their primary goal. This included promoting pork at fairs and supermarkets and after 1965 organizing the rules for and conducting the annual Pork Queen contest on a more formal basis. The Porkettes also worked with schools to introduce pork information into the home economics curriculum. To finance these activities, the Iowa Porkettes sold pig-related items at fairs and conferences and in 1976 created the fully owned, for-profit company Iowa Pigskin Sales Company (IPSC).

Early Porkette officers organized groups at the county and district level, increasing the membership from 410 in 1972 to 5,671 in 1979. With increased membership, Iowa Porkettes expanded their promotional activities. Concern about liability motivated them to incorporate as an independent organization in 1976, linked to the IPSPA by a memoradum of understanding. The IPSPA by this time had changed its name to the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA). As the Iowa Porkettes grew in size, the organization acquired a more professional identity. Many members expressed a feeling that the name "Porkettes" did not reflect this new identity, but in 1984, the membership voted by a narrow margin to retain the name "Porkettes." Many members also felt the Pork Queen no longer reflected women's role in pork production, but most members recognized that the Pork Queen had evolved into a polished, professional, and highly effective, public-relations spokesperson.

In 1986, the National Pork Board allocated federally mandated pork promotion funds to the IPPA. With the new income, the IPPA hired additional staff, paid mileage to its officers and committee members, and distributed high quality promotional materials. With little discussion, the IPPA gradually included Porkette members on many of its committees. Over the next four years, the IPPA and Porkette committees merged completely. Without committees to oversee, there was no longer a compelling reason to maintain a distinct women's auxiliary board and the Iowa Porkettes dissolved in 1991. Additional history is found in the "History and Organizational Structure" series; the first project book, compiled by Kathryn Louden in 1973; and in the IPPA organizational history Iowa Pork and People by Donald Muhm.


19.20 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Women's auxiliary of the Iowa Pork Producer's Association, founded in 1964. Merged with the men's organization in 1992.

Method of Acquisition

The records (donor no. 700) were donated by the Iowa Pork Producers Association in 2000.

Doris Malkmus, 2001.
Language of description
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)