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Marjorie Elizabeth Lyford papers

Identifier: IWA0051

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Scope and Contents

The Marjorie Elizabeth Lyford papers date from 1890 to 2004 and measure 4.6 linear feet. The papers are arranged in nine series: Biographical Material, Correspondence, Nursing career, Student years, Teaching career, Family, Photograph albums, Scrapbooks, and Calendar journals. The papers contain materials pertaining to Marjorie Lyford's family history as well as her career.

Biographical material (1995-1999) consists of a talk she gave at PEO chapter KP, Iowa City, in 1997 about her childhood, career choice, and a book of poems she wrote.

The Correspondence series (1915-2002) contains letters from Lyford to her parents and friends written during her adult years. The outgoing correspondence, organized by Lyford, is arranged according to the locations where she lived during her years of schooling and professional nursing career before teaching. The communications are congenial and describe Lyford's daily activities and family news.

Only two folders comprise the Nursing career series (1936-1998), one concerning Community Health Services of Minneapolis (1936) and a scrapbook of work as a public health nurse for the infant care program in Des Moines, Iowa from 1944 to 1946. There are clues about Lyford's nursing career in her professional biography in the Teaching career series and in her correspondence.

The School years series (1865-1982) contains memorabilia and keepsakes from Lyford's years in nurse's training, including a scrapbook from the Kahler School of Nursing with photographs and comments about Lyford's class graduation in 1932 and fiftieth reunion in 1982. A freshman English assignment entitled, "My View of Myself" provides insight into Lyford's personality and attitude toward life and work.

Marjorie Lyford spent over half of her professional life as a professor of nursing and the Teaching career series (1957-1978) is the largest series of these papers. Of interest are Lyford's professional biography and a speech given at the Lillian Wald portrait unveiling at the University of Iowa School of Nursing where she stated her views of public health nursing history and its role in the future.

The Family series (1890-1993) contains the papers and correspondence of Marjorie Lyford's immediate family and other relatives. Genealogy contains information tracing Marjorie Lyford's ancestry from both parents to the first members of each side to arrive in America. The letters of Fred and Addie Lyford's courtship and correspondence from relatives on the occasion of their marriage in 1903 give insight into the social customs and practices of the turn of the century. Also of interest is an essay attributed to Fred Ray Lyford, papers from his education at Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) and an engineering project on the sewer system of Ithaca, New York. The railroad passes are from the period when Fred Lyford was involved in the survey and construction of the railroad from St. Louis to Kansas City. An 1865 grade school geography book Addie Crowe Lyford taught from is filed in box 9.

The Photograph Album series (1915-1995) is a collection of eight albums sorted by year and content. A pictorial biography of Marjorie Lyford includes photographs from major events and activities in her life from 1915 to 1995. The High School Days album contains photographs of Marjorie and her high school friends, as well as programs from events she participated in. Two albums date from the 1920s to the 1950s and include photographs of Marjorie in nursing school, with her friends from California where she worked as a nurse, and of her frequent travels. She also kept photographs and programs from her Methodist-Kahler Nursing School reunion. The 1990s albums contain photographs of the children in her neighborhood and their families with drawings, notes, and newspaper articles about the children and Marjorie’s garage playroom.

There are three scrapbooks in the Scrapbook series. The University of Iowa scrapbook consists of letters, well-wishes, and invitations regarding her retirement. The second scrapbook documents the flood of 1993. The third scrapbook contains articles about her second cousin and presidential candidate, Bill Bradley. Included in this scrapbook is correspondence from Bill Bradley and a letter to Marjorie from writer John McFee.

The Calendar journals (1973-1991) consist of desk calendars in which Lyford recorded short entries about her daily activities.


  • Creation: 1865-2002


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

Marjorie Elizabeth Lyford, a nurse and nursing professor, was born November 28, 1910, one of three children of Fred Ray and Addie Crowe Lyford. Lyford grew up in northeast Iowa and had nursing preparation in Cedar Falls for a short time before entering Kahler Hospital School of Nursing, in Rochester, Minnesota, to fulfill the requirements for taking the state nursing board examination to become a registered nurse. As a nurse, Lyford worked in the area of public health. She was a school nurse, then later a staff nurse at the Minneapolis Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) and staff nurse and supervisor of the VNA in New Haven, Connecticut. Following this, Lyford became the maternal and child health nursing consultant for the State Health Departments in both San Francisco and Des Moines. Lyford received her B.S.N. in public health from the University of Minnesota in 1939 and her masters degree in public health nursing from the University of Michigan in 1951.

Lyford began her teaching career at the University of Iowa College of Nursing in 1953. During her tenure, Lyford was involved in changes to the curriculum for public and community health courses. In 1965, when telecourses were a new type of instruction, Lyford directed a project that produced videotaped lectures in public health science. Two of Lyford's notable accomplishments were serving as the acting dean of the College of Nursing in 1964 and being the first woman to serve on the University of Iowa's Board in Control of Athletics from 1970 to 1976. Marjorie Lyford retired from teaching in the spring of 1976. In the early 1990s Lyford made her empty garage into a playroom for the neighborhood children with whom she had developed close relationships. Marjorie Lyford died in 2004.


10.00 linear inches

Two audiocassettes [AC253, AC469] Cassettes

Language of Materials



Public health and visiting nurse who later taught at the University of Iowa College of Nursing.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 105) were donated by Marjorie Elizabeth Lyford in 1993 and succeeding years.

Nickol Himschoot
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)