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Alta Martin papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0353

Scope and Contents

The Alta Delight Sterner Martin papers date from 1963 to 2004 and measure 1 linear inch. The papers include Martin's 1963-1965 flight log, starting in April 1963 when Martin began taking private lessons. The papers also include a newspaper article describing Martin's first solo flight and the piece of her slip that was stapled to her flight instructor's office wall with her name and the date of her solo flight written on it. [It was customary for men to snip off a piece of their shirttail after soloing, while women cut off a portion of their slip.] Also included amongst the papers are 1963 photographs of Martin with her plane and Martin's 1965 pilot's license. There is also a 1968 account of Martin's aerobatic flight experience in the cockpit "with Snoopy" and Jim Leahy, pilot-in-command.


  • Creation: 1963-2004


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

Alta Delight Sterner was born February 18, 1927 in Rochester, Iowa to Van Orren Sterner and Delight Howe Sterner. Alta Sterner had one sister, Edna, and four brothers, John, Dale, Lee and Warren. Sterner married Harry Lee Martin on May 30, 1947 in Tipton, Iowa. The couple had two daughters, Linda and Pamela, and three sons, Joseph, Michael and Gary. Martin worked for the FBI in Chicago during World War II. She was a proponent of naturalization of the Rochester (Iowa) Cemetery and an aviator. In 1966, Martin was commemorated as the first female private pilot to solo in Muscatine County, Iowa. Alta Delight Sterner Martin died May 8, 2004.


1.00 linear inch

Photographs in SCVF. boxes

Language of Materials



Homemaker and mother of five who received her private pilot license in 1963.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 495) were donated by Alta D. Martin in 1998.

Lisa Mott, 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)