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Bettie McKenzie papers

Identifier: IWA0136

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Scope and Contents

The Bettie McKenzie papers date from 1874 to 2003 and measure 2 linear feet. The papers are arranged in three series: Biographical, Scholarly work, and Advocacy.

The oral history found in the Biographical series was conducted by Kären Mason in 2005.

The Scholarly work series includes biographical profiles assembled by McKenzie, as well as her correspondence, research, and writing. The series is arranged in topical files. The Augusta Swanson letters include transcriptions of the original letters.

Women's History Day materials, located in the Advocacy series, contain newspaper clippings, correspondence, fliers and meeting notes. Materials for Women's History Day in 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1999 include photographs. The 1992 Women's History Day materials include a transcription of the history of the Monday Club and a history of "Hawthorne Women." Newsletters contains copies of IoWoman that mention activities McKenzie was involved in, as well as publications that include articles written by McKenzie.


  • Creation: 1870-2005


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

Elizabeth "Bettie" Bixby, realtor and community activist, was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1925 to Ruth Wickham Bixby and Benjamin Parker Bixby. Ruth Bixby was a nurse and homemaker and Benjamin Bixby was a physician. Bettie Bixby received her BA in political science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1945.

In September of that year, she married Lowell "Bob" McKenzie. The couple had three children, Robert, Abigail and Sarah. The family moved to Red Oak, Iowa, in 1950 when Bob McKenzie took a job with the Thomas D. Murphy Company.

Bettie McKenzie was active in her community. In the early 1960s, McKenzie acted as hostess for a Welcome Wagon service she started in Red Oak. She served as president of several organizations, including the Red Oak branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Montgomery Board of Realtors, the Community Service League, and the United Nations Association. She was also a member of the PTA, the Planned Parenthood of Mid-Iowa Volunteer Council, the Sunshine and Rainbows Day Care Center Board of Directors, and the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

In the 1980s, McKenzie became interested in local history. She served on the Women's History committee and assembled Women's History Day programs for nearly twenty years. She edited several works, including Her Own Story: Ten Benton County Women, They Didn't Have Perma Press, and Women of Montgomery County. In addition to her community involvement, McKenzie returned to college at Omaha in the 1960s and later took professional courses in real estate from 1973-1987. She worked as a real estate broker for Engquist Insurance (later Hawkeye Insurance). Bettie McKenzie died in October 2005.


2.00 Linear Feet

Photographs in boxes 4 and 5, 6 audiocassettes [AC1197, 1198, AC2122-2125] boxes

Language of Materials



Community activist from Red Oak, Iowa.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 199) were donated by Bettie McKenzie in 2005.

Related Materials

IoWoman newsletters (IWA)

Her Own Story: Ten Benton County Women (IWA): Transcripts of oral histories with Benton County women and resulting publication Her Own Story, published in 1992 and edited by Bettie McKenzie.

A History of Military Service in Montgomery County, Iowa: Montgomery County Court of Honor, ca. 1996. Shelved in the printed works collection in the Iowa Women's Archives. Call number 97 - 675.

Courtney Walters, 2007.
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)