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Emma Lou Leeper Phelan papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0226

Scope and Contents

The Emma Lou Leeper Phelan papers date from 1945, 1995, 1998 and consist of 2 brief reminiscences by Phelan concerning her childhood in Brooklyn, Iowa, and concerning her work as a riveter at Ryan Aeronautical Co. Included also are Phelan's employee earnings statement, her job classification statement, and a photograph of Phelan, her sister, and a male colleague taken by Ryan Aeronautical Co. in 1945. In addition there is a photocopy of a certificate issued by Ryan Aeronautical Company to her husband, Robert W. Phelan, recognizing his performance of essential war work during World War II in the production of airplanes and parts for the Army and Navy.


  • Creation: 1945-1998


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

Emma Lou Leeper was born July 30, 1926 in Iowa. Her mother died in 1933, leaving seven children ages two to thirteen. Her father moved the family to Brooklyn, Iowa to live with his mother-in-law Katharine Roth and her sister Mary Fogel. Graduating from Brooklyn High School in 1944, Leeper took a greyhound bus to San Diego, California where she found a job at Ryan Aeronautical Company. She worked there until September 1945 as a riveter on jet airplanes for the Navy. When the war ended most of the work force was laid off. At that time she married Robert W. Phelan whom she had met at Ryan Aeronautical and they returned to Cherokee, Iowa where they established a home and raised a family of five children.


0.25 linear inches (Photographs in folder 1.)

Language of Materials



Brooklyn, Iowa, native who was a riveter for Ryan Aeronautical Company in California, 1944 to 1945.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 312) were donated by Emma Lou Leeper Phelan in 1995 and 1998.

Kristen Rassbach, 1997; Margaret Richardson, 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)