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Jo Rabenold papers

Identifier: IWA0191

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Scope and Contents

The Jo Rabenold papers date from 1965 to 1983 and measure 3.75 linear feet. The papers are arranged in eight series: Action Studies courses, Clippings and resource files, Conferences, Events and leisure, Organizations, Publications, Political causes and Surveys.

Action Studies was a University of Iowa program founded in 1968 to ensure variety within University course offerings. The Action Studies course series (1965-1972) contains materials from courses in African-American studies and from a women's poetry reading.

The Clippings and resource files series (1972-1982) contains clippings files on various topics of interest to Rabenold. Many of these files relate to the subjects of female sexuality--especially lesbianism--and feminism. There are also files on discrimination, disabilities and weight prejuidice.

The Conferences series (1974-1982) consists of materials related to a variety of conferences held during the mid-1970s and early 1980s. It includes handouts, promotional materials, and registration forms.

The Events and leisure series (1976-1982) contains materials primarily related to local events. The series includes flyers and posters for events such as book readings, dances and lectures. There are also clippings on subjects such as Billie Jean King and local gay bars.

The Organizations series (1972-1983) incorporates information on various, primarily women's, organizations. It includes materials about the Emma Goldman Clinic, the Gay Liberation Front, the Lesbian Alliance (LA), a few lesbian support services, the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP), the Women's Coffeehouse and the Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC). A large number of Better Homes and Dykes, the Lesbian Alliance newsletter, is included.

The Publications series (1971-1983) primarily consists of issues from a variety of gay and women's periodicals. The periodicals are arranged alphabetically by title. Blank lines have been left to indicate the separation between folders. Most of the periodicals are from the 1970s and represent attempts at independent publishing, often by a collective. Many were short-lived with narrow distribution. The series also includes a few promotional materials about Common Lives/Lesbian Lives, a journal published in Iowa City, and some poetry chapbooks.

The Political causes series (1975-1982) covers several issues of interest to Rabenold, including: the Equal Rights Amendment, reproductive rights, and nuclear energy. Most of the folders are comprised mainly of newspaper clippings; however, the protest letters and petitions folder contains several complaints written by Rabenold. These include letters to Ms. Magazine and to Lynn Watson, author of Alimony, or, Death of a Clock. Rabenold chastises Watson for using thinly-disguised descriptions of people and events from the Women's Coffeehouse.

The final series, Surveys (1976-1980), contains surveys about a variety of women's issues. The lesbian health survey folder mainly involves a survey done by a physician at the University of Iowa Hospitals. It includes a copy of the survey as well as a copy of a paper prepared from the survey findings.


  • Creation: 1965-1983


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

Jo Rabenold lived in Iowa City during the 1970s and early 1980s. She was a political activist interested in a variety of causes, especially those regarding women and sexuality. She participated in many groups in Iowa City, including the Women's Resource and Action Center and the Lesbian Alliance. In fact, one acquaintance describes her as "a roving lesbian" who devoted her time and energy wherever needed.


3.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Iowa City activist who collected lesbian and feminist publications during the 1970s and 1980s.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 272) were donated by Jo Rabenold through the Women's Resource and Action Center in 1994.

Related Materials

Women's Resource and Action Center records (IWA)

Marnie Schroer, 1995.
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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)