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Mae Atkinson Robinson papers

Identifier: IWA0506

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Scope and Contents

The Mae Atkinson Robinson papers date from 1898 to 1944 and measure 5 linear inches. The papers are arranged alphabetically and consist of correspondence, Robinson's diaries, and an autograph book.

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence documenting the courtship of Mae Atkinson and Ralph Robinson. Most of these letters, by both Atkinson and Robinson, were written in 1916 and 1917. The correspondence also contains letters to Ralph Robinson and Mae Atkinson Robinson from others.

Mae Atkinson began her 1907 diary when she started taking classes at Ellsworth College. Her 1941 diary documents her life in rural Iowa. The Ralph Robinson school records contain grade reports, German homework, and a congratulatory letter on his graduation from high school. The photographs are full color copies.


  • Creation: 1898-1954


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

Laura Mae Atkinson Robinson was born in 1887 in Ovando, Montana, to Benjamin Franklin Atkinson and Josephine Curry Atkinson. After Benjamin Atkinson was killed in a logging accident, Josephine Atkinson married Adelbert Armstrong and moved back to Iowa Falls, Iowa. Mae Atkinson graduated from Iowa Falls High School. As a teenager, Atkinson took sewing classes at Edgewood, a community center for girls in Iowa Falls founded by Mrs. Eva Simplot. Atkinson later took business courses at Ellsworth College in Iowa Falls. Mae Atkinson moved to Des Moines, Iowa, and took a job with the Home Insurance Company. During this time, she began corresponding with her cousin, Ralph Benjamin Robinson, who lived in Minnesota. In 1917, Mae Atkinson and Ralph Robinson married at Atkinson?s home in Iowa Falls. The couple farmed land in Minnesota and together they had three children: Glenn, Ruth, and Don. The family moved back to Iowa in 1933. Mae Robinson died in Iowa Falls, Iowa, in 1952.


5.00 linear inches

Photographs in Box 1. boxes

Language of Materials



Correspondence and diaries of an Iowa farm woman.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 880) were donated by Marilyn R. Calkins in 2003.

Elizabeth Engel, 2006.
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)