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Lillian Moore Scales papers

Identifier: IWA0292

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Scope and Contents

The Lillian Moore Scales papers date from 1938 to 1991 [bulk 1938-1958] and measure 2.5 linear inches. The papers do not include much personal biographical information but provide several resources for researching the Des Moines African-American culture from the 1930s through the 1950s.

The Lillian Moore Scales papers include: the Negro Business and Information Directory, which lists the Negro-owned businesses in Des Moines, July 1939 to June 1940; the front cover of the Kappa Alpha PSI Journal dated May 1949, which features the Harper family of Iowa and lists national and regional officers and contacts; the "Program Emphases for 1938" of the Blue Triangle Branch, the African-American branch of the YWCA; a signed program for a concert by African-American pianist Philippa Duke Schuyler, including a personal thank you to Lillian Scales; several newspaper clippings that refer to the activities of the Des Moines City Federation of Colored Women, the Des Moines Branch of the NAACP, the Beta Gamma Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Sorority, and Scales's cousin Arlene Roberts Morris; a homemade program for a "friendly" football game between the Livingston Heights Bulldogs and the Iowa Panty-Waists; a thank-you note from friends for an Iowa football-oriented weekend during which Iowa cinched an appearance in the 1957 Rose Bowl; and an invitation to attend a Silhouette Club function.

The photographs in this collection are undated and most of them lack identification. A few of the photographs include first names only and several are simply titled "Booklovers" (a YWCA club). Of special interest are a photograph depicting an evening at the Sepia Supper Club in Des Moines, an official WAC photograph of two unidentified women, an autographed photograph of the concert pianist Philippa Duke Schuyler, and two photographs of African-American journalist Marie Ross.


  • Creation: 1938-1991


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

Lillian Cecile Moore was born in Rock Island, Illinois on August 22, 1901 to Altheda Jones Moore and William Henry Moore. Moore grew up in Estherville, Iowa and graduated from Estherville High School before continuing her education at Grandview College and Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She later received her master's degree from the University of Minnesota.

Lillian Moore married Emmitt Thomas Scales on January 26, 1921. The couple had two children, Emmitt, Jr. and Martha. The family moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 1928, where Lillian Moore Scales continued to reside until her death, except for a brief interlude to Minnesota, from 1985 to 1991. While in Des Moines, Scales was employed in the Grandview College Library and served as a substitute teacher in many Catholic schools in the area. She retired as a school psychologist who began her career as a home economics teacher.

Scales was very active in the African-American community in Des Moines, Iowa. Scales' activities included the Blue Triangle Branch of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), the Des Moines City Federation of Colored Women, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She was also an active member of Visitation Catholic Church, and the Kappa Alpha Psi Silhouettes. She died on December 23, 1991 at the Riverview Care Center in Des Moines, Iowa at the age of ninety.


2.50 linear inches

Language of Materials



Estherville, Iowa-born homemaker and teacher who was active in literary, political, and religious groups in Des Moines.

Method of Acquisition

The papers(donor no. 399) were donated by Martha Scales Zachary in 1996.

Related Materials

Arlene Roberts Morris papers (IWA): Cousin of Lillian Moore Scales.

Lisa Mott, 2002.
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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)