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Ruth Schanke papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0339

Scope and Contents

The Ruth Schanke papers date from 1994 to 1997 and measure 1 linear inch. The papers are arranged in one folder under the following headings: Family chronicle, Newspaper articles, Spouses of Gays and Lesbians, and Miscellaneous printed material. The Family chronicle consists of biographical material about Ruth Schanke and family chronologies written by Ruth Schanke and Bob Schanke consisting of photographs and text chronicling the history of the Schankes' marriage and their family life since their divorce. The Newspaper articles contain one discussing the dissolution of the marriage, the other reporting two hate letters sent to Bob Schanke in 1991 and the ensuing support the students and faculty of Central College provided him. The Spouses of Gays and Lesbians contains printed materials and articles directed to family members and friends of gays and lesbians distributed at meetings of Spouses of Gays and Lesbians sponsored by the Plymouth Congregational Church. The Miscellaneous Printed Material concerns conferences and organizations that address gay and lesbian issues.


  • Creation: 1994-1997


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

Ruth Schanke, born in 1941 the daughter of a Lutheran minister, majored in sociology at Midland College in Fremont, Nebraska, graduating in 1963. In 1964 she married Robert Schanke, who later became a professor of theater at Central College in Pella, Iowa. A daughter, Julie, was born in 1967. After twelve years of marriage the Schankes together faced the issue of Bob Schanke's homosexuality. They stayed married ten more years, divorcing in 1987. In 1994 Ruth Schanke organized a support group at Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines called Spouses of Gays and Lesbians. Ruth Schanke, a teacher and social worker, became an administrator in the Iowa Department of Human Services in Des Moines, Iowa.


1.00 linear inch

Language of Materials



Des Moines woman who organized a support group for spouses of lesbians and gays in 1994.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 465 ) were donated by Ruth Schanke in 1997.

Margaret Richardson and Robert J. Jett, 1998.
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)