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Elizabeth Lindsay Tatum papers

Identifier: IWA0824

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Scope and Contents

The Elizabeth Lindsay Tatum Papers date from 1900 to 2006 and measure 2.5 linear inches. The papers are arranged in four series: Biographical, Correspondence, American Friends Service Committee Reports, and Memoirs.

The Biographical series (1950-2006) includes a biographical information sheet filled out by son Steven Tatum and a number of letters written by Lyle Tatum and others in the wake of Elizabeth Tatum's sudden death in 1964.

The Correspondence series (1948-1967) contains a number of letters Elizabeth Tatum wrote to friends and family, both prior to and during her residence in Rhodesia. Also included are letters Lyle Tatum wrote to his family in the period when he was in Africa before his family joined him, and letters his son Steven wrote to family members in Iowa.

The American Friends Service Committee Reports (1960-1964) consist of newsletters entitled "AFSC Africa Report" written by Lyle Tatum and others for congregations in the United States. Also included are informal reports by Lyle Tatum about his activities and about the political situation in Africa.

The Memoirs series (1996-1997) contains a memoir by Lyle Tatum regarding his rejection of the draft and imprisonment, and his father Elmer Tatum's memories of his youth in rural Iowa.


  • Creation: 1900-2006


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

Elizabeth "Bicky" Lindsay was born in Fairfield, Iowa, in 1920, the eldest of Robert and Eva Mandt Lindsay's four children. In 1942, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics with a concentration in dietetics from Iowa State College.

Elizabeth Lindsay married Lyle E. Tatum in 1942 and subsequently became a Quaker and pacifist. Her husband, a conscientious objector, was imprisoned during World War II for refusing induction into military service. Lyle Tatum became an administrator and consultant with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and spent four years in Southern Rhodesia as the AFSC's South African representative.

The Tatums had two children, Susan and Steven. Steven accompanied his parents to Southern Rhodesia in 1960 while Susan stayed behind to study nursing at the University of Iowa.

A homemaker and volunteer, Elizabeth Tatum worked with the Young Women's Christian Association for African girls while in Rhodesia. In 1964, as the family was preparing to move back to the United States, Elizabeth Tatum was killed in a car accident that also killed another member of the AFSC and injured her son and husband.


2.50 linear inches

Photographs in Box 1. boxes

Language of Materials



Peace activist and Quaker who lived in Southern Rhodesia from 1960 to 1964.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no.1021) were donated by Steven Tatum in 2006.

Margaret Halterman, 2012.
Language of description
Script of description

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)