Skip to main content

Bertha Hedges papers

Identifier: IWA0846

  • Staff Only
  • Please navigate to collection organization to place requests.

Scope and Contents

The Bertha Hedges papers date from 1870 to 2014 and measure 3 linear feet. The papers are arranged in the following series: Biographical, Correspondence, Mildred Hedges, Scrapbooks, and Photographs.

The Biographical series contains Joy Hedges Bartley's notes from conversations with her father and a scrapbook of letters Bartley wrote to her grandchildren in which she describes her grandmother's life on the farm.

The Correspondence series includes includes letters between Bertha Hedges and John Gotter and over 300 postcards. Most of the postacrds date from the early twentieth century and were written to Bertha Hedges from friends and family.

The Mildred Hedges series includes publications concerning the fall that resulted in her death at Simpson College when she was twenty-two and the folklore that developed around the circumstances of her death.

The Scrapbooks series consists mainly of clippings from late nineteenth and early twentieth century newspapers and magazines. One of the scrapbooks is created out of a nineteenth-century Marshall Field's catalog.

The Photographs series includes a photograph album compiled by Joy Bartley in which color photocopies of family photographs are clearly identified and provide insight into the Hedges family history. They include several photographs of Mildred Hedges and a photograph of Bertha Gotter in front of her milliner's shop in Scranton. The corresponding original photographs are preserved in subsequent folders. Among the unidentified photographs is a portrait of a woman in a wheelchair.


  • Creation: 1870-2014


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

Bertha Gotter Hedges was born in 1887 near Scranton in Greene County, Iowa, to Tabitha Linn and Frederick Gotter. Bertha Gotter's mother was originally from Pennsylvania; her father was a German immigrant. Tabitha and Frederick Gotter settled in the Iowa coalmining town of Angus/Ripley, where they owned a coal mine before moving to nearby Willow Township where they farmed. They had five daughters and three sons. Their oldest daughter Millie died of appendicitis in 1895; their son Caleb died of influenza at Fort Logan, Colorado, in 1918.

Bertha Gotter attended country school in Willow Township, Greene County. She later attended school in Denison, Iowa. She trained as a milliner and managed a millinery business in Scranton and kept house for her brother, Caleb Gotter, before marrying Charles Hedges in 1911. The Hedges purchased the family farm in Greene County, where they raised three children: Mildred, Howard and Horace. Their oldest daughter Mildred was born with a cleft palette for which she received surgery in Omaha and Chicago. Mildred Hedges died in 1935 during her freshman year at Simpson College when she tripped over a staircase railing and fell eighteen feet to her death.


3.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



A talented seamstress and milliner, Bertha Gotter Hedges was born in Greene County, Iowa, in 1887.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1251) were donated by Joy Bartley in 2011 and subsequent years.

Megan Blaue, 2014.
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)