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Esther Everett papers

Identifier: IWA0880

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Scope and Contents

The Esther Everett papers date from 1911 to 2008 and measure 9 linear feet. The papers are arranged in the following series: Biographical, Family, Education, Correspondence, Personal, Career, Organizations and activism, Cornhusk doll and chair demonstrations, Photographs, Publications, Scrapbooks, and Artifacts.

The Biographical series (1911-2002) contains a wide range of materials detailing Everett's early life including a chronology, resume, and scrapbook. The 'Illness' folder contains a letter recounting an emergency room visit and Everett's handwritten memoir "Memories of Lacey, Iowa" describing her childhood.

The Family series (1968-2001) contains newspaper clippings about her relatives, including her brother Fred Everett's experience in World War II and her sister-in-law Beverly Everett's detailed African and Asian travel diaries.

The Education series (1926-1971) focuses on Everett's undergraduate and graduate work, and includes class notes and papers, and her master's thesis, "A Critique of Family and Personal Account Keeping."

The Correspondence series (1926-2007) comprises letters from Everett's relations and friends. Included are numerous letters from her aunt Edith, and her former students, including Yuriko Fukuohima, who went on to teach home economics in Japan.

The Personal series (1934-2008) contains a variety of documents, including Everett's financial records and calendars. The 'Donation of farm' folder includes photographs and documents about the donation of her 273-acre farm to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, which became the 'Ever-Tru' wildlife area.

The Career series (1931-2004) reflects Everett's many decades teaching home economics with documents on both the minutia of teaching, such as gradebooks and syllabi, as well as the field at large, including academic articles and conference reports. The folder 'Sources on human sexuality' includes a number of academic articles that offer insight into the state of sexuality as a field of study in 1969.

The Organizations and activism series (1955-2003) gives insight into the political ideology of Everett, who was described in her obituary as a 'staunch member of the Democratic Party'. Included is a 1961 fundraising letter signed by Eleanor Roosevelt, and a letter from the Kennedy White House.

The Demonstrating making cornhusk dolls and chairs series (1938-2006) contains documents and newspaper clippings relating to Everett's many presentations, as well as photographs of Everett at work, often in period costume.

The Photographs series (1933-2003) documents Everett's life from her days as a recent college graduate, her time studying and teaching at Michigan State University, and her retirement in Iowa. Included are many photographs of MSU's home management house where Everett lived and taught.

The Publications series (1926-1998) includes guides to the history of home economics instruction at Iowa State University and Michigan State University.

The Scrapbooks series (1928-1929) highlights Everett's time in 4-H, and includes newspaper clippings and photographs, which feature Everett's youth and family, along with photographs of the many of the prize-winning garments Everett created while in the club. The 1929 scrapbook covers in detail her trip to Washington D.C.

The Artifacts series (undated) contains Everett's numerous 4-H ribbons and medals.


  • Creation: 1911-2008


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

Home economics professor Esther Everett was born in 1910 to Lawrence and Mildred Fox Everett of Lacey, Iowa. Raised on her family farm, she graduated from Lacey Consolidated School in 1928. As a teenager she was active in 4-H clubs, and represented Iowa at the second national 4-H camp in Washington D.C. in 1928.

Everett attended Iowa State College where she was a member of the Alpha Epsilon chapter of the Sigma Kappa sorority. Following graduation, she taught at Guernsey High School, before becoming a Home Demonstration Agent, and a 4-H Specialist in Home Management. Everett earned her master's degree in Home Economics from Michigan State College (later Michigan State University), where she taught for three decades. She retired at the age of 64, returning to Iowa to care for her mother on the family farm.

Everett was active in many clubs and traveled widely, visiting much of northern Europe as well as Japan and Hong Kong. Following retirement she developed an interest in crafting primitive pioneer corn husk dolls and chairs, which she demonstrated often at Living History Farms, Hooverfest, and at the Iowa State Fair. Everett died at the age of 97 in 2008.


9.00 Linear Feet

Photographs in box 9, 18-20. Audiovisual in box 1, 18-19. boxes

Language of Materials



Home economics professor raised on a farm in Lacey, Iowa.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no.143) were donated by Esther Everett in 1993 and Becky Sinkler in 2009.

Related Materials

The Beverly Everett papers (IWA)

The Mildred Fox Everett papers (IWA)

The Charlotte Faxon diary (IWA)

The Esther Sietmann Warner Dendel papers (IWA)

June Silliman, 2013
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)