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Sister Irene Muñoz papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0923

Scope and Contents

The Sister Irene Muñoz papers date from 1973 to 2006 and measure 0.25 linear inches. They include newspaper articles and letters relating to her advocacy work to improve health and safety conditions, housing standards, and educational opportunities for Latino families in Iowa.


  • Creation: 1973-2006


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

The third of seven children, Sister Irene Muñoz was born in 1936 and grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa. After completing her training as a registered nurse, she joined the Congregation of the Humility of Mary (CHM) in 1956. In 1967, she asked to be placed in Muscatine, Iowa, a Mississippi River town with a significant population of Mexican American agricultural laborers who came each year from Texas to work in the tomato fields near the Heinz Corporation’s Muscatine canning facility.

Sister Irene Muñoz advocated for a child labor law that would restrict children under the age of fourteen from working in the fields. Together with her sister, Sister Molly Muñoz, Sister Irene worked closely with Juan Cadena, director of the Muscatine Migrant Committee, to provide medical care for agricultural laborers in Iowa. A grant from the Department of Health and Human Services helped Sister Irene and her colleagues establish mobile dental and health clinics and bilingual education programs.

She was a founding member of the Midwest Council of La Raza, an organization that advocated for the rights of Latinos in the Midwest. After fifteen years in Muscatine, Sister Irene moved to Ottumwa, where she continued her advocacy work with new generations of Latino men and women employed in Iowa’s meatpacking industry.


0.25 linear inches

Language of Materials



Mexican American activist and nurse who advocated for the rights of migrant workers and Latino families in Iowa.


The papers are housed within the Mujeres Latinas Oral History Project collection (IWA0822).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 994) were donated by Irene Muñoz in 2007.

Alyse Burnside, 2015.
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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)