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B. Jean Strong papers

Identifier: IWA0932

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Scope and Contents

The B. Jean Strong papers date from 1907-2012 and 14.6 linear feet. The series is arranged in ten series: Biographical, Financial, Family, Travel, Correspondence, Career, Writings, Genealogy, Photographs and Artifacts.

The Biographical series (1925-2012) is organized alphabetically by subject, and includes a baby book, information about her education from grade school to the University of Iowa, resumes, newspaper articles, and more. This series also includes personal reflections written by Strong.

The Financial series (1930-2007) consists of financial records, bank savings books, tax information, and paperwork regarding leases and rental properties.

The Family series (1915-2008) has information about Strong’s parents, Walter and Thelma, including their farm records, passports, family ration books, inheritance, and obituaries. There is also material about Strong’s sister Ruth and her husband John Armstrong.

The Travel series (1940s-2000s) includes passports, itineraries, and several personal writings by Strong.

The Correspondence series (1907-2011) encompasses letters to and from Strong’s mother, as well as other family members, colleagues, and friends. This series includes Christmas cards, end of year letters, postcards, and letters from Strong while she was traveling.

The Career series (1943-2009) includes stories, articles, and photographs from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Center Point Independent, Fortune Magazine, Iowa Illustrated, Life Magazine, the Marion Sentinel, and free-lance opportunities. There are also notes about her published books and information regarding her work at Temple University, Time-Life Books, Truax-Smith Associates, and as a Congressional consultant. Also included are resumes, awards, and personal reflections.

The Writings series (1943-2010) consists of articles and drafts written by Strong, as well as diaries, calendars, and ideas for her memoir. There are also notes, drafts, final copies, and reviews of her books A Prairie Almanac, Never Say Never, and The Marion Library.

The Genealogy series (1936-2008) has information about the genealogy of the Strong family. This series includes photocopies, charts, ancestral lines, and papers on different ancestral families, as well as Strong’s personal research notes. Also includes both volumes of Dwight’s History of the Strong Family, published 1975, and Sketches of the Olivers, 1926-1966, which was published in 1987.

The Photographs series (1901-1964) includes personal family photos, travel photos, including seventeen mounted pictures from Strong’s 1959 trip to Europe, and photos taken for newspaper and magazine articles.

The Artifacts series (1950s) consists of four pairs of gloves Strong wore while in New York City. One pair is black leather, while the other three pairs are long and made of cloth. Two of these three pairs are black while the final pair is nude.


  • Creation: 1907 - 2012


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

B. Jean Strong was born on July 19, 1925 to Walter and Thelma Strong in Marion, IA. She graduated in 1943 from Springville High School. In 1949, Strong began working editor and manager at Central Point Weekly. She also took classes at the University of Iowa, earning a BA in Journalism in 1951. After, she accepted a position at the Cedar Rapids Gazette as a feature writer and photographer. Her work there was acknowledged with awards, both on an international level for her photography, and on a state level for her photography and reporting.

In 1954, Strong accepted a position as a reporter and researcher at Times Inc. in New York City. She began at LIFE magazine, with a focus in the foreign and domestic news department. Strong also planned and executed the first two LIFE auto tours: a 1958 tour through New England and a 1959 one through the Rockies. The Princess Margaret tour, a 1955 story that had Strong accompany the Princess through the Caribbean, was the LIFE's first fast-color lead story. After spending leave touring Western Europe, Strong was assigned to LIFE's 1959 Special Issue on The Good Life. In March of 1960, she transferred to Fortune magazine.

In 1962, Strong returned to Cedar Rapids, IA, where she worked as the ediotr of the weekly newsletter Marion Sentinel. In 1964, she founded a magazine titled Iowa Illustrated, and also did consultant work for public relations in government regional and national training programs. In 1968, she began work as an insurance agent until 1971, when she became the associate editor for Farm Journal in Philadelphia, PA, coordinating the publication of 36 books.

In the fall of 1973, Strong moved to Washington D.C. and began working as a project director at the U.S. House of Representatives, reporting to the Republican Congressional Committee and Minority Whip. After two years, she accepted a position as a Washington representative through Truax, Smith and Associates, Inc, in Wilmington, DE. There, she conducted client feasibility studies for Dupont and the U.S. Treasury, among others. In 1978, she became a researcher at Time-Life Books in Alexandria, VA, where she stayed until her retirement in 1986.

In retirement, Strong continued to write from her home in Arkansas. Her book A Prairie Almanac, 1839-1919 was published in 1996, and the The Marion Library: Doorway to the Future, Picture Window on the Past, a tribute to her hometown's library hundredth year, was published in 2005. Strong also co-wrote and compiled a book titled Never Say Never, The Walter B. Strong Family, which was a 2008 publication.


14.6 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Journalist and photographer who worked at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and Time Inc.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1279) were donated by B. Jean Strong in 2017.

Silliman, June & Rachel Black, 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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)