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Annie Wittenmeyer papers

Identifier: IWA0934

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Scope and Contents

This collection includes correspondence and newspaper clippings relating to the Iowa State Sanitary Commission. Included is correspondence to and from Annie Wittenmeyer, as well as correspondence to Iowa Governor Samuel Kirkwood. Also included is an 1864 photograph of Wittenmeyer.


  • Creation: 1861-1864


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Annie Turner Wittenmeyer was born in Ohio in 1827, but lived and worked for many years in Iowa. Wittenmyer inherited a large sum of money following the death of her husband, and she used her fortune to fund the education of hundreds of children in Keokuk, Iowa. Wittenmyer helped organize the Keokuk Soldiers’ Aid society and served as secretary before being appointed as a sanitary agent for the state of Iowa in 1862.

Wittenmeyer campaigned for the creation of a soldiers’ orphans home in Keokuk, but the site could not long accommodate the hundreds of children seeking a place there. Another aspect of Wittenmyer’s involvement in the war effort was her institution of the Special Diet Kitchen system, which sought to provide wounded soldiers with healthy meals and stem the misallocation of supplies. Wittenmeyer died in Pottstown, Pennsylvania at the age of 72.

[The information for this biographical note comes from Wittenmeyer’s obituary, which appeared in the Davenport Democrat. The Richard Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library, holds a copy.]


1.00 linear inch

Language of Materials



Correspondence of the Iowa Sanitary Commission, including Annie Wittenmyer, during the Civil War.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 168) were purchased by the University of Iowa Special Collections Department in 2015.

Laurel Rhame, 2016
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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)