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Lillian Brodkey papers

Identifier: IWA0975

Scope and Contents

The Lillian Brodkey papers date from 1935 to 2015 and measure 5 linear inches. The papers are arranged in three series: Biographical, Education and Employment, and Community Service.

The Biographical (1935-2012) series includes a family tree, a confirmation class dedication, and photocopies of membership cards and awards belonging to Lillian Brodkey and her husband. It also contains travel journals written by Brodkey and information about her sister, Mollie Schwartz.

The Education and Employment (1919-1988) series includes information about high school graduation, the Metropolitan Business College, Morningside College and optometry. The bulk of the material in this series pertains to Brodkey’s work as national educator for the American Zionist Youth Commission.

The Community Service (1958-2015) series contains papers about the National Safety Council, the Sioux City Lioness Club, the Congregation Beth Shalom of Sioux City, and the Sioux City Chapter of Hadassah. There are also copies of The Shaare Zion Messenger and The Jewish Community of Sioux City newsletters.


  • 1935-2015


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

Lillian Schwartz was born in 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, to Louis and Anna Schwartz. She grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Chicago where her parents owned a cleaning and tailor shop. She attended Anshe Emet synagogue and taught classes in the Sunday school. Schwartz graduated from Lakeview High School in Chicago in 1935 and received a scholarship from Anshe Emet to attend college classes at the College of Jewish Studies (later the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership) where she received her teaching degree in 1940. In the early 1940s, Schwartz became involved with the Brandeis Collegiate Institute and was hired as Assistant Director and Field Secretary. From 1942 to 1946, she worked as national organizer for the American Zionist Youth Commission traveling throughout the country conducting trainings for local Hadassah and Young Judea chapters.

In 1946, Lillian Schwartz married Norman Brodkey and moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where she became active in the Jewish Community Center and Young Judea Youth Activities and continued to be involved in the Brandeis Camp Institute. Over the course of 70 years, Brodkey recruited more than 130 Jewish young adults from Sioux City to attend the Brandeis Bardin Collegiate Institute. As a parent of three children, she was involved in many community organizations including the Education Chair of the Parent Teachers Association, the Executive Director of the Sioux Trails Girl Scout Council, cofounder of the Sioux City Bicycle Safety Club and was been active in the Sioux City Lioness and Lions Clubs for more than 30 years.

Brodkey returned to college and received a degree in Humanities and Education from Morningside College in 1967. She also joined her husband in his optometric practice and continued to be heavily involved in the Jewish community as the first woman president of Shaare Zion Synagogue and president of the Sioux City Jewish Federation in 1989. The Brandeis Collegiate Institute Scholarship Fund, was established in her honor at Beth Shalom Synagogue in Sioux City.

Lillian Brodkey died in Sioux City, Iowa in 2017.


5.00 linear inches

Language of Materials



National educator for the American Zionist Youth Commission during WWII and local Jewish and communnity activist in Sioux City, Iowa.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated by Lillian Brodkey in 2015.

Lillian Brodkey papers
Rachel Black, Jeannette Gabriel
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)