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Mildred Plotkin Altman papers

Identifier: IWA0982

Scope and Contents

The Mildred Plotkin Altman papers date from 1931 to 1984 and measure 2.5 linear inches. The papers are arranged in three series, Biographical, Photographs, and Artifacts. The Biographical series includes a detailed family tree dating back to 1851, and an annotated high school yearbook from 1932. The Photographs series covers approximately 6 decades of family life. The Artifacts series contains two items, a family photo album and a personal scrapbook with material documenting Plotkin’s social activities in Sioux City including her participation in AWR, a Jewish sorority at Sioux City Central High School.


  • 1931-1984

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

Mildred Plotkin was born in 1912 in Sioux City to Sam and Bessie Shafton Plotkin. Sam and Bessie had arrived from Russia earlier that year and moved to Sioux City to join Bessie’s family that had arrived a decade earlier. The Shafton and Plotkin families owned small grocery stores throughout Sioux City. Plotkin attended Sioux City Central High School and graduated in January 1932.

She found a job and the local Woolworth’s and in 1933 married Samuel Bailen. The couple moved to Omaha and made their living with small grocery stores. Beginning in 1937 the Bailen’s managed a series of small grocery markets in town across western Iowa. Between 1937 and 1943 the family moved from Hawarden to Denis and finally Vail, Iowa.

During this time, Altman was raising four small children. The market in Vail was forced to close when Sam was called into the military in 1943. He died in 1955 from longstanding medical problems leaving Altman a widow with two teenage children. Altman moved back to her family in Sioux City and then eventually moved down to Omaha, where she died in 2020.


7.00 linear inches : Photographs in box 1, artifacts in box 2.

Language of Materials



A former resident of Sioux City and Denison, Iowa, whose parents emigrated from Russia to the United States in the early 1910s.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1372) were donated by Mildred Plotkin Altman in 2015.

Mildred Plotkin Altman papers
Carla DeWit, Jeannette Gabriel, 2017.
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)