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Harriet "Sissy" Silber papers

Identifier: IWA1018

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Scope and Contents

The Harriet “Sissy” Silber papers date from 1913 to 2015 and measure 10 linear feet. The collection contains five series Personal, Katelman Family, Katelman Hardware, Jewish Community, and Photographs.

The Personal series (1913-2016) includes newspaper clippings featuring Silber, a small amount of correspondence, party invitations, and material from the funeral of Howard Silber. The series also includes materials from the 2008 Jason Awards which Sissy and Howard Silber co-chaired, as well as materials from a 2016 shareholders meeting of Berkshire Hathaway.

The Katelman Family series (1913-1998) contains newspaper clippings and other materials related to Silber’s parents, Rose and Louis Katelman, her brother, Avrum “Buddy Dundee” Katelman, and several other members of her extended family. This series also includes copies of Rose Katelman’s delayed birth certificate and high school diploma, Louise Katelman’s discharge from the United States Army, and a collection of telegrams the couple received on the occasion of their wedding. The series concludes with a obituaries and a memorial book from Rose Katelman’s funeral.

The Katelman Hardware series (1967-2012) consists of newspaper clippings and correspondence related to Katelman Hardware. The bulk of materials in this series, including correspondence, concern the store’s closing in 1981.

The Jewish Community series (1970-2014) focuses on the Jewish community of Council Bluffs, Iowa and the Council Bluffs synagogue, B’nai Israel. The series contains several articles about members of the Jewish community including several pieces from Council Bluff’s Jewish Press. This series also includes a letter to the editor written by Silber, a list of Jewish grocers in Council Bluffs, and a program for a celebration B’Nai Israel’s paid off mortgage. In addition, this series contains two books. The Form of Prayers for the Feast of the New Year According to the Custom of the German and Polish Jews is in Hebrew with an English translation. The Golden Book of B’Nai Israel commemorates the 50th anniversary of the B’Nai Israel Synagogue in Council Bluffs. It includes a history of the synagogue and its associated organizations such as Hadassah and Agudas Achim.


  • Creation: 1913-2015


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


10.00 linear inches

Language of Materials



Council Bluffs woman who owned and operated Katelman Hardware with her mother, Rose Katelman.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1469) were donated by Harriet “Sissy” Silber in 2016.

Related Materials

Glazer Rabbi S., The Jews of Iowa, Koch Brothers Printing, 1904.

Wolfe, Jack. A Century with Iowa Jewry, Iowa Printing and Supply Company, 1941.

Harriet "Sissy" Silber papers
Anna Tunnicliff and 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)