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Miriam R. Canter papers

Identifier: IWA1022

Scope and Contents

The Miriam Canter papers measure 15.00 linear inches and date from 1903 to 2016. The collection is split into four series: Biographical, Volunteer Work, Books, and Artifacts.

Biographical (1931-2015) includes Canter’s family history research and genealogical documents, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and her husband Arthur’s memoir. Included in the newspaper clippings are several articles about her recipes and a reference to Canter’s time during World War II in the Signal Corps, translating and breaking Japanese codes.

Volunteer Work (1986-2016) is a record of Canter’s volunteer efforts in Iowa including several awards and documents from the Cedar Rapids Opera Society, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Hancher Box Office and the Old Capitol Museum.

Books (1903-2016) is comprised of children’s books from her collection and cookbooks that Miriam Canter helped produce. The earliest book is a 1903 copy of The Wizard of Oz. Some of the cookbooks that she wrote or helped produce have associated photographs and newspaper articles. These cookbooks include a collaboration with Grant Wood’s family and those involved in his art and three about Canter’s Jewish faith and heritage.

Artifacts (1944-2010) contains scraps of Italian silk that were used for a wedding dress and parachute, believed to be the silk that Arthur Canter sent to her from Germany during World War II. The series also holds a puzzle and pins related to Canter’s volunteer work.


  • 1903-2016


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

Miriam Rosenbaum Canter was born in 1922 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Louis and Gertrude Rosenbaum. Louis Rosenbaum was in the textile industry and had come to Iowa from New York City. During the late 1920s, he expanded his business from Iowa to stores in New York City and the family moved there for a year. With the onset of the Great Depression, the textile industry collapsed and the Rosenbaum family returned to Cedar Rapids. Rosenbaum graduated from Central High School in 1940 and attended the University of Iowa for a year before finishing her degree in Latin American studies at the University of Minnesota.

In 1946 she married Arthur Canter who she had met at the University of Iowa and the couple returned to Iowa City for Arthur’s graduate school where Canter studied Spanish for one year. The Canter family and their two children moved from Chicago to Nashville and then Baltimore for Arthur’s academic career before returning to Iowa City in 1960.

Canter was active in many civic and art organizations in Iowa City. She founded and was President of Hancher Guild to support the Hancher Auditorium. She was an active volunteer at Old Capitol museum and supported art exhibits in the schools. Canter supported the establishment of an opera company in Cedar Rapids and helped found the Oprasupers (extras) group that provided support for University of Iowa opera productions. In addition to local arts activities, Canter helped produce local cookbooks, including the fundraiser cookbooks for Agudas Achim Synagogue.


15.00 linear inches

Language of Materials



A Jewish woman who supported local arts and produced cookbooks in Iowa City, IA.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no.1418) were donated by Miriam Canter in 2015 and 2016.

Annie Schrandt, 2018
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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)