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Iowa Juvenile Home Artwork Collection

Identifier: IWA1010

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Scope and Contents

The Iowa Juvenile Home Artwork Collection dates from 2008 to 2011. The collection comprises 66 works of art and an additional 2 linear inches of papers related to the artworks. The artworks were transferred to the Iowa Women’s Archives by the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in 2016. Five of the works listed in the exhibit catalog were retained by the Iowa DHS. The collection is arranged in three series: Exhibit papers, Student artwork, and Other artwork.

The Exhibit papers series includes a draft of the exhibit guide with statements by the artists and quotations from staff and psychology experts. The series contains donor forms for fundraising activities, as well as a collection of student essays about the importance of libraries and books. Several additional works of art included in the collection were not part of the exhibit and, therefore, are not listed in the exhibit catalog.

The Student artwork series contains 48 works of art produced by residents of the IJH in art therapy classes. The artworks are anonymous and include paintings, collages, digital photographs, and multimedia pieces. Many of them deal with themes of anger, pain, and physical and sexual abuse. Some of the works were created with found objects, because there was almost no budget for art supplies. Enhanced photos were made with equipment purchased by Rachel Williams with a grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust. Many works in this series were not included in the exhibit catalog, but were created by students. Each artwork is listed by its title.

The Other artwork series contains 18 works of art created by other artists. These pieces were transferred along with the exhibition pieces, and many of them have unclear origins. This series contains mass-market posters, professional art pieces, and works which may be unattributed student pieces.


  • Creation: 2008-2011


Conditions Governing Access

The records 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

The artwork included in the Iowa Juvenile Home Artwork Collection was created by residents of the Iowa Juvenile Home (IJH) of Toledo, Iowa, for the exhibition, “Trauma, Trials, Triumph.” The traveling exhibit opened at the IJH in 2011 and then toured the state.

The “Trauma, Trials, Triumph” project was inspired by IJH teachers Gary Olson (art and art therapy) and Mike Rickard (photography), and supported by Rachel Williams (University of Iowa Professor of Art and Art History) and Kathy Fejes (Drake University Professor of Special Education). Natasha Hovey (University of Iowa) curated the works for the exhibit. The IJH selected student works to display in an exhibit titled “Trauma, Trials, Triumph,” which toured Iowa in 2011, including a showing at Beadology in Iowa City. The exhibit was intended to be a fundraiser for the Iowa Juvenile Home Foundation, a nonprofit group whose purpose was to provide funds for programs and materials not included in the state budget, such as the IJH Herbert Hoover School Library, the True Colors Activity Program, and holiday gifts and parties for the students.

At the time of the art exhibition, the IJH had existed for 91 years; opened originally as a state institution in 1920, it was known as the Girls State Training School. The IJH had capacity for approximately 45 girls and 12 boys between the ages of 12 and 18, and the main purpose was to provide education, treatment, and assistance to the residents. By order of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, the facility was permanently closed in January 2014.


2.50 linear inches (Box 1 is at the Iowa Women’s Archives; boxes 2-23 are at the UI Independence Road Annex. Boxes 18-20 and 22-23 are large hanging items wrapped in plastic. Box 8 is a large flat.)

Language of Materials



Artwork produced by student residents of the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo, Iowa, for the travelling exhibit, “Trauma, Trials, Triumph.”

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1425) were transferred by the Iowa Juvenile Home from the Iowa Department of Human Services in 2016.

Related Materials

Mary Baker Skinner papers Minnette Doderer papers


Iowa Juvenile Home Artwork Collection
Amanda Axley and Henry Terry, 2018
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)