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Vera Holzhauer papers

Identifier: IWA1165

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Scope and Contents

The Vera Holzhauer papers date from 1915 to 2000 and measure 8 linear inches. The papers are arranged into two series: Biographical and Diaries.

The Biographical series (1978-2000) include photocopied newspaper articles, photocopied pictures, and biographies pertaining to Vera Sherberger Holzhauer and her family. Included in the biographies is a booklet entitled "The Sherberger/Holzhauer/Knott Stories," written by Holzhauer's daughter, Dorothy Holzhauer Knott, in 2000. This booklet describes various personal stories that revolve around the Sherberger, Holzhauer, and Knott families during the late 19th century and the early-to-mid 20th century, such as one story that describes the Holzhauer family's road trip to Montana in 1924 in the family's Model T Ford. The photocopied pictures display Holzhauer throughout her life. The series also includes photocopies of newspaper articles about an incident in 1903 when Harry Holzhauer was shot while working at a button factory in Muscatine by an African American man named Frank Brown.

The Diaries series (1915-1959) include four account books from the years 1915 to 1917 and 1945, and eighteen diaries that Holzhauer kept from the years 1943 to 1959. Holzhauer's account books illuminate how she balanced her household's budget and what kinds of items her household consumed during those years, which include years during both World War I and World War II. Holzhauer's diaries describe daily life as a homemaker and Sunday school teacher in the 1940s and 1950s, and details personal events in her life ranging from birthdays of her loved ones to the death of her husband Harry in 1958. The diaries from 1943 to 1945 describe Holzhauer's experience of World War II as the mother of a son who was serving in the military and reveal all the anxiety that that induced for her. Holzhauer consistently noted during these years whenever she received a letter from her son and noted news pertaining to the war in several of her entries. One such entry was on June 6th, 1944, when she mentioned the beginning of the D-Day Invasion and how everyone was glued to the news reports on the radio all that day. Additionally, at the beginning of every diary from the years 1943 to 1945 Holzhauer writes how she wishes for the war to be over with and how she hopes that that year will be the year in which the war will end. Entries in the years 1946, 1951, 1952, and 1959 are scattered and less consistent than the other diaries included in the series.


  • Creation: 1915-2000


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been retained by the donor.

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

Verona "Vera" Sherberger Holzhauer was born in 1888 in Wilton Junction, Iowa, to George and Josephine Sherberger. After she graduated from high school, Sherberger attended a 10-day teacher's training course that qualified her to go on and teach at many one-room schoolhouses in Maquoketa and in the rural areas surrounding Muscatine.

In 1909, Sherberger married Harry Holzhauer and they moved permanently to Muscatine. Holzhauer's daughter, Dorothy Holzhauer Knott, was born in 1910, and her son, Harry William "Bill" Holzhauer Jr., was born in 1919. During World War II, Bill Holzhauer was enlisted in the military and worked with aircrafts in Philadelphia and fought overseas on the Pacific front during the later years of the war. While her son served, Holzhauer volunteered weekly for the Red Cross and oftentimes assisted in organizing and making supplies to send the warfront, such as bandages.

In 1923, Holzhauer began teaching Sunday school Mulford Church, she later switched to teaching the ladies' class there, which she continued to do until 1972. Holzhauer played an active role in her children's and grandchildren's lives and oftentimes assisted her daughter with managing her eight children. She also often assisted her daughter in maintaining her used clothing shop, which she ran from the 1940s until 1957.

Vera Holzhauer spent a large portion of her time doing housework such as mending, cooking, balancing the household expenses, and, her favorite, quilting. The Holzhauers were married for forty-nine years when Harry Holzhauer passed away in 1958. Verona Sherberger Holzhauer passed away in 1982 in Muscatine, Iowa.


8.00 linear inches

Language of Materials



Diaries and account books of a homemaker and Sunday school teacher from Muscatine, Iowa from 1915 to 1959.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1541) were donated by Bill Knott in 2017.

Related Materials

Lillie Friederichsen papers (IWA): Friederichsen and her sisters lived in Muscatine around the same time as Holzhauer, and their scrapbooks feature pictures of their home in Muscatine. Friederichsen was also a teacher, as were her sisters.

Gladys Moeller Lage papers (IWA): The Lage papers describe Lage's childhood during the 1910s and 1920s, which was around the same time that Holzhauer's children were growing up, and describe the experience of attending a one-room schoolhouse, much like the ones that Holzhauer taught at before she was married.

Elizabeth Clothier papers (IWA): The Clothier papers describe the experiences of World War II from the various perspectives of different family members.

Vera Holzhauer papers
Bailey Petersen
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)