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Sandra Reuben papers

Identifier: IWA1037

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Scope and Contents

The Sandra Reuben papers date from 1900 to 2000 and measure 2.5 linear inches. Reuben’s personal writings include her recollections of growing up Jewish in Forest City, Iowa, and family histories of her parents, grandparents and other relatives. Reproductions of historical photographs contained in the Katz Family album supplement family writings. The album includes a photograph of the interior of Katz Tailors and Clothiers in Mason City while a newspaper article by Des Moines columnist Elizabeth Clarkson Zwart (included in the J. D. Kadis folder) provides insight into the craft of the skilled tailor. The printed materials folder contains a humorous 1942 Hallmark birthday card about wartime rationing and a Hebrew workbook. Lillian Katz Reuben’s 1938 wedding dress, made by her father Nathan Katz, completes the collection.


  • Creation: 1900-2000


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

Sandra Reuben was born in 1941 in Forest City, Iowa, to Lillian Katz Reuben and Sidney Reuben. The oldest of three siblings, she graduated from Forest City Leland Community High School in 1959. She reflected on her childhood in Forest City, “We knew we were Jewish. Dad drove us the 30 miles to nearby Mason City where there was a small synagogue with about 60 families. We had circuit rabbis much of the time.” (Sandra Reuben, “Recollections of Growing up Jewish in Forest City, Iowa.”)

Reuben’s mother Lillian Katz was born in 1915 in St. Paul, Minnesota. She grew up in Mason City, the daughter of Ethel and Nathan Katz, a skilled tailor and owner of Katz Tailors and Clothiers. In 1938, Lillian Katz married Sidney Reuben, a Lithuanian who had emigrated to the U.S. with his mother and sister in 1920. Sidney Reuben began his career as an independent businessman during the Depression when he purchased an empty storefront in Forest City. Reuben’s Department Store celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1987 and through the years provided employment opportunities to many Forest City residents, including Rita Branstad, the mother of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

Between 1959 and 1962, Sandra Reuben attended the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa), where she was a member of Sigma Delta Tau, a sorority for Jewish women. She completed a master’s in Library Science at Denver University and began her career as a librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library in 1965. In 1989, she was appointed as a director of the County of Los Angeles Public Library, a position she held until her retirement in 2001. In 1996, Reuben married Ken Marks. Throughout her career, she was active in the California Library Association and the American Library Association.


2.50 linear inches

Photographs in Box 1; 2 CDs [d485-486] items

Language of Materials



Library director who grew up in Forest City, Iowa, the daughter of a Lithuanian immigrant.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1535) were donated by Sandra Reuben in 2017.

Related Materials

Elizabeth Clarkson Zwart (IWA0029)

Janet Weaver
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)