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Women on the Inside papers

Identifier: IWA1324

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Scope and Contents

The Women on the Inside papers date from 2009 to 2010 and measure 5 linear inches. One diary is shelved separately in Box 2 and is closed to the public until 2068.

The collection contains five diaries written by five different women as part of the Women on the Inside project. The diaries offer a glimpse into the lives of the five women. Poetry, short stories, daily tasks, photographs, collages, and sketches make up most of the diaries’ contents. The writers speak of personal histories, including memories of childhood and their experiences as “women on the inside.”

All diaries usage is restricted. Users must sign a Researcher Agreement form to gain access to the papers.


  • Creation: 2009 - 2010

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research subject to the following restrictions: No photography, photocopies, cell phones, nor usage of names from the material. One diary remains closed until 2068. Users of the collection must review the restrictions and sign the conditions of access and researcher agreement form (copies can be found in Box 1 and the donor file).

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

No photoduplication is allowed of the material until 2068.

Biographical / Historical

“Women on the Inside” was a Humanities Iowa grant-funded project, directed by Rachel Williams, that provided an opportunity for women who were incarcerated at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa, to create works of autobiographical and creative writings.

In collaboration with Humanities Iowa, Prairie Lights Book Store, the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, papermaking artist Matt Hopkins Walker, Liz Voss, Amy Love, Paul Ingram, and the University of Iowa, Assistant Professor of Art Education Rachel Williams facilitated the Women on the Inside group at the ICIW from 2002 to 2010.

Starting in 2002, the women who participated in the group spent time reading literature and poetry by women writers as well as sharing and critiquing the works of other group members. From 2002 to 2004, these women wrote from their varied experiences, thoughts, and feelings to publish a collection of short stories titled “Women on the Inside.” Published along with color illustrations and a compact disc containing audio recordings of selections from the book read by the authors in 2006, “Women on the Inside” presented a reflection of their experiences of womanhood, the power of literature, and the necessity for everyone to tell their own story. As an extension of the Women on the Inside project, some of the women also wrote diaries. The diaries, written from 2009 to 2010, make up the Women on the Inside papers.


5 linear inches (1 diary remains closed until 2068; shelved separately in Box 2. )

Language of Materials



Diaries written by women who were incarcerated in the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, Iowa.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1564) were donated by Rachel Williams in 2018.

Related Materials

Minette Doderer papers: Box 21, Box 70

Mary Baker Skinner papers

Johnie Hammond papers: Box 10

Williams, Rachel., Matthew. Hopson-Walker, and Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. Women on the Inside. 2006. Print. [Housed in Special Collections]

Women on the Inside papers
Emma Barton-Norris, 2022.
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)