Skip to main content

McRoberts-Cecil Family papers

Identifier: IWA0901

  • Staff Only
  • Please navigate to collection organization to place requests.

Scope and Contents

The McRoberts-Cecil Family papers date from 1910 to 1968 and measure 2 linear feet in 6 boxes. The papers are arranged in two series: Family History and Correspondence.

The Family History series contains a wide variety of material from different members of the family, including Geneva McRoberts’ 1910 teaching certificates, Shirley Lee’s 1938 yearbook, Pamela Cecil’s sheet music, and family hymnal books and bibles. War Ration Books from 1942 and a run of the carpentry magazine Deltagram complete the series.

The Correspondence series consists of letters written to Geneva McRoberts from her daughter Shirley and to Shirley McRoberts Cecil from her daughter Penelope Cecil LeMasurier. The letters span three generations, from 1938 to 1968, and contain daily briefings of their lives, highlighting the sometimes-tumultuous relationship between mothers and daughters.


  • Creation: 1910 - 1968


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

Geneva Lee McRoberts was a teacher in Columbus Junction and rural Iowa for twenty-five years from 1910 to 1955. The McRoberts-Cecil family resided in Muscatine, Iowa for most of her daughter Shirley’s life. Shirley attended Iowa City High School and graduated in 1938, when she met and married Air Corps serviceman Paul Krieg Huff. They had their daughter, Penelope, in 1942 and divorced shortly after. They moved often from base to base and Penelope was left with her grandmother Geneva in Iowa. In 1945, Shirley remarried US Navy Quartermaster Lloyd Charles Cecil and had two more daughters, Pamela and Patricia. Penelope attended the University of Iowa in the late 1950s. In 1962, she met and married Phillip Howard LeMasurier. They eloped in New York. Consequently, Penelope and her mother Shirley had a falling out, documented in the correspondence between the two from 1962 to 1966.

Shirley’s daughter Pamela Lynne Cecil attended Muscatine High School from 1959 to 1963 where she was active in the choir and musical theater. She pursued a career in theater and spent time in Chicago and New York City where she performed in A Chorus Line, Forty Second Street, and La Cage Aux Folles. She married Dr. Louis C Galli, who donated the family papers after Pamela died in 2008.


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Iowa family whose maternal line corresponded with one another from the late 1930s until the mid-1960s.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1362) were donated by Louis C. Galli in 2014.

McRoberts-Cecil Family papers
Emma Barton-Norris
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)