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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Margaret Keyes papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1922-1999
Creator: Keyes, Margaret (1918-)
Extent: 7.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0038
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Professor of Home Economics at the University of Iowa and nationally recognized leader in the field of historic preservation.

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 videocassette [V371]
Photographs in boxes 12 and 17-18

Access: The papers are open for research.

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

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 39) were donated by Margaret Keyes to University of Iowa Special Collections in 1994. They were transferred to the Iowa Women's Archives in 1997 and additions were made in 2000 and subsequent years.

Preferred Citation: Margaret Keyes papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

Margaret Naumann Keyes, professor of Home Economics at the University of Iowa and nationally recognized leader in the field of historic preservation, was born in Mount Vernon, Iowa on March 4, 1918. As a child, Keyes enjoyed unique access to the academic world. She frequently accompanied her father, Charles Reuben Keyes on his archaeological travels. She attended Cornell College and graduated in 1939 with a B.A. in Home Economics.

Following her graduation, Keyes taught home economics at several Iowa high schools and pursued her graduate degree at the University of Wisconsin during summer terms. She received an M.S. in Related Art in 1951. She joined the Home Economics faculty at the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) for the Fall 1951 term. On the advice of home economics department chair F. Eugenia Whitehead, Keyes took a leave of absence from her position in Iowa to enroll in the graduate program at Florida State University. There, Keyes studied historic preservation under the direction of Dr. Janet Smith. In 1961, Keyes' graduate expenses were alleviated when she won the prestigious Ellen H. Richards Fellowship from the American Home Economics Association. She completed her Ph.D. in 1965 and published her dissertation, "Nineteenth Century Home Architecture of Iowa City," a year later. She returned to the University of Iowa and taught a variety of courses including Textile Design, Historic Interiors, and research seminars.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Keyes led Iowa's drive to preserve and renovate its historic structures. She served on a diverse set of historic preservation groups, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Johnson County Bicentennial Commission. Keyes also served as a board member for the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Terrace Hill (the Iowa governor's mansion) Authority, and the Iowa City Urban Renewal Design Review Board. Keyes' most important work in historic preservation was her direction of the restoration of the Old State Capitol in Iowa City. From 1975 until 1988, Keyes organized massive research and restoration projects for the structure. Her work restored the building into a museum that reflected its uses by Iowans over time. In 1988, she published Old Capitol: Portrait of a Landmark (University of Iowa Press), which details her research findings and restoration accomplishments.

Throughout her work in home economics and historic preservation, Keyes sustained memberships in a variety of professional organizations. As chair of the research committee of the Iowa Home Economics Association, Keyes initiated the first institutional history of the organization and organized an annual statewide research survey. In addition, she served on both the state and national boards of directors for the Victorian Society of America. Keyes' commitments as director of Old Capitol, speaking engagements, and service work left her with little time to fulfill her duties as professor in the Home Economics department. She gradually decreased her course load and officially retired as full professor in 1984.

Keyes relished chances to travel, and toured the world whenever her schedule and the health of her companion, F. Eugenia Whitehead, allowed her the opportunity. The two traveled to a variety of exotic locations, including Israel, Jamaica, Taiwan, and Europe. For over thirty years, the two shared a home on Ferson Avenue in Iowa City that was renowned for its gracious hospitality. Eugenia Whitehead died in 1998.

The Margaret Keyes papers date from 1922 to 1999 and measure 7 linear feet.  The papers are arranged in nine series: Personal, Home Economics, University of Iowa Activities, Nineteenth Century Home Architecture in Iowa City, Old Capitol Restoration, Organizations, Artifacts, Photographs, and Education.

The Personal series (1944-1999) documents Keyes' world tour with F. Eugenia Whitehead in 1968. In addition, it includes over fifty years of correspondence from Keyes' family and friends. Materials regarding Keyes' membership in the Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Beta Kappa honors societies round out the series.

The Home Economics series (1953-1990) documents Keyes' work and activities in Home Economics while she was a faculty member at the University of Iowa. The Correspondence subseries (1956-1987) contains correspondence between Keyes and students, the University of Iowa Home Economics department, and various home economics related groups and businesses. The Courses subseries (1955-1984) includes syllabi, class notes, weaving samples, and student projects from the courses that Keyes taught at the University of Iowa. The Professional Activities subseries (1953-1990) documents Keyes' work in Home Economics outside of the University of Iowa Home Economics Department. Some notable components of this series are Keyes' personal weaving records, materials from Keyes' study trips to Europe, and letters to Keyes from other universities offering her positions. The final subseries contains materials regarding Keyes' membership in Home Economics Professional Associations (1951-1974). It contains meeting minutes and materials from Keyes' work on the art section of the American Home Economics Association and correspondence regarding Keyes' involvement with the Iowa branch of that organization.

The University of Iowa Activities series (1957-1990) includes information regarding Keyes' activities at the University outside of the home economics department and Old Capitol restoration. The series details her involvement in exhibits at the University of Iowa Arts Museum and her activities on a variety of university committees including the Campus Planning Committee, the University of Iowa Architecture Committee, and the Council of the Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries.

The 19th Century Home Architecture of Iowa City series (1957-1985) provides information on Keyes' published work and her activities to promote it. It includes short magazine pieces that Keyes published on her research and publicity materials regarding her work. In addition, the series contains handwritten speech notes that Keyes used when presenting her work to area clubs and organizations.

The Old Capitol Restoration series (1931-1992) contains materials from Keyes' work as director of the restoration of the old state capitol in Iowa City. The bulk of the series consists of Keyes' original drafts from throughout her writing process for the work Old Capitol: Portrait of a Landmark. The series also contains publicity materials, speech notes, and information about the historic preservation awards she received in recognition of her work on the project.

The Organizations series (1971-1993) documents Keyes' work in historical organizations. The series is divided into three categories--city and county organizations, state organizations, and national organizations--and includes correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, conference materials, research materials, programs, and speeches. While most of the organizations are represented by just a folder or two, there are substantial files documenting Keyes' involvement in the State Historical Society of Iowa's Board of Trustees, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Iowa City Urban Renewal Board, and the Victorian Society of America.

The Photographs series is divided into five subseries: Miscellaneous, Terrace Hill Society, State Historical Society of Iowa, University of Iowa Home Economics Department, and Negatives. Researchers may also find photos of Keyes' travels and personal life in the Floy Eugenia Whitehead papers of the Iowa Women's Archives.

2007 ACCESSION

The series used to organize the 2007 accession mirrors the series used in earlier accessions, but it also includes one new series, Education. The 2007 accession consists of correspondence with Keyes, including original cards from local artist Eleanor Simmons, a video interview of Keyes, and additional research, career-related items, slides and photographs.

The Education series (1951-1965) documents Keyes' work as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin and Florida State University. It includes notebooks, assignments, research and essays for classes. The correspondence concerns the progress Keyes made on her PhD while she was living in Iowa City.
In IWA: University of Iowa Home Economics Department records.



Floy Eugenia Whitehead papers.



Keyes Family papers.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: PERSONAL
Series 2: HOME ECONOMICS COURSES
Series 3: UNIVERSITY OF IOWA ACTIVITIES
Series 4: 19TH CENTURY HOME ARCHITECTURE OF IOWA CITY
Series 5: OLD CAPITOL RESTORATION
Series 6: ORGANIZATIONS
Series 7: PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 8: EDUCATION
Series 9: SLIDES

  • Series 1: PERSONAL
  • Box 1:
  • Margaret Keyes and F. Eugenia Whitehead travels - 1968
  • Correspondence - 1944-1966
  • Correspondence (5 folders) - 1967-1999
  • Omicron Delta Kappa, certificate and nomination correspondence - 1979
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Cornell College Alumni chapter - 1975
  • Box 13:
  • Keyes, Charles Reuben (father):
  • Keyes, Charles Reuben (father): Miscellaneous papers - 1947-1988
  • Keyes, Charles Reuben (father): State Historical Society of Iowa
  • Keyes, Charles Reuben (father): Correspondence with Bertha Shambaugh
  • The Keyes Archeological Collection: A Finder's Guide' - 1981
  • 'History of the Central Section of the American Anthropological Association,' - 1978, 1979
  • Box 14:
  • Margaret Keyes and F. Eugenia Whitehead travels: Passports and journals - 1959-1976
  • Margaret Keyes and F. Eugenia Whitehead travels: Receipts and itineraries - 1964-1967
  • Margaret Keyes and F. Eugenia Whitehead travels: Correspondence - 1987-1991
  • Margaret Keyes and F. Eugenia Whitehead travels: Correspondence from Eleanor Simmons (folder 1) - 1958-1990
  • Margaret Keyes and F. Eugenia Whitehead travels: Correspondence from Eleanor Simmons (folder 2) - 1958-1990
  • V371: 'Tell Me Your Story #27: Margaret Keyes,' interview by Ellen Buchanan, Iowa City Public Library - 1991
  • Series 2: HOME ECONOMICS COURSES
  • Sub-Series: Correspondence
  • Box 1:
  • Correspondence (3 folders) - 1956-1968
  • Box 2:
  • Correspondence (3 folders) - 1968-1987
  • Sub-Series: Courses
  • Box 2:
  • Course outlines and curriculum - 1955-1961
  • Course summaries, evaluations, syllabi, and objectives - 1974-1984
  • Course outlines, proposed: Historic textiles and Design in home and clothing, undated
  • Summer school course outline - 1963
  • Saturday classes - 1954-1958
  • 17:100 Introduction to Home Economics - 1968-1969
  • 17:107 Survey of Interiors - 1962-1967
  • 17:113 Textile Design
  • Box 3:
  • Course Instructions - 1959-1970
  • Weaving, planes, undated
  • Weaving, dots, undated
  • Weaving, lines, undated
  • Weaving, color, undated
  • Weaving, sample warps (3 folders)
  • 17:114 Interior Decoration, - 1969-1974
  • 17:121 Senior Seminar (2 folders) - 1963-1971
  • Fall - 1970
  • 17:183 Advanced Textile Design course instructions - 1952
  • 17:183 Advanced Textile Design news releases - 1970
  • Box 4:
  • 17:221 Seminar in Home Economics Research - 1968-1969
  • 17:289 Directed Study and Research in Home Economics
  • Thesis - 1963
  • 17:290 Thesis Seminar, projected for second semester - 1969-1970
  • Sub-Series: Professional activities
  • Box 4:
  • Book reviews - 1961-1968
  • Bulletin Boards - 1953-1962
  • Catalogue material, other universities
  • Departmental positions at other universities, correspondence - 1968
  • European study tour - 1971
  • Fabric design education, Philadelphia conference, November - 1961
  • Foreign study - 1966-1970
  • Graduate programs in home economics - 1955-1961
  • Graduate study applications - 1958-1960
  • History and philosophy of home economics - 1968
  • News releases - 1957-1981
  • Ph.D. higher education and home economics - 1963
  • Professional biographies - 1980-1983
  • Radio programs - 1955-1956
  • Related art Ph.D. - 1959-1960
  • Vita - 1957-1990
  • Weaving records, undated
  • Sub-Series: Home Economics Professional Organizations
  • Box 4:
  • Home economics associations - 1961-1972
  • American Home Economics Association: Aesthetic responsibility workshop - 1974
  • American Home Economics Association: Art section meeting, Detroit - 1972
  • Box 5:
  • Art section nomination committee - 1965-1970
  • Art section nomination committee: Publicity - 1951-1961
  • Art section nomination committee: Research journal - 1972-1973
  • Iowa Home Economics Association, correspondence and publicity - 1969-1974
  • Box 16:
  • 17:159, David L. Cordes, 'The Henry Ambler House of Mount Pleasant, Iowa,' - 1981
  • Mabel Skjelver, 17:23: Art in the Home - 1969
  • Master's degree questions - 1961-1984
  • Retirement - 1982-1986
  • Series 3: UNIVERSITY OF IOWA ACTIVITIES
  • Box 5:
  • Business and Industrial Placement - 1966
  • Campus Campaign Committee - 1988
  • Campus planning committee, correspondence and publicity (2 folders) - 1981-1984
  • Committee on Institutional Cooperation - 1970
  • Council of the Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries, correspondence and publicity - 1971-1976
  • Film Services - 1957
  • Iowa Hall/Macbride Hall Campaign, correspondence and publicity - 1981-1982
  • University of Iowa Art Museum
  • Antique furniture exhibit - 1985
  • Correspondence - 1985
  • University of Iowa Alumni Association, distinguished alumni award - 1989
  • Box 6:
  • University of Iowa Architecture Advising Committee - 1984
  • University of Iowa Building Names Advisory Committee - 1983-1990
  • University of Iowa Foundation, correspondence and publicity - 1971-1973
  • University of Iowa Library Committee - 1966
  • Box 16:
  • Presidential residence restoration - 1907-1990
  • Series 4: 19TH CENTURY HOME ARCHITECTURE OF IOWA CITY
  • Box 6:
  • Iowa City 19th Century Homes study abstract - 1965
  • "Iowa City's 19th Century Houses," The Iowan - 1967
  • 19th Century Home Architecture of Iowa City, publicity and correspondence (2 folders) - 1957-1985
  • Nineteenth Century Home Architecture of Iowa City' [paper presentation at American Home Economics Association conference] - 1968
  • Speeches to Iowa City area clubs - 1967-1968
  • Box 16:
  • Iowa stone structures notes, undated
  • Newspaper clippings - 1978-1999 (2 folders)
  • Proposal and notes - 1957-1962
  • Research and bibliographies, undated
  • Box 17:
  • Research articles - 1917-1958
  • Series 5: OLD CAPITOL RESTORATION
  • Box 6:
  • Correspondence (2 folders) - 1971-1989
  • Box 7:
  • Correspondence - 1980-1989
  • Jan Nash, "Window Treatments in the Old Capitol" - 1987
  • "Old Stone Capitol" by Harold Peterson - 1931
  • National Endowment for the Humanities grant - 1978
  • University of Iowa developmental leave applications - 1978, 1981-1983
  • Publicity (3 folders) - 1970-1992
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol, "The Gallery will be reserved for the Ladies," Annals of Iowa - 1973
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol, ''A Home Economist does Historic Preservation," Journal of Home Economics [with correspondence] - 1975
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol, Old Capitol: Portrait of a Landmark, Handwritten draft
  • Box 8:
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol: Old Capitol: Portrait of a Landmark, Early typed manuscript (copy)
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol, Old Capitol: Portrait of a Landmark, Chapter 1-4 (2 folders)
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol, Old Capitol: Portrait of a Landmark, Corrected typed manuscript, Chapter 1-5 and epilogue (3 folders)
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol, Old Capitol: Portrait of a Landmark, Final manuscript (3 folders)
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol: Old Capitol Speeches [presented by Margaret Keyes to area organizations] (2 folders) - 1972-1990
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol: Presentation at the Iowa Home Economics Association, correspondence - 1973-1974
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol: Honors and Awards, Historic preservation awards - 1977
  • Box 9:
  • Materials written by Keyes on Old Capitol: Honors and Awards, Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission award - 1987
  • Series 6: ORGANIZATIONS
  • Box 9:
  • City and county organizations: Brackett House restoration, Cornell College - 1977
  • City and county organizations: Iowa City Architectural Heritage Committee - 1967-1968
  • City and county organizations: Iowa City Urban Renewal
  • Design review board - 1971-1975
  • Design committee plans - 1975
  • Design committee review - 1975
  • City and county organizations: Kirkwood and Dodge feasibility study
  • City and county organizations: Johnson County American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, correspondence - 1974-1976
  • City and county organizations: Johnson County Citizens' Advisory Board - 1976
  • City and county organizations: Johnson County Historical Society, correspondence and publicity - 1975-1992
  • State organizations
  • Iowa Capitol Planning Commission, architecture selection committee - 1978
  • Box 10:
  • Iowa Commission on the U.S. Constitution Bicentennial (2 folders) - 1986-1988
  • Iowa Historical Foundation: Board membership - 1990
  • Iowa Historical Foundation: Correspondence - 1989-1990
  • Iowa Museum Association: Correspondence and newsletters - 1988
  • Iowa Museum Association: Meeting, October - 1985
  • Iowa Society for the Preservation of Historic Landmarks: Correspondence and publicity - 1967-1972
  • Iowa Territorial Sesquicentennial Committee - 1988
  • State Historical Department of Iowa, Division of Historic Preservation: Iowa historic preservation conference - 1974
  • State Historical Department of Iowa, Division of Historic Preservation: Iowa historic preservation programs - 1974-1976
  • State Historical Department of Iowa, Division of Historic Preservation: Iowa State University workshop on historic restoration - 1976
  • State Historical Society of Iowa, Board of Trustees: Appointment papers - 1982-1988
  • State Historical Society of Iowa, Board of Trustees: Board of Curators, Correspondence - 1972-1986
  • State Historical Society of Iowa, Board of Trustees: Board membership - 1984-1989
  • State Historical Society of Iowa, Board of Trustees: Correspondence with Governor Terry Branstad - 1988-1990
  • State Historical Society of Iowa, Board of Trustees: Historic preservation speeches by Keyes - 1991 and undated
  • State Historical Society of Iowa, Board of Trustees: Iowa Cultural Caucus, Keyes speech introducing Willard and Susan Boyd - 1990
  • State Historical Society of Iowa, Board of Trustees: Iowa Historical building dedication - 1987
  • State Historical Society of Iowa, Board of Trustees: Iowa Historical Building opening - 1988
  • State Historical Society of Iowa, Board of Trustees: Publicity and correspondence - 1973-1993
  • Terrace Hill Restoration: Correspondence - 1971-1975
  • Terrace Hill Restoration: Furnishing collection correspondence - 1971-1985
  • Terrace Hill Restoration: Images - 1980
  • Terrace Hill Restoration: Publicity - 1971
  • Box 11:
  • National Organizations: National Trust for Historic Preservation: Conferences - 1973-1976
  • National Organizations: National Trust for Historic Preservation: Correspondence and publicity (5 folders) - 1973-1978
  • Putnam Museum (Davenport, Iowa) 19th Century architecture exhibit - 1985
  • Victorian Society of America: Activities - 1982-1983
  • Victorian Society of America: Correspondence - 1971-1974
  • Victorian Society of America: Correspondence - 1975-1979
  • Box 12:
  • Victorian Society of America: Correspondence - 1980-1988
  • Victorian Society of America: Lifetime membership materials - 1979-1982
  • Victorian Society of America: Newsletter submission, 'Iowa's First Capitol to be restored', fall - 1973
  • Victorian Society of America: Offices and committees - 1974-1983
  • Victorian Society of America: Publications Committee Meeting minutes and publicity - 1974-1980
  • Victorian Society of America: Upstairs/downstairs workshops - 1978
  • Victorian Society of America: Victorian Society of Iowa Foundation - 1984
  • Box 17:
  • Certificates and awards - 1975-1995 (2 folders)
  • Iowa Local Historical and Museum Association - 1972
  • Miscellaneous - 1985-1998
  • Artifacts
  • Signature stamp, undated
  • Series 7: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 12:
  • Miscellaneous
  • Terrace Hill Authority
  • State Historical Society of Iowa
  • University of Iowa Home Economics Department
  • Negatives
  • Box 17:
  • Iowa City homes
  • Portraits - 1922-1994
  • World tour - 1966, 1969-1980
  • Box 18:
  • Framed and oversize, undated (2 folders)
  • Europe - 1981
  • Series 8: EDUCATION
  • Box 14:
  • University of Wisconsin: HE 114: Techniques of Interior Design, undated - 1951
  • University of Wisconsin: 'A Procedure for Study in High School Related Art' - 1951
  • Florida State University: Art 470: American Art - 1961
  • Box 15:
  • Florida State University: Art 470: American Art - 1962
  • Florida State University: Art 476 - 1962
  • Florida State University: Art 591-A - 1962
  • Florida State University: CD 482 - 1960
  • Florida State University: C and T 514 - 1962
  • Florida State University: HE 590, undated
  • Florida State University: HFL 16, 'An Annotated Bibliography of Literature Related to the Proposed Study of Home Architecture of Iowa City'
  • Florida State University: HFL 519 and 516
  • Florida State University: HFL 514, HFL 519, and LS 500 - 1960
  • Florida State University: Library Science 500 - 1960
  • Florida State University: 'A Study of Weaving in Sweden' and 'Wallpapers Used in Homes of America from 1700 to 1900,' undated
  • Florida State University: Correspondence - 1959-1965
  • Box 16:
  • Correspondence (2 folders) - 1959-1965
  • 'Color Coordination for Model Home,' undated
  • Series 9: SLIDES
  • Box 18:
  • Cedar Rapids; Boston, AAEA - 1967
  • Annual banquet, Home Economics - 1969
  • Senior tea - 1971
  • Fallbrook, California, August - 1971
  • 306 Ferson - 1971-1972
  • Patio remodeling - 1971
  • Athens, Georgia - 1971
  • Apollo 15 - 1971
  • Apollo 16 - 1972
  • Barnes, Wisconsin, - 1972
  • Pownalls and Simmons - 1972
  • Jamaica - 1973
  • Jamaica and Sarasota, Florida - 1973
  • Orlando, Winter Park, Athens, Georgia - 1973
  • Kent State Park, Iowa - 1973
  • Georgia vacation - 1974
  • La Jolla and Corona del Mar, California - 1974
  • California, 306 Martha and friends - 1974
  • Summer - 1975
  • Georgia, Chataqua, Phil, NY - 1976
  • Jamaica - 1977
  • Easter (Pownalls and Simmons) - 1980
  • Effigy mounds; Wisconsin Pownall's picnic, undated
  • Houses in Athens, Georgia, undated