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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Almira Safely Rutledge papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1885-1950
Creator: Rutledge, Almira Safely (1869-1950)
Extent: 1.00 linear foot.
Collection Number: IWA0068
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Early, Iowa, wife and mother.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 3.

Access: The papers are open for research. Permission to quote must be requested from Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company Archives, 2323 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50312.

Use: Copyright has been retained by Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company Archives.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 122) were donated by The Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company Archives in 1992. The originals are held by Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company Archives and by Carolyn Rutledge Woodke.

Preferred Citation: Almira Safely Rutledge 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

Almira Margaret Safely was born March 21, 1869. She grew up in Lohrville, Iowa, living there until her marriage to Thomas Scott Rutledge on October 24, 1894, when she relocated to Early, Iowa. Prior to her marriage Almira was known to her family members as "May" but afterwards she assumed the nickname of "Mamie," possibly as a distinguishing device because her husband's brother was married to a woman named May. To the people in the Early community she became known either as Almira or Grandma Rutledge.

Prior to beginning his work at Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company in the mid-1890s Scott Rutledge experimented with well digging, farming, and owning property. He then served as Vice President of Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company from 1902 to 1904 and as President from 1904 until his death in 1932. Working in all aspects of the insurance business, he was often on the road around Iowa and Nebraska opening service accounts. While her husband was away Almira Rutledge took care of the family, ran a household, sewed, and attended to some business matters. Oral tradition says that the furniture for the newlyweds' first home was paid for with money Almira Rutledge earned by sewing.
Almira and Scott Rutledge had three children: Mabel Fern (August 16, 1895-February 22, 1972), John Wesley (August 3, 1900-October 1, 1963), and Helen Alberta (March 13, 1904-February 10, 1985). Like their father, John and Helen were employed by Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company.

Almira Margaret Safely Rutledge died December 21, 1950 at the age of 81.

The papers of Almira Safely Rutledge measure 1 linear foot and date from 1885 to 1950.  The collection consists of photocopies of diaries and photographs.  The diaries were written by Almira Safely Rutledge from 1885 to 1950 and a few photographs.  There are no diaries for the years 1886, 1889 to 1893, 1900 to 1901, and 1933.  The first entry was written when Almira Safely was fifteen years old, the last the day before her death.

The entries of Almira Rutledge remained over the years very brief and factual, without much mention of her personal feelings.  Themes include the weather; her daily chores, which usually included sewing; the families' callers; where her husband's business had taken him; and her visits to Sunday school and church.  On Sundays Almira usually attended church twice and Sunday school once.  At the end of her first diary she kept a log of the number of times she attended during the year 1885, the results being over 80 visits to church and 36 to Sunday school.

The third diary, which dates from January 15, 1888 to March 21, 1888 was written in a complimentary appointment book distributed by the World's Dispensary Medical Association in which Dr. R.V. Pierce advertises his "Golden Medical Discovery" and "Pleasant Purgative Pellets."  The book includes testimonials of persons claiming that Dr. Pierce's remedies have cured asthma, boils, liver disease, chronic diarrhea, and malarial fevers, among other aliments.  Dr. Pierce also advertises his "Favorite Prescription," claiming it as a cure for "woman's peculiar maladies."

The diary entries from April 16 to June 5, 1931 include a short bank statement from the Merchant's Bank of Canada.  At the end of the entries for this period is a log of expenses, probably business.

The photographs consist of the Rutledge family and their home in Early, Iowa and date from the early 1900s.  A few of the photographs are undated.

The diaries and photographs of Almira Rutledge are photocopies; the originals are held by the Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company Archives located in Des Moines.  Permission to quote from the diaries must be obtained from the Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company Archives.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: DIARIES
Series 2: PHOTOGRAPHS

  • Series 1: DIARIES
  • Box 1:
  • January 1-December 31 - 1885
  • June 2-July 25 - 1887
  • January 15-March 21 - 1888
  • October 21-November 30 - 1894-1897
  • December 1-September 11 - 1897-1899
  • January 1-November 10 - 1902-1904
  • November 11-August 31 - 1904-1907
  • September 1-November 30 - 1907-1911
  • December 1-December 10 - 1911-1913
  • December 11-June 22 - 1913-1916
  • Box 2:
  • June 23-October 31 - 1916-1919
  • November 1-November 19 - 1919-1923
  • November 20-August 25 - 1923-1926
  • August 26-August 19 - 1926-1929
  • August 20-May 31 - 1929-1932
  • April 16-June 5 - 1931
  • June 1-April 30 - 1932-1934
  • May 1-December 31 - 1934
  • Box 3:
  • January 1-December 31 - 1935-1939
  • January 1-December 31 - 1940-1944
  • January 1-December 31 - 1945-1949
  • January 1-December 20 - 1950
  • Series 2: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 3:
  • Photographs