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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Kate Martinson papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1872-1944
Creator: Martinson, Kate (1858-1941)
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0084
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Journals chronicle the life of an Iowa farm woman including her marriage, childrearing, family farm management, divorce, and remarriage.

Arrangement: Two folders, shelved in SCVF.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 141) were donated by Bea Ann Ziegler in 1993.

Preferred Citation: Kate Martinson 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

Kate Emily Anderson was born on October 16, 1858 in Rockford, Illinois, and at age eleven moved with her family to a homestead in Dickinson County, Iowa. In 1877 she married George Emerson and had four children, one of whom died in infancy. For twenty years she managed their home and land in Dickinson and Worth counties, eventually divorcing Emerson. In 1897 she married Andrew Martinson and they and their ten children farmed in the same area. She and Andrew moved to the town of Milford in 1917, where she was active in church affairs and in her favorite pastimes of writing and painting until her death in 1941.

The Kate Martinson diary dates from 1872 to 1917 and measures 1 linear inch. Almost each year on October 2 from 1872 until 1893 she wrote about the previous year's activities including a recitation of marriages, births, and deaths in her family. She described some of the joys and hardships of life in rural Iowa including a tender account of the brief life and death of an infant child. Her husband George worked away from home for long periods of time, and in 1889 she learned that he had another wife and other children; although she was pregnant, she sent him away and eventully divorced him.

After her marriage in 1897 to Andrew Martinson she resumed writing in her diary, although not with the regularity and depth as previously. Generally it was a report of the comings and goings of their children.

Obituaries of Kate and Andrew Martinson are included.

Browse by Series:

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • Diary - 1872-1917
  • Obituaries - 1941, 1944