In 1900 the Department of Physical Culture and Athletics had only one woman member, an assistant in charge of physical training for women. By 1924 the Department of Physical Education was established with four departments: inter-collegiate athletics, physical education for men, physical education for women, and intramural games. By that year every member of the women's staff was a graduate of a physical education school and a major field of study in Women's Physical Education was established. The women's physical education program became a pioneer in the development of graduate study and professional training. Elizabeth Halsey headed the department from 1924-1955. M.Gladys Scott, who received the first Ph.D. in women's physical education from the University of Iowa in 1937, succeeded Halsey as department chair from 1955-1974. Margaret Fox (1974-1978), N. Peggy Burke (1978-1987), Yvonne (Bonnie Slatton (1987-2000), and Susan Birrell (2000- ) followed in succession as department chairpersons.
The athletic/physical education departments were later reorganized in a variety of configurations including the Department of Physical Education and Dance (1976-1987), Physical Education and Sport Studies (housed within the Division of Physical Education) (1987-1993), the Department of Sport, Health, Leisure and Physical Studies (1993-2000), the Department of Health, Leisure and Sport Studies (2000-2001) and the Department of Health and Sport Studies (2001- ). Physical education is no longer offered as a field of study.
The Women's Athletic Association (WAA), an intramural organization with both an athletic and social focus, was organized in 1911 to "promote a spirit of fair play and sportsmanship among girls." The Association was comprised of various clubs, including Orchesis (dance), Seals (swimming) and others for outing, hockey, canoeing, archery, badminton, tennis, basketball, and handicrafts. The group sponsored tournaments, play days, classes in social dancing, and all-freshmen parties. In 1941, the name of the organization changed to the Women's Recreation Association (WRA). The WAA/WRA provided college women opportunities to participate in sports, either intramural or as a member of a sport club, as there were no varsity sport teams available for women at The University of Iowa until the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Intercollegiate athletics for women at The University of Iowa originated in the Department of Physical Education for Women in the late 1960s and early 1970s and maintained that association until 2000. This relationship stemmed from the philosophy of the women physical educators and the value they placed on education and women-centered and controlled sport.Begin text here:Â» In 1973, Christine Grant was appointed Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, a position she held until her retirement in August 2000. Following Grant's retirement, the women's and men's athletic departments were merged, ending Iowa's tenure as one of the few NCAA Division I schools to maintain a separate department and director of athletics for women.
1924-1955 Elizabeth Halsey
1955-1974 M. Gladys Scott
1974-1978 Margaret Fox
1978-1987 N. Peggy Burke
1987-2000* Yvonne (Bonnie) Slatton
2000- Susan Birrell
1924-1975 Physical Education for Women
1976-1987 Physical Education and Dance
1987-1993 Physical Education and Sport Studies**
1993-2000 Sport, Health, Leisure and Physical Studies
2000-2001 Health, Leisure and Sport Studies
2002- Health and Sport Studies
* The Division of Physical Education was served by several different chairpersons, including Arnold Small, Alicia Brown, and Benjamin Hunnicutt. Bonnie Slatton's leadership began as chair of the Physical Education and Sport Studies Department within this division.
** The Department of Physical Education and Sport Studies was located within the Division of Physical Education. Other departments in this division were Exercise Science, Leisure Studies, and Dance.
The University of Iowa Physical Education for Women records date from 1900 to 2006 and measure 37.3 linear feet. The papers are arranged in fifteen series: Departmental history, Administrative correspondence, Intercollegiate athletics, Iowa City Field Hockey Club, P.E. Major Council, Professional organizations, World War II, Administrative records, Facilities, Publications, Photographs, Newspaper Clippings, Artifacts, and Films and audiovisual materials. The Women's Recreation Association (WRA) records are held in a separate collection-the University of Iowa Department of Physical Education for Women/Women's Recreational Association-at the Iowa Women's Archives.
The Departmental History series (1934-1999) contains university publications, correspondence, and three scrapbooks that document and reflect the social activities and departmental accomplishments achieved by both students and faculty of the Department of Physical Education for Women. Obituaries, eulogies and remembrances of deceased faculty and alumnus complete the series.
The Administrative Correspondence series (1916-1995) includes class schedules, newspaper clippings from the 1930s and 1940s, literature about gymnasium clothing from 1930 and 1964, a student-teacher report, and correspondence relating to the pros and cons of the physical education requirement. The administrative correspondence of three former department chairs: Elizabeth Halsey (1925-1955), M. Gladys Scott (1955-1974) and Margaret Fox (1974-1978) comprise the bulk of this series. Interfiled within their correspondence are those of persons serving as interim chairs, including Marjorie Camp and Miriam Taylor during Halsey's tenure.
The Intercollegiate Athletics series (1953-1997) traces the formal organization and development of intercollegiate athletics for women at The University of Iowa. In addition to administrative records, this series includes records from the university's Women's Intercollegiate Sport Committee (WISC), the statewide Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Committee (WIAC), and the national and state Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women organizations (AIAW and IAIAW). The Intramurals sub series consists primarily of records from the Big Ten Women's Intramural Conferences. At these conferences, women's physical educators discussed and debated the merits and logistics of offering intramural and extramural sport activities for college women. Supporting documents such as school intramural handbooks and surveys on women's sport programs are included.
The Iowa City Field Hockey Club series (1936-1974) documents the yearly activities of this club whose membership consisted of women's physical education faculty members, former students, and Iowa City residents. This series also contains records from the United States Field Hockey Association (USFHA) and the Midwest Field Hockey Association (MWFHA). The Iowa City Field Hockey Club hosted the Midwest Tournament in 1956 and 1962. They joined the student-run WAA Field Hockey Club in welcoming the Welsh Touring Team in 1936, and they hosted teams from Switzerland and Argentina for the 1963 USFHA International Tour. The Iowa City Field Hockey Club often practiced and played against the WRA Field Hockey Club (see the WRA Series).
The P.E. Major Council series (1922-1974) documents the activities and organizational structure of this group and the affiliated P.E. Majors (P.E.M.) Alumnae Association. This series includes the constitutions, minutes accounts, and correspondence, as well as their newsletter, "Major Matters," and information on banquets and social activities.
The Professional Organizations (1900-1997) series houses records from the variety of national, regional and state organizations to which department faculty members belonged. These organizations focused on issues and debates in the areas of physical education, health, recreation, intramurals and sport.
The World War II series (1941-1942) is comprised of materials relating to military leisure and recreation programs, the United Service Organizations (USO), and papers advocating specific wartime physical education and training programs for college women, naval aviation schools, and others. The USO file also includes two pieces of correspondence from Iowa students reporting on the USO and recreation opportunities.
The Administrative Records series (1916-2006) contains financial records, meeting minutes, course outlines and teaching material for skills and major courses. Included are academic requirements for undergraduate and graduate students, a departmental analysis, and research files that contain data, statistical analyses, and manuscripts written by both faculty and students. Margaret Fox's research and teaching materials were removed and placed within the Margaret Fox papers.
The Facilities series (1944-1979) includes a 1944 "Needs and Plans" report prepared by the department relating to building and equipment needs, and budgets and correspondence dealing with a proposed addition to the Women's Gymnasium (1951-1952).
A collection of periodicals, educational and government issued pamphlets, and teaching manuals pertaining to issues of health, physical education and recreation are located in the Publications (1914-1984) series. Shelved with the printed works collection are the 1927 through 1932 bound volumes of the Sportswoman, The Theory and Technique of Women's Basketball (1929) by Marjorie E. Fish, and the Girl Scout Song Book (1929) published by the Girls Scouts, Inc.
An extensive collection of Photographs (1906-2004) depict a wide variety of athletic activities, in addition to portraits of faculty and students, university buildings, children's classes, and departmental social events. Photographs of alumnus were collected for the department's centennial anniversary.
Issues pertaining to research conducted by students and faculty, and their achievements are located in the Newspaper Clippings series (1921-1989). Coverage of women's intercollegiate athletics completes the series. A wooden Volleyball Champs placard, unidentified wool basketball uniform and a blue tunic worn with bloomers comprise the Artifacts series.
The Films series (1933-1968) consists of reel-to-reel films of sporting events (primarily field hockey), instructional guides for sport and recreation, thesis/student projects and miscellaneous topics such as modern dance and posture.
The Audiovisual materials series (1933-1998) includes CBS's broadcast of the 1991 NCAA final between Iowa and Vanderbilt, and a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Iowa women's intercollegiate sports program that includes remarks by Christine Grant and University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman, an historical overview of women's sports at the University of Iowa and interviews with former University of Iowa women athletes.
Alternate Extent Statement: 11 films [F1-F11]
5 videocassettes [V222, V224, V311, V380, and V354]
1 DVD [d0044]
Photographs in boxes 91-96 and map case
Access: The records are open for research.
Use: Copyright to many of the materials is held by the University of Iowa.
Acquisition: The records (donor no. 257) were donated by the Department of Sport, Health, Leisure and Physical Studies in 1995 and subsequent years.
Preferred Citation: University of Iowa Department of Physical Education for Women records, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.