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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Rosemary Tharp papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1940-1994
Creator: Tharp, Rosemary (1921-1994)
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0114
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Cedar Falls native who served in the WAVES during World War II.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in folder 1.

Arrangement: One folder, shelved in SCVF.

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. 177) were donated by Rosemary Tharp in 1993.

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

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Rosemary Tharp was born on January 26, 1921, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She entered Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) in 1938 and graduated in 1942. After working a summer making cartridge belts for the army at the Hinson Manufacturing Company in Waterloo, Iowa, she began teaching junior and senior high school social studies in Kanawha, Iowa.

In December 1942, Tharp joined the WAVES, the women's branch of the Navy. She was sent first to Smith College and later to Mount Holyoke College, both in Massachusetts, for officer's training and communication school. After training, Tharp was assigned to a naval air station in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Later she became head of the communications department there; however, since women were not supposed to have men under their charge, a male personnel officer held the position on paper. In 1944, she married Herman Tharp, whom she had been dating since college. She was discharged from the WAVES on October 25, 1945.

Tharp later returned to school to earn a master's degree. She worked in the Department of Otolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals, Iowa City, and helped to author several scientific articles during the early 1970s. From 1977 until her retirement in 1985, she was employed as a research assistant in the Department of Preventive Medicine, State Cancer Registry of Iowa. She died of a stroke on September 27, 1994.

The Rosemary Tharp papers date from the 1940s to 1994 and measure 1 linear inch. The bulk of the collection consists of a personal memoir and a family history written byTharp.

The memoir, "The Spring of Our Lives," chronicles the period from 1938 to approximately 1945, centering on Tharp's experiences in the WAVES and her courtship with Herman Tharp.

The family histroy primarily describes her mother and father, Everett A. and Vesie Fleming, and a paternal grandmother, Minerva Etheline Ford Fleming. The papers also contain reprints of several scientific articles, which Tharp co-authored, most from the Cleft Palate Journal; a copy of her obituary; and two photographs of Tharp in WAVES uniforms.
T.F. Poduska papers (IWA): T.F. Poduska, an artist living in Colorado, is Rosemary Tharp's sister. She drew the sketches contained in the family history.

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