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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Ruth Salzmann Becker papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1858-2007
Creator: Becker, Ruth Salzmann (1922-2007)
Extent: 4.75 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0123
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Nurse and community activist in Iowa City who, as a young Jewish woman, fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and emigrated to the United States.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in boxes 6-9 and 11-14
2 audiocassettes [AC1300-1301]

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.186) were donated by Ruth Becker in 1997 and subsequent years.

Preferred Citation: Ruth Salzmann Becker 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

Ruth Henriette Salzmann Becker, a nurse and community activist, was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1922 to Hans and Käethe Salzmann. As a young Jewish woman in 1939, Salzmann fled Nazi Germany by way of England, while her parents and younger sister Eva left via Cuba. The family met again in New York in 1940. Ruth Salzmann received her R.N. in 1945 from Mount Sinai Hospital School of Nursing in New York City and her B.S. and M.S. from Columbia University Teachers College in 1950 and 1952 respectively. From 1947 to 1952, Salzmann worked as an instructor of medical nursing at the Mount Sinai Hospital School of Nursing.

Ruth Salzmann married Samuel Becker in 1953. Together they raised three children. After her marriage, Ruth Becker worked part time in the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. After her youngest child, Anne, was born with Downs syndrome, Becker become active in various organizations that serve disabled persons, including the Johnson County Association for Retarded Children (now the Association for Retarded Citizens), Goodwill Industries of Southeast Iowa, and Families, Inc. She was also active in the Johnson County Democratic Women's Club and numerous other organizations.

Becker has been featured in Who's Who in World Jewry, Who's Who in American Jewry, and American Jews: Their Lives and Achievements. She died in 2007.

The Ruth Becker papers date from 1858 to 2007 and measure 4.75 linear feet. The papers are arranged in four series: Salzmann Family, Ruth Salzmann Becker, Photographs, and Artifacts. This collection provides a look into the life of a German Jewish family from Berlin during the early days of the Nazi occupation and the family's subsequent immigration to the United States in 1940. The papers in this collection are not only from Ruth Salzmann Becker, but also from her parents Hans and Käethe Salzmann, her sister Eva Salzmann Vichules, and her uncle Curt Salzmann. A considerable amount of information is also included about Becker's grandparents.

The Salzmann Family series (1858-1996) contains biographical information about Ruth Salzmann Becker, her parents Hans and Käthe Salzmann, and her sister Eva Salzmann Vichules. Hans Salzmann was a medical doctor in Berlin. After emigrating to the United States, he established a medical practice in New York City. Käethe Salzmann was a physical therapist and amateur athlete. The series also includes papers of Becker's grandparents, Max and Henriette Salzmann, and Hugo and Jenny Salzmann. Max Salzmann owned a department store in Wittenberg, Germany. This series includes the family's papers and identification cards from Nazi Germany in 1939 as well as letters and postcards written or received by the Salzmann family during World War II. A small amount of correspondence from relatives who had emigrated to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century is also included in this series. Many of the items in this series are written in German.

The Ruth Salzmann Becker series (1943-2004) consists of materials concerning Becker's education, professional activities, and community activism.

The Photographs series (1911-1996) makes up the bulk of the collection. Most of the albums were compiled by Hans Salzmann; a number of them picture family vacations in Europe in the 1930s. The earlier albums include photographs of German soldiers in World War I. The captions in the pre-1939 photograph albums are written in German. The Familienbuch is a genealogy containing photographs and identifications of several generations of the family.

The Artifacts series include military items from World War I such as dog tags, Käethe Salzmann's decathalon medals, and political buttons. Several books in German complete the collection.
Ruth Salzmann Becker papers, Mt. Sinai Hospital School of Nursing, Alumnae Association, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1143, New York, NY 10029-6574: This collection includes Becker's nursing school papers and yearbooks.

Care Review Committee for Johnson County Care Facility records (Johnson County Historical Society, Coralville, Iowa): Ruth Becker was active in the committee.

Johnson County Democratic Women's Club records (State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa): Ruth Becker donated these materials to SHSI.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Medical Museum (includes Becker's nursing cap and cape).

Samuel L. Becker papers (University Archives, University of Iowa Libraries): Samuel Becker is Ruth Becker's husband.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: SALZMANN FAMILY
Series 2: RUTH SALZMANN BECKER - 1922- 2007)
Series 3: PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 4: ARTIFACTS
Series 5: ARTISTS
Series 6: MISCELLANEOUS

  • Series 1: SALZMANN FAMILY
  • Sub-Series: HANS SALZMANN (1895-1963)
  • Box 1:
  • Obituaries: Hans and Kaethe Salzmann - 1963-1965
  • Childhood medical information - 1896
  • Education: Certified translations of school records and diplomas, undated
  • Education: Dissertation abstract - 1922
  • Education: English for Foreigners - 1940
  • Education: Mitteilung an das Elternhaus - 1910
  • Education: Report cards - 1902-1904
  • Identification papers: Application for immigrant visa - 1939
  • Identification papers: Birth certificate (copy) - 1895
  • Identification papers: Cuban immigration pass - 1939
  • Identification papers: German Reich papers and passport - 1938, 1939
  • Identification papers: German party book, Social Democratic Party of Germany - 1920, 1931
  • Identification papers: Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, Bund Deutscher Kriegsteilnehmer und Republikaner E.V. - 1929
  • Identification papers: United States immigrant visa, identification card, and passport - 1939, 1961, 1962
  • Medical information - 1951
  • Medical practice: General, undated
  • Medical practice: German licensing information and university correspondence - 1919-1939
  • Medical practice: Licenses and diplomas - 1922-1963
    [closed for conservation]
  • Medical practice: United States licensing and further education information - 1940-1943
  • Medical practice: Vitebergia - 1935
  • Medical practice: World Medical Association certificate - 1948
  • Military: Attempt to document activity in World War I effort - 1915-1918, 1933
  • Military: Dog tags, watch fob, bracelet, medallion and necklace [shelved in box 15]
  • Military: Gold for iron certificates - 1916, 1917
  • Military: General information - 1917, 1933
  • Newspaper clipping, undated
  • New World Club - 1924-1954
  • Prayer book fragment from burned synagogue in Berlin - 1938
  • Scrapbook - 1945-1963 [oversize: shelved in box 10]
  • Loose items removed from scrapbook - 1945-1961
  • Writings: Candles Through the Night" - 1943
  • Writings: Influence of the Free Masons on World War I - 1919
  • Writings: 'The Last Patient,' - 1947
  • Writings: Poems - 1960 and undated
  • Writings: 'Schicksal,' Mitteilungen der Jüdische Reformgemeinde zu Berlin, April 15 - 1937
  • Miscellaneous - 1929, 1972
  • Box 18:
  • Education: Dissertation abstract (duplicate) - 1922
  • German books belonging to - 1916-1934
  • Sub-Series: KÄETHE SALZMANN - (1897-1965)
  • Box 1:
  • Autograph book - 1907-1914, 1944
  • Box 2:
  • Birth certificate (copy) - 1897
  • Correspondence - 1964-1965
  • Decathlon medals [shelved in box 15]
  • Identification papers:
  • Identification papers: Cuban immigration pass - 1939
  • Identification papers: German Party Book, Social Democratic Party of Germany - 1920
  • Identification papers: German Reich papers and passport - 1938, 1939
  • Identification papers: Jewish Sports Union membership card - 1937
  • Identification papers: Monthly train pass and work pass - 1936, 1937
  • Letter of reference - 1939
  • Life insurance policy - 1936
  • Medical information - 1947, 1956
  • Report cards - 1904-1914
  • Travel diary (South America), c. - 1964
  • Work information - 1927, 1940
  • Sub-Series: RUTH SALZMANN BECKER (1922-2007)
  • Box 2:
  • Application for immigrant visa - 1939
  • Autograph book - 1932
  • Baby weight chart - 1922
  • Biographical information - 1955 and undated
  • Birth announcement - 1922
  • Birth certificates - 1922
  • Bund deutschjüdischer Jugend, undated
  • Childhood medical records - 1923, 1934 and undated
  • Confirmation - 1937
  • Declaration of a clean police record - 1938
  • Family tree by Judy Becker, undated
  • German party invitations and songs, undated
  • German Reich papers and passport - 1939
  • Hawkeye-Wedding in Continental Village, June 14' - 1953
  • Marriage and birth announcements - 1953-1960
  • Mother's Day and Birthday cards
  • Newspaper clippings - 1961, 1991 and undated
  • United States immigration information - 1939-1940 and undated
  • Box 18:
  • Correspondence: To Käethe Salzmann - 1963-1964
  • Miscellaneous - 1971-2004
  • Sub-Series: EVA SALZMANN VICHULES (1931- )
  • Box 3:
  • Impromptu conversation at the Iowa Women's Archives with Ruth Salzmann Becker and Eva Salzmann Vichules - 2004
    [AC1300-1301]
  • Marriage and birth announcements - 1952, 1959
  • Newspaper clippings - 1980, 1983
  • Vichules, Ruth - 1992
  • Wedding song - 1952 [Oversize: shelved in map case]
  • Sub-Series: EXTENDED FAMILY
  • Box 3:
  • American Immigrant Wall of Honor - 1993
  • Family history - undated
  • Galliner family
  • Box 18:
  • Newspaper clippings - 1944-1987
  • Correspondence: General - 1939-2002
  • Sub-Series: HUGO AND JENNY (ADAM) SALZMANN FAMILY
  • Box 3:
  • Diary of Hugo Salzmann - 1923
  • Documents and correspondence - 1882-1926
  • Eulogy for Hugo Salzmann - 1925
  • Newspaper clippings - 1910-1937
  • Will - 1924-1925
  • Sub-Series: MAX AND HENRIETTE (LINDEMANN) SALZMANN FAMILY
  • Box 3:
  • Curt Salzmann - 1891-1914
  • Military career and death - 1913-1916
  • Curt Salzmann: School records and birth certificate (copy) - 1905-1910
  • Dr. Erich Lindemann, newspaper clippings - 1952
  • Henriette Salzmann: will, eulogy, and last illness - 1918-1920
  • Linda Jacob Miller (Ruth Becker's cousin), 'Mostly About Wittenburg: Memories of my Childhood'
  • Max Salzmann - 1864-1917
  • Apprenticeship information - 1880
  • Max Salzmann: Book of funeral prayers - 1917
  • Max Salzmann: Death notice - 1917
  • Max Salzmann: Military information - 1885-1887
  • Max Salzmann: Store in Wittenberg, newspaper clippings, undated
  • Sigfried Jacob dispute - 1923-1935
  • Box 18:
  • Documents from Jewish cemetery, Weissensee - 1920
  • Lindemann family tree, undated
  • Linda Jacob Miller, general - 1965-1986
  • Sub-Series: MAX AND ELSBETH SALZMANN FAMILY
  • Box 3:
  • Miscellaneous - 1946-1952
  • Sub-Series: General
  • Box 3:
  • Salzmann family death register - 1818-1845, 1926
  • Miscellaneous - 1941-1989
  • Box 18:
  • Hagadah of Max Salzmann - 1863-1917
  • Sub-Series: CLOSE FRIENDS
  • Box 3:
  • Jacob, Hans - 1981
  • Klein, Rabbi Edward - 1980, 1985
  • Montagu, Lilian - 1948
  • Sub-Series: Correspondence
  • Box 3:
  • General - 1900-1995
  • Cuban waiting list and internment camp - 1938-1939
  • From Berlin - 1939
  • From relatives in the United States - 1858-1859
  • Government takeover of garden area in Berlin - 1935
  • Hans Salzmann to Selective Service, the War Manpower Commission, and the Office for Emergency Management - 1942-1946
  • Käethe Salzmann, incoming and outgoing - 1904-1916
  • Box 4:
  • Letters and information regarding passage to the United States - 1939-1998
  • Lydia Thiesenhausen (paternal aunt) - 1899-1917
  • Postcards - 1931-1948
  • Regarding restitution payments - 1955, 1963
  • Search for relatives lost in the Holocaust - 1952, 1992-1996
  • To Thea in England from Berlin requesting help leaving Germany - 1939
  • Box 18:
  • General - 1944-1995
  • Series 2: RUTH SALZMANN BECKER - 1922- 2007)
  • Sub-Series: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 4:
  • Obituary - 2007
  • Address book
  • Temple service books [Hanukkah home service] - 1939 (in German)
  • Wedding anniversaries - 1952-53
  • Box 18:
  • 521 West Park Road - 1957-1995
  • Autographs of famous people - 1900-1999
  • Calligraphy - undated
  • Birthday book and poems - 2001-2002
  • Postcards of Europe, undated
  • Box 19:
  • Book plate design by Erich Wolfsfeld, undated
  • Box 21:
  • Oaknoll booklet: poetry and prints - 2002
    shelved in map case
  • Calligraphy about England, undated
    shelved in map case
  • Sub-Series: EDUCATION
  • Box 4:
  • General - 1979 and undated
  • Correspondence - 1949-1956
  • Elementary schoolwork - 1927-1928
  • High school diploma - 1942
  • Report cards - 1922-1942
  • Columbia University diploma, BS - 1950
  • Columbia University diploma and newspaper clippings, MA - 1952
  • Columbia University transcript - 1952, 1957
  • Mt. Sinai Hospital School of Nursing: alumnae - 1945-1994
  • Mt. Sinai Hospital School of Nursing: diploma - 1945
  • Mt. Sinai Hospital School of Nursin: newspaper clippings - 1944, 1952
  • Mt. Sinai Hospital School of Nursing: yearbook - 1945
  • Sub-Series: COMMUNITY ACTIVISM
  • Box 5:
  • General - 1995-1997
  • Awards - 1963-1999
  • Democratic Party, clippings
  • Newspaper clippings - 1973-1995 and undated
  • Crisis Center Capital Campaign Committee - 1990s
  • Families, Inc. - 1978-1994
  • Goodwill Industries of Southeast Iowa: general - 1982-1990
  • Goodwill Industries of Southeast Iowa: Annual reports - 1983-88
  • Iowa City Committee on Community Needs - 1981-1989
  • Iowa City Community School District Equity Advisory Committee - 1980
  • Iowa City Hospice - 1980-2003
  • Iowa City Public Library - 1997
  • Iowa City School Elections - 1992
  • Iowa City Senior Center - 1995
  • Iowa City/Johnson County Association for Retarded Citizens - 1975-1980
  • Iowa Humanities Board - 1997
  • Johnson County Board of Supervisors - 1976-1992
  • Johnson County Care Facility - 1980
  • Johnson County Democratic Women's Club - 1969-1970, 1980
  • Jury Commissioner, 6th Judicial District - 1977-1988
  • Political buttons
    [shelved in box 16]
  • Systems Unlimited - 1986, 1993
  • UNICEF - 1966-1975
  • United Way - 1977-1996
  • University of Iowa Volunteer - 1991-2004
  • Wysall & Thorpe Women's Institute - 1964
  • Box 18:
  • General - 1974-2003
  • Sub-Series: PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
  • Box 6:
  • Blood donor and Red Cross Cards - 1943, 1950
  • Nursing registration - 1945-1946, 1953
  • Nursing licenses - 1952-1956
  • State University of Iowa appointment papers - 1953-1962
  • Sub-Series: WRITINGS
  • Box 6:
  • Draft and notes for colon article, undated
  • "Interpersonal Relations--in the Basic Program," The American Journal of Nursing - 1955
  • "Nursing Care in Proctology and Colonic Surgery," Modern Medicine, 20/10 (May 15 - 1952
  • Memoir, undated
  • Oaknoll diary - 1999
  • "What Should Medical and Surgical Supervisors Do?" - 1952
  • Series 3: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Sub-Series: SALZMANN, HANS
  • Box 6:
  • Miscellaneous - 1944-1948
  • Exercise group - 1930-1932
  • Extended family - 1889-1956 and undated
  • Krankenhaus Friedrichshain - 1924-1925
  • Sub-Series: SALZMANN, HANS AND KÄTHE
  • Box 6:
  • Salzmann, Käethe: extended family - 1869-1920
  • Box 19:
  • General - 1948-1957
  • Sub-Series: BECKER, RUTH SALZMANN
  • Box 6:
  • Childhood - 1922-1954
  • Goodwill Industries of Southeast Iowa - 1989
  • Mt. Sinai Hospital School of Nursing - 1942-1945
  • Portraits, undated
  • With Eva Salzmann - 1934
  • Box 19:
  • General, and notes - 1938-1955
  • Sub-Series: BECKER, RUTH AND SAM
  • Box 7:
  • Family - 1955-1997 and undated
  • Family dishes - 1991
  • Wedding - 1953
  • With President Carter and with President Clinton - 1991, 1996
  • Sub-Series: VICHULES, EVA SALZMANN
  • Box 7:
  • Miscellaneous - 1931-1952
  • Wedding - 1952
  • Sub-Series: MISCELLANEOUS
  • Box 7:
  • Close friends - 1932-1959, 1990
  • Employees from Max Salzmann's store in Wittenberg, Germany - 1912
  • Family collage,undated
  • Grave of Curt Salzmann in Belgium - 1939
  • Grave of Henrietta Salzmann in Berlin - 1947
  • House in Berlin - 1930
  • Parties - 1921-1927, 1954 and undated
  • Salzmann family portrait - 1944
  • Victoria, former maid - 1940, 1977
  • World War I
  • General - 1923-1949
  • Undated
  • Undated
  • Box 18:
  • Old Salzmann family photos - 1940-1968
  • Scrapbook pages, undated
    shelved in map case
  • Box 19:
  • Lily Verhoef, Ruth's friend - 1935-1961
  • From or with Liselotte, undated
  • Max Salzmann's store in Wittenberg, undated
  • Miscellaneous - 1932-1972
  • Sub-Series: ALBUMS
  • Box 7:
  • Berlin and England - 1911-1915
  • Berlin and England - 1915-1916
  • Box 8:
  • Berlin and England - 1917-1920
  • Berlin and England - 1919-1932
  • Berlin and England - 1935-1936
  • Box 9:
  • Berlin and England - 1938-1941, 1997
  • Berlin and England, undated
  • Vacations - 1934
  • Vacations - 1936
  • Vacations - 1937
  • United States of America - 1947-1950
    disbound
  • Loose pages - 1934-1961
    shelved in map case
  • Box 11:
  • Familienbuch (genealogy with photographs)
  • Box 12:
  • Vacations - 1935
  • Box 13:
  • United States of America - 1942-1948
  • Box 14:
  • United States of America - 1951-1959
  • Box 10:
  • Hans Salzmann scrapbook - 1945-1963
  • Series 4: ARTIFACTS
  • Box 15:
  • Military: WW I dog tags, watch fob, bracelet, medallion, and necklace
  • Decathlon medals
  • Box 16:
  • Political buttons
  • Box 19:
  • Ephemera from Florence Nightingale biography - 1949-1954
  • Ephemera from Warner's Calendar of Medical History, 1943 - 1935-2003
  • Box 20:
  • Union Prayer Book for Jewish Worship, inscriped "N. Becker" - 1927
  • Union Prayer Book for Jewish Worship, labeled Hans M. Salzmann - 1934
  • Union Prayer Book for Jewish Worship, labeled Hans M. Salzmann - 1944
  • Warner's Calendar of Medical History - 1943
  • Vellum-bound guestbook, undated
  • Florence Nightingale, by Cecil Woodham-Smith - 1951
  • Box 21:
  • Small artifact envelopes - 1915-1990
  • Dog tags from Tatta Jacob's dachshund - 1915
  • Iowa City/Johnson County dog tags - 1961-1990
  • Nursing pins - 1945
  • Pin with photos of Huttie and infant and Ruth's sarcophagus pin, undated
  • Gymnastics pins belonging to Huttie or Ruth - 1935
  • Photograph pins, undated
  • "My Grandchildren" miniature album, undated
  • Miniature photo frames, undated
  • Iowa City, University of Iowa, Iowa state momentos - 1947
  • Box 22:
  • Porcelain ornament featuring photographs of Beckers with children, undated
  • Box 23:
  • The Arc of Johnson County Ruth Becker Award - 1999
  • Box 24:
  • Wooden box containing wooden village cut-outs, undated
  • Porcelain ashtray advertising S. Salzmann's business, undated
  • Box containing handmade cards, probably a game, undated
  • Box of copper-coated "Leaves from Curt's grave in Belgium", undated
  • Box 25:
  • Metal plates of Grant Wood paintings, undated
  • Box 26:
  • WWI photograph of Ruth's uncle in cross frame - 1914
  • Box 27:
  • Max Salzmann's Silver Business Anniversary goblet - 1914
  • Box 28:
  • Russian P.O.W. carved wooden utensils, undated
  • Box 29:
  • Recipe book
  • Series 5: ARTISTS
  • Box 19:
  • Kathe Kollwitz, "Tagebuch Blätter und Briefe" - 1949
  • Kathe Kollwitz, ephemera from "Tagbuch Blätter und Briefe" - 1956-1980
  • Kathe Kollwitz, ephemera from "Das Kathe Kollwitz-Werk" - 1945-1999
  • Heinrich Zille, "Familienleben" cartoon print and 100th Anniversary of Birth Stamp article - 1958
  • Erich Wolfsfeld - 1920-1956
  • Portrait of Eva (left) and Ruth (right) by Erich Wolfsfeld, undated
  • Series 6: MISCELLANEOUS
  • Box 21:
  • General - 1968-1996
  • Material about Germany - 1985
    shelved in map case