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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Abbie Romey papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1891-1993
Creator: Romey, Abbie (1905-1994)
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0146
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Actress, homemaker, and 1928 graduate of the State University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Alternate Extent Statement: One audiocassette [AC118].

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. 213) were donated by Abbie Romey in 1994.

Preferred Citation: Abbie Romey 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

Abbie Anna McHenry Romey, actress and homemaker, was born in 1905 to William A. and Mary Sears McHenry in Denison, Iowa. She attended school in Denison until she was a senior in high school when she moved to Lake Forest, Illinois. Abbie McHenry graduated from high school in Lake Forest, attended junior college at Ferry Hall in Lake Forest, and graduated from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) in 1928, majoring in speech and dramatic art. While at the University, she performed in numerous theatrical productions. In the summer of 1926, McHenry was a member of the Metropolitan Players, a group of five university students who performed on the Chautauqua circuit for ninety-two consecutive days throughout the Midwest.

In 1928, Abbie McHenry married Richard Romey and moved to Mason City, Iowa. The Romeys had three daughters and Richard Romey became a real estate agent. In the 1920s and 1930s, Abbie Romey directed dramatic productions for the Mason City Women's Club. Romey died in 1994.

The Abbie Romey papers date from 1926 to 1993 and measure 5 linear inches. The papers are arranged in two series: Biographical information and Drama. The bulk of the collection relates to Romey's experiences on the Chautauqua circuit in 1926; it also includes memorabilia from theater productions.

The Biographical information series (1891; 1984-1993) includes reminiscences of Romey's Chautauqua experiences in a radio interview conducted in 1984, and two speeches from 1993, one of which is recorded on audiocassette. This series also includes the Journal of the Ninth National Convention of the Woman's Relief Corps, of which her mother was president.

The Drama series (1927-1930) includes Hawkeye articles featuring McHenry in University dramatic productions, and a plan for expanding the theater facilities at the University titled University Theatre in the Iowa Union. A bound copy of Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw, a play she greatly admired and from which she read excerpts, includes annotations by Romey. The series concludes with a scrapbook Romey kept from 1926 until 1930. It includes daily writings from the summer of 1926 while she traveled on the Chautauqua circuit with the Metropolitan Players, drawings, newspaper clippings, theatrical programs, and letters from friends.
Mary Sears McHenry papers (IWA): Mary McHenry is the mother of Abbie Romey.

Browse by Series:
Series 2: DRAMA

  • Box 1:
  • AC118: Speech - 1993
  • Interviews and speeches - 1984-1993
  • "Journal of the Ninth National Convention of the Woman's Relief Corps" - 1891
  • Series 2: DRAMA
  • Box 1:
  • University of Iowa "Hawkeye" - 1927-1929
  • Shaw, George Bernard, "Saint Joan" - 1926
  • Scrapbook - 1926-1930