Guide to the Ruth Hamilton papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1895-2008
Creator: Hamilton, Ruth (1898-2008)
Extent: 6.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0192
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Teacher and world traveler who served in the New Hampshire legislature.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: Six audiocassettes [AC327-333, 343]
4 videocassettes [V96, 104-105, 162]

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers were donated by Ruth Hamilton (donor no. 273) in 1995 and succeeding years.

Preferred Citation: Ruth Hamilton 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

Biographical Note

Ruth Hamilton was born on April 12, 1898 in the town of Alta, Iowa, to Peter and Hulda Jensen. She married Carter Hamilton in 1921 He was a professional baseball player for the Cleveland Indians who became a doctor in 1923. Together they adopted a son, Peter. Hamilton graduated from teacher's college in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in 1916. She later returned to school to study dramatics and English at the University of Minnesota and continued to study throughout her life, taking classes whenever she could.

As a teacher, Hamilton taught both in the classroom and over the radio. She began her teaching career in a country schoolhouse in Iowa, in 1916, and later went on to teach speech and elocution classes in California and adult English classes in in Hollywood and New York. She wrote many newspaper articles, travelogues and letters to the editor as well as her memoirs, entitled "The Hamilton Saga." Hamilton was elected twice to the New Hampshire legislature, from 1964 to 1973, and worked for a time in real estate. She also had a great interest in antiques and restoring old homes.

After her husband's death in 1949, Hamilton traveled extensively to many destinations around the world and in her later years gave lectures on her experiences. Ruth Hamilton died in her sleep on January 18, 2008 at the age of 109.

Content Description

The Ruth Hamilton papers date from 1895 to 2008 and measure 6 linear feet.  The papers are arranged in five series: Personal, Professional, Travel, Correspondence, and Artifacts. 

The Personal series (1895-2008 and undated) contains Hamilton's obituary and memoirs including a rough draft of Book 1, 1898 to 1950, a rough draft of Book 2, "Widowhood," and a bound copy of Book 1.  The rough drafts also contain many pictures and newspaper clippings which are not found in the bound copy of the book.  Newspaper clippings, photographs, and other writings concerning Hamilton, her family and her friends and several of the honors received by Hamilton and information she collected on several of her interests are also included here.

The Professional series (1916, 1940-1993 and undated) contains newspaper clippings and photographs of Hamilton during her days of teaching, politics, and speech and radio work.  Several of the bills Hamilton worked on in the New Hampshire legislature and other legislative materials are also included.

The Travel series (1937-1996 and undated) consists of general information from her many trips, lecture materials she used when speaking about her travels, and photographs and brochures from her trips.  Also included here is a videocassette of Hamilton's trip to Europe in 1937 which was originally filmed with an eight millimeter camera.

The Correspondence series (1937-1998 and undated) mainly consists of letters sent and received by Hamilton while abroad.  Included are a collection of letters from Sherman Adams, a political leader in New Hampshire, the novelist Irving Stone, and several from the White House throughout several presidential terms.

The Artifacts series (1895, 1963-1985 and undated) contains many of the souvenirs Hamilton collected from around the world.  Of special interest are the stamps and coins from countries Hamilton visited which are no longer cohesive political entities.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Browse by Series:


This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Hamilton, Ruth, 1898-2008
Hamilton, Carter

20th century

Voyages and travels
Women in politics
Women in education


Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Alta
United States -- New Hampshire

Genre/Form of Materials:
Cultural artifacts
Personal papers
Video recordings
Sound recordings

Women, Politics and the Law
Teachers and Teaching
Autobiographical Resources: Diaries, Memoirs and Oral Histories