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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Arlene Morris papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1946-1996
Creator: Morris, Arlene (1926-)
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0276
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Clinical psychologist and University of Iowa alumna who was a member of the Des Moines Know Your Neighbor panel.
View Selected Items Online:African American Women in Iowa Digital Collectio

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 379) were donated by Arlene Morris in 1996.

Preferred Citation: Arlene Morris papers, Iowa Women 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

Arlene J. Roberts Morris was born on April 7, 1926 and grew up in Moline, Illinois. While a college student, Morris appeared on the cover of the first issue of Eyes magazine, an early publication relating to African-American life and culture, in 1946. She also served on its staff. Morris graduated from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) in 1946.

Arlene Roberts married attorney James B. Morris, Jr., in 1948. James Morris was the son of James Morris, Sr., a long-time publisher of the Iowa State Bystander , an African-American newspaper. Arlene Morris and her husband settled in Des Moines and had three sons, James III (Brad), William, and Robert.

From 1960 to 1967 Morris participated on the Know Your Neighbor Panel. The panel traveled around Iowa, as well as to several other states and Washington D.C., speaking about tolerance among races and religions. It consisted of women from different racial backgrounds--African-American, Japanese-American, and Caucasian--and women of different religious backgrounds--Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish.

In 1967, Arlene Morris earned an M.A. in psychology from Drake University in Des Moines. She worked as a clinical psychologist at Broadlawns Medical Center from 1967 to 1991. She was the first African-American woman psychologist to be licensed by the Iowa State Board of Psychology.

During the 1980s, Morris served on the Iowa Advisory Committee of the United States Civil Rights Commission for more than three years.

The Arlene Morris papers date from 1946 to [1996] and measure 1 linear inch. The collection consists primarily of materials related to the Know Your Neighbor panel, including a scrapbook of newspaper clippings and two magazine articles. A handwritten list of biographical information and a copy of the first issue of Eyes magazine are also included in the collection.
In the University Archives, University of Iowa: A small volume of subsequent issues of Eyes , 1946-1947, may be found.

June Goldman papers (IWA): Goldman was also a member of the Know Your Neighbor panel.

Lillian Moore Scales papers (IWA): Scales was Morris's cousin.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Biographical information - 1996
  • Eyes, April - 1946
  • Short stories: "The Reunion," "The Power of Odors," and "Life at the Supermarket" - c. 1999
  • Iowa Tuskegee Airmen Memorial program and newspaper clipping - 2002 and 2006
  • Bylaws, undated
  • First meeting - 1961
  • Captivating Panel Combats Prejudice, The Iowan (Winter 1969) - 1969
  • A Plea for Tolerance, Bethlehem Review (June 1966) - 1966
  • Scrapbook [photocopied] - 1961-1966