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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Ruth Schanke papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1994-1997
Creator: Schanke, Ruth (1941)
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0339
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Des Moines woman who organized a support group for spouses of lesbians and gays in 1994.

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. 465 ) were donated by Ruth Schanke in 1997.

Preferred Citation: Ruth Schanke 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

Ruth Schanke, born in 1941 the daughter of a Lutheran minister, majored in sociology at Midland College in Fremont, Nebraska, graduating in 1963. In 1964 she married Robert Schanke, who later became a professor of theater at Central College in Pella, Iowa. A daughter, Julie, was born in 1967. After twelve years of marriage the Schankes together faced the issue of Bob Schanke's homosexuality. They stayed married tenmore years, divorcing in 1987. In 1994 Ruth Schanke organized a support group at Plymouth Congregational Church in DesMoines called Spouses of Gays and Lesbians. Ruth Schanke, a teacher and social worker, became an administrator in the Iowa Department of Human Services in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Ruth Schanke papers date from 1994 to 1997 and measure 1 linear inch. The papers are arranged in one folder under the following headings: Family chronicle, Newspaper articles, Spouses of Gays and Lesbians, and Miscellaneous printed material. The Family chronicle consists of biographical material about Ruth Schanke and family chronologies written by Ruth Schanke and Bob Schanke consisting of photographs and text chronicling the history of the Schankes' marriage and their family life since their divorce. The Newspaper articles contain one discussing the dissolution of the marriage, the other reporting two hate letters sent to Bob Schanke in 1991 and the ensuing support the students and faculty of Central College provided him. The Spouses of Gays and Lesbians contains printed materials and articles directed to family members and friends of gays and lesbians distributed at meetings of Spouses of Gays and Lesbians sponsored by the Plymouth Congregational Church. The Miscellaneous Printed Material concerns conferences and organizations that address gay and lesbian issues.

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