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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Alta Martin papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1963-2004
Creator: Martin, Alta D. (1927-2004)
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0353
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Homemaker and mother of five who received her private pilot license in 1963.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in SCVF.

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. 495) were donated by Alta D. Martin in 1998.

Preferred Citation: Alta Martin 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

Alta Delight Sterner was born February 18, 1927 in Rochester, Iowa to Van Orren Sterner and Delight Howe Sterner. Alta Sterner had one sister, Edna, and four brothers, John, Dale, Lee and Warren. Sterner married Harry Lee Martin on May 30, 1947 in Tipton, Iowa. The couple had two daughters, Linda and Pamela, and three sons, Joseph, Michael and Gary. Martin worked for the FBI in Chicago during World War II. She was a proponent of naturalization of the Rochester ( Iowa) Cemetery and an aviator. In 1966, Martin was commemorated as the first female private pilot to solo in Muscatine County, Iowa. Alta Delight Sterner Martin died May 8, 2004.

The Alta Delight Sterner Martin papers date from 1963 to 2004 and measure 1 linear inch. The papers include Martin's 1963-1965 flight log, starting in April 1963 when Martin began taking private lessons. The papers also include a newspaper article describing Martin's first solo flight and the piece of her slip that was stapled to her flight instructor's office wall with her name and the date of her solo flight written on it. [It was customary for men to snip off a piece of their shirttail after soloing, while women cut off a portion of their slip.] Also included amongst the papers are 1963 photographs of Martin with her plane and Martin's 1965 pilot's license. There is also a 1968 account of Martin's aerobatic flight experience in the cockpit "with Snoopy" and Jim Leahy, pilot-in-command.

Browse by Series:

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Martin, Alta D.

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Martin, Alta D., 1927-2004

20th century

Flight training
Stunt flying

Air pilots

Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Muscatine County

Genre/Form of Materials:
Personal papers