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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Gertrude Cohen papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1964-1991
Creator: Cohen, Gertrude (1913- )
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0358
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Member of the Iowa House of Representatives, 1965-1966, and the first Jewish woman elected to the Iowa Legislature.

Alternate Extent Statement: Artifacts and photographs in Box 1

Access: The papers are open for research.

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

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 501) were donated by Gertrude Cohen in 1998.

Preferred Citation: Gertrude Cohen 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
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

Gertrude Siegel was born on November 1, 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. Siegel graduated from North High School in Minneapolis, and continued her education at the University of Minnesota where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology in 1934. In 1936, Siegel married New Yorker Ben Cohen; the couple moved to Waterloo, Iowa in 1941. The Cohens had two children, a son Loren, and a daughter Devra (later Devra Marcus).

In 1965 Gertrude Cohen became the first Jewish woman elected to the Iowa Legislature. Cohen served a term (1965-1966) in the Iowa House of Representatives as a Democrat from Black Hawk county. Cohen served on the House Committees of Education, Industrial and Human Relations, and Public Health. Cohen has also been active in a variety of civic, political, and religious organizations.

The Gertrude Cohen papers date from 1964 to 1991 and measure 1 linear inch. The papers consist almost exclusively of material documenting Cohen's term in the Iowa General Assembly. The correspondence is mostly congratulatory. However, there are some letters from constituents. Two photographs, one of former Governor of Iowa Harold Hughes with Cohen and the other of Cohen's husband, Ben Cohen, are also included.
A Political Dialogue: Iowa's Women Legislators oral histories (IWA): This collection contains the transcript of an oral history interview with Cohen conducted by Suzanne Schenken in 1991.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
Series 2: POLITICAL ACTIVISM
Series 3: CORRESPONDENCE
Series 4: PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 5: ARTIFACTS

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical information - 1964-1965
  • Series 2: POLITICAL ACTIVISM
  • Box 1:
  • Campaign - 1964-1966
  • Iowa Civil Rights Commission, undated
  • County Jail Study Committee, undated
  • Economic issues - 1965
  • House Education Committee, UNDATED
  • Newspaper clippings - 1964-1965
  • Series 3: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 1:
  • Correspondence - 1964-1991
  • Series 4: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 1:
  • Photographs, undated
  • Series 5: ARTIFACTS
  • Box 1:
  • Artifacts, undated [legislative nametag]