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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Bette Brooks Stone papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1941-1993
Creator: Stone, Bette Brooks (1927-)
Extent: 7.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0360
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Mapleton, Iowa high school student who sent telegrams for Western Union during World War II.

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. 503) were donated by Bette Stone in 1998.

Preferred Citation: Bette Brooks Stone 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

Bette Brooks Stone was born in 1927 in Mapleton, Iowa to Beulah and Earl Brooks. The Brooks family raised six additional children: Bob, Marian, Shirley, Jimmy, Janet, and Barbara Brooks. Bette Brooks attended Mapleton High School during World War II and was active as a drum majorette, basketball player, softball player and member of a girls' vocal sextet that earned its way to state competition. She participated in a number of scrap drives and worked at the Office of Price Administration distributing rationing stamps. Following her graduation from high school in 1945, Brooks traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to train at the Western Union headquarters. She then moved to Chicago, where she spent the next two years sending telegrams for Western Union. She shared an apartment with other Western Union operators and spent her free time visiting museums and meeting servicemen. She met her husband James Stone in March of 1946 and married him on Thanksgiving Day of the same year. Jim and Bette Stone raised five children, and Bette Stone worked sporadically through the years including a stint at Oak Electro/Netics Corporation in the mid 1960s. Bette Stone and her husband retired in Mapleton ,Iowa.

The Bette Brooks Stone papers date from1941 to 1993 and measure 7 linear inches. The papers include Stone's memoir, "My life during World War II" detailing her activities as a high school student during the war, a note from Jacqueline Kennedy thanking her family for their sympathy, and championship patches from Women's International Bowling Congress tournaments. Stone's high school memorabilia include programs and table items from her prom and a schedule and identification card from her girls' singing sextet that competed at the state competition. Stone's collection of items from her life in Chicago includes samples of the cigarettes her friends smoked and programs from events she attended including ice skating shows with Sonja Henie. Her scrapbook has been disbound and trimmed for preservation and contains memorabilia with comments from throughout Stone's life. The photographs from Mapleton include her prom portrait, as well as images of her high school friends and of Stone in her drum majorette uniform, which is housed in Box 2. The photographs from Chicago depict Stone with fellow Western Union workers and some of the service men she met in the wake of the war. The engagement and honeymoon photographs include Stone's camping trip with her fiancé and honeymoon vistas. Stone's artifacts include her satin high school drum majorette uniform, a handkerchief sent to Stone by a serviceman in the Philippines, and a black rubber exercise device with illustrated instructions.

Browse by Series:

  • Box 1:
  • My life during World War II memoir, undated
  • Correspondence - 1945-1958
  • Drawing of a black dog, undated
  • Thank you note from Jacqueline Kennedy - 1963
  • Bowling patches - 1967-1993
  • Mapleton High School (Mapleton, Iowa): Certificate of promotion to high school - 1941
  • Mapleton High School (Mapleton, Iowa): Senior salute - 1944
  • Mapleton High School (Mapleton, Iowa): Pep-R-ets patch, circa - 1945
  • Mapleton High School (Mapleton, Iowa): School programs - 1944-1945
  • Mapleton High School (Mapleton, Iowa): Basketball programs - 1944-1945
  • Mapleton High School (Mapleton, Iowa): State music competition materials - 1945
  • Mapleton High School (Mapleton, Iowa): Prom memorabilia - 1945
  • Mapleton High School (Mapleton, Iowa): Basketball letter certificate - 1945
  • Mapleton High School (Mapleton, Iowa): Graduation programs and invitation - 1945
  • Mapleton High School (Mapleton, Iowa): Diploma and tassel - 1945
  • Chicago: Chinese menu from Western Union luncheon - 1945
  • Chicago: Collection of friends' cigarettes - 1945
  • Chicago: Event programs - 1945-1980
  • Scrapbook: Disbound pages (4 folders) - 1941-1965
  • Scrapbook: Loose items - 1941-1965
  • Scrapbook: Loose newspaper clippings - 1941-1965
  • Photographs: Mapleton, Iowa - 1942-1945
  • Photographs: Chicago - 1945-1946
  • Photographs: Engagement and honeymoon - 1946
  • Box 2:
  • Drum majorette jacket with briefs - 1945
  • High school letters: Music - 1945
  • High school letters: Athletics - 1945
  • High school letters: GAA - 1945
  • "Glamour-stretcher by Jack La Lanne", illustrated instructions and appliance - 1945
  • "1945 Philippine Islands/ to Betty/ from Fritz" handkerchief - 1945