Guide to the Violet Greiner papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1960-1999
Creator: Greiner, Violet (1916-1991)
Extent: 3.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0389
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Farmwoman, columnist, and volunteer from Blairsburg, Iowa who wrote a monthly column for the Rural Electric Cooperative News.

Administrative Information

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. 557) were donated by Lyman Greiner in 1998.

Preferred Citation: Violet Greiner 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

Biographical Note

Violet Greiner was born to the family of a Congregational minister in Olin, Iowa, in 1916. The family moved to Florida and New York state during her school years, but after her graduation settled in Blairsburg, Iowa, where she worked as a bookkeeper at the Cooperative Elevator. She attended Grinnell College for one year and then transferred to Iowa State College, now Iowa State University in Ames. After an additional year of study, she taught rural school before marrying Lyman Greiner, a 1928 graduate of Iowa State College. For the next fourteen years, the Greiners lived in various Iowa towns where Lyman Greiner worked for cooperative oil companies.

In 1942, the Greiners began farming the Greiner family farm south of Blairsburg. They had a large dairy herd and also raised hogs and chickens. With only one small tractor, most of the fieldwork was still performed with horses, while wind and gas-powered generators supplied the electricity. They raised three sons: Charles, Thomas, and Lyle, the last two born on the farm. Violet Greiner was an active community volunteer and a member of the United Church of Christ and the Rebekah Lodge of the International Order of Odd Fellows.

Violet Greiner also began a long career as a free-lance author, writing a monthly column called "Kitchen Komments" for the Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative News from 1960 to the 1980s. In addition, she had articles published in Wallace's Farmer, the Des Moines Sunday Picture Magazine, and numerous other publications. In 1970, she was the principal author of a town history, A Century at the Crossroads, Blairsburg, Iowa, 1869-1970.

In 1963, the Greiners spent two months in India as "exchange farmers." After their trip, Lyman and Violet Greiner gave numerous talks in Iowa about the people, customs, and culture of India. She continued her public speaking career, eventually presenting over eighty "Apron Talks" to various organizations, blending spiritual themes with a down-to-earth philosophy. In 1972, she became a Master Farm Homemaker and was active with that organization.

Lyman and Violet Greiner retired to Story City after living forty-four years on their Blairsburg farm. Violet Greiner died in 1991.

Content Description

The Violet Greiner papers date from 1960 to 1999 and measure 3 linear inches.  The papers are arranged in three series: Writings, Speeches, and Greiner Family.

The Writings series consists primarily of copies of Greiner's columns in the Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative News and a few of her articles from other publications.  Correspondence between Greiner and her readers and publishers and honorary awards for her writings complete this series.

The Speeches series contains the notes and scripts regarding Greiner's many "Apron Talks" given to a variety of organizations across Iowa from the 1960s to the 1990s.  This series includes printed programs as well as correspondence regarding arrangements for the talks.

The Greiner Family series contains biographical information and other materials concerning Greiner family history.  It also includes photographs and other publicity from Violet and Lyman Greiner's 1963 trip to India as part of a farmer exchange program.

Related Materials

Rural Electric Cooperative News

Detailed Description of the Collection

Browse by Series:


This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Greiner, Violet, 1916-1991

Corporate Names:
Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives

20th century

Women in public life
Rural families
Rural women
Women in community organization
Women and religion
Electric cooperatives


Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Blairsburg
United States -- Iowa

Genre/Form of Materials:
Personal papers
Photograph albums

Family Names:
Greiner family

Rural and Farm Women