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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Barbara Fassbinder papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1958-1998
Creator: Fassbinder, Barbara (1951-1994)
Extent: 6.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0410
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Rural nurse who contracted AIDS on the job and became a national spokeswoman for occupational safety.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 2
3 videocassettes [V201, V219-V220]

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright has been retained by the donors.

Acquisition: The papers (donor nos. 590 and 667, respectively) were donated by James and Ethel Herring and David Fassbinder in 1999.

Preferred Citation: Barbara Fassbinder 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

Barbara Herring Fassbinder was born September 29, 1953, the daughter of James and Ethel Herring of Marion, Iowa. She attended Catholic grade school and graduated from Cedar Rapids High School in 1971 and the University of Iowa College of Nursing in 1975. In 1974, she married David Fassbinder and after her graduation, they moved to a farm near Monona, Iowa. There, they raised three children while David Fassbinder ran an apiary and after 1979 Barbara worked as a nurse at Memorial Hospital in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

While working in the emergency room in 1986, she contracted the HIV virus. At that time, her children were ages 3, 6, and 9. Fearing the prejudice against AIDS victims, she did not disclose her diagnosis until 1990, when she decided to announce her infection to encourage other health care professionals take the necessary precautions against HIV infection on the job.

Once publicly identified as a health care worker who contracted AIDS on the job, Fassbinder became a popular presenter at conferences and nationally televised interview programs. She gave testimony before the House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment in 1991 as a spokeswoman against mandatory disclosure legislation for persons infected with AIDS. Her efforts contributed to the widespread adoption of universal health precautions in health care settings and the humane treatment of persons with AIDS. Fassbinder died of the complications of AIDS in 1994.

The Barbara Fassbinder papers date from 1958 to 1998 and measure 6 linear inches. The collection is arranged into six series: Biographical and Family, Correspondence, Published material, Political Activities, Conferences, and Photographs and Videocassettes.

The collection contains a few papers and photographs relating to Fassbinder and her family; however, the bulk of the collection consists of letters of support and newpaper and magazine articles concerning Fassbinder, her family, and her political activities. The collection also includes material relating to conferences at which Fassbinder spoke or attended. There are also videocassette recordings of televised interviews and newscasts about her and her support for the rights of AIDS patients in the 1990s.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL AND FAMILY
Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE
Series 3: PUBLISHED ARTICLES
Series 4: POLITICAL ACTIVITIES
Series 5: CONFERENCES

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL AND FAMILY
  • Box 1:
  • Resumes, undated
  • Calendar made for aunt - 1973
  • Certificates and honors - 1966-1995
  • Nomination to National Commission on AIDS - 1991
  • Account book - 1991-1992
  • Memorial service - 1994-1997
  • Newspaper profile of Joel Fassbinder - 1998
  • Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 1:
  • Incoming: January to September - 1990
  • Incoming: October - 1990
  • Incoming: November to December - 1990
  • Incoming: January to July - 1991
  • Incoming: August to December - 1991
  • Incoming - 1992
  • Incoming - 1993-1995
  • Incoming: Undated
  • Outgoing - 1991-1998
  • Series 3: PUBLISHED ARTICLES
  • Box 1:
  • Published articles - 1974-1975
  • Published articles - 1987, 1990
  • Published articles - 1991-1992
  • Box 2:
  • Published articles - 1993-1995
  • Published articles, Undated
  • Published articles, Manuscript - 1991-1992
  • Series 4: POLITICAL ACTIVITIES
  • Box 2:
  • Testimony before Congress - 1991-1992
  • Correspondence - 1991
  • Nomination to National Commission on AIDS
  • Legal brief on confidentiality and AIDS - 1993
  • Series 5: CONFERENCES
  • Box 2:
  • Arrangements and programs - 1991
  • Arrangements and programs - 1992-1993
  • Evaluations - 1991-1994
  • Notes, undated
  • Photographs - 1958-1990s
  • Videocassettes: NBC News, McNeill-Lehrer Report, CNN Crossfire, CNN Live with Larry King, Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt, (undated), ANA Nurse Awards, (V220) - 1992
  • Videocassettes: Unedited news conference and network news coverage, 26 September 1990; Personalities, 21 November 1990; Fassbinder Family (KWWL), undated; Funeral service (V219) - 1994
  • Videocassettes: The Barbara Fassbinder Story, - 1991