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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Mae Atkinson Robinson papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1898-1954
Creator: Robinson, Mae Atkinson (1887-1952)
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0506
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Correspondence and diaries of an Iowa farm woman.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 1.

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. 880) were donated by Marilyn R. Calkins in 2003.

Preferred Citation: Mae Atkinson Robinson 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

Laura Mae Atkinson Robinson was born in 1887 in Ovando, Montana, to Benjamin Franklin Atkinson and Josephine Curry Atkinson. After Benjamin Atkinson was killed in a logging accident, Josephine Atkinson married Adelbert Armstrong and moved back to Iowa Falls, Iowa. Mae Atkinson graduated from Iowa Falls High School. As a teenager, Atkinson took sewing classes at Edgewood, a community center for girls in Iowa Falls founded by Mrs. Eva Simplot. Atkinson later took business courses at Ellsworth College in Iowa Falls.

Mae Atkinson moved to Des Moines, Iowa, and took a job with the Home Insurance Company. During this time, she began corresponding with her cousin, Ralph Benjamin Robinson, who lived in Minnesota. In 1917, Mae Atkinson and Ralph Robinson married at Atkinson?s home in Iowa Falls. The couple farmed land in Minnesota and together they had three children: Glenn, Ruth, and Don. The family moved back to Iowa in 1933. Mae Robinson died in Iowa Falls, Iowa, in 1952.

The Mae Atkinson Robinson papers date from 1898 to 1944 and measure 5 linear inches. The papers are arranged alphabetically and consist of correspondence, Robinson's diaries, and an autograph book.

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence documenting the courtship of Mae Atkinson and Ralph Robinson. Most of these letters, by both Atkinson and Robinson, were written in 1916 and 1917. The correspondence also contains letters to Ralph Robinson and Mae Atkinson Robinson from others.

Mae Atkinson began her 1907 diary when she started taking classes at Ellsworth College. Her 1941 diary documents her life in rural Iowa. The Ralph Robinson school records contain grade reports, German homework, and a congratulatory letter on his graduation from high school. The photographs are full color copies.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Autograph book - 1903-1907
  • Correspondence (folder 1) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence (folder 2) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence (folder 3) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence (folder 4) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence (folder 5) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence (folder 6) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence (folder 7) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence (folder 8) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence (folder 9) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence (folder 10) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence (folder 11) - 1898-1917
  • Correspondence - 1941
  • Correspondence: Postcards - 1910-1916, 1942-1943
  • Diaries - 1907, 1941
  • Historical information on Ellsworth College and Edgewood community center, Iowa Falls, Iowa - 1944
  • Ralph Robinson school records - 1907-1910
  • Photographs - 1907