Skip to content
print page header

The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Anna Moore Cheney diaries

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1892-1953
Creator: Cheney, Anna Moore (1877- 1953)
Extent: 2.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0595
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Diarist, mother, and minister's wife.

Access: The diaries are open for research.

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

Acquisition: The diaries (donor no. 726) were donated by Edith Cheney Sears in 2000.

Preferred Citation: Anna Moore Cheney diaries, 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

Anna Susan Moore Cheney, diarist, mother, and minister's wife, was born August 9, 1877 in Ontario, Canada. Before she was fifteen, her family moved to Evansville, Wisconsin, where her father George E. Moore was a Free-Will Baptist minister. On her fifteenth birthday, she wrote in her first journal entry, ' I have been thinking about writing a journal for a long time, so I have started this, and I am going to try to keep it as long as I live.' She continued her entries at least annually throughout her life, writing on her 76th birthday, 'I have the feeling this may be my last birthday recording. Am not at all well.'

Moore was primarily involved with church and school activities during her youth. In 1895 she matriculated at the Free-Will Baptist Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. While there, she met Burton H. Cheney, the son of a Wesleyan Methodist minister. (Wesleyan Methodists had left the Methodist Church in opposition to its episcopal discipline and anti-abolition stance.) Moore and Cheney married August 1, 1899. After serving a Congregational church in Coral, Michigan, Burton Cheney attended the Oberlin Theological Seminary in Oberlin, Ohio, graduating in 1906.

From Oberlin the Cheneys moved to Iowa where Burton served Congregational churches. Their first daughter, Violet Romola, was born in Coral, Michigan in 1902. They adopted a son, Theodore, in 1911, and their daughter Edith was born in 1914 in Davenport, Iowa. They stayed in Davenport from 1912 to 1916, then moved to churches in small towns in Illinois and Wisconsin.

The Cheneys took a break from pastoral duties from 1920 to 1926, moving to a farm near River Falls, Wisconsin. Romola Cheney attended three years of Normal School at River Falls and taught high school for two years. She then attended Beloit College, where she received her degree in 1927 after one year. The adventurous Romola Cheney went to New Mexico to teach, married there and spent the rest of her life in New Mexico. Theodore Cheney joined the medical corps of the navy after three years of high school. Edith Cheney attended a country school and after high school entered the University of Minnesota where she majored in Public School Music. She graduated during the Depression and was fortunate enough to obtain a job at the North Dakota School for the Blind at Bathgate, North Dakota. She later taught in Iowa schools and then worked in music with the Cooperative Extension Service in South Dakota. During summer schools at Teachers' College, Columbia University in New York, she obtained her master's degree. Edith Cheney married Francis Sears of Petersburg, North Dakota.

Burton Cheney's final pastorates were in Iowa. The state superintendent of Congregational churches in Iowa, at one point in the time of Burton and Anna's labors there, wrote a fine commendation of both of them for their faithful, helpful work. Burton Cheney died in Iowa City, Iowa in 1944. The widowed Anna Cheney then lived in Vinton, Iowa, Brookings, South Dakota, and Petersburg, North Dakota with her daughter Edith until her death in 1953. She was buried beside her husband in the Welsh cemetery in Iowa City.

The Anna Susan Moore Cheney diaries date from 1892 to 1953 and measure 2 linear inches. The collection consists of a large, bound journal, several loose pages from a schoolgirl diary, and ephemera and notes inserted into the diary. Entries from the early years are daily or weekly, including long, rich narratives about school, church, and her courtship with Burton Cheney. Entries from later years are monthly or semi-annual. They describe warmly the development of her first child and less warmly the tasks of a minister's wife. Annual entries are thoughtful, candid, and descriptive, recounting the important events of the year and the details of recent days. Loose items, programs, a bank statement, lockets of hair, notes, and the obituary of Burton Cheney have been collected in a separate folder, identified according to the page number in which they were found.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: Anna Cheney

  • Series 1: Anna Cheney
  • Box 1:
  • Schoolgirl diary - 1892
  • Loose page fragments from diary - 1892
  • Diary (one volume) - 1895-1893
  • Loose items from diary - 1897-1952