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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Edna Flesner papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1925-2004
Creator: Flesner, Edna (1904-2004)
Extent: 2.50 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0612
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Biology teacher at Iowa City City High School from 1928 to 1967.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in folder 2.

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. 743) were donated by Edna Flesner in 2000.

Preferred Citation: Edna Flesner 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

Edna Flesner, a high school biology teacher, was born in 1904 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After graduating at age seventeen from high school, Flesner worked briefly at a local packing plant before attending Coe College. She transferred to the State University of Iowa, now the University of Iowa, after one year at Coe and received her BA in 1927. In 1928, she received her M.S. degree in botany and entomology.

Flesner began her teaching career in 1928 at City High School in Iowa City. She taught biology at City High for the next thirty-nine years before retiring in 1967. Several years after retiring she moved to Eureka, Illinois with her sister, where she participated actively in volunteer work, the Eureka chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Household Science Club, and Women's Club. In 1999, she was inducted into City High School's Hall of Fame. Edna Flesner died in 2004.

The Edna Flesner papers date from 1925-2004 and measure 2.5 linear inches. The papers are arranged in three series: Biographical materials, Photographs, and Correspondence. The Biographical Materials folder (1999-2004) contains a biographical sketch and a newspaper clipping about Flesner. The Photographs (1925-1940s, 1999) include group photographs of City High teachers, various photographs of Flesner around City High, a college photograph at the University of Iowa, and photographs of Flesner after receiving the Hall of Fame award at City High. The Correspondence (1998-2000 and undated) consists of five folders, mostly birthday and Christmas cards from former students at City High School, along with letters from students congratulating Flesner on her Hall of Fame award. A few cards from members of her retirement community are also included. Flesner's correspondence provides insight into the teacher-student relationship, as former students reflect on their experiences in Flesner's classroom. These former students include researchers, scientists, a Wall Street investment banker, geologists, World War II veterans, college professors, engineers, doctors, teachers, and even a Nobel Peace Prize winner. They credit Flesner with inspiring them and motivating them to succeed in their chosen fields.

Browse by Series:

  • Series 1: EDNA FLESNER
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical Materials
  • Photographs - 1925-1940s, 2000
  • Correspondence: Birthday cards - 1998
  • Correspondence: January-April - 1999
  • Correspondence: May-December - 1999
  • Correspondence - 2000