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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Trula Godwin papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1941-2003
Creator: Godwin, Trula (1940-2002)
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0618
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Davenport, Iowa, policewoman from 1973-1998.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 1
1 CD [d0058]

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers were donated by Phylliss Henry (donor no. 100) in 2003 and by Joyce Grubbs (donor no. 1072) in 2006.

Preferred Citation: Trula Godwin 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

Trula Ann Godwin was born in 1940 on a farm near Okmulgee, Oklahoma, to Marguerite Marrs Godwin and Lloyd Godwin, a sharecropper. She moved with her family to Davenport, Iowa, after graduating from Okmulgee High School when her stepfather, Willard Smith, decided to attend Palmer College. Godwin married Darrell Tanner and the couple had five children. In 1971, when her last child was five months old, she was raped in her home. Because she felt that the police's handling of her case was inadequate, Trula Tanner joined the Davenport Police Department in 1973, hoping to improve the way rape investigations were conducted. She patrolled the inner cities where she became well-known and much beloved, and became a sex crime specialist. She served an annual Thanksgiving feast at a downtown bar, and helped distribute clothing and supplies to those in need. Godwin never went up for a promotion because she preferred to stay on patrol and work the inner city beat. She also became a friend of Governor Terry Branstad. Godwin, who resumed using her maiden name after her divorce in the mid-1970s, retired from the Davenport Police Department in 1998 and died of cancer in 2002.

The Trula Godwin papers date from 1941 to 2003 and measure 1 linear inch. They include newspaper articles about Godwin's work as a police officer, awards Godwin received as a police officer, childhood photos, and poems Godwin wrote. Items in the remembrance booklet were annotated by Godwin's sister, Joyce Grubbs. Also included are Godwin's retirement badge, in a leather case with two silver honorary colonel wings, presented to her by Governor Terry Branstad and a condolence letter to the family from former Governor Terry Branstad.Interviews collected by Trula Godwin's sister following Godwin's death complete the collection.
Oral Histories of Iowa Policewomen (IWA): Includes the tape and transcript of Phylliss Henry's oral history interview with Godwin and fellow officer Jeanne Christensen.

Browse by Series:

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical - 1983-2003
  • d0058: CD about Trula Godwin, compiled by Joyce Godwin Grubbs
  • Remembrance booklet - 1941-2002
  • Poems by Godwin - 2001
  • Interviews with Godwin's friends - 2007
  • Godwin's badge and honorary colonel wings