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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Dorothy Fox Wurster papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1942-1987
Creator: Wurster, Dorothy Fox
Extent: 2.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0700
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Mahaska County farm girl who won a blue ribbon in the Mahaska County's Boys' 4-H.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Owner has retained copyright on "The Fair Barn." Other copyright possessed by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 762) were donated by Dorothy Fox Wurster in 2001.

Preferred Citation: Dorothy Fox Wurster 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

Dorothy Fox Wurster was born April 23, 1931 to Ella Rose and Leslie Fox near Rose Hill in Mahaska County, Iowa. At age ten, she was interested in joining 4-H. In order for girls to join the boys' 4-H club, they had to participate in the girls' group as well. She therefore joined the Monroe Township girls' 4-H club "Busy Bees," of which her mother was co-leader, and the boys' 4-H club, the "Monroe Livewires," co-led by her father. She won the Mahaska County boys' 4-H club award for the best member under sixteen. She continued to show her Polled Hereford in 4-H cattle shows and competitions across the state, meeting her future husband at a judging contest in 1947. She attended Iowa State Teachers' College, now the University of Northern Iowa, in 1948-1949, and taught rural school that fall. Dorothy Fox married Howard Wurster; they raised cattle on a Ringgold County farm. She began attending Graceland College when her son was in third grade, graduating in 1970. She taught kindergarten for thirty years in East Union Community school in Afton and earned a master's degree in Education in 1986. During the farm crisis of the 1980s, she led a support group, and in 1987 spoke effectively before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing on the farm crisis in Underwood, Iowa. [See "Writings" folder for more biographical information.

The Dorothy Fox Wurster papers date from1942 to 1987 and measure 2 linear inches. The bulk of the collection consists primarily of three 4-H record books: the boys' Monroe Livewires Club, the girls' Monroe Busy Bee Club, and a hobby record book of a four-leaf clover collection. In addition, there are photocopies of published stories about Dorothy Fox Wurster, and autobiographical stories and sketches that she wrote during or about this period. The story "The Fair Barn" was published in Iowa Barn in 2001. There is also a copy of the testimony she delivered to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Hearings in Underwood, Iowa,1987. There are numerous black and white photographs in the record books and loose photographs in the final folder.

Browse by Series:

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • Writings and testimony - 1987
  • Published articles about Dorothy Wurster [photocopies] - 1947-1949
  • 4-H Record Book, Monroe Busy Bees - 1942-1949
  • 4-H Hobby Book, Four-leaf clover collection - 1944-1950
  • Photographs, undated
  • "The Day I Met my Husband," "Howard"
  • "Ella"
  • "Ella"
  • "Leslie Fox, My Father"
  • "Picnics"
  • "My Sibling, Bob"
  • "Where's Your Cookie Jar?"
  • "Living with or After a Catastrophe"
  • "An Event that Took My Breath Away"
  • "A Moment in Time"
  • Box 2:
  • 4-H Record Book, Monroe Livewires - 1942-1949