Cora Belle Pollock was born in Rolfe, Iowa to Marie Belle Stoakes Pollock and Grant R. Pollock in 1906. Cora Belle Pollock had three sisters and one brother: Robert (Bob) Boyd, Margaret Elize, Mary Mildred and Emma Jean (who went by Jean) Pollock. Pollock attended the Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) and graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in zoology in 1935. Pollock worked several years as an elementary school teacher in Iowa towns that included Curlew, Plover, Laurens, Fairfield and Swea City. In 1941 Pollock moved to Chicago and worked as a technician in a medical research laboratory. She eventually returned to Iowa, working as a medical lab technician in Fort Dodge, near her hometown of Rolfe, before taking a position in 1957 at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City. In 1968 Pollock returned to teaching by accepting a position as first grade instructor in Monroe, Iowa.
Following her retirement in 1971 Cora Pollock became active in senior citizen activities. She was a charter member and served two years as president of the Johnson County chapter of the National Association of Retired Persons and initiated the chapter?s local newsletter in 1974. Pollock was also president of the local Council of Elders which worked with city officials in planning a senior citizens' center in Iowa City. Pollock served as the senior's information and referral specialist for Johnson County, represented her peers on the Iowa City Housing Commission and served on the SEATS bus committee. In 1980 Pollock was named an "outstanding senior citizen" by the Heritage Agency on Aging Advisory Council. During her retirement Pollock also volunteered at the Iowa Refugee Training Center, tutoring Indochinese students in English. A camera enthusiast, Pollock was an avid photographer and enjoyed her post-retirement membership in the University Camera Club. Cora Belle Pollock died May 6, 1998.
The Cora Belle Pollock papers date from 1909 to1996 and measure 3 linear feet. The papers are arranged in five series: Biography, Family, Correspondence, Photographs and Artifacts.
The Biography series consists of Cora Belle Pollock's personal papers: her address book, appointment calendars, employment records, copies of both her last will and testament and her living will, and report cards from 1912 through 1924. The Biography series contains Pollock's diary that includes a scathing commentary on the rudeness of Iowa's teachers that Pollock wrote in 1936 and her 1937 resolution to curb her habits of yelling and "controlling my class with my hands." The diary also lists Pollock's pupils from 1927 through 1943. Also located in the Biography series are Pollock's photography workbook, the scrapbook she produced when she was named "Outstanding Senior Citizen," and handwritten notes Pollock jotted down regarding everything from family news to various research topics to monthly expenses.
The Family series contains two volumes of genealogical material compiled, written and edited by Pollock's sister Margaret Pollock Campbell. The volumes cover the history of the Pollock family from its roots in Holland through the initial migration in 1770 and its eventual settlement in Rolfe, Iowa. The Family series also contains materials relating to Pollock's relatives. There is the bankbook and funeral memorial for Cora Belle Pollock's father Grant Pollock, along with memorials for her sister Margaret Pollock Campbell and her brother Robert Pollock. There are also newspaper articles regarding Pollock's siblings and other relatives, including an undated column written by Margaret Pollock. The Family series also includes the 1925 will for Eliza Stoakes, a relative through Pollock's mother Maria Belle Stoakes Pollock.
The Correspondence series consists primarily of letters Cora Belle Pollock received from her sisters Mary Pollock and Margaret Pollock Campbell. The letters span the years 1951 through 1992. Many of the letters are quite long and contain family and local news. In the folder of Margaret Campbell's undated correspondence there are two letters regarding the Pollock genealogical volumes that she wrote and her bitter disappointment in Cora Belle's response to receiving the volumes. Also contained in the Correspondence series is a letter written to Pollock by her father Grant Pollock in 1948. The Correspondence series also contains general correspondence written to Pollock and letters written to Pollock's parents, siblings and other relatives by family and friends from 1911 through 1992. Of special interest are several postcards from 1909 to 1916, some containing birthday greetings to Pollock from her grandmother.
The Photographs series consists of a number of photographs of Cora Belle Pollock from childhood through adulthood. There are also many photographs of Pollock's siblings, her parents Grant and Belle Pollock and other relatives. There are also photographs Pollock took while on vacations and for her photography club, including photographs of Julie Nixon Eisenhower during a visit she made to Iowa City while campaigning for her father President Richard Nixon's reelection.
In addition to loose photographs, the Photographs series also contains several photo albums. The album Pollock kept during her high school years, 1923 to 1926, contains photographs, playbills and correspondence. Though a second photo album, titled "Snap Shots," has Mary Pollock's name written on the inside cover, the album primarily contains photographs from Cora Pollock's photography club; including photographs of club members (including Cora Pollock) in various poses and costumes and photographs of children and outdoor scenes. A third album also contains photographs Cora Pollock took for her photography club; included are pictures of Iowa City personalities, friends and landscapes. A fourth photo album contains numerous family photographs including Cora Pollock's brother Bob, his wife Marie, and their daughter JoAnn; Cora Pollock's sister Jean, her husband Ray, and their sons Joe, Steven and Mike; Cora Pollock's sisters Mary and Margaret; Cora Pollock's parents Belle and Grant; and family reunions. There are also three mini-photo albums.
Numerous slides are also included in the Photographs series. The slides represent Pollock's photography skills, depicting scenes of interest and personalities from around Iowa City, vacations and relatives. There are also a few slides of Pollock herself.
The Artifacts series consists of a fountain pen, believed to have been purchased by Anna Pollock circa 1893; a folding pocket Kodak camera model B-4, probably used by Cora Belle Pollock at one time; and a ribbon signifying that the wearer was the local leader for a home management course in 1928-1929.
Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in boxes 1 and 4-7.
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. 837 ) were donated by Jeanne Stoakes in 2002.
Preferred Citation: Cora Belle Pollock papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.