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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Martha Jean Nicholson Browneller papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1920-2010
Creator: Browneller, Martha Jean Nicholson (1920-)
Extent: 1.10 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0804
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Mahaska County, Iowa, farm woman who was active in 4-H and rural organizations. She recorded her daily activities in her diaries between 1935 and 1973.

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. 1256) were donated by Jean Browneller in 2011.

Preferred Citation: Martha Jean Nicholson Browneller papers, Iowa Women's Archives, 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

Martha Jean Nicholson was born on September 16, 1920, the daughter of Irma and Homer Nicholson. The Nicholsons raised their four children on a farm four miles outside of Oskaloosa, in Mahaska County, Iowa, during the Great Depression. Nicholson's mother supplemented the farming income by working in a cannery. After graduating from Oskaloosa High School, Jean Nicholson obtained a job as a telephone operator with the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company. Nicholson married her childhood friend Max Browneller on September 18, 1940. The couple farmed and would often hire help to tend their farm. Jean Browneller was a leader in the 4-H group called the Monroe Busy Bees, worked as an Avon representative, and was active in local clubs and organizations. She was instrumental in forming a sewing club that would later develop the Iowa "Make it yourself with wool" contest and helped her husband form the Mahaska Sheep Breeders Association in Oskaloosa.

The Jean Browneller papers date from 1936 to 2011 and measure 1.1  linear feet. Her diaries date from 1935 to 2010 and make up the bulk of the collection. Most of the entries record day-to-day activities with occasional references to world events. Photographs of Jean Browneller as a baby and as an older woman are also found in the biographical series along with school report cards, commencement pamphlets, and memorabilia.
Photographs in Box 4.

Browse by Series:
Series 2: DIARIES

  • Box 1:
  • Baby Bib and Baby Bib
  • Correspondence - 1931
  • Northwestern Bell Telephone Company
  • Photographs - 1920-2008
  • School-related material - 1926-1938
  • Series 2: DIARIES
  • Box 1:
  • - 1935-1936
  • - 1937-1943
  • - 1944-1958
  • - 1959-1973
  • Box 2:
  • - 1974-1983
  • - 1984-2001
  • Box 3:
  • - 2002-2003
  • - 2004-2005
  • - 2006-2008
  • - 2008-2010