Guide to the Pi Lambda Theta, Theta Chapter records

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1918-2008
Creator: Pi Lambda Theta, Theta Chapter (1918-2008)
Extent: 5.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0817
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Honorary society for women students in the field of education.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: 2 floppy disks in box 9

Access: The papers are open for research.

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

Acquisition: The records (donor no. 954) were donated by Alice Atkinson and Linda Fielding in 2008 and 2009.

Preferred Citation: Pi Lambda Theta, Theta Chapter records, 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

Biographical Note

The Theta chapter of Pi Lambda Theta was organized at the University of Iowa in 1920, ten years after the national organization was founded. Pi Lambda Theta was established as a professional association to honor promising female students and teachers in the field of education. One of Pi Lambda Theta's original purposes was to foster leadership among women and endeavor to improve the status of women in education. Its activities included biennial council meetings and educational conferences for members to gather and pursue organizational and professional interests. At these meetings, Pi Lambda Theta presented awards in recognition of distinctive contributions to research, such as the distinguished Research Award and the Ella Victoria Dobbs Award, in honor of an early president of the chapter. Pi Lambda Theta, Theta Chapter, disbanded in 2009.

Content Description

The Pi Lambda Theta records date from 1918 to 2008 and measure 5.5 linear feet. The records are arranged in six series: History, Administration, Correspondence, Activities, Newsletters, and Publications.
The History (1920-1995) series contains obituaries, newspaper clippings and small booklets of information which provide an overview of Pi Lambda Theta. A certificate honoring the Theta chapter's sixtieth anniversary is included as well as the Ella Victoria Dobbs Biography published in 1961.
The Administration (1918-2008) series consists of bylaws, financial records, meeting minutes, and officer guidebooks. There is a large collection of membership books and lists from the 1920s to 2006 and in-depth descriptions of various biennial council meetings and regional conferences along with memos from the national office.
The Correspondence (1923-2004) series contains letters addressed to Theta chapter?s members, chapter presidents and the National Office, beginning in 1923. It includes correspondence from four of the chapter?s early presidents: Ella Victoria Dobbs, Maude McBroom, Genevieve Knight Bixler and Alice M. Kemp.
The Activities (1924-2006) series consists of initiation ceremony information, programs, scholarships and awards. The programs outline the calendar of events which Pi Lambda Theta members engaged in, such as guest lectures, dinner meetings and panel discussions. One of the major activities undertaken by Pi Lambda Theta was the Snedaker fund which was created in 1966 to honor Mabel I. Snedaker's dedicated service in the field of children's literature, and to provide funds for University Schools Library material. In 1986 this funded the Penn Elementary School videotape project, which chronicled Katherine Paterson's visit to the school to promote children's literature.
The Newsletters (1949-2005) series contains Pi Lambda Theta newsletters in a variety of formats. Most of the newsletters are from the national organization and focus on women in the news, book reviews, new officers and biennial council meeting information. The in-house newsletter features news from the University of Iowa College of Education, events, reports from committees, news of members, and recipients of scholarship awards. Later editions focused more on elections, tips for teachers and technology tidbits. One-page newsletters announcing lectures or initiation ceremony dinners are also included. In addition, there is a small number of newsletters from other chapters.
The Publications (1926-1967) series contains issues of the journals Educational Horizons and Pi Lambda Theta Journal, which contain president's letters, chapter directories, chapter activities, educational news, homemaker's page, poems and topics of importance. Topics range from educational perspectives such as "Why Teachers Leave the Profession" to wider societal concerns such as "Americanization in Tucson" and "A Study of Prejudice." In addition, two publications grew out of "Catenas" held by the national Pi Lambda Theta in the 1960s: The Body of Knowledge Unique to the Profession of Education (1966) and The Evaluation of Teaching (1967).

Detailed Description of the Collection

Browse by Series:


This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Dobbs, Ella Victoria
Snedaker, Mabel I.
McBroom, Maude
Bixler, Genevieve Knight
Kemp, Alice M.

Corporate Names:
Pi Lambda Theta
Pi Lambda Theta, Theta Chapter
State University of Iowa
University of Iowa

20th century

Professional associations
Women in education
Educational leadership

College students

Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Iowa City

Genre/Form of Materials:
Administrative records
Computer files