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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Elizabeth Lindsay Tatum papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1900-2006
Creator: Elizabeth Lindsay Tatum (1920-1964)
Extent: 2.50 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0824
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Peace activist and Quaker who lived in Southern Rhodesia from 1960 to 1964.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 1.

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.1021) were donated by Steven Tatum in 2006.

Preferred Citation: Elizabeth Lindsay Tatum 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

Elizabeth "Bicky" Jerene Lindsay was born in Fairfield, Iowa, in 1920, the eldest of Robert and Eva Mandt Lindsay's four children. In 1942, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics with a concentration in dietetics from Iowa State College. Elizabeth Lindsay married Lyle E. Tatum in 1942 and subsequently became a Quaker and pacifist. Her husband, a conscientious objector, was imprisoned during World War II for refusing induction into military service. Lyle Tatum became an administrator and consultant with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and spent four years in Southern Rhodesia as the AFSC's South African representative. The Tatums had two children, Susan and Steven. Steven accompanied his parents to Southern Rhodesia in 1960 while Susan stayed behind to study nursing at the University of Iowa. A homemaker and volunteer, Elizabeth Tatum worked with the Young Women's Christian Association for African girls while in Rhodesia. In 1964, as the family was preparing to move back to the United States, Elizabeth Tatum was killed in a car accident that also killed another member of the AFSC and injured her son and husband.

The Elizabeth Lindsay Tatum Papers date from 1900 to 2006 and measure 2.5 linear inches. The papers are arranged in four series: Biographical, Correspondence, American Friends Service Committee Reports, and Memoirs.

The Biographical series (1950-2006) includes a biographical information sheet filled out by son Steven Tatum and a number of letters written by Lyle Tatum and others in the wake of Elizabeth Tatum's sudden death in 1964.

The Correspondence series (1948-1967) contains a number of letters Elizabeth Tatum wrote to friends and family, both prior to and during her residence in Rhodesia. Also included are letters Lyle Tatum wrote to his family in the period when he was in Africa before his family joined him, and letters his son Steven wrote to family members in Iowa.

The American Friends Service Committee Reports (1960-1964) consist of  newsletters entitled "AFSC Africa Report" written by Lyle Tatum and others for congregations in the United States. Also included are informal reports by Lyle Tatum about his activities and about the political situation in Africa.

The Memoirs series (1996-1997) contains a memoir by Lyle Tatum regarding his rejection of the draft and imprisonment, and his father Elmer Tatum's memories of his youth in rural Iowa.

Browse by Series:
Series 4: MEMOIRS

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • General - 1950-2006
  • Box 1:
  • Elizabeth (two folders) - 1948-1967
  • Lyle Tatum - 1960
  • Steven Tatum - 1952-1964
  • Box 1:
  • Reports - 1960-1964
  • Series 4: MEMOIRS
  • Box 1:
  • Lyle Tatum, "Vignettes of an Anti-War Vet" - 1997
  • Elmer Tatum, Memoirs 1900-1939 and "Humorous Occurences" - 1996