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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Sarah Poppen De Koster papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1896-1932
Creator: De Koster, Sarah Poppen (1891-1957)
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0841
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Family correspondence received by a pastor's wife during the early twentieth century.

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. 1268) were donated by Sarah Hart in 2012.

Preferred Citation: Sarah Poppen De Koster 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

Sarah Poppen was born in 1891, to Anna Van Zwaalenberg, a homemaker, and Rev. Jacob Poppen. The oldest of three children, Poppen was born in Holland, Michigan, but the family moved frequently - from Michigan to New Jersey to Oklahoma to Japan - due to Jacob Poppe's work as a pastor.

Poppen attended Vassar College on a scholarship but left after her first year. She later graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan and settled in Hull, Iowa, where she taught high school German and Latin.

On June 14, 1917 Poppen married John De Koster and retired from teaching. She had five children. The couple co-founded the American Reformed Church, where Sarah De Koster led the women’s groups and became the first woman elected to the school board. De Koster died in car accident in 1957 on her way to visit her daughters in Texas.

The Sarah Poppen De Koster papers date from 1896 to 1932, and measure 5.00 linear inches.

The Biographical series (1896-1932) contains letters to De Koster, most written during World War I. Many letters are from De Koster's brother John, who served in the war as a medical officer and struggled with loneliness and family obligations. Life during the war is further reflected in a U.S. Food Administration letter on sugar rations as well as correspondence from other friends at home. Also included are wedding and newborn announcements and personal correspondence.

Completing the collection is a family retrospective by State Senator Lucas De Koster, Sarah Poppen De Koster's son, called The Books of Our Years.

Browse by Series:

  • Box 1:
  • General - 1896;1912-1915
  • General (folder 1) - 1917
  • General (folder 2)
  • General - 1918
  • General - 1918-1919;1932
  • "The Books of Our Years" - 1991
    In the catalogued books collection