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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Bertha Hedges papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1870-2014
Creator: Hedges, Bertha (1887-1978)
Extent: 3.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0846
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: A talented seamstress and milliner, Bertha Gotter Hedges was born in Greene County, Iowa, in 1887.

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. 1251) were donated by Joy Bartley in 2011 and subsequent years.

Preferred Citation: Bertha Hedges 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
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

Bertha Gotter Hedges was born in 1887 near Scranton in Greene County, Iowa, to Tabitha Linn and Frederick Gotter. Bertha Gotter's mother was originally from Pennsylvania; her father was a German immigrant. Tabitha and Frederick Gotter settled in the Iowa coalmining town of Angus/Ripley, where they owned a coal mine before moving to nearby Willow Township where they farmed. They had five daughters and three sons. Their oldest daughter Millie died of appendicitis in 1895; their son Caleb died of influenza at Fort Logan, Colorado, in 1918.

Bertha Gotter attended country school in Willow Township, Greene County. She later attended school in Denison, Iowa. She trained as a milliner and managed a millinery business in Scranton and kept house for her brother, Caleb Gotter, before marrying Charles Hedges in 1911. The Hedges purchased the family farm in Greene County, where they raised three children: Mildred, Howard and Horace. Their oldest daughter Mildred was born with a cleft palette for which she received surgery in Omaha and Chicago. Mildred Hedges died in 1935 during her freshman year at Simpson College when she tripped over a staircase railing and fell eighteen feet to her death.

The Bertha Hedges papers date from 1870 to 2014 and measure 3 linear feet. The papers are arranged in the following series: Biographical, Correspondence, Mildred Hedges, Scrapbooks, and Photographs.

The Biographical series contains Joy Hedges Bartley's notes from conversations with her father and a scrapbook of letters Bartley wrote to her grandchildren in which she describes her grandmother's life on the farm.

The Correspondence series includes includes letters between Bertha Hedges and John Gotter and over 300 postcards. Most of the postacrds date from the early twentieth century and were written to Bertha Hedges from friends and family.

The Mildred Hedges series includes publications concerning the fall that resulted in her death at Simpson College when she was twenty-two and the folklore that developed around the circumstances of her death.

The Scrapbooks series consists mainly of clippings from late nineteenth and early twentieth century newspapers and magazines. One of the scrapbooks is created out of a nineteenth-century Marshall Field's catalog.

The Photographs series includes a photograph album compiled by Joy Bartley in which color photocopies of family photographs are clearly identified and provide insight into the Hedges family history. They include several photographs of Mildred Hedges and a photograph of Bertha Gotter in front of her milliner's shop in Scranton. The corresponding original photographs are preserved in subsequent folders.  Among the unidentified photographs is a portrait of a woman in a wheelchair.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE
Series 3: MILDRED HEDGES
Series 4: SCRAPBOOKS
Series 5: PHOTOGRAPHS

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • General - 1905-1926
  • Bartley, Joy, Notes on the collection - 2013-2014
  • Bartley, Joy, "A Scrapbook of Letters from Grandma" - 1982
  • Account books - 1913, 1920
  • Diary - 1971
  • Genealogy: "One Line of William Hedges from 1644" - 1999
  • Hedges, Charles: schoolwork and miscellaneous items - 1892-1903
  • Newspaper and magazine clippings - 1903-1987
  • Box 2:
  • Newspaper clippings - 1935-2006
  • Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 2:
  • General - 1870-1979
  • Postcards - 1900-1909
  • Postcards - 1910-1919
  • Postcards - 1920-1966
  • Postcards from Charles Hedges in California - 1936
  • Box 3:
  • Postcards, undated
  • Weddings and commencements - 1908-1958
  • Weddings and commencements - 1959-1968
  • Series 3: MILDRED HEDGES
  • Box 3:
  • Autograph books from high school - 1906-1907, 1928-1931
  • Education - 1925-1933
  • Simpson College - 1936-1995
  • Series 4: SCRAPBOOKS
  • Box 4:
  • Looseleaf scrapbook, ca. - 1880
  • Blue scrapbook - 1881
  • Loose material from blue scrapbook - 1881
  • Scrapbooks and photocopies of scrapbooks, undated
  • Burgundy Marshall Field scrapbook, ca. - 1888
  • Box 5:
  • Loose material from Marshall Field scrapbook, ca. - 1888
  • Spiral notebook scrapbook - 1945
  • Series 5: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 5:
  • Family photo album [of photocopied photographs] part 1 of 2 - 1900-1960
  • Family photo album [of photocopied photographs] part 2 of 2 - 1900-1960
  • Negatives, undated
  • Box 6:
  • Original photographs, ca. - 1900
  • Original photographs - 1900-1910
  • Original photographs - 1910-1920
  • Original photographs, ca. - 1920
  • Original photographs - 1911-1932
  • Original photographs - 1930-1949
  • Original photographs - 1920-1940
  • Box 7:
  • Original photographs - 1940-1950
  • Original photographs, ca. - 1950
  • Original photographs - 1950-1959
  • Box 8:
  • Original photographs - 1960-1969
  • Original photographs, general - 1900-1954
  • Original photographs, undated
  • Etta Hedges Petersen family [shelved in map case] - 1948