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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Basilisa Herrera papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1924-2003
Creator: Basilisa Herrera (1899-2003)
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0868
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Mexican immigrant to Iowa in the 1910s, member of the Cook's Point community in Davenport, and matriarch of a large family.

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. 1280) were donated by Laura Nelson in 2013.

Preferred Citation: Basilisa Herrera 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

Basilisa Torres Herrera was born in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico in 1899. In her early teens, the Torres family emigrated by train to North Dakota and from there to Bettendorf, Iowa. She married Primitivo Herrera when she was eighteen and the couple had five children: Aurora, Juan, Marcelino, Angelita, and Enedina.
The Herreras moved to the Cook's Point community in Davenport, Iowa shortly after the birth of Marcelino. Basilisa Herrera was widowed in 1936 when Primitivo was killed in an accident at the foundry where he worked. In order to support her young family she found employment outside the home, first at the Black Hawk Hotel and later at the Oscar Mayer packinghouse, where she worked until her retirement. In 1984, Basilisa Herrera became a naturalized United States citizen. She lived in close proximity to her family in Davenport until her death at age 104.

The Basilisa Herrera papers are divided into four series: Biographical, Family, Photographs, and Artifacts.

The Biographical series (1971-2014) contains the transcript of Basilisa Herrera's 1993 oral history interview, funeral and obituary information of Herrera family members, and a selection of Basilisa's identification cards.

The Family series (1924-2010) contains various material related to the descendants of Basilisa and Primitivo Herrera. Several of the folders are sub-organized by the subject line(s) of descent from the Herreras.

The Photographs series (1942-2005) contains several photographs of members and descendants of the Herrera family, including some early photographs of Basilisa and Primitivo Herrera.

The Artifacts series contains a commemorative plaque distributed to the senior citizens of Cook's Point, Davenport, in 2002.
Mujeres Latinas Collection, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Browse by Series:
Series 2: FAMILY

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • Family tree - 2014
  • Oral History Interview, transcript - 2011
  • Funeral cards, programs, obituaries of B. Herrera and family - 1996-2007
  • Identification and membership cards - 1971
  • Series 2: FAMILY
  • Box 1:
  • Family greeting cards, English and Spanish, undated
  • Angelita "Angela" Herrera Arguello family - 1991-2010
  • Enedina "Anne" Herrera Ramirez family - 1986-1987
  • Enedina Ramirez family: Valerie Ramirez Nelson - 2009-2010
  • Enedina Ramirez family: Laura Nelson - 1988-1998
  • Miscellaneous - 1924-1947
  • Series 3: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 1:
  • General - 1968-1986
  • Basilisa and Primitivo Herrera, undated
  • Enedina "Anne" and Pedro Ramirez - 1945
  • Genevieve Alatorre's photographs and clippings - 1942-2005
  • Christine Ramirez Cossin, undated
  • Laura Nelson - 1993-1998
  • Miscellaneous - 1964-2000
  • Series 4: ARTIFACTS
  • Box 1:
  • Cook's Point plaque - 2002

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.