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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Frances Myattway papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1914-1918
Creator: Myattway, Frances (1899-1964)
Extent: .25 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0875
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Early twentieth-century scrapbook of a young woman in western Iowa.

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. 168) were transferred from the University of Iowa Special Collections Department in 2008.

Preferred Citation: The Frances Myattway 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

Frances Emmalee Myattway was born in 1899 in Patonsburg, Missouri, to Emmalee Bosisto Myattway (1861-1931) and Rev. Arthur Kyahno Myattway (1857-1909). Her father was born in Rangoon, Burma to parents who had been converted by a missionary Rev. J. B. Vinton. Arthur Myattway emigrated to Canada at the age of 19 to attend the seminary at Hamilton College. He settled in Tabor, Iowa, where he served as pastor for the local Baptist church and gave public lectures on his homeland and its customs prior to his death from tuberculosis in 1909. Following her husband's death, Emmalee Mattway managed a boarding house where her two children and brother also lived.

Frances Myattway attended Tabor High School and later the Iowa State Normal School in Cedar Falls, where she trained to become a teacher. In 1923 she married Lloyd Stanley Van Dorn (1898-1986) a credit manager with Cal Spray Chemical Corporation and World War I veteran. In 1926 they moved to Los Angeles and had two children, Talwa Jane Van Dorn, born in 1926, and Douglas Van Dorn, born in 1933. The Van Dorn family moved to Contra Costa County in Northern California, where Frances Myattway Van Dorn died in 1964.

The Frances Myattway papers date from 1914 to 1918 and measure 0.25 linear inches. The Biographical series is composed of three flyers and a scrapbook documenting Myattway's youth in Tabor, Iowa.  Nearly all of its 311 photographs are captioned by Myattway, who is featured in many of the photographs along with three friends who together made up the self-titled 'Lucky Four.'  Myattway's brother Arthur is featured throughout along with her mother and 'Uncle Bert.'  The scrapbook provides insight into the World War I period, including photographs of men in uniform and of the 'Third Liberty Loan Drive' parade.

The scrapbook provides insight into Myattway's travels, including an interracial girls' summer camp she attended in 1916, as well as a trip to Army Camp Holabird in Maryland. Myattway's school life features prominently, with photographs of student theatrical productions, high school graduation, her time at the Iowa State Normal School. A photo of her future husband, Lloyd Van Dorn, on a rowboat is captioned ''Why so dreamy?'' The scrapbook ends with photos of a trip to Washington, D.C.

Browse by Series:

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • Flyers - 1914-1918
  • Scrapbook - 1914-1918