Skip to content
print page header

The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Mary Henrietta Peters papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1891-1934
Creator: Peters, Mary Henrietta (1858-1931)
Extent: 10.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0908
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Resident of Illyria Township near Wadena, Iowa, who recorded her daily activities from 1891 until her death in 1931.

Arrangement: The Iowa Women's Archives gratefully acknowledges the transcription of the diaries by Dr. Lisa Guinn, a visiting assistant professor at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, and Rio Farren, an undergraduate history major at Upper Iowa University. They completed the transcription in 2014.

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. 1320) were donated by Ed Jacobson in 2014.

Preferred Citation: Mary Henrietta Peters papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

The third of eight children, Mary Henrietta "Nett" Peters was born in Brainard, Fayette County, Iowa, in 1858. Her father, Alexander Wade Peters, had driven a stagecoach in West Virginia before heading to Iowa in 1852. Her mother had also grown up outside the Midwest and moved to Iowa at approximately the same time. Peters lived most of her life in Illyria Township, not far from Wadena, until her death in 1931.

The Mary Henrietta Peters papers comprise seventeen diaries and associated loose pages written by Peters over the course of her life.The diaries consist of tablets, most spanning one calendar year. In the pages of these tablets, Peters recorded her daily activities and household tasks, such as cooking, laundry, and childcare. The entries also describe social events and get-togethers with siblings and family friends as well as noteworthy community events including births and funerals.

Digital materials supplement the physical diaries. These include photographs of family members, as well as digital images of the physical diaries taken by Peters' grand-nephew, Ed Jacobson. In 2014, Dr. Lisa Guinn, a visiting assistant professor at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, and Rio Farren, an undergraduate history major at Upper Iowa University, transcribed the diaries. All of these materials, including the diary transcripts, are preserved in the Iowa Digital Library.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Diary inventories and flash drive - 2014
  • Diary - 1891
  • Diary - 1899
  • Diary - 1902
  • Diary - 1907
  • Diary, loose pages - 1908
  • Diary - 1909
  • Diary - 1911
  • Diary - 1912-1913
  • Diary - 1915
  • Diary, January - August - 1916
  • Diary - 1917-1918
  • Box 2:
  • Diary - 1921
  • Diary - 1922
  • Diary - 1923
  • Diary - 1925-1926
  • Diary - 1927-1928
  • Diary - 1929-1930
  • Diary - 1930-1931
  • Diary with cover inscribed - 1934
  • Diary, loose pages, June 8-June 12, no year
  • Watkins Almanac - 1902

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.