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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Jennifer Riggs Cosson papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1890-1943
Creator: Cosson, Jennifer Riggs (18 -1943)
Extent: 13.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0431
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: A known suffragist who was active in community and political circles in Des Moines, Iowa.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has not been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 631) were donated by George Cosson in 1999 and ensuing years.

Preferred Citation: Jennifer Riggs Cosson 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

Jennifer Riggs was born in Lamoni, Iowa. She attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and graduated in 1899 with a bachelor's degree in education. Riggs taught school in Indianola until December 1904, when she married George Cosson and moved to Audubon, Iowa where he established a legal practice. In 1909 George Cosson was elected to the Iowa Senate, and from 1911 to 1917 he held the office of Attorney General of the State of Iowa. Jennifer Cosson became very active in politics and the community, serving on the Des Moines Parks Board, the Simpson College Board, the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) committee, P.E.O., and the Ladies Legislative League. In 1925 Cosson was inducted into Epsilon Sigma Sorority as an alumna and faculty member of Simpson College. Cosson was a talented and sought-after speaker who was known to infuse humor and her knowledge of many subjects into her speeches. She also wrote many speeches for her husband in his various political endeavors. Cosson was a vocal suffragist, writing and delivering speeches on the value of women's rights, and participating in debates. Traveling to California to visit her new granddaughter in February 1943, Cosson contracted pneumonia on the train trip and died a week after arriving at her son's home.

The Jennifer Riggs Cosson papers date from the 1890s to 1943 and measure 13 linear inches. The papers are arranged in six series: Biographical, Correspondence, Essays Reviews, Simpson College and Speeches.

The Biographical series (1902-1943) consists of Bible verses Cosson collected, newspaper clippings, poems, invitations, writings, programs for women's clubs, World War I activities and the travel log Cosson kept when traveling to Europe with her family in 1914. The biographical series also contains the condolence cards and letters the Cosson family received after Jennifer Cosson's unexpected death in 1943. The condolence letters are testimonies to the character and influence of Cosson on her friends and acquaintances.

The Correspondence series primarily consists of the courtship letters (July 1904 - December 1904) exchanged between Jennifer Riggs, living in Indianola at the time, and George Cosson, living in Audubon, before their wedding in December 1904. There is also some general correspondence pertaining to Jennifer Riggs Cosson's association with the Des Moines' Parks Board.

The Essays series (undated) contains essays Jennifer Cosson wrote throughout her adult life on a variety of topics, such as women's rights, philosophy, and religion.

The Reviews series (undated) consists of magazine and book reviews by Jennifer Cosson. The reviews cover books and magazine articles written mostly by women, and cover such topics as sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy, and comparisons between women of different eras.

The Simpson College series (1894-1902 and undated) contains poems, essays, book reviews and speeches Jennifer Riggs wrote while attending Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. Many of the essays deal with political themes and women's issues.

The Speeches series (1916, 1937, 1939 and undated) contains speeches Cosson wrote or presented at various events. The majority of the speeches are political and humorous in nature.

Browse by Series:
Series 3: ESSAYS
Series 4: REVIEWS
Series 6: SPEECHES

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL
  • Box 1:
  • Bible verses, undated
  • Condolences (2 folders) - 1943
  • Flower cards from funeral - 1943
  • Miscellaneous - 1904, 1916-1922, 1939-1943
  • Newspaper clippings (2 folders) - 1928-1936
  • Travel Log: trip to Europe with family - 1914
  • Box 1:
  • Courtship between Jennie Riggs and George Cosson: July - 1904
  • Courtship between Jennie Riggs and George Cosson: August - 1904
  • Courtship between Jennie Riggs and George Cosson: September - 1904
  • Courtship between Jennie Riggs and George Cosson: October (2 folders) - 1904
  • Courtship between Jennie Riggs and George Cosson: November (2 folders) - 1904
  • Courtship between Jennie Riggs and George Cosson: December (2 folders) - 1904
  • General - 1931, 1941
  • Series 3: ESSAYS
  • Box 2:
  • Miscellaneous, undated (folder 1)
  • The Gentle Art of Book-reviewing
  • Napoleon's Greatness
  • Miscellaneous, undated (folder 2)
  • The Persuasive Power of the Ideal
  • Renan's Perforation on Jesus
  • Valentine
  • Women's rights, undated
  • In and About Hull House
  • Mary Lyon
  • NRA
  • Women and Progress
  • Series 4: REVIEWS
  • Box 2:
  • Book reviews (folder 1)
  • "Jane Addams" - James Weber Linn
  • "North to the Orient" - Anne Lindbergh
  • "Provincial Lady in America" - Delafield
  • "Grandma Called it Carnal"
  • Book reviews (folder 2)
  • "Wickford Point"
  • "They Stooped to Folly"
  • "The Summing Up" - Somerset Maughm
  • "Listen to the Wind" - Anne Lindbergh
  • Book reviews (folder 3)
  • "White Cliffs of England"
  • "Books Old and New" - (P.E.O.)
  • "The Edwardians" - Sacville West
  • "Saga of American Society" - Dixon Wechter
  • Book reviews (folder 4)
  • "Bridal Wreath" - Sigrid Undset
  • "Mistress of Husaby" - Sigrid Undset
  • "The Cross" - Sigrid Undset
  • Magazine article reviews
  • "Crown Prince of GOP," "American Magazine"
  • "Combating Early syphilis," "Reader's Digest"
  • "Syphilis: Mrs. Grundy's Disease," "American Mercury"
  • 'How to Make Flying Safe,' American Mercury
  • "Hollywood Takes Over Theater," "Scribner's"
  • "The Modern House," "Atlantic"
  • "The Biggest Thing on Earth," "Harper's"
  • "World's Most Modern Home," "American Magazine"
  • Box 2:
  • Book reviews - 1898
  • "Indian Summer - Howell"
  • "The Choir Invisible"
  • "King Author of Briton"
  • Essays - 1895
  • The Development of the Papal Power
  • The Evils and Benefits of the French Revolution
  • The Ways of the Stern
  • Essays - 1896
  • The Greatest Need of the Present Age
  • Is There More Happiness in Pursuit than in Possession?
  • Essays - 1898
  • China
  • China: Her Past, Present, and Probable Future
  • Essays - 1899
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Essays - 1902
  • What Not to Read
  • Essays, language undated
  • The History of the English Language
  • Latin
  • Essays, miscellaneous, undated
  • Biography of Someone I Know
  • Character Sketch
  • Protozoa
  • A Thrilling Adventure
  • Essays, philosophy, undated
  • Drifting-An-Allegory
  • Our Thought Vehicle
  • Realism
  • See Rather than Feel Not an Artist
  • Essays, political and national issues, undated
  • Aid for Nebraska
  • Are the Inventions of Today Beneficial to Us as a Nation?
  • The Debt of the 19 th Century
  • Resolved: That War has Caused More Misery than
  • Shall We Annex More Territory to the U.S.?
  • Should Cuba be Annexed to the U.S.?
  • Work in the South
  • Essays, religion, undated
  • Is Missionary Interest on the Wane?
  • Man's Knowledge
  • Now the Lord Said Unto Abraham, Get Out
  • They are Like Children Sitting in a Marketplace
  • Box 3:
  • Essays, untitled and undated (2 folders)
  • Poems
  • Simpson College and She Would Be a Mason
  • Storm
  • Speeches
  • The American Girl of Today, undated
  • Youong Women's Christian Association (YWCA) - 1898
  • Series 6: SPEECHES
  • Box 3:
  • Iowa - 1916
  • Iowa History and Travel
  • History of Iowa
  • Iowa: Reminiscences - Ringgold County Association
  • Marriage, undated
  • Marriage: Brides I Have Met, undated
  • Marriage: When We All Tee Off, undated
  • Political (folder 1) - 1937-1939
  • Des Moines Simpson Alumni
  • Farewell Meeting - Ladies Legislative League
  • His Absent Mind
  • Impromptu Remarks
  • Legislation
  • Political (folder 2) - 1937-1939
  • Pioneer Program - Ladies Legislative League
  • The Politician's Wife
  • Resolved: That the Modern Mother is Superior to the Old-fashioned Mother
  • Why Am I a Republican?
  • Women's rights
  • Parlor Men Tary Law
  • Resolved: That Women Should Have the Right to Equal Suffrage with Men
  • Why Women Should Ask For the Ballot
  • YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)