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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Wagner Family papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1903-1994
Creator: Wagner Family
Extent: 2.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0475
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Materials from the lives of two sisters, Eva Wagner and Grace Wagner Patten, and one sister-in-law, Alice Nicolet Wagner.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs and artifacts 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 of Alice and Eva Wagner (donor no. 1160) were donated by Ivan Wagner in 2008. The papers of Grace Wagner Patten (donor no. 856) were donated by Arcola Patten Hardeman in 2006.

Preferred Citation: Wagner Family 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

The Wagner Family papers contain materials from the lives of two sisters and one sister-in-law.

Alice Nicolet Wagner was a poet and a farm wife. She was born January 4, 1899 in Danver, Illinois to Jules and Emma Nicolet. Her parents immigrated to the United States in 1896 and moved around a great deal until settling in Thornton, Iowa in 1919. She married Leon Wagner in 1926 and had two sons. The family made their living on a farm outside of Thornton, Iowa, where she continued to live with her son after her husband's death in 1966. She began writing poetry in 1970. Her sight became very poor due to cataracts late in life and this prevented her from continuing to write poetry. She passed away in 1994.

Grace Wagner Patten was born to George and Minnie Wagner in Thornton, Iowa, in 1888. She was the oldest of twelve children, nine of whom survived to adulthood. Grace Wagner attended Thornton High School. In 1909, she began attending St. Mary's School of Nursing and working at Rochester State Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. Wagner married Roscoe Grant Patten in 1913. They raised five children in Mason City, Iowa: Robert, Howard, June, Walter, and Arcola. Both Robert and Howard Patten served in the military during World War II. During the 1930s, Grace Patten worked as a midwife and nurse in Thornton, Swaledale, and Clear Lake, Iowa, often with Dr. James Kennedy. She worked for three dollars a day, and kept records of every baby she delivered. She also assisted on house calls to ill adults. She passed away in 1959.

Eva Elizabeth Wagner, Grace's sister, attended Memorial University in Mason City and graduated in 1908. She went on to graduate from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Latin in 1912. After teaching for a few years in Iowa, she moved to Colorado and San Francisco, where she lived until her death in 1963.

The Wagner Family papers date from 1903 to 1994 and measure 2 linear inches.
Alice Nicolet Wagner's materials include biographical information, photographs, and poems. The poems were written for her friends and family for special occasions and would often include them in cards. Some of the poems are addressed to her grand nieces, Kim and Janet; her sister-in-law, Katherine; her friends, Marion and Laura; and to her grandchildren, Kristin and Kara.  Most of the poems are undated.
The Grace Wagner Patten materials include photographs of Patten and her family, two report cards from Thornton Public School, a letter notifying her of her qualification to work at Rochester state hospital, an account of her life written by her daughter, and a notebook which Patten kept during the 1930s and 1940s.  The notebook includes lists of births and other medical cases, recipes, and records of her sons' addresses during their military service.
The Eva Elizabeth Wagner materials include her teaching license, a University of Iowa 1912 pin, a photograph of her, and reference letters used when she was seeking teaching positions. A booklet of poems that she wrote and a few letters to her mother and sister Grace can be found in the papers.  An Iowa pennant banner obtained during her time at the University of Iowa is also included.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Grace Patten Wagern - 1903-1957
  • Eva Elizabeth Wagner - 1913-1951
  • Alice Nicolet Wagner: obituary and undated photographs - 1994
  • Alice Nicolet Wagner: original poems - 1972-1978
  • State University of Iowa pennant, undated