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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Ruth Hager Cousin papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1914-1985
Creator: Cousin, Ruth Hager (1895-1994)
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0522
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Trained as a nurse between 1917 and 1920, and worked as a school nurse in Iowa Falls and Marshalltown, Iowa from 1931 to 1965.

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. 906) were donated by Helen Cousin Schneider in 2003.

Preferred Citation: Ruth Hager Cousin 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

Ruth Olive Hager was born in 1895 to William and Emma Hager of Iowa. Hager attended Ellsworth Academy for two years and Alden High School for one year. She then attended Iowa State University for a year before earning her teaching certificate. Hager taught at two Iowa schools before her admittance to the Illinois Training School for Nurses in 1917. Hager graduated from the nursing program in 1920. She returned to Iowa and cared for a sick grandfather ("Grandpa Johnson") and then did private nurse duty for a time before securing a position as county nurse in Franklin County in 1922. Ruth Hager married Walter Luin Cousin on June 2, 1923 in Burdette, Iowa and resigned her post as county nurse. The couple had two children, Richard and Helen (who later married Gar Schneider). During the 1929 typhoid epidemic Cousin practiced emergency nursing in Iowa Falls. After serving three years as school nurse in Marshalltown, Cousin was appointed school nurse in Iowa Falls in 1934, a position she held until her retirement in 1965. Cousin was honored by the Business and Professional Women Iowa Falls chapter in 1958 as their Woman of the Year. Ruth Cousin died on September 4, 1994.

The Ruth Hager Cousin papers date from 1914 to 1985 and measure 5 linear inches. The papers include an oral history conducted and transcribed by Helen Cousin Schneider, Ruth Hager Cousin's daughter. The interview covers Cousin's teaching and nursing careers prior to the Depression and some of her husband's experiences as a banker during the Depression. The papers also include photocopies of some newspaper clippings, including an article about Cousin's sister, Thora Hager, and her 1914 Hardin County girls basketball championship team. There is also an article regarding the effects a nurse's hair length has on patient care and a copy of a playbill for "Lysistrata" starring professional actor Thais Lawton, a cousin of Cousin's husband, Walter Luin Cousin. A photocopy of a scrapbook spans the years 1920 to 1985 and includes items relating to Cousin's marriage, her career in school nursing and her membership in the Order of the Eastern Star. A photo album provides a glimpse of the early decades of the twentieth century with photographs capturing early school days, scenes from World War I, Cousin's experiences at the Illinois Training School for Nurses, her 1923 honeymoon, and outings with friends and family.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Oral history by Helen Cousin Schneider, undated
  • Newspaper clippings - 1914, 1932
  • Scrapbook [photocopy] - 1920-1985
  • Photo album - 1919-1923