Iowa Women's Archives
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa


ENTRE NOUS (Iowa City, Iowa)

1.25 linear feet


Iowa Women's Archives
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Phone: 319-335-5068
Fax: 319-335-5900
E-mail the Iowa Women's Archives

Collection Overview

The records (donor no. 138) were donated by Entre Nous in 1993 and subsequent years.
The records are open for research.
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.
In Box 2.
Processed by:
Derryn E. Moten and Robert J. Jett, 1993. Nickol Himschoot, 2004; Janet Weaver 2005. [EntreNous.doc]


On February 26, 1914, a group of Iowa City women formed a literary and drama club mainly for their own entertainment and edification. The club, named Entre Nous “between us” began when Iowa City was a mere fraction of its present size. Student enrollment at the University of Iowa was approximately 2700. A favorite leisure activity for residents was the city's Pastime Theatre. It seated 400 and charged five cents for admissions.

Membership in Entre Nous was by invitation only. The number of members was initially limited to eighteen, but in 1957 was raised to a minimum of twenty-five. According to the club's constitution, those eligible for membership were to be young married women who sympathized with the club's objectives. Most of these women were neighbors whose spouses were employees of the University of Iowa. One such member was Eleanor Jessup, the wife of Walter A. Jessup, who was president of the University of Iowa from 1916 to 1934.

Early club activities focused on home economics. Eventually, the club expanded its activities to include poetic and dramatic readings. Though not often, members sometimes read from works that they wrote. Members also acted in plays produced by local drama companies. The club met twice a month, each time at a different member's home.

In addition to its literary and drama programs, the Entre Nous club actively participated in a variety of public service activities. Club members made surgical dressings for the American Red Cross during World War I and held book drives to collect books for American soldiers during World War II. During both wars, members voted to suspend the production of engraved annual club programs and instead donated the money to the American Red Cross. Peacetime activities included child welfare and prison reform work as well as a scholarship and loan fund for students attending the University of Iowa.

Entre Nous affiliated with the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs in 1915 and remained a member until 1947.

Scope and Content Note

The Entre Nous records measure 1.25 linear feet and date from 1914 to 2002. They are arranged in three series: Administrative and legal files, Program files, and Photographs. This collection would be of particular interest to researchers interested in the leisure activities of upper-class women in twentieth century Iowa.

The administrative and legal files (1914-2002) include the constitution and bylaws, correspondence, financial records, and histories. The histories sub-series chronicles the early and developing history of Entre Nous for the years 1914 through 1984. Also included in this series are the club's minutes. Perhaps the nucleus of the collection, the minutes provide a synthesis of club activities, anecdotal narratives about club members, and financial information. A highlight of each meeting was the luncheon prepared and served by the club member hosting the meeting; these meals and homes are described in lavish detail in the minutes.

The Program files (1915-1992) contain the printed annual programs (1915/16-1991/92) which recount club activities for the past year. Among these activities were the annual opening luncheons, the guest teas, and the twentieth-fifth, fiftieth, and seventy-fifth commemorative anniversary programs. Also included in this series are a list of plays read or reviewed for the years 1972 to 1983, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook.

The Photographs document the fiftieth and seventieth anniversary party in 1964 and 1984.

Box List

Box 1

Administrative and legal files
Constitution and bylaws, 1914, 1957
Correspondence General, 1945-1979
Anniversary, 1934-1935, 1939 and undated
Financial records Ledger, 1919-1956
Receipts, 1948-1963 (scattered)
Histories, 1914, 1954, 1984

Box 2

Minutes (cont.)
Program files
Annual programs
List of plays read or reviewed, 1972-1983
Newspaper clippings, 1939, 1963-1964 and undated

Box 3

50th Anniversary, 1964
70th Anniversary, 1984

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For more information about this collection contact the Iowa Women's Archives.


Last updated June 30, 2004
March 1, 2005