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


DORA E. MACKAY (1915- )

PAPERS, 1932-2006
0.25 linear inches


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

Please cite materials from this collection as follows:
Dora E. Mackay Papers, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.


Collection Overview

The papers (donor no. 346) were donated by Dora E. Mackay in 1996 and subsequent years.
The papers are open for research.
Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.
One audiocassette shelved in the audiocassette collection (ac1109).
In folder 1.
Processed by:
Kristen Rassbach, 1997; Kathryn M. Neal, 1998; and Jun-Nicole Matsushita, 2006.


Dora E. Mackay, an African-American singer and beauty shop owner in Des Moines, was born on August 12, 1915 to Ernest and Izora Mackay. As a high-school student in 1931, Mackay became a founding member of the Mary Church Terrell Club, a social and civic club in Des Moines. She remained an active member.

Mackay attended the Crescent School of Beauty and Culture in Des Moines and was a member of its first graduating class in 1940. Later that year, Mackay assumed ownership of Berline’s Beauty Shop, one of a small number of black beauty shops in Des Moines. She retired in 1978.

Although she built a career in cosmetology, Mackay pursued singing as a side interest. During the 1940s, she sang and played the piano for local radio stations. She performed as a singer at the club Johnny and Kay’s for ten years during the 1970s.

Scope and Content Note

The Dora E. Mackay papers date from 1932 to the 2006 and measure 0.25 linear inches. The collection consists of photographs, primarily of Mackay, newspaper clippings, and an oral history interview conducted by Karen Mason in 2006. Other individuals featured include Dora Mackay’s sister, Virginia Mackay Williams, and members of the Mary Church Terrell club.

Related Collections

Verda L. Williams papers
Williams is Mackay's niece.


Mackay, Dora          
  Oral history, 2006 [ac1109 shelved in audiocassette collection]


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