IOWA WOMEN’S ARCHIVES

UNIVERSITY OF IOWA LIBRARIES

IOWA CITY, IOWA

 

 

OLABELLE REED (1935-   )TITLE:»

SUBTITLE:»

»PAPERS, 1935-1997DATES:»

10 itemsQUANTITY:»

 

ACQUISITION:

The »papers (donor no. 471) were donated by Olabelle Reed in 1997».

ACCESS:

The »papers are open for research.

COPYRIGHT:

»Copyright has not been transferred to the University of Iowa.

PROCESSED BY:

Jenny Meyer, 1998.

REVISION:

February 26, 1999, Robert J. Jett, version WORD97.


»Biography

Olabelle Reed, teacher and community activist, was born in Iowa City, Iowa on January 30, 1935.  She was the seventh of eleven children born to Freeman and Isabella “Sweetie” Woods.  When she was only four months old, two of her sisters drowned in a vault of water at the back of the family’s home in Waterloo.

 

While she was in high school, Olabelle Woods participated in many activities including choir, student council, and speech, in which she won a state contest.  She was not allowed to join the cheerleading squad or swing choir, however, because of racial discrimination.  Woods graduated from Waterloo East High School in 1953.

 

Despite discouragement from others, Woods went on to college and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) with an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  As a college student, Olabelle Woods married Richard Reed.  They had three children: Paula, Mark and Adrienne.

 

Olabelle Reed had difficulty finding work as a teacher but in 1960 she signed a teaching contract with Waterloo Community Schools.  This put her among the first five minority women to teach in the district.  She taught for nine years before returning to UNI to earn her master’s degree.  Reed continued to work in Waterloo schools until her retirement in 1996.

Begin text here:»

 

Reed was an active member of the Waterloo community for many years.  She belonged to various educational and youth foundations and served as a representative for the Iowa and National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.  Reed also helped found Club Les Dames, an African-American women’s club in Waterloo, and has held various leadership roles within it.

 

 

Scope and Content Note

 

            Begin text here:The Olabelle Reed» papers date from »19351935 to 1997 and consist of ten items.»  The »papers consist of newspaper clippings; biographical material; correspondence; the funeral program of a friend, Susie Ann Cunningham; and a church anniversary bulletin.  The newspaper clippings included in the collection pertain to the death of Reed’s two sisters, Reed’s retirement, and her involvement in Club Les Dames.  The church bulletin commemorates the anniversary of Antioch Baptist Church in Waterloo, Iowa, and includes a photographic memorial to Reed’s parents.  A separate memorial essay is also part of the collection.