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Shirley E. Held papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 26/2/53

Scope and Content

This collection (1938-2005, undated) contains Held’s files on weaving, published articles and other writings, speeches, course information, images of artwork, correspondence, and pamphlets from art exhibitions. Materials related to conferences and workshops she attended or presented at as well as files related to her book Weaving: A Handbook for Fiber Craftsmen are included. Much of these materials document Held’s expertise in weaving and design, her career as a professor of Art and Design at Iowa State, her professional affiliations, and her experiences as an artist.


  • 1938-2005, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Shirley Elaine Held was born on August 21, 1923, in Hinton, Iowa, to Albert Herbert and Neva Lucille Royer Held. She received a B.S. (1945) in home economics and an M.S. (1952) in applied art from Iowa State College (University).

Held taught high school home economics in Lake City, Iowa; LeMars, Iowa; and Humboldt, Iowa. She became an Assistant Professor (1952-1953) of Textiles and Related Arts at Utah State College (Logan, Utah). She returned to Iowa State as an Assistant Professor (1953-1963) in the Department of Applied Art. Held was promoted to Associate Professor (1963-1975) and Professor (1975-1990). She retired as Professor of Art and Design and received emeritus status in 1990. She was awarded a Faculty Citation (1979).

Held won many awards for her weaving and has had many showings of her artistic textiles. Her research focused on creating dyes from native Iowa flora, using tree blossoms as a source of material for natural dyes, making solvents for producing dyes from wood chips, and developing new weaving techniques. She wrote, Weaving: Handbook for the Fiber Craftsman, 1973 (TT848 .H43). Held served as a consultant (1975-1980) for Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot Magazine. In addition, she led workshops, presented lectures, and served as a judge for exhibits.

Shirley Held died on June 18, 2014, in Ames, Iowa.


10.63 Linear Feet (20 document boxes, 2 half-document boxes, and 1 oversized box)


Shirley E. Held was a professor of art and design at Iowa State University who specialized in textiles and weaving. This collection contains information on weaving, images of textiles and other works of art, published articles and writings, speeches, teaching materials, correspondence, and exhibition materials that belonged to Shirley Held. Also in the collection are files related to her book, Weaving: A Handbook for Fiber Craftsmen, and copies of her self-published children’s books. Much of these materials document Held’s expertise in weaving and design, her career at Iowa State University, and her experiences as an artist.


The collection is organized into eleven series:

Series 1, Biographical materials, 1938-2003, undated (alphabetical)

Series 2, University-related materials, 1952-1990, undated (alphabetical)

Series 3, Personal and weaving-related materials, 1952-1999, undated (alphabetical)

Series 4, Conferences, 1971-1990 (alphabetical)

Series 5, Workshops, 1971-1989 (alphabetical)

Series 6, Research grants and proposals, 1973-1989 (alphabetical)

Series 7, Weaving: A Handbook for Fiber Craftsmen, 1968-1990, undated (alphabetical)

Series 8, Publications, writings, and speeches, 1952-1986, undated (alphabetical)

Series 9, Photographs and slides, circa 1960-1987, undated (alphabetical)

Series 10, Oversize material, 1955-1973, undated (alphabetical)

Series 11, Self-published works, 1962-2005 (alphabetical)

RS 26/2/53. Shirley E. Held papers, 1938-2005, undated
May 9, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672