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Winifred R. Tilden papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RS 10/7/11

Scope and Content

The collection (1891-2010, undated) contains biographical information and material associated with Tilden’s career at Iowa State College (University). The biographical information includes newspaper clippings, family photos, and writings about her life and accomplishments. The collection also contains correspondence, photographs and documentation from her time in France, WOI radio scripts, and writings by Tilden.


  • 1891-2010, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Winifred R. Tilden was born to Lydia C. and George G. Tilden on October 8, 1880 in Ames, Iowa. She graduated from Ames High School and then earned her B.A. (1903) from Mount Holyoke College. Upon graduation from Mount Holyoke, Tilden became Directress of Physical Culture for women at Iowa State College (University).

Tilden became a strong leader of physical education for women on campus and was nationally recognized for her efforts. She started Jack O’ Lantern, a women’s honorary society, and the Women’s Athletic Association, which supervised the women’s athletic clubs. She also created programs for female students that included exercise, dancing, gymnastics, swimming, bowling, tennis, track, basketball, golf, field hockey, archery, and a variety of other athletic activities. Tilden wrote and staged the popular “May Day” pageants. These celebrations honored women of the senior class and the profits from the events benefited women’s athletics.

In 1918, Tilden took a leave of absence from her teaching duties to serve the YWCA war effort in France. She served as Hostess and Recreation Director at Toul, France, and later was called to Paris to serve as Manager of the Palais Royal. She returned to Iowa State in 1919 and was given the rank of Professor of Physical Education.

Under Tilden’s direction, the women’s physical education program expanded tremendously. When she retired in 1944, her programs had grown from less than 100 participants into the thousands. The crowning achievement of her career was the construction of the Women’s Physical Education Building in 1941, the year she stepped down as Head of the Department. Winifred Tilden died in 1948 after a long illness. She is buried in the ISU Cemetery.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 half-document box)


The collection is organized Alphabetically.

Items in related collections

RS 10/7. Iowa State University. Department of Kinesiology records, 1902-2013

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 10/7/11. Winifred R. Tilden papers, 1891-2010, undated
January 22, 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