Louise Rosenfield Noun


"Noun's words rather than her deeds provide leadership for a new generation with the responsibility of keeping alive the rights she and several others fought for."
—Mark P. Couch, Business Record, October 15-21, 1990

Louise Rosenfield Noun of Des Moines has been involved with the Iowa and American Civil Liberties Unions for years. For eight years she was president of the ICLU; and during the 1960s and 1970s, she was a board member of the ACLU. In 1971, she helped found the Des Moines chapter of the National Organization for Women. She has been involved with the Iowa League of Women Voters since the 1940s, when she was Des Moines' chapter president. Noun is also a writer. Her book, Strong-Minded Women, is a history of the woman suffrage movement in Iowa. Noun's other writings also reflect her feminist commitment since they include histories of Iowa's first legislative clerk, suffragist Annie Savery, voting rights in Iowa, and trends in the Women's rights movement. She was born in 1908.Noun was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1981. UPDATE: Noun has written three books since her induction, Journey to Autonomy, A Memoir, More Strong-Minded Women: Iowa Feminists Tell Their Stories, and Iowa Women in the WPA, as well as several historical articles for the Annals of Iowa and the Palimpsest. In 1994, Noun curated Three Berlin Artists of the Weimar Era: Hannah Hoech, Kaethe Kollwitz, Jeanne Mammen, an exhibition for the Des Moines Art Center. She founded and was the chief funder of the Chrysalis Foundation and cofounder of the Iowa Women's Archives at the University of Iowa. She has served on the ACLU Advisory Committee from 1975 to the present. Among the many honors and awards Noun has received since induction are Arts/Humanities/Aging honor for outstanding service awarded by the Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Humanities Board; Doctor of Humane Letters, honorary degree awarded by Cornell College, 1985; Doctor of Humane Letters, honorary degree, awarded by Drake University, 1991; Outstanding Achievement Award in the Arts, given by the Iowa Arts Council on its 25th anniversary, 1992; Peterson-Harlan Award, which recognizes an individual, group or organization that has made significant long-term or continuing contributions to Iowa history, 1993; the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice, 1993; the Des Moines Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame, 1993; The University of Iowa Alumni Award, 1994; the Philanthropic Vision Award from the Ms. Foundation, 1995; and the Award for Lifetime Services to the Public Humanities from the Iowa Humanities Board, 1996.