Glenda Gates Riley


"Glenda has not merely worked diligently to uncover Women's history sources previously overlooked... Her inspired writings and animated public speaking awaken a sense of new discoveries about Iowa women in her audiences." -Margo Dundon, 1985

Glenda Gates Riley, professor of history at the University of Northern Iowa since 1969, is an internationally known historian and an advocate for women. In 1972, she taught the first Women's history course in Iowa. She later co-designed the first Women's studies program in the state and served as Director of Women's Studies at UNI. Riley brought Iowa women to national attention through her book, Frontierswomen: The Iowa Experience, which received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Iowa State Historical Society. She has served on the Iowa Historical Records Advisory Board, the Historical Advisory Board of Iowa, and the Board of Trustees of the Iowa State Historical Society. More recently, she held a Distinguished Fulbright appointment as Mary Ball Washington Professor of American History at University College, Dublin, where she taught the first Women's history course in the Republic of Ireland. She has also twice held the Visiting Women's Chair in Humanistic Studies at Marquette University in Milwaukee. In 1988, she became the first woman to win a Distinguished Scholar Award at UNI. She was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1990.

UPDATE: Riley accepted appointment as the Alexander M. Bracken Professor of History at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana in 1991. She published Divorce: An American Tradition, 1991; A Place to Grow: Women in the American West, 1992; The Life and Legacy of Annie Oakley, 1994; Building and Breaking Families in the American West, 1996; Women and Nature: Saving the “Wild West”, 1999; Prairie Voices: Iowa’s Pioneer Women, 1996; and a second edition of Inventing the American Woman: An Inclusive History. In 1992, she held the Wayne Aspinall Visiting Professorship at Mesa State College in Colorado and appeared in the television special The Wild West on the Fox network. She has served as president of the Western History Association. In 1995, she received the Outstanding Researcher Award from Ball State University and in 1998, received a Fulbright Research Award. She continues to speak and consult widely in such countries as Korea and Ireland.