Eliza Jane Rawstern Wright

Death Ends Wright Family's Association with College

The widow of the professor who taught the first class at Iowa State Teachers College, then the Iowa State Normal School, Mrs. D. S. Wright, passed away last week. Mrs. Wright, who was eighty-seven years old, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. R. J. Swanson of Red Oak, Iowa.

The Wright family has been associated with Teachers College from its founding, and in the sixty-five years of its life, Mrs. Wright had missed only two Commencements at this institution. Professor Wright has the longest term of service to the college as a teacher, having taught from 1876 until 1928. He passed away on October 30, 1931, at the age of 83.

Mrs. Wright's maiden name was Eliza Jane Rawstern. The daughter of Margaret Johnson and Samuel Rawstern, she was born April 20, 1856, at Garnavillo, Iowa. She spent her childhod days on her parents' farm in Jasper County and began teaching school at the age of fifteen. She attended Hazel Dell Academy for girls at Newton, Iowa, for some time and then entered Iowa State Normal School in the fall of 1877.

Eliza Jane Rawstern graduated from Teachers College on the 24th day of June, 1880. That evening at eight o'clock she married one of her professors at the college, David Sands Wright. The service took place in what is now the music building (Central Hall) with the President (Principal) of the college, J. C. Gilchrist, officiating. The professor married one of his students, who was eight years younger than he.

She affiliated soon after her marriage with the community church on the Hill, which had just been founded. And for years the Wright home was the center of social gatherings of the older alumni and professors at the college.

Mrs. Wright was very active socially in Cedar Falls. In the 80's and 90's both she and her husband were members of the Parlor Reading Circle. She was alos a member of the Tuesday Club for nearly fifty years and a member of the garden section of the Federated Women's Club in the town.

Four children survive, Luella Wright of Iowa City, Joseph Wright of Tuscon, Arizona, Mrs. W. C. Ratcliff, and Mrs. R. J. Swanson of Red Oak, Iowa. Seven grandchildren also survive.

Funeral services for Mrs. Wright were conducted at the Dahl funeral home in Cedar Falls at four P. M. last Sunday, April 11, 1943, with the Reverend Gerald Knoff, Director of Religious Acrivities, offiicating. Burial was in the family lot in Fairview Cemetery, Cedar Falls.

Edited from an obituary in the College Eye, April 16, 1943, p. 1.


Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives
University of Northern Iowa
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