Iowa Women in the Great War



Cora Call Whitley

(1862 - 1937)


      Cora Call Whitley, was born on May 7, 1862 in Rowelsburg, West Virginia, to the Reverend L.N. Call, a Baptist minister, and Mary (Guyon) Call. The family moved to Iowa in 1867 where she attended public school, first in Hampton, Franklin co. and then in Webster City, Hamilton co. Her obituary states: "(She) lived in a home where books and music were enjoyed and school prized." Cora graduated from the Cedar Valley seminary in Osage, and then taught high school in Webster City until her marriage in 1882 (or 1883) to Dr. Francis Edmund Whitley (born in 1857).

     Mrs. Whitney was a gifted speaker, one of the most prominent clubwomen and conservationists in the nation and was listed in "Who's Who" for her activities in club work as well as with the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1915, as president of the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs, it was her privilege to appoint a committee of conservation of natural scenery, the first such committee created in any state federation. She was well-known for her involvement during World War I as the state chairman for the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense, working to organize women in Iowa for various phases of war work. She also assumed leadership positions in the Federation of Women's Clubs of which she served as Iowa president from 1915-1917.

     The Whitley's had three children: Gladys, Grace, and Guyon. Dr. Whitley died in 1918. Mrs. Whitney remained in Webster City until her death on December 20, 1937.

[Note: additional reading - Cora Whitney wrote an article titled "Across the Mississippi" for the PALIMPSEST.  (scroll about 1/2 way down the page)


- compiled and contributed by Sharyl Ferrall for Iowa in the Great War