We don’t always think about it, but Muscatine has been around for a pretty long time and been home to some pretty important people. In honor of women having had the right to vote in the United States for 100 years, a group of local women came together to find out about some of Muscatine’s most notable women residents and to share their findings with the community. Over a span of 14 months, this group worked on a project they dubbed Muscatine Women of Influence and Inspiration and shared the stories of 15 notable women both in print and in a video documentary presented on Public Access Chanel Nine.
When the group finished their initial writing, they knew they wanted to compile it into a book format to preserve for future generations. As one of the group’s leaders, Cindi Kautz put it, “we felt the booklet would be good to share with family and friends, and to bring attention to overlooked history in our community.” The book went on sale this March as a fitting way to celebrate Women’s History Month.
Working with Sycamore Printing, the group collected their essays into a conveniently compact volume. Featuring the original artwork of local artist Chris Anderson, this attractive work contains a remarkable amount of Muscatine’s long and storied history. “We’re glad we culminated by having it published,” stated Kautz.
Cindi Kautz and the others with the Muscatine Women of Influence and Inspiration project then partnered with several businesses to offer their books at various locations around town. If you would like to purchase a copy for yourself or to give as a gift to a history lover, you can find them at the National Pearl Button Museum @ History and Industry Center, the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, the Flower Gallery, Fresh (formerly Fresh Vintage), Flowers on the Avenue, the Muscatine Art Center, Sunrise Galleries, the Hall Tree, Petal and Leaf, the Window Box at UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine Hospital, and the Merrill Hotel. Each book costs $2, and all proceeds will go to the Muscatine Center for Social Action domestic violence shelter.
Over the years, women have made large contributions in business, education, community improvement, and other worthy causes that mattered to them. Through the Women of Influence and Inspiration project, Kautz hopes to bring these stories to life and celebrate the women who helped make Muscatine what it is today. “We need to learn from our history and respect the history that came before us; Women haven’t been given that attention, but in our research, we found that in the 20th Century women made a lot of contributions,” highlighted Kautz.