Louise Rosenfield Noun, author, political activist, art collector, and historian, has established close ties to the University of Iowa through her association with the Museum of Art and the UI Libraries.
A lifelong resident of Des Moines, Noun has had a successful, though oftentimes controversial, career in public affairs. During her term as president of the Des Moines chapter of the League of Women Voters, she led a successful campaign to reform that city's municipal government. As president of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, Noun defended freedom of speech for student protesters during the Vietnam War era, and she also stood at the forefront of women's fight for legal and social equality as an active member of the National Organization for Women.
Noun is a collector of art by women, primarily of the early 20th century, and has given several works of art to the University of Iowa.
In addition to her memoir, Journey to Autonomy (1990), Noun has written two books focusing on the history of the women's movement in this state, Strong-Minded Women: the Emergence of the Woman Suffrage Movement in Iowa (1969) and More Strong-Minded Women: Iowa Feminists Tell Their Stories (1992).
While researching the history of the women's movement in Iowa, Noun was disheartened to find a lack of available primary research material. In April 1990, she joined with Mary Louise Epperson Smith, 35BA, in an effort to promote the establishment of an Iowa women's archives. Through the auction of a Frida Kahlo painting from her personal collection, Noun provided a $1.5 million endowment for the archives project. Two years later, her vision became reality with the opening of the Iowa Women's Archives at the University of Iowa.
Noun is a member of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.