This blog is a part of the Iowa Women’s Foundation’s series for Women’s History Month, where we spotlight the Iowans who made an impact on the lives of women everywhere. A special thank-you to IWF volunteer and Marketing Committee Chair, Brenda Myers, for writing this article.

Pioneering Teacher & Social Worker, Jane Boyd, Left a Legacy of Community Service

by Brenda Myers


When we think of “women in history,” we often think of names like Margaret Thatcher, Harriet Tubman or Eleanor Roosevelt, but there are many lesser-known women who have also had a tremendous impact on society. Jane Boyd is one of these women.


Born in November, 1869, Jane Boyd was a pioneering teacher and social worker in Cedar Rapids, Iowa who knew—even in 1921—that when a child comes to your classroom in need, you have to look beyond the walls of the school toward the home/family environment and the community.


Jane Boyd lived her life enriching the lives of individuals to create a more just and caring community. She worked tirelessly with the immigrant and minority communities in the Cedar Rapids Oakhill Jackson neighborhood where she founded the Community House to make boys and girls—and men and women—better citizens of the community. Whether providing milk to children in school or clothing to families in the neighborhood, Jane Boyd lived to serve her community.


The Jane Boyd Community House, founded in 1921, has served thousands of families from diverse backgrounds and stands as a lasting legacy to this great woman. She was posthumously inducted into the Iowa’s Women Hall of Fame on August 26, 2017.