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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

BONNEWELL, Latha. (Henry, NE--Dubuque, IA, Jan. 30, 2007). A graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in home economics, Latha later received her master's degree from LORAS COLLEGE. She taught home economics for twenty-three years and chaired the home economics department at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL prior to her retirement in 1984. (1) A fiber artist and designer, she wrote articles on art, design, family life, and world cultures for many publications including the TELEGRAPH HERALD. (2) She served on the board of the DUBUQUE COUNTY FINE ARTS SOCIETY. (3)

An avid quilter with a distinct stylized signature to her work, Bonnewell won a bronze medal from the Museum of American Folk Art and the U.S. Historical Society for one of her original designs. Examples of her work using cotton cord and Scandinavian linen are owned by Iowa State University and have been displayed at the Scheman Center for Continuing Education. Other exhibits have appeared with the touring program of the Very Special Arts of Iowa, in one-person exhibits at the DUBUQUE ART ASSOCIATION gallery, and at the Waterloo Recreation and Art Center. (4) She was active in DUBUQUEFEST/VERY SPECIAL ARTS. (5)

Latha and Robert began their adventures with Friendship Force with a two week trip to Korea in 1979. (6) With her husband, Robert, Bonnewell was responsible for the first global awareness program of the DUBUQUE COUNTY FINE ARTS SOCIETY in April 1986. Their cable access program, 'Get Acquainted Around the World' was perhaps their most cherished accomplishment. Broadcast for an estimated 10 years, the Bonnewells interviewed foreign exchange students from the tri-states--one per week all year long. The same year they were committee members of the Mississippi Peace Cruise that brought fifty residents of the Soviet Union (Commonwealth of Independent States) to Dubuque. In 1988 she was elected to the board of the DUBUQUE COUNTY FINE ARTS SOCIETY. (7)

In 1993 Latha Bonnewell received the Alumni Merit Award from Iowa State University. On January 1, 2001, Robert and Latha Bonnewell were recipients of the FIRST CITIZEN AWARD from the TELEGRAPH HERALD. (8)




1. Obituary, Telegraph Herald, February 1, 2007, p. 26

2. Voight, Sandye, "Love-ly Couple Named 1st Citizens," Telegraph Herald, January 1, 2001, p. 1

3. "People of Note," Telegraph Herald, June 8, 1988, p. 22

4. Voight

5. "DubuqueFest/Very Special Arts: Schedule of Events," Telegraph Herald, May 16, 1989

6. Bonnewell, Latha, "Korea: Observations About Food, Children, Telegraph Herald, May 18, 1980, p. 23

7. Voight

8. Ibid.