Cory Bussey Hillis


"Cora's sensitivities were acute and her visions reached beyond her own life and beyond Des Moines, Iowa to a regeneration of the race through enlightened parenthood."
— Ginalie Swaim, Palimpsest, Vol. 60, 1979


Cora Bussey Hillis is most famous for her long and effective campaigns to improve child welfare. The Iowa Child Welfare Association, which she organized in 1914, successfully pushed for legislation establishing the child welfare research station at the University of Iowa in 1917. The research station was the first in the United States to be incorporated in a state university and became the roots of The University of Iowa's complex for research and the study of child development and behavior. Hillis also organized the first Parent Teacher's Association branch in Iowa and served as president of the organization for six years. Born in Bloomfield in 1858, she died in 1924 at age 66. Hillis Elementary School in Des Moines is named for this children's advocate. Hillis was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1976.