Maureen Flaherty Post holding one of her favorites, a Silver Streak electric iron in red (Keith Boyer photo)
About 25 years ago, Maureen Flaherty Post ’63 had one collectible iron—a flat iron (a doorstop in many homes). One thing led to another: She received a gift of six assorted irons from one of her eight sisters. She began looking for irons and iron-related objects at flea markets and antique shops, then researched their use and history. She got involved in a professional guild, the Pressing Iron and Trivet Collectors of America. Eventually, her collection grew to around 1,000 pieces, all of them accompanying her as she moved from New Jersey to North Carolina in 2009.
After talking with her sister Susan, an attorney, Post decided to donate her collection for educational purposes and approached her alma mater, IUP. The University Museum accepted. Post spent more than a year inventorying the collection and packaging it (in 60 boxes) for transport to IUP. This fall, more than 200 pieces were on display in the University Museum for the exhibit Irons: Functional Tools to Art Objects.
A native of Turtle Creek, Post majored in home economics at IUP and worked in education for about 50 years, mainly in schools for students with disabilities. Even as a vice principal, she kept an iron, ironing board, and two sewing machines in her office, and many students—mostly boys, she said—would make use of the equipment to fix their clothes. Post also has a master’s degree from Georgian Court College in New Jersey.