In the following listing you will find many interesting, informative and entertaining humanities presentations from people from all over the state of Iowa and the state border areas.
Humanities Iowa is pleased to present a large number of new programs we're sure you will find exactly what you need! Call (319) 335-4152 if you have any questions.
Roy R. Behrens, University of Northern Iowa
Phone: (319) 273-2260
Roy R. Behrens is Professor of Art and Distinguished Scholar at the University of Northern Iowa. He has taught graphic design and design history for more than 35 years at art schools and universities throughout the U.S. An editor, author and designer, he has appeared in interviews on NOVA (PBS), Equinox (BBC), BBC Radio, and IPTV. His most recent books include COOK BOOK: Gertrude Stein, William Cook and Le Corbusier (2005) and CAMOUPEDIA: A Compendium of Research on Art, Architecture and Camouflage (2009). Described by Communication Arts magazine as "one of the most original thinkers in design," he was a nominee for the Smithsonian Institution's National Design Awards in 2003.
Remembering Iowa's Buffalo Bill: Never Missed and He Never Will
William F. Cody (1846-1917), better known as "Buffalo Bill," was born near Le Claire, Iowa, in Scott County, just north of Davenport. By the end of his life, he had become what some have called "the most famous American in the world." He had been a Pony Express rider, an Army scout, a buffalo hunter for the railroad, and the founder and central attraction of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, which traveled throughout the U.S. and in Europe for thirty years. This talk is an overview of Cody's life, both tragic and heroic. It was tragic because of the role that he played in the near extinction of the American Bison (he himself is said to have shot nearly 3000 buffalo in eight months), and, even more deplorable, in the subjugation of Native Americans. If his life was heroic, it was because of his later support of the rights of Native Americans, his friendship with many of them (most notably with Sitting Bull), and his link with such colorful characters as Annie Oakley and Wild Bill Hickok. As a Wild West performer, it is thought that Cody probably played to a collective audience of more than 50 million, including at various Iowa towns. This is a face-paced and entertaining 45-minute talk, illustrated by projected vintage photographs, film clips and animated graphics.
Why Gertrude Stein Loved Iowa: A Writer's Outspoken Affection for A State that She Never Set Foot In
Gertrude Stein was born near Pittsburgh, grew up in Oakland, California (about which she once remarked that "there is no there there"), dropped out of medical training, and ended up living in Paris for the rest of her life. An American expatriate of the "lost generation," only once did she come back to visit what she fondly called her "native land." At the same time, she had a surprising affection for the state of Iowa and for Iowans. "I have a weakness for Iowa," she once wrote to a friend, "Iowa is different from the others." When she did come back to America for a book tour in 1934, she agreed to lecture in Iowa City (on the second floor of what is now Prairie Lights Bookstore), but her visit was prevented by (would you believe?) an Iowa snowstorm. "I would like to have seen Iowa," she wrote later in an autobiography, "[because] you are brilliant and subtle if you come from Iowa and really strange and you live as you live and you are always well taken care of if you come from Iowa." Stein's fascination with Iowa largely grew out of her friendships with two Iowa-born artists, William Edwards Cook (an expatriate painter from Independence, who taught her how to drive), and Carl Van Vechten (a writer and photographer from Cedar Rapids, who became her literary executor). This 45-minute presentation is an informative and often amusing account of Stein's life and her Iowa friendships, illustrated by historic photographs.
Frank Lloyd Wright—Or Was He Wrong?
There is a story (true or not) that Frank Lloyd Wright once testified in court that he was the world's greatest living architect. "I had no choice," he later explained, "I was under oath." During his extended lifetime (he lived into his nineties), Wright and his architecture were far less admired than today. He was almost always controversial, as much for his single-mindedness and his point-blank way of speaking as for his architectural achievements. Regrettably, these same aspects tend to distract our attention from a full, more complete understanding of the traditions that Wright had inherited from the Victorian era, and in turn the amazing influence he had on younger architects in the twentieth century. Where did Wright come from, philosophically? What architectural and design traditions contributed to his professional development? What were his most basic ideas on form, function, the use of materials, and the environment? Was he right about architecture, and about the intrinsic connections between human beings and their earthly surroundings—including the houses in which they reside? This is a thought-provoking, 45-minute presentation, richly illustrated by scores of historical images of his life and the iconic objects he made.
Seagoing Easter Eggs: Artists' Contributions to Military Camouflage
During both World Wars, scores of artists, architects and designers (on all sides of the conflicts) served as military or civilian camouflage designers. A surprising number of these camoufleurs had been born in Iowa: Sherry Fry, one of the founders of the US Army camouflage corps in WWI, was a sculptor from Creston, Iowa; while painter Everett Warner, who headed navy camouflage in both wars, was originally from Vinton. Grant Wood from Anamosa served as an army camoufleur, and Matthew Luckiesh, a scientific expert on the subject, was a native of Maquoketa. Of particular fascination is "dazzle camouflage" (supervised by Warner), in which wartime ships were painted in brightly colored, abstract geometric shapes, for the purpose of diverting the aim of submarine gunners. When dazzled ships were introduced during WWI, journalists called them "cubist nightmares" and "seagoing Easter eggs." This 45-minute talk is a richly illustrated, entertaining overview of the involvement of artists and others in ground and naval camouflage in the past one hundred years.
Looking Closer at Grant Wood: What Did He Do, and How Did He Do It?
Grant Wood's famous painting, American Gothic, has been described as equivalent to Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Mona Lisa. The attention given to that single work, however justified, too often prevents us from focusing on Wood's other accomplishments. How was he trained as an artist? What influenced him? Who in turn did he influence? What did he really achieve in his life? This 45-minute slide presentation is a visual and verbal analysis of Wood's artistic legacy, illustrated by dozens of examples of his drawings, prints, paintings and other artworks, including those less widely known. Among the highlights are rare historic photographs of Wood, his students, and his Regionalist contemporaries, accompanied by eyewitness stories about his creative process, his methods, his failings, his sense of humor, and the growth of his basic beliefs about art.
Richard Caplan, The University of Iowa
Work Phone: (319) 335-6584
Home Phone: (319) 338-0394
Richard Caplan is Professor Emeritus of
Dermatology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. While
serving for 21 years as Associate Dean for Continuing Medical
Education, he founded and developed the Program in Biomedical Ethics
and Medical Humanities, where an endowed chair has been established in
his honor. Medical ethics, medical history and literature-and-medicine
are among his areas of interest, along with matters musical (he is an
accomplished performer of piano and clarinet). He is also a recognized
expert on Sherlock Holmes and he is the founding leader of the Younger
Stamfords, Iowa City's Sherlock Holmes Society.
Medical Ethics, Moral Dilemmas
Should you have yourself cloned if you can't have children or need
"spare parts" to prevent or repair a fatal illness? If genetic testing
reveals a probability of your developing diabetes, would you change
your lifestyle? These and many other ethical questions arise frequently
for health care professionals. This program offers an opportunity to
discuss these important questions with the founder of the Program in
Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities at the University of Iowa.
Sherlock Holmes in Turn-of-the-Century Britain
The stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have inspired generations of
readers devoted to Sherlock Holmes. Dr. Richard Caplan, an authority on
Sherlock Holmes, recently published a book concerning Doyle's famous
detective. This special interest in the subject also allows exploration
of life in Britain at the start of the twentieth century, as well as
providing much enjoyment. Using his background in medicine and his love
of literature, Dr. Caplan explores the persisting phenomenon of the
great detective's astounding longevity.
Hal Chase, Des Moines Area Community College
Phone: (515) 208-7249
Hal S. Chase was born in Des Moines during
WW2, but grew up in legally segregated Frankfort, KY from eight to
eighteen. He taught U.S., African-American, and Iowa history at DMACC from 1989 to 2009,
and coordinated and contributed a chapter to Outside In: African-American History in Iowa,
He has an MA in American History from Stanford University and a PhD in American Civilization from the Unversity of Pennsylvania.
Outside In: African American History in Iowa
program is a 15 minute audio-visual survey of the major people,
organizations, and events in Iowa's African-American history from its
territorial beginning in 1838 to the present. It also emphasizes the
African-American history of the place where the presentation is made,
and Dr. Chase works with local people prior to the presentation to
uncover and incorporate this material into the program. In addition,
audience members are encouraged to bring their stories, scrapbooks, and
family albums to the presentation and share their content.
Additional Resources: Outside In: African-American History in Iowa, 1838-2000 ($40, including shipping, from the State Historical Society of Iowa-Des Moines. 515-283-1757) All receipts from the sale of Outside In go
into an account in the State Historical Society Foundation and can only
be used to acquire, preserve, and promote the African-American history
of Iowa. None of the authors has or will receive any compensation for
Scott Cawelti, Cedar Falls
Phone: (319) 268-1001
Scott Cawelti was born and raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He attended the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), graduating with a vocal music education degree in 1965 and a Master’s Degree in English in 1968, and a Ph.D in Modern Letters from the University of Iowa in 1978. Dr. Cawelti taught at UNI from 1968-2008. During his career at UNI, Dr. Cawelti taught numerous writing, film, and literature courses, as well as American Civilization, collaborating with three other faculty on a humanities “cluster course,” consisting of Humanities II, American Civilization, Expository Writing, and Oral Communication. He has published two writing textbooks and edited The Complete Poetry of James Hearst, (University of Iowa, 2001).
Dr. Cawelti retired from UNI in 2008 and continues writing, leading discussions, and offering musical presentations. Dr. Cawelti is married with two children. If you want a preview of Dr. Cawelti's performance, click here to watch him on YouTube and a special viewing of After the People Go.
Landscape Iowa: Poems of James Hearst, Sung
Cawelti explores the life and poetry of Iowa farmer-poet James Hearst, having been Hearst’s student and colleague from 1968 through Hearst’s death in 1983. Cawelti will perform several of Hearst’s poems he has set to music, accompanying himself on acoustic steel-string guitar, chosen from these sixteen poems: “After the People Go,” “Forsythia,” “Green Voice,” “Hog Economy,” “Landscape Iowa,” “The Malicious Spirit of Machines,” “Orchard Man,” “Seventy Times Seven,” “Snake in the Strawberries,” “The Movers,” “Truth,” “What is a Cow?” “Whatever Happened?” “When a Neighbor Dies,” and “Who, Who?”
In addition, a professionally produced CD (made by Cawelti) of these songs will be available to preview the program, and offered for sale at the time of the performance. The CD and MP3 download is also available on Amazon.com
David Connon, Earlham
Phone: (515) 758-2115
David Connon is employed by Living History Farms as an historical interpreter. He is also an independent researcher and writer. He has a Master’s Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University. His wife is an Iowa native whose great-great-great-grandfather died on Sherman’s March to the Sea.
Iowans who fought against the Union
Most Iowans think that the state was solidly pro-Union during the Civil War. After all, some 76,500 residents fought for the North. In reality, Iowa Democrats formed a spectrum of dissent. The majority of Democrats opposed abolishing slavery (and yet favored the Union war effort); the minority sympathized with the South. Out of this group, at least 60 Iowa residents served the Confederacy. This talk will focus on four or five of them. David Connon will explore their motivations and describe their pre-war, war-time, and post-war experiences. After each soldier’s story, he will invite audience members to share their observations.
Josiah Bushnell Grinnell and the Iowa Underground Railroad
“Preacher,” “congressman,” “negro-stealer”: Josiah Bushnell Grinnell was called all of those things during his life. He was called a negro-stealer because he participated in the Iowa Underground Railroad. J.B. Grinnell and other Grinnell residents helped at least 37 fugitive slaves who passed through their town before the Civil War. But some residents opposed this work. David Connon will tell a story of racism, noble actions, and conflict. He will highlight abolitionist John Brown’s visit to Grinnell, and Grinnell’s first riot over the presence of fugitive slaves in the public school.
Rudolph Daniels, Western Iowa Tech Community College
Home Phone: (712) 276-3185
Cell Phone: (712) 490-4881
Rudolph Daniels is Assistant Dean, Department
Chair of Railroad Operations Technology and instructor of railroad
history at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, Iowa. He
likes to travel throughout Iowa. Dr. Daniels has written the official
history of US railroads, Trains Across the Continent.
Trains Across Iowa
Daniels describes the past, present and future of the Hawkeye State's
railroads. The program explores Iowa's unique position in the
construction of the first transcontinental railroad and Iowa's great
contribution to railroad safety. The talk also describes the famous
streamliners that rode Iowa's rails. All aboard for an Iowa rail
Additional resources: Tales of the Rails (Video)
Debra DeLaet, Drake University
Phone: (515) 271-1844
Debra DeLaet is a Professor of Politics and International Relations at
Drake University. Professor DeLaet holds a Ph.D. in Government and
International Studies from the University of Notre Dame. She has
written several publications on international migration, US immigration
policies and human rights.
Justice, War Crimes, and Human Rights Abuses
Universal Human Rights
War-torn societies face several difficult questions as they seek to
pursue justice in the aftermath of violent conflict. To what extent
shall individuals guilty of war crimes and human rights abuses be
punished? How should new leaders balance potential tradeoffs between
the goals of justice and peace? How can renewed cycles of violence best
be prevented? This presentation will explore these questions while
providing an overview of the wide variety of mechanism that have been
used in an effort to pursue justice in war-torn societies, including
trials, truth commissions, reparations, and official apologies.
The idea of human rights first achieved a prominent place on the
international agenda of states in the aftermath of World War II. Since
that time, a large body of international human rights law has been
created. Nevertheless, states with egregious human rights records are
often parties to major human rights documents, and human rights abuses
continue to be perpetrated across the globe. This presentation will
present an overview of international human rights law and will consider
the current status of universal human rights in international
Darrel Draper, Omaha
Darrel Draper, a fifth generation Nebraskan, retired Navy Officer, and
graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, uses his talents as a
storyteller and actor to educate and entertain. He has performed for
national and state government agencies, museums, schools, youth groups,
festivals, and is a popular banquet and luncheon speaker. Darrel
specializes in costumed portrayals of historical figures that played
major roles in the events that shaped our state and nation. Having
personally retraced thousands of miles of the Lewis and Clark Trail by
canoe and on foot, Darrel is considered an expert on the history of the
expedition. His George Drouillard reenactment has received standing
ovations from coast to coast. Audience members themselves are invited
onto the stage during the presentation to dramatize various episodes of
the Lewis and Clark expedition. Darrel is the most requested performer
on the Nebraska Humanities Council's Speakers Bureau. He and his wife
JoAnne, live in Omaha.
George Drouillard: Hunter, Interpreter, and Sign Talker for Lewis and Clark
Drouillard (1774-1810?), half French and half Shawnee Indian, was the
most valuable member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. When the two
Captains needed someone who could shoot straight, talk to Indians who
had never seen white men before, provide the 400 pounds of game needed
each day, bring back a deserter, or stand his ground in the face of a
wounded and raging grizzly bear, they almost always chose this amazing
frontiersman. Adapted from the James Alexander Thom novel, Sign-Talker,
this 45 minutes presentation, in full costume and French accent gives
the audience a taste of Shawnee culture and spiritualism as you join
Drouillard in the excitement of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
The Life and Times of J. Sterling Morton
This two-act living history program introduces the audience to the life
of J. Sterling Morton, from his birth in New York to his death in
Nebraska City. Within five years after his arrival at Bellevue, Morton
was twice elected to the Territorial Legislature, appointed Clerk of
Supreme Court, became Territorial Secretary and was made acting
Governor at the age of 26. The founder of Arbor Day would later become
secretary of agriculture. Draper lends insight into Morton's failures
Theodore Roosevelt - Rough Rider President
Darrel Draper portrays Theodore Roosevelt in a 45 minute, costumed re-enactment of Roosevelt on the campaign trail in his bid for the presidency as the 1912 Progressive "Bull Moose" Party candidate. He reviews his life from his asthma-plagued childhood, his days at Harvard, personal tragedies and victories, military success, and rise to the White House. You will be amazed at the incredible accomplishments of this Medal of Honor and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Mixing humor, drama, and inspiration, this presentation is designed to entertain all audiences.
OJ Fargo, Green Valley Education Agency, Creston
Home Phone: (641) 782-8625
O.J. Fargo has recently retired as the Director of Media Services and a Social Studies consultant for the Green Valley Area Education Agency in Creston. He is the author of two books on Iowa history, a book on the everyday life of a Civil War soldier and 27 booklets on all aspects of Iowa and Western US history. In addition to this writing and work, he is also president of an Iowa regiment of Civil War Re-enactors.
Just Before the Battle Mother- A Visit from a Civil War Soldier
After a brief overview of Iowa's involvement in the Civil War, the audience is introduced to a returning Civil War soldier (played by O. J. Fargo). The audience is encouraged to ask questions and engage in a dialogue with the "soldier" who will stay in character while answering. The speaker will bring along a full roster of all men who served in and from Iowa in the Civil war to enable the participants to check for ancestors who served. Mr. Fargo dresses in full Union Army regalia for the presentation and focuses the presentation on an individual soldier's experience.
Greyhounds and Hawkeyes - Iowa in the Civil War
The program details Iowa's involvement in the Civil War from Ft. Sumter to the surrender at Appomattox. Although he focuses on the everyday experiences of a soldier in the field, Mr. Fargo also describes the situation on the home front and politics of the era. Audience questions are welcomed.
Liz Garst, Coon Rapids
Home Phone: (712)-684-5240
Liz Garst is the granddaughter of the famous Iowa farmers and citizen diplomats Roswell and Elizabeth Garst, and like her forefathers, she likes to tell a good story. She manages banking and farming interests for the Garst family, and has a BA in English Literature, a MS in Agricultural Economics and a MBA. She is a board member and volunteer for Whiterock Conservancy, a non-profit land trust near Coon Rapids, which is dedicated to finding balance between agriculture, the environment and people. Whiterock Conservancy stewards the Roswell and Elizabeth Garst Farmstead, which is listed as nationally significant on the National Register of Historic Places.
Corn and Khrushchev
The Garst Family has deep roots in the history of Iowa. Using her family experience in Coon Rapids, Liz recounts the history of agricultural development in Iowa, from early settlement through the fabulous mid-century explosion of farm productivity, based on the hybrid seeds, machinery, fertilizers and livestock technologies promoted by her grandfather. Liz tells how it came to pass that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and his family visited the Garst family in 1959, and recalls fun stories from her personal memories as an 8 year old participant. Imbedded in the entertaining story are history and economics lessons and a powerful message about the ability of an individual to make a difference.
Mike Glover, Windsor Heights
Cell Phone: 515-238-3821
Mike Glover spent 40 years covering politics as a journalist for newspapers in Illinois and Iowa, with most of his reporting career spent with The Associated Press. Mike has covered the Iowa Caucuses as they've evolved from local partisan affairs to the all-important, make-or-break events they are today. During presidential election cycles, Mike has been part of the traveling press for The AP, covering candidates from Jesse Jackson to George W. Bush, and including extensive stints covering Al Gore, John McCain, and John Kerry.
Mike's work for The AP also included extensive coverage of the Iowa Legislature and state politics, where he's seen the nature of the Iowa political scene change over the past several decades.
Mike was also a regular panelist on the Iowa Public Television series "Iowa Press" for 30 years, interviewing county officials and presidential candidates alike for a statewide audience. He has also moderated debates and hosted special election series.
Mike is frequently called upon to offer insight and analysis about Iowa politics on national networks, including MSNBC, CNN, CSPAN, and others. He is also a frequent speaker for professional organizations, civic groups, educational settings, and other venues.
Mike retired from The AP in mid-2012, and has been working on a book about his career in politics.
Mike has an undergraduate degree from Western Illinois University and a Master's degree from Drake University. A native of Clinton, Illinois, Mike served a tour of duty in Vietnam in the Air Force prior to his time at Western Illinois.
Mike lives with his wife, Betty, in Windsor Heights.
Fly Over Iowa
Information on this program is forthcoming.
Dennis Goldford, Drake University
Work Phone: (515) 271-3197
Home Phone: (515) 225-7291
Dennis Goldford has been at Drake University since 1985, teaching in the areas of political and constitutional theory. With his active interest in American politics, Professor Goldford regularly serves as a political analyst for KCCI-TV in Des Moines and is asked frequently to comment on current political matters by Iowa Public Radio and other various media organizations.
Dr. Goldford is co-author, with Hugh Winebrenner, of the new, 3rd edition of "The Iowa Caucuses: The Making of A Media Event" (University of Iowa Press), and, most recently, author of The Constitution of Religious Freedom: God, Politics, and the First Amendment (Baylor University Press).
Law, Politics, and Religion
Despite, or perhaps even because of, the lack of an established church in the United States, religion has always been a factor in our lives and in American politics. What does religious freedom mean in America, and what is the function of the religion clauses of the First Amendment? Additionally, in what sense and to what extent is it legitimate to appeal to religious doctrine and belief when engaged in political argument? Audience members are invited to discuss these questions and raise other issues.
The Politics of Gridlock
In this era of increased partisanship and gridlock in Congress, how do we understand the reasons for this problem and its implications for governance and current American politics?
The Iowa Caucuses: Appearance and Reality
How did the Iowa Caucuses come to play such a significant role in presidential politics? What do the caucuses do, and what do they not do, in the races for presidential nominations?
Phil Hey, Briar Cliff College
Home Phone: (712) 277-2811
Phil Hey, winner of the Literacy Award from the Iowa Council of
Teachers of English, teaches English and writing at Briar Cliff College
in Sioux City. His interests in the field range from poetry writing and
natural history to business communication, and he has been a frequent
presenter for Humanities Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. He owns and
manages a native prairie in the Loess Hills, and he teaches several
classes using the Internet.
From Clay Tablets to Chatrooms: Writing, Society, and Technology
Would society be better if all our poems and documents were written
with quill pen on parchment, as the Declaration of Independence was?
Could Dashiell Hammett have written "The Maltese Falcon" on a
word-processor instead of a manual typewriter? What we can be sure of
is that our writing media make more difference than we can measure.
Phil Hey, an Iowa writer and "writing coach" for over thirty years,
demonstrates the unique qualities of writing instruments such as quill
pens, rubber stamps, and calligraphy pens and talks about the history
of writing and how its technology has changed our society.
Learning Where We Are: Natural History as Science for the Common Reader
Twentieth-century science has increasingly become abstract, theoretical
and removed from experience—a subject "not for amateurs."
However, an older, more direct view of the world—natural
history—is an area of science where the average person may easily
explore the questions and values that have made science a great
adventure for the human mind. This presentation introduces some of the
most interesting questions raised by natural history writers and by the
study of science.
Calling All Poets
"Calling All Poets" is an exploration of the sense of place in the works of Iowa poets in the hope that we can all recognize the value of our particular place i the world and share it through writing and reading.
Beverly Hinds, Sioux City
Phone: (712) 252-2364
Beverly (Bev) Hinds of Sioux City is a graduate of the University of
Iowa College of Nursing, and a devoted Lewis and Clark historian. She
has followed the Lewis and Clark Trail since 1974, and has been a
member of the Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail Foundation (LCHTF) since
1971. Bev is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the
Foundation, and is president of the local Sgt. Floyd Tri-State Chapter
of the LCHTF, Inc. Her personal L&C library greatly facilitates her
Sacajawea and the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Sakakawea, Sagagawea, “Bird Woman”, or “Janey”:
Shoshoni Girl/Woman of History - however you pronounce it or spell it,
this strong young woman had a unique place in the history of the Lewis
and Clark Expedition of 1803-1806. What is myth? What is fact? What is
fiction? One Sacagawea, or two? Guide, Interpreter, Wife, or slave? A
fascinating young woman and what the past almost 200 years and the
records have told us about her.
Sgt. Charles Floyd: Who Was or Wasn't He, and His Untimely Death
One of the "9 Young Men From Kentucky" who joined the Lewis and Clark
Expedition in Oct. of 1803, time and genealogical studies have given us
more insight into his parentage and his life. The first American
soldier to die West of the Mississippi, buried on a bluff (4 times!)
near what is now Sioux City, IA, Sgt. Floyd has a never to be forgotten
place in the history of the 1803-1806 Expedition.
The Medicines of Lewis and Clark
The Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803-1806 that took approximately 28
months, covered nearly 8000 miles and lost the life of only one member,
had a very interesting medical supply list. What were the medicines and
the medical practices of the time? Why didn't Thomas Jefferson send a
doctor along? What allowed the members to survive the incidents that
occurred? Could this feat be accomplished again today? What we know,
what we surmise, and what time and records have given us, can make
Gail Geo. Holmes, Historical Writer
Phone: (402) 558-4081
Gail Geo. Holmes, an avid historical writer, is a native of North Dakota.
He worked as editor of The Swiss Reporter in Geneva, Switzerland right after World War II; copy editor of the Minot, North Dakota Daily News; high courts reporter and then assistant provincial editor of the Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada Leader Post; and copy editor of the Omaha World Herald. He is president of Pioneer Research Group, Inc., and on the advisory boards of Western Historic Trails Center, Council Bluffs, and Danish Immigrant Museum, Elk Horn, IA.
Lewis and Clark's Perilous 1804 Middle Passage
The Middle Missouri Valley between Iowa and Nebraska and halfway
through South Dakota was a severe 1804 test for Captain's Lewis and
Clark. Burdened with the responsibility of informing Indian tribes of
the shift from French and Spanish to American government oversight,
they found it was difficult to find tribes at home during the hunting
season. Here they experienced their only desertion and death of the
entire expedition and, unbeknownst to them and due to their prompt
dispatch, they escaped a Spanish military attempt to arrest or destroy
the Lewis and Clark Expedition in Nebraska or Iowa. With the aid of
audio-visual material, audiences at this presentation will learn many
facts about the expedition in the Middle Missouri Valley that are
traditionally overlooked or dismissed.
Lewis and Clark's Footprints in the Middle Missouri Valley
famous men have traveled up and down - and across- the Middle Missouri
Valley in the last 300 years. Few have left more than a reported note
of their passage. American Captains Lewis and Clark, however, left foot
prints which are still visible or calculable 200 years later. Burial
sites of American presidents are hardly known, but the one Corps of
Discovery burial is popularly known and constantly visited yet today.
These good captains casually noted a good Nebraska spot for a fort
overlooking the Missouri River. The next generation of U.S. military
built a fort there - and it has been restored in our day as a memorial.
Lewis and Clark broke a native blockade in south central South Dakota
which had prevented the French and later the Spanish from reaching the
American northwest by way of the Missouri River. Native American and
United States history yet today reverberates from that showdown. The
Lewis and Clark legacy still generates historic keelboats, visitor
centers, and the trooping of numerous school children, families and
Historic Pioneer Trails Bleeding West Out of Iowa
Fur traders, explorers, scientists, and artists first reached the
American West in boats by way of the Missouri River. That river traffic
continued, but covered wagons crisscrossed southwestern Iowa and blazed
trails over the Missouri River into the land of sunset. Iowa's pioneer
history was engraved on the land by wheels and etched in sweat and
blood. Those willing to sacrifice all in their travels were hoping for
trade, discovery , a new home, refuge, speculation or military
achievement. Fifteen distinct Iowa trails were cut by wheels. Three
only by horse, mule, or human footprints.
Historic Pioneer Trails Through Southwestern Iowa
This presentation on trails of southwestern Iowa covers the explosive
years between 1804-1857 for the still relatively new American republic.
Descriptions of great river traffic and covered wagon trails of
Southwestern Iowa will demonstrate how broad Iowa's heritage really is.
Some of the trails to be discussed include the 1804-1806 Lewis and
Clark Trail, 1811 Overland Astorian's Trail, 1837 US Dragoon Trail,
1846 Mormon Trail, 1846 Mormon Battalion Trail, 1849 California Gold
Rush Trail and the 1856-1857 Handcart Trail.
American Indians & Mormons in the Middle Missouri Valley, 1700-1866
The seven-year stay in southwestern Iowa of migrating Mormons,
1846-1853, is a watershed in its history. Indian fur trade business,
1700 -1850, was replaced in those seven years by farming, milling,
light manufacturing, and massive merchandising to Gold Rushers, Oregon
migrants, etc. in more than 90 temporary Mormon communities. After the
Mormons moved west to the Great Salt Lake Valley, permanent settlers
flooded in and Indians were moved to small reservations. Gail Holmes,
for 50 years, has lectured, written about, and helped memorialize this
Iowa's Mormon Trail Old Oto-British Trade Trail
The late Dr. Stanley B. Kimball of Southern Illinois University said the Mormon pioneers of 1846 followed Indian trails through Iowa. Kimball probably should have said trail, instead of trails. It is very likely the Mormons followed the 1790s-1803 Oto-British TradeTrail across southern Iowa. Those heavily loaded covered wagon companies, however, built ferries and flood wood bridges, graded difficult terrain, and cut through some wooded areas. That invited California, Colorado, and Montana gold rushers, Oregon migrants, and others to cross Iowa instead of trailing earlier parties through Missouri, northeast Kansas, and south central Nebraska. But, what of that newly improved trail, celebrating, in 2011, its 165th anniversar? It made the Pacific Coast easier to reach. It was no longer necessary to struggle up the Missouri River, or down through the deserts of the southwest. The Mormon Trail became the primary emigration route into the American west. Markers, memorials, buildings, and cemeteries reveal the old trail yet today. What title should be given to a reminder of this celebration?
Edwin Holtum, University of Iowa
Phone: (319) 335-9154
Ed Holtum has been a librarian at the University of Iowa for over 35
years and is currently the curator of the John Martin Rare Book Room at
the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. The Hardin Library houses
one of the finest collections of historical medical books in the
country. Ed's passion is making Iowa citizens aware of the rich
resources that are to be found in these rare works that date from 1470
to the present. In doing so, he offers audiences a lively and up-close
view of the volumes themselves- an opportunity to handle the books and
to literally turn the pages of medical history. His presentations are
enhanced by the development and use of animated views of some of the
more striking images in the collections and of video clips of Dr. John
Revealing an Iowa Gem - The John Martin Rare Book Room
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
history of medicine comes alive as audiences see the images of and hear
the stories behind the most important works in the collection,
including Andreas Vesalius' epoch-making 1543 anatomy atlas and the
fist edition of William Harvey's humble little book on circulation that
overturned years of entrenched tradition and authority. Modern medicine
is the story of bold initiatives, blind alleys, outlandish notions,
discouragement and perseverance. Seeing the works and learning their
significance engenders in us a much needed sense of wonderment,
humility and gratitude.
The human body has been a source of mystery, curiosity, and amazement
since antiquity. Our curiosity continues today as evidenced by the
interest we take in displays such as Gunther von Hagens' widely
attended "Body Worlds." This presentation offers a glimpse at the human
body as depicted by anatomists and artists through a firsthand look at
images taken from the great anatomical atlases of the past. From the
sometimes crude drawings of the early incunables to the lavish and
striking engravings and lithographs of subsequent generations, these
depictions parallel our increasing understanding of the structure and
function of the most complex of all creations.
Loren Horton, Independent Scholar, Iowa City
Phone: (319) 466-3092
Loren Horton was employed by the State Historical Society of Iowa in
1972. Prior to that he was a teacher in various levels. Since his
retirement in 1996, he has concentrated on research in 19th century
social history and comparative funeral and burial customs in the United
Through the Eyes of Pioneers: Iowa As Described in 19th Century Diaries
Hundreds of thousands of people immigrated to Iowa during the 19th
century. Additional hundreds of thousands of people crossed Iowa on
their way to new homes farther west. Many of these pioneers kept
diaries and wrote letters, which offer a wonderful view of this period.
These documents describe the land, the people, the towns, and the
experience of traveling across the prairie. This program presents 19th
century Iowa in the words of the people who actually traversed the
This is Your Heritage
Emily and Sarah (Video): Presentation of the diaries of mother-daughter Emily Hawley Gillespie and Sarah Gillespie Hufalen
During the past 150 years many aspects of life in Iowa have changed.
These aspects include, among others, the origins of the people, the
technology, the occupations and social customs, as well as the economy
and politics. This presentation examines the significant factors among
these topics, and analyzes the causes and effects of the changes.
Sponsoring organizations may select the topics that best suit their
Danuta Zamjoska Hutchins
Phone: (712) 732-6779
Danuta Zamojska Hutchins, of Storm
Lake, was born in Warsaw, Poland and experienced the ravages of Nazi
occupation, their reprisals for the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 and
Poland¹s fall to communism after its liberation by the Soviet
Army. Dr. Hutchins left Poland in 1962 to study American literature and
language at the University of Minnesota. She received her Ph.D. in
Modern Languages, Education and Linguistics from the University of
Minnesota, Minneapolis. Dr. Hutchins has taught Slavic Languages,
Literatures and Cultures at Buena Vista College (now University) at
Storm Lake, Iowa, Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana, Iowa
State University at Ames, Iowa, and Ohio State University at Columbus,
Ohio. She has also taught courses in German Language, Literature and
History and Russian Language and Literature at Teikyo-Westmar
University and Westmar University at Le Mars, Iowa from which she
retired at its closure in 1995. She has authored many papers and book
chapters in her field and has written four books of general interest.
Her early retirement enabled her to devote full time to her artwork,
resulting in several successful group and solo exhibits of paintings,
etchings, and sculpture.
Dr. Hutchins and her husband, professor of
Chemistry at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, have two grown
children, Edward and Maria.
The Butterfly Effect Why Do We Feel Empathy with the Victims of War, Hunger, Terror and Natural Disasters?
Referring to her book "Torn Out Memories", Dr. Hutchins tells the
experiences of a child living under the Nazi occupation of Poland and
during the Warsaw Uprising. She relates her personal trauma to the
terrors suffered by the victims of 9/11 attacks.
Herbert Hoover's Role in Distributing Food in Post WWI and WWII in Europe
As a child, Dr. Hutchins experienced firsthand President Hoover¹s
distribution of food in Poland after WWII. A chapter in her book "Torn
Out Memories" gives details of those experiences and her connection
with the Hoover birthplace in West Branch.
Sacred and Profane Art Presented in Power Point
are the issues and images of human body in European art of the Middle
Ages through the present. Images selected include examples of
figurative paintings, drawings, and caricature as well as sculpture.
Discussion centers on both the aesthetic and the philosophic
considerations of human image as a vehicle of veneration and beauty
versus that of scorn and distortion.
Flowers of the Prairie With a copy of the "Prairie and Woodland Flowers Coloring Book"
as reference this presentation identifies prairie wildflowers, their
common English names and Linnaeus based classification in Latin. It
informs when they blossom, where they grow, and in what medicinal and
food uses have they served during the times of early pioneers and
Native American Peoples. With the "hands-on" component of
drawing/coloring images of those flowers this presentation can be taken
to the local prairies or prairie gardens and tailored to specific ages
and interests upon request.
Understanding and Reading Slavic Poetry in English Translation
Recitation and discussion of poems and short poetic works written by
the most outstanding contemporary Slavic authors has centered
especially on women poets. Discovering some intimate details in their
biographies and significant events surrounding them and their epoch
enhance the understanding of selected works and bring those poets to
life. Some humorous commentaries on the idiomatic and cultural
differences between the works¹ original language and that of the
English translation provide a glimpse into the task of literary
transposition from a very personal vantage point by Danuta Hutchins
herself a poet and published translator of many poetic works into and
from English language.
Home: (515) 278-5788
Cell: (515) 205-7134
Dan Kaercher is the retired founding editor-in-chief of Midwest Living Magazine and host of "Iowa's Simple Pleasures" and other travel-related programs aired on Iowa Public Television and other public television stations nationally. A native of Council Bluffs, he graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, majoring in journalism. During his extensive, award-winning media career at Meredith Corporation in Des Moines, Dan served as a writer and editor for such publications as Better Homes and Gardens, WOOD magazine and BH&G Special Interest Publications. He spent 21 years as founding editor-in-chief of Midwest Living magazine, published by Meredith. The popular regional publication focuses primarily on travel, food, home and garden information for readers in the 12 Midwest states ranging from Nebraska to Ohio, Michigan to Kansas (with Iowa at the heart of it all). Dan also hosted Midwest Living Radio Magazine, which aired on more than 100 stations in the region. He is the author of three books about the Midwest and Iowa: Best of the Midwest, Taste of the Midwest, and Parklands of the Midwest. Long a popular public speaker, Dan now spends his time primarily in Urbandale and Spirit Lake with his wife, Julie, their two children and two grandchildren.
Exploring the Great Midwest
Some cynics deride America's Heartland as "flyover country". Forget it! The Midwest is packed with unique and unforgettable attractions. Dan Kaercher, retired founding editor-in-chief of Midwest Living magazine, shares favorite destinations, insights and often-hilarious tales gleaned during decades spent roaming the 12-state Midwest region as a travel writer, author and public television personality.
Iowa's Hidden Treasures
Dan Kaercher, retired founding editor-in-chief of Midwest Living magazine and Iowa Public Television host, spent years traveling in almost every one of Iowa's 99 counties in search of close-to-home attractions and getaways to share with his loyal readers and viewers. You'll be amazed to learn what surprises you don't know await right in your own backyard--Iowa.
Journeys and Destinations
Iowa-based Dan Kaercher, retired founding editor-in-chief of Midwest Living magazine and popular public television host, shares some of the magical moments, occasional mishaps and meaningful lessons he learned during a highly successful 40-year career as a magazine editor, television personality and travel author and writer. Hear Dan's personal story, his observations on the changes he witnessed in the media industry, and some of his favorite travel destinations in Iowa and the Midwest.
Work Phone: (319) 273-6231
Home Phone: (319) 233-9137
Bill Koch received a Ph.D. in American Studies from St. Louis
University and is an adjunct professor in the Department of English
Language and Literature at the University of Northern Iowa. He has been
a Whitman re-enactor since 1997, appearing at various Civil War
encampments in Iowa, and presenting his show "Walt Whitman Live!!" in
numerous venues, including the Old State Capital in Springfield,
Illinois. A portion of this show can be seen online at Mickle Street
Review website, http://micklestreet.rutgers.edu/1.mov.
Walt Whitman Live!!
In this one hour program, Walt Whitman, portrayed by Dr. Bill Koch, will highlight major poems from his collection Leaves of Grass, as he celebrates 2005 as the 150th anniversary of the publication of Leaves of Grass.
In addition, Whitman will pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln, on the
occasion of the 140th anniversary of the Lincoln assassination, with a
description of the nation's obsequies, and recitations of the
Gettysburg Address and "O Captain, My Captain."
Whitman's poetry of nature is highlighted. In this presentation, we see
an older Whitman, as portrayed by Koch, hobbled by a stroke and watch
him as he finds strength from his contact with trees, babbling brooks,
the prairie and the night sky. The show can be done with little
technical support, though it can be staged in theatre like settings.
Brooks Landon, The University of Iowa
Phone: (319) 335-0454
Brooks Landon, Chair of the University of Iowa Department of English,
is an expert on science fiction literature and film. He not only wrote
the book Science Fiction After 1900: From the Steam Man to the Stars,
but also created the Humanities Iowa library reading and discussion
series "Journey to the Future." During the 80's he hosted "Watch the
Sky" on Iowa Public Television, a series on science fiction film. He
earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
A User’s Guide to Postmodern Fiction
Postmodernism means many different things in many different contexts. Postmodern architecture is not the same as postmodern fiction and postmodern fiction comes in more flavors than a well-known ice cream purveyor has flavors. Postmodern fiction comes after modern fiction, but modern fiction still gets written. Postmodern fiction is a reaction against modern fiction, but still shares many of its concerns and characteristics. Postmodern fiction is a mess. And, whatever it was, it’s almost certainly over, possibly replaced by a sensibility that is post 9/11.
For purposes of this talk—but without relying too heavily on critical jargon, I’ll consider postmodernism largely in terms of Lyotard’s description of it as a resistance to meta-narrative (“big” narratives that claim to explain everything, such as religion or Marxism) and of Jameson’s description of it as a “cultural dominant” (an attitude or atmosphere that pervades everything). More specifically, I define postmodernism as the culture of the easy-edit, a time when science and technology allow us to change just about anything. And I define postmodern fiction as fiction that rises from or responds to postmodern culture.
It’s probably more accurate to speak of postmodernisms than of a single postmodernism and its almost certainly more accurate to speak of postmodern fictions than of a single postmodern fiction. So, I’ll be talking about a fair number of novels that approach postmodern concerns from a fair number of different angles—books by familiar authors such as David Foster Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, and Don DeLillo, as well as books by younger and lesser known authors such as William Gibson, Jonathan Lethem, Chuck Palahniuk, Mark Leyner, and Max Brooks. My goal will be to create a broad context in which readers can more specifically place some of their own favorite authors and have a better idea of what they are up to.
Building Better Sentences: A Quick and Dirty and Pretty Much Grammar-Free Guide to More Effective Writing
Best-selling and critically acclaimed American novelist Don DeLillo has written: “This is what I mean when I call myself a writer. I construct sentences.” And Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham has written: "I'm still hoping to write a great sentence. If I do, I'll let you know." I think I know what both writers are trying to get at with their stark focus on the sentence, and I think I can show how attention to a very few ideas can help anyone write better sentences. So, this is a talk about all the important ways sentences get longer--and shorter. Whatever we can learn about how they work, what they do, how we can think and talk about them in ways that will help both our own writing and our understanding of the writing of others. Our concern will be with stretching our sense of options--all the things a sentence can be and/or do—not a trudge toward grammatical correctness and avoidance of errors, but a dance with language, a celebration of the gift of style.
Helen Lewis, Western Iowa Tech Community College
Phone: (712) 274-8733, ext. 1423
Helen Lewis ,an Eastern transplant to the Midwest, teaches at Western
Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City. She has taught English and
Humanities courses since 1971, and her special interests include
Westerns, women artists, Medieval mysteries, and square dancing. Ms.
Lewis portrays Jane Addams for the Great Plains Chautauqua Society,
Voicing a Cause, Voicing a Self: Jane Addams at the Hull House
Throughout her long career advocating the needs of impoverished
immigrants, exploited laborers, youth criminals, and war victims, Jane
Addams valued Hull House, her settlement house in Chicago, as the
center from which she and her colleagues could assist others, improve
society, and benefit themselves. She trusted social democracy to
restore dignity to the marginal. Her many publications reveal a person
finding identity and purpose through her causes. The presentation, done
in costume of the period, helps the audience to understand the path
chosen by this Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
Women of Warmth, Wisdom and War: Images of Native American Women in Westerns
Although film critics and viewers frequently dismiss Native American
women in Westerns as stereotypes providing background for the action, a
reexamination of Westerns reveals that Native American women characters
often have more than a mere setting or sexual purpose. Despite the lack
of Native American actresses in the films, the Westerns have depicted
the Native American cultures with women as healers, counselors, and
even warriors. This presentation considers those Westerns readily
available on video in order to offer the audience a new way to view old
Westerns. (Includes film clips.)
Barbara Lounsberry, University of Northern Iowa
Work Phone: (319) 939-6513
Barbara Lounsberry is a Professor of English at the University of
Northern Iowa. She was named the University's Distinguished Scholar in
1994. She is particularly interested in the subjects of Midwestern life
and literature. Born and raised in Iowa, Professor Lounsberry believes
Iowa culture, like its soil, is incredibly rich.
Yup...Nope...and Why Midwesterners Don't Say Much
The writer Ernest Hemingway made a virtue of Midwestern reserve.
Reticence became part of the Hemingway "code" and the strong, silent
type came to be associated with honor and heroism. This half-in-jest,
whole-in-earnest presentation (with slides) explores the historical
roots of Midwestern reserve, along with contemporary illustrations. As
one Midwesterner deadpanned on return from the East: "We think we are
being polite; they think we are slow-witted."
Nancy Drew: Iowa's Heroine to the World
Nancy Drew is the most popular female detective in fiction. Few know,
however, that Nancy is an Iowa heroine and that her creator was Mildred
Augustine of Ladora. Because of this secrecy and neglect, 75th and
100th birthday parties for Nancy and her creator are in order
throughout 2005. Nancy Drew and Mildred Augustine are extraordinary
role models for Iowa girls and boys, women and men. An academic pioneer
(the first woman to earn a master's degree from the University of
Iowa's School of Journalism), Augustine earned 6 airplane pilots'
licenses, including one for seaplaning; wrote 130 stories for young
people; and continued her newspaper column "On the Go" through her 98th
and last year of her life. Augustine wrote in the first Nancy Drew
volume, The Secret of the Old Clock published in 1930, "Nancy
Drew took pride in the fertility of her state and saw beauty in a crop
of waving green corn as well as in the rolling hills and the expanse of
prairie land."Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first Nancy Drew
mystery and the centennial of Mildred Augustine's birth with Barbara
Lounsberry's multi-media presentation.
Phone: (319) 266-8121
Kenneth Lyftogt is a lecturer in the Department of History, University of Northern Iowa and author of Left For Dixie: The Civil War Diary of John Rath and From Blue Mills to Columbia: Cedar Falls and the Civil War. Mr. Lyftogt spent many years as a Civil War re-enactor.
Iowa Stories of the Civil War
The program has two major themes: The first is that one can understand
both the causes of the war and the battle history of the war by
studying Iowa's role in that struggle. The second is that the stories
of Iowa's participation are too often overlooked. Stories are gleaned
from diaries, letters and personal accounts and include soldiers such
as John Rath, George Butler and Matthew Mark Turnbull as well as
influential citizens like Annie Turner Wittenmyer and Zimri Streeter.
To tell such stories is to address the major issues of the war:
slavery, racism, heroism, tragedy, politics and patriotism. Iowa ranks
second to none in this part of the nation's history.
Steve McGuire, The University of Iowa
Phone: (319) 335-3011
Steve McGuire is an Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction
and in The School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa
where he teaches "What Is Storytelling For?" He is a contemporary
traditional storyteller and has performed across the United States and
in Mexico and Canada.
Brimming with Stories
exists as a landscape thick with place names, many dating from the Age
of Saga, approximately 930-1030. In 2002 and 2003 Steve traveled
Iceland by cycle, completing 1400 miles along the route of the "ring
road" and into the North Fjords, West Fjords, and Snæfellsnes
Peninsula. Along the way residents shared their stories. For instance:
Axel, a farmer at the farmstead Bjarg, dating back to before the year
1000, took Steve to the place on his farmstead where saga hero Grettir
The Strong's head is buried; Einar, whose family has lived on Hofsnes
farm since before 1400, told him of Ingolfshofdi, where Ingolfur
Arnason, Iceland's first settler made landfall; at Helgafell on the
north of Snæfellsnes Peninsula Steve was taken to the grave of
saga heroine Gudrun dating 1085. What is remarkable is that every
person Steve visited with wove place and saga, their daily experience
of the relationship between landscape and story. In this presentation,
Steve will tell these stories and show some of the still images and
video of Iceland.
The American Discovery Trail: Iowa Route
program consists of stories of Iowans and the landscape of the 504
miles of the American Discovery Trail, part of Iowa's Millennium Legacy
Tom Milligan, Professional Actor, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 779-9775
Tom Milligan an award winning professional actor, portrays Grant Wood
and Henry Wallace. Tom has appeared in literally hundreds of plays
across the state, and for ten years, appeared at Charlie's Showplace,
Iowa's first dinner theater. Tom also offers workshops on acting
throughout Iowa, and also appears on Iowa Public Television.
The Not So Quiet Librarian.
state fired the shot heard round the world - the library world, that
is? Iowa! Who was the man that fired that shot? Forrest Spaulding. In
1938, Forrest Spaulding wrote the Library Bill of Rights, which was
adopted by the American Library Council in 1938, and in Spaulding's own
words "means as much today as it did yesterday and will tomorrow."
Spaulding served as director of the Des Moines Public Library from 1917
to 1919 and again from 1927 to 1952. His story, however, is bigger than
Des Moines, bigger even than Iowa. A recognized leader in the library
world, Spaulding's words and his life touched everyone who loves not
just books, but freedom of expression. This one man play about
Spaulding, written by Cynthia Mercati, nationally known playwright, and
performed by Tom Milligan, runs about 30 minutes and portrays Spaulding
with the gentle, good humor, he was known for, as well as his devotion
to the library and to civil rights. Spaulding was a very unquiet
librarian and the play shows what good one man can do in the world.
Grant Wood: Prairie Rebel
this 45-minute, one-man show, Grant Wood chats with the audience as if
talking to an old friend across the backyard fence, or maybe at his
home at Five Turner Alley in Cedar Rapids. He tells us about his life
and how he changed the art world forever with his work. It is the man
behind American Gothic that we hear and see, and the story of how he
took the moments, the memories, and the people of our state, and showed
the whole world the specialness of this Iowa. After the presentation,
the audience is encouraged to ask questions of the actor about Grant
Wood and his life.
American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Henry A. Wallace
In this one-act play based on the award-winning book of the same name
by Senator John C. Culver and John Hyde, actor Tom Milligan portrays
Henry A. Wallace, the agricultural innovator and founder of Pioneer
Hi-Bred seed corn company who became US Secretary of Agriculture and
later Vice President under Franklin Roosevelt. Admired by many and
later branded as a Socialist during his controversial 1948 campaign for
the presidency, Wallace always held out a vision for the future.
Dr. Tom Morain and Dr. WIlliam Juhnke, Graceland University
Phone: (641) 784-5053
Dr. Tom Morain was director of history at Living History Farms and administrator of the State Historical Society from 1995-2001. He has authored several books on small town history and Iowa life. A popular public speaker, Morain received the State Historical Society’s Petersen-Harlan Award in 2009, the organization’s highest honor for distinguished service. He currently teaches at Graceland University, serves as Director of Government Relations, and is assisting with the Iowa Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. In 2002 he received the Distinguished Service Award from Humanities Iowa.
Dr. William Juhnke is professor emeritus of American History at Graceland University, retiring in 2010 after a teaching career of 35 years. Drawing on his pacifist Mennonite background, Juhnke developed and headed the Peace Studies program at Graceland in addition to his specializations in the Civil War, Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement
“Point/Counterpoint: Was the Civil War Necessary?”
Juhnke and Morain take opposing positions to explore several of the contentious issues leading up to the first shots of the Civil War fired on Fort Sumter in 1861. As the United States commemorates the 150th anniversary of the conflict that tore the nation apart, they ask hard questions: Was it really an “irrepressible conflict” or could bolder political proposals have averted the bloodshed that cost 600,000 Americans their lives? What options did Lincoln have as President-elect when South Carolina voted to secede from the Union? Why did each side underestimate their opponents’ determination to fight? Why didn’t the North let the South go its way and avoid the incredible bloodshed? Juhnke and Morain invite the public into the debate as they explore the tense political climate of 1860-61 and demonstrate how historians can disagree without being disagreeable.
Lisa Ossian, Des Moines Area Community
Phone: (515) 250-8542
Lisa Ossian is associate professor of history at Des Moines Area
Community College in central Iowa. She earned her Master's Degree
in women's studies at Eastern Michigan University and her doctorate
at Iowa State University in agricultural history and rural studies.
Ossian has conducted research on Iowa during the early Depression
era along with the WWII home front years. She also did a national
survey of children's experiences during the Second World War.
She has been elected twice to the State Historical Society of
Iowa Board of Trustees as well as the Herbert Hoover Presidential
Education Committee and also serves on the National Education
Association's review panel for its academic journal Thought
and Action. She participates in the Organization of American
Historians' Speakers' Bureau and its Committee on Community Colleges.
Her forthcoming book, The Home Fronts of Iowa, 1939-1945
will be published in the fall of 2009 by the University of Missouri
The Home Fronts of Iowa, 1940-45
The home front contributions of Iowans and Americans divided into four
historical fronts: the farm front, the production front, the community
front, and the kitchen front. Food for Freedom directed American
farmers in the all-out production needed for the war effort and the
Allies' relief, and Iowa farmers lead the nation in crop and livestock
production. Iowa's small businesses and industries such as Maytag added
to the "Arsenal of Democracy" by filling many military sub-contract
orders while the two newly constructed ordnance plants in Burlington
and Ankeny produced thousands of bombs and millions of machine gun
bullets. Iowa's small towns and cities matched and exceeded records in
the eight War Bond Drives as well as the numerous scrap drives for
iron, paper, rubber, and tin, and Iowa's women met the rationing and
production requirements demanded from the federal government in all
The Early Depression Dilemmas of Rural Iowa, October 1929 to November 1932
The early depression years from October 1929 through November 1932
during President Herbert Hoover's administration marked the depths of
the Great Depression for the United States. For Iowa and other
Midwestern States, these years actually marked the middle of two
decades of agricultural depression which began shortly after the Great
War. The years imply desperation—both economically and
emotionally—but Iowans—rural and urban—met the
challenges often with great wit, humor, and intelligence. Rural Iowans
especially wrestled with several economic and social dilemmas—the
aftermath of the 1929 New York Stock Exchange crash, the increasing
tariffs and agricultural consequences, the politics of farm children's
health, the continuation and effectiveness of Prohibition, the demise
of the soft coal mining industry in Iowa's District 13, increasing
rural violence, changing perceptions of rural artistic creations, and
the consequences of the 1932 presidential election for rural Iowans.
Iowans not only met the challenges but developed different ideas and
plans which proliferated in the agricultural landscape—truly
Equipment required: overhead projector
Richard L. Poole, Chair/Professor of Theater and Speech Communication at Briar Cliff University
Work Phone: (712)279-5487
Home Phone: (712)277-9396
Richard Poole is a Fulbright Scholar who has written and lectured extensively both here and abroad on Midwestern Rural Theatre. His topics include medicine shows, tent repertoire, circle stock , airdomes and opera houses. His essays have appeared in Theatre History Studies; The Guide to United States Popular Culture; The Tamkang Review (Taiwan); Cambridge Guide to American Theatre (2nd Edition). His most recent essays include: “History, Archive; Memory, and Performance: The Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Play as Cultural Commemoration,” which appeared in Enacting History; and “Midwest American Rural Landscapes and the Creation of a Unique Theatre Culture, 1870-1940,” in Theatre History Studies, Volume 32. He is the co-author (with Dr. George Glenn) of The Opera Houses of Iowa (Iowa State Press – 1993). Currently, he is under contract to Mellen Press to co-author a book on Tent Repertoire Plays. Also, he acts, directs, and is a playwright.
The Medicine Show of "The Great Doctor Balthazar T. Archimedes!"
This illustrated lecture traces the development of American medicine shows from colonial times to the present, their pervasive influence then, and their continued impact to this day. Also included in the presentation is a visit from THE GREAT DOCTOR HIMSELF! He demonstrates the devices and tactics used by 19th century medicine men as they plied their wares, touting the MIRACULOUS CURATIVE POWERS of that GOLDEN MAGIC ELIXIR – UNIVERSITATIS RUPIS SPINOZIE! IT MUST BE SEEN TO BE BELIEVED!
"Tent Repertoire, Circle Stock, Airdomes and Opera Houses: Gone but not Forgotten"
This illustrated lecture details the incredible amount of theatre available to rural and small-town Midwest Americans between 1870 and 1940. By 1927, approximately 76 million people were entertained by approximately 400 traveling tent rep troupes. Audiences also witnessed many performances in other venues, such as opera houses, airdomes and circle stock. Basically the history of American theatre is the history of urban theatre. Rural theatre culture, featuring tent theatre, opera houses, airdomes and circle stock, has been marginalized or excluded altogether. This fascinating lecture fills that void and is not just for theatre buffs or even scholars but for all those interested in American culture, especially rural theatre culture. Performances in these venues reveal much about the values of rural America, especially during a formative period in its history.
Kristy Raine, Reference Librarian and Archivist, Mount Mercy College
Work Phone: (319) 368-6465
Home Phone: (319) 462-5696
Kristy Raine serves as the reference librarian and archivist at Busse Library, Mount Mercy College,
in Cedar Rapids. She researches and maintains the online project about Grant Wood’s eastern Iowa art
experiment titled, When Tillage Begins: The Stone City
Art Colony and School, the definitive history of the regionalist school’s appearance in the tiny community
and its impact on the lives of the colony’s teachers and students. Raine also serves as the original artwork coordinator for
the annual, Grant Wood Art Festival, held each June in Anamosa.
When Tillage Begins: The Stone City Art Colony
A 45-minute, multimedia presentation that captures the
history of the Stone City art colony from its genesis to its financial collapse in the fall of 1933. Primary,
historical documents and photographs relate the colony’s daily operations and provide biographical details
about students and staff considered the core of individuals who attended both summers (1932 and 1933).
Three Men and a Painting: Eldon, Iowa, the summer of 1930,
and the Birth of American Gothic
A 45-minute, multimedia presentation that intertwines the lives of the three men who contributed to the history
of this classic painting. Through photographs and primary, historical documents, the audience learns the life stories of (1)
Edward Rowan, founder of the Little Gallery in Cedar Rapids (now known as the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art); (2)
John Sharp, the Eldon, Iowa painter and Stone City art colony student who showed Grant Wood the iconic house;
and (3) Grant Wood, the artist.
For each presentation, the lecturer will also demonstrate the online project fostering her Grant Wood research and
take questions from visitors. Special emphasis will be shown for local artists or regional artists who participated
in the colony, when applicable.
Equipment required: computer (preferably, with external speakers), multimedia projector, and microphone.
Denny Rehder, Author, Musician and Photographer, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 277-4354
Denny Rehder, is a local historian. His avocation for nearly fifty
years has been music. Now that musical ability is combined with another
avocation - Iowa railroad history - to offer a program on this
overlooked part of Iowa's past. Rehder has been involved as author,
editor, publisher, photographer or researcher in the publication of
seven books on subjects from Iowa history. He is a native of Gladbrook who
grew up watching the trains of the Chicago Great Western mainline.
Grass Between the Rails
program celebrates Iowa's railroad heritage with a unique blend of
stories and original folk songs about the development of railroads in
Iowa. The subjects cover events of national importance such as the race
across Iowa to connect with the transcontinental railroad to the West,
and local history, including the poor service offered by the "Slow
Norwegian." Other topics include the somber "Worst Wreck Ever," a farm
boy's remembrance of "The One Elephant Circus," and the rollicking
Additional Resources: Tales of the Rails (Video)
Mary Kay Shanley, Author, West Des Moines
Phone: (515) 225-8425
Mary Kay Shanley is the author of nine books, including She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes and The Memory Box.
She is a regular contributor to numerous magazines, a public speaker
and an instructor at the University of Iowa's Summer Writing Festival.
The Magic of our Memories
Iowans are a people with roots. We grow well in the black soil that
blankets our state, in this land between two rivers. Here are our
homes, our families, our memories. This program will discuss the
importance of our memories, delighting in the commonality we share, and
we'll discuss ways of interpreting the past - through oral histories,
story telling and journalizing.
Our State Fair is a Great State Fair, but then you already knew that!
Our State Fair - Iowa's Blue Ribbon Story
is the book that chronicles 150 years of Iowans who have made up that
unique August experience. Read their stories and you'll discover a bit
of yourself - from watching two locomotives collide in front of a
packed Grandstand to riding the Roller Coaster or sneaking a smooch
with your sweetheart while gliding through Ye Old Mill, from parading
your Charolais around the ring to watching judges test your piecrust,
from camping in Tent City to eating your noon meal beside your car.
Join author Mary Kay Shanley in a discussion of some of the book's very
best tales, then share some of your own. Everybody, after all, has a
great State Fair story to tell.
Bill Sherman, Des Moines
Bill Sherman worked as a publications/public relations specialist
for the Iowa State Education Association for more than 35 years.
Now retired he continues to research, write and speak nationally
and internationally on topics related to country schools. Sherman
has organized annual conferences on country school preservation
for the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance since 2000. He works
with the groups to localize his presentations to include information
about significant schools that remain as museums in their area.
Audiences are encouraged to share experiences they have had with
country schools and to bring teaching certificates, maps showing
locations of country schools, books, photographs, diaries and
related items which can be displayed and shared with participants.
Iowa's Amazing Public Exposition Palaces
From 1887 through the 1930s at least 36 public exposition palaces and buildings were created 26 communities in mid America. Community boosters saw the places as a tourism/economic development program that would both promote their towns and products that were key to their economic well being. It started in Sioux City in 1887 where five elaborate, multi-room corn covered structures were erected.
Creston built blue grass palaces, Ottumwa created coal palaces and flax palaces flourished in Forrest City. More modest corn covered buildings were erected in downtown Des Moines and Iowans also constructed a corn covered building for the 1915 San Francisco Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
The rise and fall of Iowa's public exposition places and their legacy will be presented in an illustrated power point presentation. Many of the photographs in the presentation have not been published.
Media Coverage of the Assassination of John
In 1963 Bill Sherman started collecting newspapers published immediately
following the assassination of President Kennedy. That collection
evolved into an instructional kit of materials sold by Visual
Education Consultants, Inc. of Madison, Wis. Those materials were
converted into power point presentations featuring newspaper front
pages and cartoons from American and Canadian publications. This
program can also include an audio presentation by Jack Shelley
describing how the broadcast media reported the death of JFK and
interviews by Lee Kline and with David Belin and Hugh Sidey who
reflect on the JFK assassination. Equipment required: projector
to connect to an Apple Macintosh computer
The Recycling of Iowa Country Schools
This presentation provides a historical overview of Iowa country
schools and how these buildings are being used today. More than
180 schools have been preserved as public museum facilities and
1,000 more have been converted to homes. A screen or a clear white
wall is required for this presentation.
Iowa Country School Milestones This program
reviews important dates and persons who had a significant impact
on country schooling in Iowa and the nation. It also examines how teachers were trained to teach in county schools.
How "Good" Were Iowa Country Schools?
Major research that compares academic performance as measured
by standardized tests of elementary students in graded schools
and ungraded one-room schools will be reviewed. How country schooling
impacts education today also will be discussed.
Starting the Day in a Country School
This presentation describes how teachers prepared students to
begin their studies in country schools. Included is a description
of how and why the pledge of allegiance was created and adopted
as a school ritual.>
Donald G. Shurr
Phone: (319) 356-2420
Donald G. Shurr, is a Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist and Physical
Therapist who has lived in Iowa since 1964. An author of many articles
and books, Don has taught at the University of Iowa in Physical Therapy
for 25 years. In addition, Don was trained in St. Charles, Missouri, to
pilot the reenactment boats which will during the Bicentennial
commemoration of the Corp of Discovery expedition.
Lewis and Clark in Iowa
"Lewis and Clark in Iowa" begins with the story before the expedition:
the sale of the Louisiana Purchase to the United States and why.
Tracing the 1803 course from Elizabeth, Pennsylvania to St. Charles,
Missouri, Shurr discusses the background of the many "players" of the
expedition including York, the engages, and Seaman. Moving up the
Missouri River focus shifts to events occurring in Iowa such as the
death of Sgt. Floyd. An accompanying PowerPoint presentation shows the
keelboat and the pirogues with actual photos taken in St. Charles and
at the Onawa Lewis and Clark State Park. The audience will be exposed
to the many "firsts" that occurred in Iowa, the true peril of this
journey, and the return of Lewis & Clark to civilization at
Equipment required: computer and projector needed for power point presentation
Rosa Snyder, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 327-8860
Rosa Snyder is a graduate of Iowa State University in art education and interior design with additional history courses from Drake University and Iowa Wesleyan College. She taught art in Ames, Iowa and worked as a design consultant and artist for the Meredith and Hearst Publishing Companies, several area churches, commercial enterprises, and at private residences. After receiving an apprenticeship grant from the Iowa Arts Council, she was hired as a state restoration painter—scaled 20 foot scaffold in bib overalls—and helped re-create the intricate designs hidden under layers of paint on the ceilings and walls of Iowa's State Capitol. She is the only woman in the history of the building hired for that position. After retirement, she gave tours of the building to thousands of visitors, and later engaged as a “history detective” for the state and architectural firms who were restoring the building to its original grandeur. IPTV employed her as a researcher for their production of the video/DVD, This Old Statehouse, which covers many aspects of its history and restoration. Rosa is the author and publisher of the unique souvenir book, Glimpses of Iowa's Capitol (2005).
Glimpses of Iowa's Capitol: its history, art, architecture and restoration
Rosa Snyder, "history detective" and former restoration painter, will divulge untold stories and reveal hidden treasurers of Iowa's most recognized landmark. What clues lead to locating the designs on the ceilings and walls that where painted over years ago; and once found, how are they re-created? You will learn the step-by-step paint restoration process: the techniques and materials used to find the designs, the different kinds of applications, and the different types of paint used and why. Several before and after photos of the governor's and treasurer's rooms will illustrate this process. Not only are there designs on the ceilings and walls, but the building is adorned with several works of art and a myriad of exquisite details. Who were these talented craftsmen and well-known artists? You will go on a visual tour of the building, see their work, listen to their stories and hear interesting tidbits about the building.
Equipment required: Screen
Phone: (319) 230-8988
Email: jeff(dot)stein(at)mail(dot)com email@example.com
Jeff Stein is an author, historian and educator. He is an associate professor of communications at William Penn University and has taught at the college level for more than 20 years, including at Iowa State University, Buena Vista University-Marshalltown Center, and Wartburg College. A 2011 recipient of the national Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History, he is recognized as the foremost broadcast historian in Iowa. He also serves as executive director of the Iowa Broadcast News Association and is a member of the State Historical Society of Iowa board of trustees. His 2004 book Making Waves: The People and Places of Iowa Broadcasting is the only comprehensive history ever published of radio and television and their impact on the state of Iowa, while One Week in June: The Iowa Floods of 2008 was a Barnes & Noble #1 best seller. His latest book is Iowa's WHO Radio: The Voice of the Middle West. Stein has also produced a number of award-winning documentaries; his latest, From the Battlefront to the Homefront: Iowa Broadcasters Go To War, was produced with HI support.
Making Waves: The People and Places of Iowa Broadcasting
Radio and television exploded onto the scene in the 20th century and completely changed our lives. Today, we can hardly imagine a day without broadcasting. The development of radio and TV in Iowa was ground breaking, and became the model followed by the rest of America. In his presentation "Making Waves: The People and Places of Iowa Broadcasting", based on the book by the same name, broadcaster and educator Jeff Stein takes us back to the earliest days of both radio and television, highlighted by original broadcasts, photos and memorabilia. The presentation is also specifically tailored for different geographic areas of the state, and is designed to allow audience members to recall special memories and shared experiences
From the Battlefront to the Homefront: Iowa Broadcasters Go To War
The bravery of American military members has been well documented, often due to the unique reporting done by Iowa-based broadcasters on the scene. This presentation includes segments from a documentary by the same name, featuring vintage broadcasts and interviews with the journalists who covered conflicts from World War II to the first Gulf War...a 50-year span. Iowa broadcast historian Jeff Stein, the documentary producer, tells of the challenges the reporters faced in doing their jobs--relaying information to a waiting audience, and at times, reassuring them of the safety of Iowans serving thousands of miles away.
Larry Stone, Elkader
Phone: (563) 245-1517
Larry Stone’s boyhood fascination with the creeks and woodlots on his family’s southern Iowa farm brings authenticity to his nature photography, writing, and lectures. With degrees in biology and journalism, he also understands the natural world and can communicate the wonders of outdoor experiences.
During a 25-year career with the Des Moines Register, from 1972-1997, Larry traveled throughout Iowa, sharing stories and photos of the state's natural treasures.
His work also has appeared in The Iowan, Iowa Natural Heritage, Pheasants Forever, Our Iowa and other magazines. Larry has received awards from the Iowa Wildlife Federation, the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Iowa Sportsmen's Federation, the Iowa Division of the Izaak Walton League of America, the Association of Earth Science Editors, the International Regional Magazine Association, and the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He is a member of the Clayton County Conservation Board.
Larry and his wife, Margaret, live near Elkader, where they manage woodlands, native prairie, and reconstructed prairie on a farm along the Turkey River. Larry also operates a small business specializing in natural history books.
Gladys Black: The Legacy of Iowa’s Bird Lady
The late Gladys Black of Pleasantville was widely known throughout Iowa as a conservationist, educator, and amateur expert on birds. Larry and coauthor Jon Stravers have written a book about Gladys. Larry’s slide program acknowledges this colorful woman’s impact on so many Iowans.
Whitetail: Treasure, Trophy or Trouble?
A History of Deer in Iowa – Although Iowa’s original deer herd vanished in the face of white settlement, the animals rebounded during the 20th century to the point of over-population. Adapted from a 2003 book written for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, “Whitetail” traces that history. It’s a story with broad appeal to farmers, hunters, motorists, and wildlife watchers - anyone whose life has been affected by Iowa deer.
Iowa: Portrait of the Land
Based on Larry’s award-winning Earth Year 2000 book for the Iowa DNR, “Portrait” is a reminder to Iowans of the rich history of their natural resources, with an appeal for protecting that heritage.
Floating Through History
Not just for paddlers, this is an entertaining look at the natural and cultural resources that canoeists, visitors, and residents may experience along our waterways.
Mary Swander, Iowa Poet Laureate (2009-present )
Mary Swander, poet, playwright, and non-fiction writer,
draws her inspiration from the landscape and its people. From the Iowa Amish
to the New Mexico mystics, she has captured the extraordinary folkways and
idioms in the ordinary person's life.
Discussions, Readings, and Maybe a Banjo
She will talk and discuss the state of
poetry in contemporary society, illustrating her ideas with her original work
including the classic Driving the Body Back and her recent collection The Girls
on the Roof, a Mississippi River flood saga. The author of twelve books, numerous
plays and radio commentaries, Swander brings energy and humor to the page and to
her audiences. And sometimes she even brings her banjo.
David Thoreson, Okoboji
David Thoreson is a professional photographer and explorer from Lake Okoboji. David grew up in Algona but has been on adventures much of his life, whether bicycling around the United States, Canada and New Zealand or exploring the oceans and polar regions of the world. When home at his studio in Okoboji he operates a fine art gallery featuring his photography work. David loves the outdoors and photography of the Iowa landscape. In 1996, his photographs of Iowa and the biking event RAGBRAI were featured at the Smithsonian's Center for American Folklife during the Iowa Sesquicentennial. He has been a frequent contributor to The Iowan Magazine and Iowa Public Television (IPTV) over the years. His latest television documentary was nominated for an Emmy in 2011. David's book One Island, One Ocean was also published in the fall of 2011. The image-based book features over 350 of David's still images documenting his sailing voyage around the Americas.
Personal Adventures and Explorations of the Northwest Passage.
The presentation includes stories of David's three Arctic expeditions aboard small sailboats and the quest for the infamous Northwest Passage. He begins with the 1994 passage attempt aboard the 57' s/v Cloud Nine in which the crew became trapped in the ice and barely escaped. Thirteen years later, in 2007, David and crew were successful in traveling along famed explorer Roald Amundsen's route and became the first American sailboat in history to accomplish this feat. In 2009, he was ice expert and documentary photographer on the scientifically-equipped, 64' s/v Ocean Watch which accomplished the NW Passage from west to east. David became the only American sailor in history to transit the infamous passage in both directions.
David tells adventure stories visually, stitching voyages together and along the way go into brief history, photography and landscape, trip planning, ice charts, wildlife, native villages, and changes in the environment contributing to loss of Arctic ice.
Sailing Around the Americas, a 28,000-Mile Small Boat Journey.
In 2009-10, David was selected to be the documentary photographer and filmmaker on a 13-month, 28,000-mile sailing circumnavigation of the North and South American continents. The educational and scientific voyage was designed to raise awareness in the public and highlight many important ocean and sea issues. David took over 75,000 images during the sailing adventure and this is a stunning visual presentation.
The Northwest Passage in the Era of Climate Change.
This presentation includes a more in-depth look at the science of climate change with the emphasis on the Arctic. Using David's unique northern experiences, he explores the state of the polar ice cap, changes in native villages, culture, tourism, resource development and the northern sea routes with increasing shipping and commerce in the Arctic.
Why is the Arctic considered the epicenter of the climate debate? What is the future of the Northwest and Northeast Sea Passages? We will explore the many questions and have a lively discussion.
Equipment required: Screen, microphone (larger venues)
Chad W. Timm, Grand View University
Chad W. Timm is an Assistant Professor of Education at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. He taught high school history for 15 years and has also been an adjunct instructor in history at Simpson College and in Education at Iowa State University. His Master’s Degree is in Agricultural History and Rural Studies from Iowa State University, and his PhD. in Education is also from Iowa State.
He’s an Iowa native that grew up hearing stories from his Grandmother, Alice A. McNamara, about her work at Earl May Nursery in Shenendoah, Iowa, during the Second World War. Alice told him about the Japanese men that worked at Earl May in 1945, which sparked an interest in finding out how that could have been possible. Eventually he discovered that Japanese soldiers had been housed at a nearby Prisoner of War camp in Clarinda, Iowa, where the soldiers were hired out to alleviate local labor shortages. He was voted teacher of the year in 2001 and 2008 by the high school students he taught, was a state finalist for the 2006 Daughters of the American Revolution Outstanding History Teacher Award, and his dissertation received 2nd place in 2009 for both the American Educational Research Association Outstanding Dissertation Award and the Illinois Distinguished Qualitative Dissertation Award.
Working with the enemy: German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners of war in Iowa during the Second World War
As part of a relatively quiet and underpublicized government program, thousands of enemy soldiers invaded Iowa in 1943. With the hugely successful 1942 Allied campaign against Adolf Hitler’s vaunted Afrika Corps in North Africa, the number of enemy prisoners of war (POW) needing interment grew dramatically. Great Britain, no longer able to accommodate the increasing number of POWs, looked to the United States for help. Helping with the detainment of enemy POWs made sense, as American cargo vessels were returning home after delivering war materials with empty hulls. What began as an experiment in isolated locations in the south and southwest eventually led to more than 500 camps and 400,000 enemy soldiers interned in the United States, including two camps in the state of Iowa. Due to a severe shortage of agricultural laborers coupled with increased War Food Administration quotas for farm goods, Iowa’s farmers needed help doing their part to assist the United States in winning the war. This talk will focus on the creation of two POW camps in Iowa during the Second World War: one in the Northern Iowa town of Algona and one in the Southwestern Iowa town of Clarinda. Some of the topics discussed will be life in a prisoner of war camp, community relations, the POW labor program, branch camps in more than 30 Iowa communities, and the arrival of Japanese prisoners at Camp Clarinda in early 1945. Camp Clarinda was one of only two camps in the country to house Japanese soldiers. The story of POW interment in Iowa is a fascinating story of Iowans being confronted by the enemy; an enemy they not only needed to help them meet their wartime goals, but that also challenged them to find the humanity in the eyes of the enemy.
Rich Tyler, University of Iowa
Work Phone: (319) 356-2471
Home PHone: (319) 337-2544
Rich Tyler has been restoring the Secrest farmstead and octagonal barn
near West Branch. He has researched the history behind the property,
including the golden age of farming, the Depression, and the
architecture of barns. Rich is a Professor in the Departments of
Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and Speech Pathology and
Audiology at the University of Iowa.
If Barns Could Talk
are more than just solid functional buildings. They represent the soul
of our farming heritage, and perhaps more! What is a barn,
architecturally and emotionally? Barn design was based on experience,
needs and ambition. Their function indicated both the farm operation
and the farmer's personal touch. Barn construction was a community
affair comprised of hard work, huge meals, and a barn dance. Few of us
today have the products of our labor on display for all to see,
appreciate and criticize. But what's happening to our old barns? Will
metal replace wood? Can we smell and touch the metal in the same
fashion? What does our interest in barns tell us about ourselves? Why
should we care about old barns today? These and other questions
discussed as we explore the history and current importance of barns.
Your Grampa and Gramma's Farm
Farming in the late 1800s and early 1900s represents a lifestyle of
hard work, inventions, prosperity and depression. This presentation
focuses on a typical farmer, Joshua Secrest, who developed a successful
livestock farm. It also reviews the dramatic development of ingenious
farm machinery and tools that enabled growth and prosperity. Secrest
built a large octagonal barn in 1883. The barn and farmstead were lost
in the depression. Old farm tools are shared as part of the
presentation. Some you won't recognize.
Why Save an Old Barn?
we let them fall down? What is the real value of preserving our past?
The example used in this presentation is the restoration of The Secrest
1883 Octagonal Barn. A story is told about how individuals and
organizations rallied around Iowa farm history, to contribute to the
saving of this barn. The barn is open to the public, and photographers,
artists and school children have all played an important role. How can
you save your barn? What will they mean to future generations who grow
up without them?
- Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern (Video)
- When We Farmed with Horses (Video)
- Call Me a Farmer: Women tell their side of the farming story (Video)
Sarah Uthoff, Iowa City
Phone: (319) 351-2100
Sarah Uthoff received both her history education BA and her Masters of
Library Science from the University of Iowa. An active Wilder
researcher, Sarah is a regularly featured speaker at the annual Laura
Ingalls Wilder Remembered Day at the Herbert Hoover Presidential
Library in West Branch. She has also been featured at the Laura Ingalls
Wilder: New Perspectives Conference and the Laura Ingalls Wilder
Teacher Day, both sponsored by the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, SD.
Sarah's consulting work has included designing the Laura Ingalls Wilder
Girl Scout Patch Day at Usher's Ferry Historic Village in Cedar Rapids
and a training session for the staff at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
in Burr Oak, Iowa. Her unique programs can be customized for the type
of group (adults, children, mixed), and the type of presentation
desired, (scholarly or crafty). Sarah can speak as a modern day
researcher or costumed as either a young or older Laura.
General Laura Program
basic Laura program gives a general overview of Laura's life. It
features slides taken at all the Laura sites and is good for any age
This twist on the
general program has us looking in on Laura as she is packing up to move
to Missouri. Each artifact in the old chest holds a story.
Laura's Life in Mansfield
This in-depth program answers the question, "What happened next?" and
picks up after her books. It examines Laura's role as farmwife,
businesswoman, beginning writer, and famous author.
Following in Laura's Footsteps
Having visited many of the Wilder sites multiple times, Sarah gives
inside information about what there is to see at the main Wilder sites
and the best way to see it.
A Visit With Laura
interactive visit with Laura using some of Laura's own words. Questions
will be culled from actual letters written to her.
What's My Story?
shares stories of Laura's life. Audience members are invited to pick an
object from a nearby table and hear its story. There are lots of
opportunities for everyone to take part.
Stories from Pa's Big Green Animal Book
specialized storytelling session focuses on animal stories. These
stories come from Laura's life and other historic animal tales. Also, a
copy of Popular and Tropical Worlds (Pa's Big Green Animal Book) will be brought along for everyone to see.
A Day in a One-Room School
A set of slides takes you though a typical day in a one-room school house.
Laura Ingalls Wilder: What a DOLL!
Once we review the basic information about Laura Ingalls Wilder's life, we examine through photos the history of the different dolls created in the likeness of Laura Ingalls Wilder or created as souvenirs. Which dolls do you need for your collection? Sarah appears in a costume matching the only Laura doll so far created as "old" Laura and brings that doll along in person.
Robert Vavra, Mississippi Riverboat Captain and owner operator of The Maiden Voyage, a working river boat on the Upper Mississippi River.
Phone: (563) 586-2123
After working for a number of years after high school in Commercial Fishing, Clamming and Trapping, Robert realized a young man should not hitch his wagon to a dying industry. Today, commercial fishing, clamming and trapping has all but disappeared. He witnessed the death of these industries.
The Day of the Hunter Gatherer will be a hands-on, interactive experience covering the following topics.
Marquette and Joliette - the role they played on the Upper Mississippi River
- Early Fur Industry - trading with Native Americans and the Hatting Industry
- Clamming Industry – Mother of Pearl Buttons
- Pearling Days – Worlds finest Fresh Water Pearls
- The Cultured Pearl Industry – Mother of Pearl clam shell beads
- Fishing as a way of life – The rough fish industry
- The Old World Way of Clamming and Fishing
- New technologies – new ways to fish, new ways to use the fish
- Health and Status of the Great Mississippi River - Invasive species
Michael Vogt, Curator, Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, Johnston, Iowa
Michael Vogt is curator for the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge, in Johnston, Iowa. He earned a Bachelor's
Degree in history education and a Master's Degree in history from the University of Northern Iowa and currently serves on
the Board of Directors for the Iowa Museum Association, the State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees, and was
co-chair for the Iowa Battle Flags Preservation Committee. He has served as an adjunct history instructor for Simpson
College, Grand View College, and taught a course on the Spanish-American War for Buena Vista University in 1998. He is
author of "From Cornfields to Cuba: The 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry in the Spanish-American War" in the November/December
2007 issue of The Iowan and "The Fighting 51st Iowa in the Philippines" in the Fall 2003 issue of Iowa Heritage Illustrated.
Mike also co-edited for publication in 2007 the Spanish-American War diary of 50th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Private Walter C.
Laughead and in 2009 co-authored a centennial history titled Images of America: Camp Dodge. He is a native of Gladbrook and currently
resides in Des Moines.
Iowa’s African-American Company M in the Spanish-American War
African-Americans desiring to serve their country in the Spanish-American War had no choice but to enter a segregated army. The story of Iowa’s Company M, 7th US Infantry Immunes, though largely unknown, mirrors the larger discriminatory difficulties faced by black volunteers in the Spanish-American War. The pioneering integration efforts of Des Moines’ black officers and soldiers of Company M represents Iowa’s own unique experience within the larger context of African-American military history.
Soldier's Voices: The Iowa National Guard and the Spanish-American War
minute presentation utilizing excerpts from diaries, letters, and recollections of Iowa veterans to provide a synthesis
of experiences on combat, overseas duty, military service, disease, food, camp life and quarters, and other facets of
soldiering in the late nineteenth-century. The presentation includes an accompanying slide show of period photographs
of Iowa National Guard troops from around the state and color images of surviving artifacts that are part of the Iowa
Gold Star Military Museum collection.
Camp Dodge: Home Away From Home, 1917-1918
Forty-five minute presentation on the organization, construction, disease, camp life, and other facets of military training conducted at Camp Dodge during World War I. The presentation includes an accompanying slide show of period photographs from the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum collection.
The Battleship USS Iowa at the Battle of Santiago Bay, 1898
presentation on the participation of the US Navy’s first “sea-going” battleship USS Iowa in the pivotal 3 July 1898 Spanish-American
War battle of Santiago Bay, Cuba. Combining veterans’ eyewitness accounts with period images, the presentation provides a rousing
illustrated narrative detailing the significant role played by the USS Iowa in one of the most celebrated victories in US Navy history.
Equipment required: Slide Projector and screen
Phillip E. Webber, Central College
Work Phone: (515) 628-5255
Home Phone: (515) 628-4271
Phillip E. Webber is Professor of German and Linguistics at Central
College in Pella, where he has taught since 1976. A primary focus of
his research has been patterns of ethnicity and language use in Iowa
Iowa's Cultural Kaleidoscope
In this program,
Phil Webber presents a rich variety of photographic images that suggest
some of the major historical settlement patterns in Iowa, and current
trends in new immigration from areas as diverse as Africa, Eastern
Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
Phone: 319-653-6250 (mornings best)
Michael Zahs grew up on a century farm near Haskins as part of a nine-generation Iowa family. Michael attended a one-room school and has a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Northern Iowa. He taught junior high science and Iowa history for 39 years. In 1989, he joined with Dr. Loren Horton in creating the “Iowa: Eye to I” class/tour. This was the first graduate level class taught at Iowa Wesleyan College and developed into a series of seven classes. The classes cover art, literature, history, geology, food ways, ethnicity, architecture, nature and music. Students are immersed in all things Iowa in the classes, which are taught on a bus traveling the state. Michael has given programs on state and local topics for over 35 years. He is very involved in historic preservation, log buildings, cemetery work, and state and local history.
Early Iowa HIstory Through The Writings of Women
Letters, diary entries and other writings of early women are used to tell the story of life in 19th century Iowa.
Iowa History in a Cloth Bag
This program explains how cloth bags and the revolutionary idea of marketing to women helped Iowans survive the Great Depression and the shortages of World War II. Flour sacks, feed sacks and seed sacks will tell the story from relief work by Herbert Hoover to clothes and quilts in the 1950’s.
Building and Life in a Log House
The tools and construction methods used in log construction will be used to show an important part of life in early Iowa. Artifacts will be used to tell the story and involved the audience in the story. The daily life of Iowans in the pioneer period will be presented.
What it Means to be an Iowan
One of the things we do best--downplay the importance of being an Iowan.
The War of 1812 in Iowa
Very little in military history takes place in Iowa, in fact the only "Battle of 1812" west of the Mississippi River took place in Ft. Madison. In this presentation you'll learn about the building of the fort, the daily life of the soldiers, and the part the fort played in early Iowa. Mike Zahs had an ancestor that was killed in the battle.
Programs in country schools were a very important part of the school year. This presentation covers material used in country schools from 1850 to 2010. The presentation will include songs, puppets, and dialogue.
This program follows the development of the family commemoration of Christmas through Iowa's history. The Moravia Christmas is emphasized.
Recent Unpleasantness or the Uncivil War
Iowa's place in the events before the civil war and it's role in the most important event in the country's history is presented. Many excerpts are used from soldiers' letters home.
19th Century Projected Entertainment
Frank and Indiana Brinton showed 1000's of Iowans their first projected images in small town opera houses or at Chautauqua gatherings. Some of their magic lantern slides and early movie presentations will be part of the presentation. The films presented are some of the world's oldest films known to exist.
This presentation is a walking tour of your local cemetery to learn about local history.