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Iowa Heritage Illustrated Writer Guidelines

Iowa Heritage Illustrated presents Iowa history in an attractive and accessible style, with life, action, and color. The magazine is heavily illustrated with historical and current photographs and artwork. Each issue presents a broad range of topics and reflects solid research, careful interpretation, and clear literary style. Iowa's history is presented through a variety of formats—researched articles, autobiographical accounts, photo essays, artifact photography, material culture, architecture, edited documents (such as letters and diaries), personal essays, and oral history interviews. This blend of individual voices and solid research allows for personal expression tempered with historical objectivity.

The style is generally narrative, sometimes interpretive. Our audience largely comprises readers with a keen interest in history but not necessarily an academic background in history. We do not publish scholarly manuscripts unless the presentation is appropriate or adaptable for a general reading audience. Although an article may focus on one event or individual, it is particularly important to provide the broader historical context so readers understand how that individual or event fits into the larger picture of Iowa, midwestern, or national history. Both primary and secondary sources are important.

Originality and significance of the topic, as well as the quality of research and writing, will determine acceptance for publication. We seldom reprint material that has been published elsewhere. Nor do we publish family histories or personal reminiscences unless they are exceptionally compelling or historically significant, or if they illustrate broad themes in ways that appeal to a general audience.

Our purposes, admittedly, are many: To excite, educate, and entertain readers about Iowa history. To help readers connect the past and the historical manifestations that surround them—historical photographs, documents, memory, architecture, the natural and built landscape, historical objects. To encourage individuals to value, articulate, record, understand, and preserve their history. To serve as a bridge between historians and the public. To bring current research and scholarly interpretations to the public in an accessible, lively format. Likewise, to publish personal accounts that will fuel later scholarly research.

Published since 1920, the magazine was titled The Palimpsest until 1996.

Submission Guidelines

  • Queries are recommended.
  • Manuscripts may be submitted as hard copy (double-spaced), on CD (with accompanying hard copy), or as an e-mail attachment.
  • Length depends on topic and focus. Generally 5 to 20 manuscript pages (1250 to 5000 words) works well, but query editor if length differs.
  • Most articles, when published, are accompanied by a boxed "Note on Sources," which lists major sources. Nevertheless, footnotes or endnotes must appear in the original submission, unless it is largely autobiographical. When using newspaper sources, please cite page as well as date.
  • Because illustrated material is integral to the magazine, we encourage authors to include photographs and illustrations or suggestions. Briefly explain images and cite their sources. Photocopies are appropriate at the submission stage.
  • Please allow up to three months for evaluation.


Contents are copyrighted to the State Historical Society of Iowa, the publisher of Iowa Heritage Illustrated. The Society is an ongoing institution capable of protecting copyright over a long period. We also receive many requests from noncommercial publishers (such as local historical societies or community history groups) to reprint articles from Iowa Heritage Illustrated. In the interests of long-term protection and making historical material (originally published at taxpayers' expense) readily available to the public, we think it desirable for the Society to hold copyright to Iowa Heritage Illustrated articles. If you as an author later wish to reprint an article, we will grant you permission.


Payment is available for the current publishing year. Range: $50-$500, depending on type of manuscript, depth of research, quality of writing, complexity of issue, published length, etc. Author also receives 5 free copies, a 40% discount on additional copies, and a one-year subscription.


Anthony Jahn
State Historical Society of Iowa
600 E Locust St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
(515) 281-4895

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