TOP2March-April 2013    


TOPBorlaug Statue Artist at Historical Museum Through March 28
The artist selected to create a statue of Norman Borlaug (1914-2009) for the U.S. Capitol Building begins a two-week residency at the State Historical Museum of Iowa today.


Artist Benjamin Victor, seated, is interviewed by local television Monday, March 18. 

Benjamin Victor, commissioned last fall by the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue Committee, will be at the State Historical Museum now through March 28, 2013, to interact with Iowans and work on the statue. He will be located in the Museum's "Saving Our Stuff" exhibition 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 2-4 p.m. Sunday.


The bronze statue of Borlaug will stand seven feet tall. The goal is to have it installed in the U.S. Capitol Building on March 25, 2014, the centennial observance of Borlaug's birth. It will be one of two statues depicting notable citizens from Iowa. The Borlaug statue will replace one of U.S. Sen. James Harlan, which will be returned to Iowa. The other statue representing Iowa is of Gov. Samuel Kirkwood.


The Borlaug Statue Committee, appointed by Governor Terry Branstad, chose Victor from a field of 65 candidates after conducting a world-wide artist search that reflected the global impact of Borlaug's life and career.


A Cresco native, Borlaug is credited for saving a billion lives through his development of new wheat varieties. His achievements earned him recognition as Father of the Green Revolution and the distinction of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal, America's highest civilian honor.


Additionally, the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates will be open 5 a.m.-3 p.m. March 25, 2013, in recognition of Borlaug's 99th birthday and in conjunction with WHO Radio's on-site broadcast of the Van and Bonnie In the Morning Program. Victor will speak at the Hall of Laureates from 11 a.m. to noon that day. 



Two Nominees Vie for One Position on SHSI Board

The State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees has received two nominations to fill one position on its 12-person board.


Sandra Kessler Host of Council Bluffs and incumbent Dr. Richard H. Thomas will be placed on the ballot. Only SHSI members may vote for board members; mailed copies will arrive by mail in the next few weeks.


Kessler grew up on a farm near Odebolt and was the first in her family to go to college and build a professional career and she credits her accomplishments to the values she learned on the farm and at country school, like her father and grandfather. She was trained in pre-medical sciences and as a high school science teacher at Simpson College, and taught in the Des Moines public school system until 1968 when she moved to California. She was a medical social worker and eventually became the Chief of San Diego County Medical Services after receiving her Master's Degree in Social Work.


Dr. Richard Thomas is seeking his second term on the SHSI Board. He is Emeritus Professor of History at Cornell College and the author of the Sesquicentennial History of Cornell College., Vol. II, as well as a contributor to chapters on Iowa history in several published collections. Since arriving in Iowa in 1967, he has been a member of SHSI and served one term as an elected member of the Board of Curators, before being appointed by Governor Robert Ray to serve on the new consolidated structure of the State Historical Society board. He has received numerous distinctions for his career in service to Iowa heritage, including SHSI's Petersen-Harlan Award for long-term contributions to the promotion of Iowa history.


The governor appoints nine trustees, and every year the members of the Society elect one trustee for a three-year term. The term begins July 1, 2013. 



An Iowa Treasure: Preservation of Motor Mill on the Turkey River


Despite being tucked away along the Turkey River in Clayton County, one of Iowa's most picturesque sites continues to draw visitors for its history and natural surroundings.


The remote Motor Mill, located near Elkader, will be the topic of "History for Lunch" Wednesday, April 10, 2013, from 12-1 p.m. at the State Historical Society of Iowa Centennial Building, 402 Iowa Avenue, Iowa City. The event is free and open to the public and guests are welcome to bring their own lunch. Call (319) 335-3916 for more information.


Freelance photographer and nature writer Larry Stone will join historian Marlys Svendsen to discuss the Motor Mill, its natural surroundings and its fascinating history. The six-story limestone mill was built with limestone blocks quarried and transported by cable car from the bluffs above the mill.


Although the exact date is unknown, it is believed the mill was built between 1867 and 1869 by local entrepreneur John Thompson. The iron bridge that crosses the Turkey River was destroyed by floods in 1991 and 2008, but has recently been reconstructed in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local partners.


Photo credits: historic view, State Historical Society of Iowa Library, Iowa City; contemporary view by Larry A. Stone, December 2012, first snow after new bridge opened.




Seeking NHD in Iowa Judges


It's time to mark your calendars (and save the dates!) for the 2013 National History Day in Iowa state events. Judges and volunteers are needed to create a positive experience for Iowa's young historians.


The Senior Division (grades 9-12) and Youth Division (grades 4-5) will be Monday, April 29; the Junior Division (grades 6-8) will be Monday, May 6.


Historians, educators, and professionals in related fields are invited to serve as judges during one or both events. Due to the number of students involved, there is a greater need for judges during the Junior Division Day May 6. First round-judging is completed by mid-afternoon and NHD in Iowa provides a catered lunch from Baratta's restaurant. If you are a veteran judge, please consider judging final rounds as well.


Mature young people, parents, and other interested adults are invited (and encouraged!) to serve in volunteer positions such as room monitors or event assistants. College students and adult volunteers are also needed April 29 for a few hours in the morning to evaluate Youth Division projects.


This annual event is a great opportunity to encourage students in their study of history. If you are interested in serving as a judge or a volunteer, please contact Millie Frese, Education and Outreach Manager at the State Historical Museum, at or (515) 281-6860. 





Spring 2013 Annals Now Available

The latest issue of the State Historical Society of Iowa publication The Annals of Iowa takes an interesting look at "the Helen Keller of the West," Linnie Haguewood, as well as racially integrated football teams at Iowa universities.


In one feature article, Linda R. Lindell, a catalog librarian at Hilton M. Briggs Li­brary at South Dakota State University, provides an account of the education of Linnie Haguewood at the Iowa College for the Blind and elsewhere in the 1890s. Dubbed by the press "the Helen Keller of the West," Haguewood, like Keller, experienced not only a dedication to her education and well-being, but also the construction of a public persona for her built on media representations and societal expectations that reflected prevailing Victorian notions about gender and people with disabilities.


In the other feature article, S Zebulon Baker, a visiting instructor of history at Georgia South­ern University, assesses the post-World War II encounters of the racially integrated football teams at Drake University, Iowa State University, and the University of Iowa with teams representing institutions in the South. Iowans, Baker argues, embraced racial equality on the gridiron during this period, and saw sports, generally, as a vehicle for combating racism in American life. But that ideal, as he shows, was persistently challenged, even as the context evolved, in encounters with southern institutions.


A review essay by Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, professor of history at Iowa State University, reviews three memoirs by farm-children-turned-professors.


The usual set of book reviews and notices includes reviews of books about slavery in New France, the "Indianization" of Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, Fort Blue Mounds during the Black Hawk War and since, the Iowa State Constitution, Mrs. Dred Scott, the 35th Iowa Volunteer Regiment in the Civil War, Mary Butler Renville's narrative of Indian captivity during the Dakota War, British aristocrats in frontier Iowa and the West, Poles in Wisconsin, the Great Depression in rural Iowa, the image of American small towns, home economists in the twentieth century, home gardening in Wisconsin, the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, and the development of the interstate highway system.


To receive The Annals of Iowa as a benefit of membership, upgrade to the Heritage Circle level. To order a single copy of this issue, or to subscribe, call Marvin Bergman at (319) 335-3931, or e-mail and ask for the Spring 2013 issue of The Annals of Iowa.


Photo: Linnie Haguewood (left), a deaf-blind student at the Iowa College for the Blind in the 1890s, poses with her tutor, Dora Donald. 



 See Two New Exhibits in Archives and Library Records Room

Embellished corporate letterheads from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the little lost town of Calliope which made headlines in 1872 for its "Mob Law" are the topics of two new exhibits in the State Historical Society of Iowa Archives and Records Room.


The Reading Room is located within the State Historical Building at 600 E. Locust, Des Moines. Hours are 12:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.


The larger of the two exhibits takes a look at Iowa's corporate heritage with a display of corporation letterheads from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Drawn from state archives holdings of Secretary of State corporation correspondence, the letterheads feature a range of corporations in different cities throughout the state.


The letterheads themselves were chosen because of their colorful and fanciful designs which represent the artistry of lithography before the digital age, and because of the subject matter, such as the Hawkeye Gold Mining & Milling Company from Brighton, Iowa.


The second exhibit is on the town of Calliope, Iowa. Founded in 1860 on the banks of the Big Sioux River by Frederick M. Hubbell, Calliope was the first county seat of Sioux County. Calliope's main claim to fame was an insurrection that took place in January 1872 when 150 men from Orange City raided Calliope and stole the county vault, county money and threatened to hang the county treasurer, Rufus Stone, because he did not acknowledge his defeat in the 1871 election.


While no violence really occurred, one of the Sioux City newspapers of the time declared it as "Mob Law in Sioux County" (The Sioux City Daily Times, Jan. 23, 1872). Later that year a special election was held and the overwhelming majority of residents voted to have the county seat moved from Calliope to Orange City.  Eventually, Calliope was annexed into Hawarden, and the little town faded into history. 


Both exhibits show the wealth of materials available to the researcher interested in corporate or local history. The Calliope display includes materials not only from the State Archives, but also photographs from Special Collections, and newspaper microfilm prints from the historical library.  





2013 HRDP Application Deadline May 15

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs' State Historical Society of Iowa is reminding Iowans the deadline for submitting grant applications to its Historical Resource Development Program is coming up.


HRDP applications must be submitted on-line at by the end of the day, May 15, 2013.  When hard copies of application materials are required, they must be postmarked by May 15, 2013, or received in the Grants office by 4:30 p.m., May 15, 2013, at 600 E. Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. More information is available at or by calling (515) 281-4228.


HRDP provides grants to preserve, conserve, interpret and educate the public about historical resources in categories related to historic preservation of the built environment, museum collections and documentary materials such as diaries, letters, photographs and newspapers.


Projects funded in this grant cycle will begin July 1, 2013, and must be completed by Nov. 30, 2015. Projects are evaluated based on the significance of the historical resource; the proposed scope of work; the project's impact on the local community; and the degree to which the budget is reasonable, appropriate to the project, complete and mathematically correct.


HRDP is funded by the Resource Enhancement and Protection Act (REAP), passed by the Iowa General Assembly in 1989. Through REAP, local government units, various organizations and private individuals can receive funding for eligible projects.





Heartland Suffrage Exhibit Features Iowa Artifacts

In case you haven't already heard, Iowa produced some pretty big leaders in the suffrage movement of the 19th century.


Carrie Chapman Catt grew up in Charles City and attended Iowa State University before becoming president of the National American Women Suffrage Association. Amelia Bloomer was the namesake of the bloomer (pants) and a resident of Council Bluffs from 1852 until her death in 1894.


"We Want the Vote: Women's Suffrage on the Great Plains" is a new exhibition at The Durham Museum in Omaha that includes items from the State Historical Society of Iowa's collections related to these famous Iowa women. The exhibition will be open through May 26, 2013. The Durham Museum is located at 801 S. 10th St., Omaha. Visit for visitor information.


"We Want the Vote" explains the history and struggles of suffrage in our region. As cities, states, and nations changed, women began to realize the importance of having a say with a vote. Even though suffrage began as a fairly radical concept in 1848, as the decades passed, women from all backgrounds began to understand that they didn't just want the vote, they needed the vote. 


Photo: The Charles City, Iowa, Political Equality Club minutes book, 1891-1892, on loan from the State Historical Society of Iowa - Iowa City. 





Fond Farewell

State Historical Society of Iowa staff in Iowa City was saddened by the recent death of a longtime friend and favorite patron of the Centennial Building.


Walter Farwell, 85, passed away Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 in Tipton. Farwell was a trained singer, who used his talent to teach in the Fayette County schools, as well as a period of time as head voice teacher at Wartburg College in Waverly. He also served in the Korean War, where he organized a drum and bugle corps to perform at military functions.


During his lifetime, Farwell was an avid researcher of genealogy and local history. His research officially began in 1941 with his Grandmother Farwell, and widened through numerous genealogically oriented vacations throughout the United States.


"Mr. Farwell was a classic Iowan - hard-working and generous to others," said Mary Bennett, Special Collections Coordinator at the Centennial Building. "His delightful sense of humor was punctuated by a broad grin and twinkling eyes. I remember the many days he visited the State Historical Society of Iowa's library in Iowa City to ferret out new information about Fremont County and his ancestors. He willingly shared his research finds with others, who did not have the patience and diligence to track down illusive sources or stare at microfilm for hours on end. When Tipton still had a bakery, he would arrive at our library with a box full of delicious cream-filled pastries for staff to enjoy. He was a careful man, always documenting the details and always taking time to share his enthusiasm for life with colleagues or strangers. We will miss him after nearly 40 years of friendship." 




Photo Note

"The Man Who Fed the World," Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, would have been 99 years old on March 25, 2013. He is the subject of new statue that will represent Iowa in the U.S. Capitol, expected to be installed March 25, 2014. This photo courtesy The World Food Prize.  




In This Issue
Borlaug Statue Artist at Historical Museum Through March 28
Two Nominees Vie for One Position on SHSI Board
An Iowa Treasure: Preservation of Motor Mill on the Turkey River
Seeking NHD in Iowa Judges
Spring 2013 Annals Now Available
See Two New Exhibits in Archives and Library Records Room
2013 HRDP Application Deadline May 15
Heartland Suffrage Exhibit Features Iowa Artifacts
Fond Farewell
Photo Note


SHSI Calendar of Events
All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.
What's Happening at...



The State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City




MuseumState Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines



March 18-28: Artist in Residence Benjamin Victor, who will interact with the public daily and discuss his project creating the statue of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug for the U.S. Capitol. See related story.


March 18-22: Spring Break Celebrates Childhood Memories. Free activities for kids and families daily. See related story.


April 10: Iowa Public Radio's Insight Series Featuring Ira Flatow. Starts at 7 p.m.; tickets are $25/$35 available at or (800) 861-8000.


May 15: Historical Resource Development Grant application deadline. See related story. 


WHTCState Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City 


April 10: "An Iowa Treasure: Preservation of the Motor Mill on the Turkey River," 12-1 p.m., free. See related story.


April 24: "Iowa's 'Grecian Urns': The Posing of Women Behind The Music Man," 12-1 p.m., free. A History for Lunch discussion about Delsarte performance between the late 1880s and 1920 in Iowa, and its impression upon Meredith Willson's story, "he Music Man."




MontaukEventsMontauk Historic Site, Clermont 




History on the Move

Bring "The Fiery Trial: Iowa and the Civil War" exhibit to your community! Contact Sarah Macht, (515) 242-5193 or

for details. The exhibit is housed in a 32-foot trailer and is part of the State Historical Museum's "History on the Move" educational outreach program that serves Iowans in their communities. Bookings include a $50 reservation fee and a $150 travel expense fee.




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The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state's interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at