by Matthew M. Mettler
Matthew M. Mettler describes the events and motivations that led workers in the farm equipment industry in the Quad Cities in the 1950s to abandon their militant, left-led union for more conservative mainstream unions. He argues that the move did not necessarily represent a rejection of the core ideals of left-led unionism but is better understood as a difficult but pragmatic attempt to preserve those ideals.
by Clyde Brown and Gayle K. Pluta Brown
Clyde Brown and Gayle K. Pluta Brown tell what happened when, after the Twenty-sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect in 1971, 18- to 20-year-olds voted for the first time in the three Iowa cities — Ames, Cedar Falls, and Iowa City — that are home to the state’s public universities. They analyze the factors that contributed to students’ varying degrees of success in the three towns in securing the election of student candidates or candidates they supported.
by Janet Weaver
Janet Weaver, assistant curator at the Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, traces the emerging activism of a cadre of second-generation Mexican Americans in Davenport. Many of them grew up in the barrios of Holy City and Cook’s Point in the 1920s and 1930s. By the late 1960s, they were providing local leadership for Cesar Chavez’s grape boycott campaign and lending their support to the fiercely contested passage of Iowa’s first migrant worker legislation.
by Kara Mollano
Kara Mollano analyzes the campaign led by minority residents of Fort Madison in the 1960s and 1970s to oppose a plan to rebuild U.S. Highway 61 that would have included rerouting the road through neighborhoods disproportionately inhabited by African Americans and Mexican Americans. The multiracial and multiethnic coalition succeeded in blocking the highway plan while exposing racial, ethnic, and class divisions in Fort Madison.
by Barbara Ching
Barbara Ching, associate professor of English at the University of Memphis, describes and analyzes the clocks brothers Frank and Joseph Bily carved in northeastern Iowa between 1913 and 1948. She shows how the Bilys and their work, usually seen as parochial and bucolic, actually engaged the modern world, bridging the regional and cosmopolitan and the timeless and timely.
by Phillip J. Hutchison
Phillip J. Hutchison, assistant professor of communications at the University of Kentucky, narrates the career of the popular Iowa and California children’s television personality Jay Alexander, better known as television cowboy Marshal J. Hutchison recovers Alexander’s lost history, assesses his impact on Iowans, and tries to explain why such a highly visible popular culture icon could disappear from Iowa’s social consciousness as Alexander did.
by Victoria E. M. Cain
Victoria E. M. Cain, a Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California, recounts the early history (1868–1910) of the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences. She focuses on its transformation from a society devoted to scientific research into a museum dedicated to popular education.
by Pam Stek
Pam Stek, a graduate student in history at the University of Iowa, describes the development in the 1880s and 1890s of a flourishing African American community from the small Iowa coal camp at Muchakinock. She shows how the attitudes and business practices of the coal company executives as well as the presence of strong African American leaders in the community contributed to the formation of an African American community that was not subjected to the enforced segregation, disfranchisement, and racial violence perpetrated against blacks in many other parts of the United States at that time.