by Tony Klein
Tony Klein, a high school social studies teacher at Estherville-Lincoln Central High School, compares and contrasts Civil War commemorations, Memorial Day observances, GAR encampments, and monuments in Keokuk and Sioux City. He argues that Keokuk’s commemorations, based on the significant role that community played in the Civil War, followed national patterns of Civil War commemoration as its citizens remembered and mourned the dead, honored surviving veterans, and celebrated the city’s Civil War history. Sioux City, with little direct experience of the Civil War, commemorated the war as a means to celebrate westward expansion; it enabled liberty-seeking and patriotic people to move west to places like Sioux City and prosper.
by Brian Edward Donovan
Brian Edward Donovan, a Ph.D. candidate in American history at the University of Iowa, describes how the Iowa Soldiers’ home secured the political support from the Iowa legislature that it needed to survive financially by requiring the veterans it cared for to display themselves as wounded warriors—that is, to perform their disability by marching in uniform and living under military discipline.
by Leslie Schwalm
by Douglas Biggs
Douglas Biggs, associate professor of history and associate dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at the University of Nebraska–Kearney, recounts the story of the Ames & College Railway, popularly known as “the Dinkey,” in the 1890s. He argues that the Dinkey played a crucial role in linking Iowa Agricultural College and the community of Ames.
by Kara W. Swanson
Kara W. Swanson, associate professor in the School of Law, Northeastern University, describes the origins of frozen-sperm banks at the University of Iowa in the 1950s. She focuses on clarifying the technological advance this step represented in the long history of “test tube babies.” She also addresses the ethical controversy surrounding the technique and the strategies the Iowa scientists employed in the face of that controversy.
by Matthew Cecil
Matthew Cecil, associate professor in the South Dakota State University Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, describes the up-and-down relationship between J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and the staff at the Des Moines Register and Tribune and Cowles Publications. Register and Tribune staff, for the most part, kept some editorial distance from the bureau and occasionally gently criticized Hoover and the FBI, but at times some of them were willing to flatter Hoover or fit their reporting to FBI public relations rubrics in order to secure access to information.
by Jon K. Lauck
Jon K. Lauck, senior advisor and counsel to U.S. Senator John Thune, offers a portrait of a group of historians he calls “Prairie Historians.” From the late nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth, those historians, in reaction to a sense that the profession was unduly dominated by easterners, called attention to the Midwest, toiled to make the region’s historical institutions functional and productive, wrote substantial histories of the region, won Pulitzer Prizes, and focused on the nation’s democratic heritage and prospects.
by Jonathan Warner
Jonathan Warner, professor and tutor in social sciences at Quest University Canada, analyzes the experience of some of the roughly 30 Iowa communities that experimented with issuing scrip as a means of combating the economic effects of the Great Depression. He shows the diversity of the plans and the effects they had, identifying the conditions that determined whether those experiments were relatively successful or not.
by Renee Ann Cramer
Renee Ann Cramer, associate professor and director of the Program in Law, Politics, and Society at Drake University, examines the establishment and operation of the Des Moines BirthPlace in the 1980s and sets its history in its local and national context. The contemporary national feminist movement was seeking birth options beyond the medical, in-hospital model. Meanwhile, the BirthPlace’s location in a capital city with a strong, sympathetic corporate leadership provided unique opportunities for success.