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Archival description
Only top-level descriptions Poweshiek County (Iowa) -- History, Local
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Tibbs Family Papers 1936-1962

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.04
  • Collection

The bulk of the collection consists of letters to Mrs. Mamie Tibbs and four of her children from family and friends, the majority written from 1939-1945.  Letters from one family member to another are filed in the folder of the recipient; letters in each folder are arranged chronologically.  There are no letters to or from James or Shirley.  There are a number of letters from Albert to various family members filed in the recipients’ folders.  Other papers include a variety of personal and family cards, announcements, invitations, etc.

The papers were left in the family’s house at 712 Elm Street when they moved and were retrieved by Grinnell College students when some letters blew out of the abandoned house into the neighborhood.  This is not a complete family record and does not give a complete accounting of the family history.  The letters do give some insight into the everyday life and concerns of a black family living in a white community during the 1940s and 1950s and of blacks in the armed forces during and after World War II.

John P. Ryan Papers 1923-1953

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.18
  • Collection

Consists of notebooks containing records of the books Ryan read. His daughter, Jean, noted: “It shows his thoroughness, organization, and wide range of interest.” Only a few Lesson Plans are included in Ryan’s papers, including some for Fundamentals of Speech, Parliamentary Law, and one of his adult education classes in Des Moines. Correspondence includes two letters from Ryan to his daughter and son-in-law. The letter dated October 22, 1947 was “Ryan’s last letter written from Grinnell after retirement, and just before leaving to live on the West Coast.” [Jean Squires’ note] The typed letter was received after Ryan’s death by his wife from a Des Moines businessman who was a former member of Ryan’s classes there.

Ryan, John P.

Julius Reed Papers 1831-1890 1845-1869

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.106
  • Collection

The bulk of the collection contains correspondence and reports concerning Reed's work of the American Home Missionary Society of the Congregational Church in the 1845-1869. Among the topics addressed are slavery and how the church should regard congregations in slave-holding states, founding of churches in Iowa, church finances, and founding a college in Iowa. This is a rich collection for the study of early Congregationalism in Iowa.

P.E. Somers Collection 1914-1927

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.131
  • Collection

P.E. Somers, M.D., was a physician working in Poweshiek county from at least 1903 until 1927. He was a member of the Poweshiek County Medical Society, and served as its secretary and treasurer. These volumes contain lists of those he treated.

Ivan Sheets Postcard Collection 1900-2000 early 20th century

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.107
  • Collection

The Ivan Sheets collection contains approximately 400 post cards of towns primarily in Poweshiek County, Iowa.  The are 334 post cards of Grinnell and 74 post cards of surrounding towns including Brooklyn, Malcom, Montezuma, Newton, and Oskaloosa.

Sheets, Ivan W.

Horace A. Wolcott Correspondence 1855-1865 ca. 1860

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.65
  • Collection

The collection consists of photocopies of letters and business papers of Horace Alanson Wolcott. Wolcott lived briefly in Grinnell about 1856 then moved to Boulder probably in the early or mid 1860s, and corresponded with people in Grinnell. Papers selected for photocopying are those relating to his Grinnell connections.  Correspondents include: Marshall Bliss of Bliss Crosby Mill, Grinnell; S. H. Bliss; Julia Grinnell; Lucy Bixby (mother of Louisa Wolcott); Samuel Cooper; S. Bixby

Wolcott, Henry A.

Sanderson Letters 1872-1930

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.129
  • Collection

This collection is nearly entirely made up of correspondence. Some letters include small clippings, pamphlets, or drawings.

Sanderson Family

Joseph F. "Joe" Wall Papers 1950-1988

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.08
  • Collection

Consists of holograph, typescript, and proofs of Joseph Wall's biography, Andrew Carnegie (1970), holograph and typescript of Henry Watterson: Reconstructed Rebel (1956), and of the page proof of Interpreting Twentieth-Century America (1973).  A small part of the collection includes some correspondence connected with Andrew Carnegie. Also included is a typescript of the Grinnell College Faculty Handbook (1969) and talks and memos concerning the Abler-Woodworth controversy of 1974.

Wall, Joseph Frazier

Preston Family History 1869-1962

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.61
  • Collection

Consists of photocopies of clippings, photographs, and letters and a journal.

Preston Family

Selden Lincoln Whitcomb papers 1883-1906

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.53
  • Collection

Seldon Whitcomb spent most of his life in Grinnell, IA.  He was born here, graduated from Iowa College in 1887, and returned to teach English from 1895-1905.  In this collection are two personal journals, a poetry manuscript, and a notebook of nature observations with a few specimens pressed between the pages.

Selden Lincoln Whitcomb (Class of 1887)

William Salter Papers 1843-1907

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.41
  • Collection

The collection contains letters written to Salter and notes written by Salter. The letters include both personal correspondence and that relating to his affairs: church business, business of Iowa College, Salter’s research into the history of the Dodge family, and a variety of other concerns. One letter of note is from James S. Graham in 1884 who recounts his experience watching President Lincoln while he reviewed the 68th Illinois Infantry Volunteers. Also included is a Saloon Passengers’ List and Track Card from an 1881 voyage on the S.S. Bolivia.

Salter, William

United Church of Christ- Congregational (Grinnell, Iowa) records 1850-2009

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.127
  • Collection

Contains records, finance material, and publications from throughout the history of Grinnell's United Church of Christ-Congregational, roughly 1850-2000s.

(Information gleaned from the UCC's Centennial Booklet, published in 1955, and Memories, Legacies Challenges: 150 Years in the Life of Grinnell's United Church of Christ-Congregational):

In 1854, almost immediately upon their arrival, J.B. Grinnell and the other settlers in the area began worship services. Though they were held as Congregational events, settlers of any faith or creed were welcome at these meetings. One year later, the First Congregational Church of Grinnell was founded. The first permanent church building was constructed in 1860, and the years that followed saw the congregation growing steadily in size. In 1877, the cornerstone for what is now known as the Old Stone Church was laid, and over the next 74 years it would expand to hold 1,000 and host events as prominent as the General Association meeting of the Congregational Christian Church. In 1953, the new church was dedicated, and the UCC has been flourishing there since.

The growth of the church and the town are closely intertwined. The founding members of the church, listed below, were instrumental in developing the town's abolitionist spirit, helping the needy of the town, and bringing Iowa College from Davenport to Grinnell. The character and leadership of the church helped ensure the college's early success, and when the tornado of 1882 struck, the church proved vital to the recovery effort. In the history of the town of Grinnell, it would be difficult to argue that any institution has played a larger role than the Congregational Church.

The charter members of the First Congregational Church of Grinnell:
Rev. J.B. Grinnell, Mrs. Julia A. Grinnell, William R. Ford, Mrs. Lydia W. Ford, Thomas Holyoke, M.D., Mrs. Marc C. Holyoke, Gideon Gardner, Mrs. Naomi Gardner, Anor Scott, Mrs. Harriet B. Scott, Emory S. Bartlett, Sumner Bixby, Mrs. Sarah H. Bixby, Miss Lucy Bixby, Abraham Whitcomb, Mrs. Mary Whitcomb, Levi H. Marsh, Mrs. Charlotte Patterson.

Mary Gae Wyly Papers on Grinnell Women Faculty 1971-1972

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.15
  • Collection

Mary Gae Wyly graduated from Grinnell College in 1962 and served as a librarian from 1968 to 1976.  This collection contains documents from her desk files, including one on the hiring of blacks and women, and a survey of women on campus for the improvement of Grinnell.

Wyly, Mary Gae

Searchlight Club Records 1896-1994

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.52
  • Collection

Consists of meeting minutes, treasurer's records, programs, photographs, one issue of the Searchlight Magazine, and a book manuscript.

Searchlight Club