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Archival description
Only top-level descriptions Grinnell College Iowa -- Childhood and youth
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Florence Stewart and Robert Kerr Papers 1917-1963 1937-1948

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.24
  • Collection

The collection contains an oral interview with Florence Kerr; photographs, personal correspondence (notably with President and Mrs. Roosevelt), and other items unrelated to her business life; correspondence and other materials relating to her defense activities in 1941; and materials from two productions of the Federal Theater Project.

The bulk of the collection contains correspondence, memos, and reports from her tenure with the Work Projects Administration and includes numerous WPA publications.  There are two photograph albums and ten scrapbooks of newspaper clippings regarding her WPA activities.

Also included is correspondence of her husband, Robert Y. Kerr.

Florence Stewart Kerr (Class of 1912)

George M. Ochs (Class of 1949) Papers 1960-1995

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.45
  • Collection

The collection contains articles and book reviews by Ochs, personal and professional correspondence, and a copy of his Ph.D. thesis.

Ochs, George M.

Grace Douglass Orr Papers

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.19
  • Collection

The bulk of the collection consists of Mrs. Orr's recollections about her life and the lives of three of her brothers, and of family photographs.

Orr, Grace Douglas

Lillian Mattison Papers 1914-1915

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.25
  • Collection

Consists primariy of letters written by Lillian Mattison to her family during her senior year at Grinnell College, alumni materials, and a photograph album.

Mattison, Lillian

Margaret Matlack Kiesel Papers 1932-1988

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.49
  • Collection

The collection is arranged in three series: Personal papers; Published work, course outlines, lectures; and Unpublished manuscripts and research notes. It reflects Margaret’s work as a writer, but except for her writing on women, does not reflect her active role in such women’s organizations as NOW and the League of Women Voters nor her work with activist’s groups such as Grinnell Peace Links.

Personal papers contains correspondence with family members, close friends, and letters that relate to her writing. There are many tributes written to her family on her death. Of significance is a poem, “The misbehaving feet,” written by James Norman Hall that Margaret had found in her mother’s papers. It is an unpublished poem written in 1936 for Margaret’s father. Also included is correspondence between Margaret and an editor at The Atlantic Monthly about possible publication of the poem.

Published work contains the research materials, notes, related correspondence, and drafts of her published articles. Although she wrote on a variety of issues, the most significant items are those relating to Grinnell College and published in The Grinnell Magazine, The Annals of Iowa, and Iowa Woman. She wrote fine articles about Herrick Chapel and Mears Cottage and a series of articles about Hallie Flanagan. Her work on Ruth Suckow was quite extensive and led to her participation in the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association; papers from that group are included in this collection.

Unpublished manuscripts includes stories and articles from early in her career and the drafts and research materials from her book on Grinnell women on which she was working when she died. Her extensive writing, her interest in Grinnell, and her strong feminist leanings may have made this last work the pinnacle of her career.

Kiesel, Margaret Matlack (Class of 1930)

Mary Ellen Appleby Sarbaugh Papers 1985-1995

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.34
  • Collection

Mary Ellen Appleby Sarbaugh, ’42, donated a collection of personal papers, including family memoirs and reminiscences, to the Archives in 1995.  The papers were most likely written between 1985-95.

Sarbaugh, Mary Ellen Appleby

Matlack Family Papers 1879-1997

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.46
  • Collection

The collection includes a variety of materials belonging to several family members that were found in Laura's house after her death: legal papers; personal calendars of Merta, David, and Laura; papers of Henry and Merta from their professional careers; and family correspondence and other personal papers. They provide a glimpse into the activities of this fascinating Grinnell family.

The family papers generally include legal papers, information about genealogy, photos, correspondence, and miscellaneous items. Noteworthy items include My Family's History by Helen M. Hatch, A Christmas Memoiry by Margaret M. Kiesel, and numerous editions of The Maggie Gazette and Intelligence, a family newsletter written and published by Margaret M. Kiesel. The family correspondence is extensive, and gives a good look into the family members' lives.

Henry's papers include music that he wrote, church programs when he was organist, articles that he wrote on a variety of music-related issues, articles and talks on education (some written during his time as Alumni Secretary), and files of historical material from the Alumni Office.

Merta's papers include programs, reports, and yearbooks of organizations to which she belonged including Entre Nous, Uncle Sam's Club, and Congregational women's groups. Her professional papers include memos, time sheets, correspondence from her tenure with the Consumer Purchases Study and miscellaneous other activities. There are also items from Merta's college years, including papers and notebooks. Go to College and The Education of Merta Johnson Matlack as told by herself give a glimpse into what a woman's education was like around the turn-of-the-century. Gust Johnson's papers include newspaper clippings, letters, report cards, and other miscellaneous stuff.

David's papers include a birth certificate, newspaper clippings, programs from events in Grinnell, correspondence and calenders.

Laura corresponded with Art Department colleagues, other Grinnell College graduates from her class, and with Edith Sternfeld, a former art professor at the college. The remainder of Laura's papers contain material relating to her weaving and to organizations in which she was active including the League of Women Voters, Peace Links, and weavers' groups. Noteworthy items include letters and SGA minutes in response to Kent State killings and closing of Grinnell College, miscellaneous items regarding convocation of 1967 when Martin Luther King Jr spoke at Grinnell College and the Wiemans hosting Benjamin Mays at the 1967 convocation, Recollections of My Husband, Henry Nelson Wieman, and The History of Architecture ... Grinnell Iowa, 1949. Henry N. Wieman's papers include correspondence and newspaper articles, He was a professor of philosophy who taught at several notable universities. The bulk of Henry N. Wieman's papers are at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

There are also items from the four remaining Matlack siblings: Mary Davenport, Margaret Kiesel, Jane Rutherford, and Connie Wieman; Merta's parents, Gust and Elma Johnson; Laura'/s husband, Henry N. Wieman; and Maggie's mother-in-law, Anna Kiesel. Correspondence to the Matlack sisters and other papers of theirs are included. Stories about the birth of Connie (born on Christmas day) are especially charming. Anna Kiesel's items include photos, programs, and correspondence. She and Gust Johnson have papers in German and Swedish, that give a glimpse into the ethnic communities of the mid-west in the 19th Century.

There are four boxes of oversize materials that include records, artwork, certificates, photos, music, and correspondence.

Matlack, Henry W.

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)

Thomas Cech Papers 1983-1993

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.168
  • Collection

The majority of materials are articles and clippings about Cech's career and work that were saved by his parents. Other materials are programs from speeches given, and notices about awards received.

Cech, Thomas R.

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.