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Iowa--History--20th century
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James Norman Hall Papers 1906-1954

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.01
  • Collection

The James Norman Hall papers at Grinnell College span the years 1906-54.  About half the collection is correspondence, clippings, photographs, and notebooks, the other half is manuscripts of his writings, including his autobiography, novels, short stories, essays, and poems, published and unpublished.  The 665 letters and post cards are arranged chronologically.  A small portion are from Hall's four years in Boston before World War I, nearly half are from World War I and post war years, and the rest from the last 25 years of his life.  Much of the correspondence is with his family and two Boston friends, George Courtright Greener (1911-53), Director of the North Bennet Street Industrial School, and Roy Cushman (1914-50), Probation Officer in Juvenile Court.  Other correspondence includes letters and cards from Hall to his former Grinnell professors, Charles Payne (1916-44) and George L. Pierce (1911-50), from his college roommate, Chester C. Davis (1910-19), newspaperman, head of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration in the 1930's and president of the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis, and a few letters from Ellery Sedgwick, editor of Atlantic Monthly.  The Atlantic Monthly-Hall-Nordhoff correspondence is on 14 rolls of microfilm, and the Sedgwick-Hall correspondence is on one roll in the Archives.  A few letters are exchanges between friends with comments about Hall.  Some letters are typed, some are carbons, most are handwritten.  A typed version of selected war letters is included.  The Archives does not have Robert Dean Frisbie's letters on which Hall's story "Frisbie of Danger Island" is based, nor correspondence with Nordhoff.

Most of the newspaper clippings are reports of Hall's war experiences and reviews of his books, a few are about Hall, Tahiti, and the South Seas.  Most photographs are from World War I and his Iceland trip, a few are of his family in Tahiti.

Twenty-eight small handwritten notebooks, some of which record Hall's travels and outlines of stories and poems, a diary of the 1909 Grinnell College Glee Club tour to the west coast, and Hall's Grandfather Young's small Civil War diary (1864) are also in the collection.  Two rolls of microfilm in the Archives contain war letters, pages of notebooks and other items selected from the Grinnell collection by Paul Briand Jr., who wrote a biography of Hall.

Over half of the collection consists of typescripts, some with revisions or several versions of sections, of nine of the twelve books Nordhoff and Hall co-authored (manuscripts of the first three, published before 1930, are not in the collection), of parts or all of seven of the seventeen books Hall published alone, of scripts of two of Hall's plays, of typescripts or holograph versions of 19 of the more than 80 published magazine pieces, and of about sixty unpublished poems, stories, and essays, most undated.  The Archives owns 28 books Hall wrote by himself or coauthored with Nordhoff, including foreign language editions of some titles.

The Hall papers at Grinnell College are a valuable resource for anyone studying his career as a writer, his travels, experiences, ideas, and the sources of some of his stories.  Hall's war correspondence is particularly enlightening for the World War I scholar interested in the human aspect of the war.

Hall, James Norman (Class of 1910)

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.

Grinnell – Chapin Genealogical Material

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.05
  • Collection

The collection consists of genealogical charts 1480 0 1919.  Correspondence ca. 1898-1908, 32 portraits, some unidentified, copies of cemetery inscriptions, Family Association publications for the Chapin (4 books, 1862, 1908, 1908, 1927) and Alden (1 book, 1916) families, sixty Chapin family deeds and documents from Massachusetts 1674-1851, and a 114-page handwritten notebook by E. F. G. of Stockbridge, 1848, family history of Chapin ancestors Dudley, Woodbridge, Jones, and Eliot.

The papers have detailed information about a few branches of the family, little or no information on other branches.  The researcher might consult U.S. Library of Congress, Genealogies in the Library of Congress to identify more complete sources.

Genealogical charts in this collection trace part of the Grinnell family from Pierre Grenelle, born about 1480 in France. A descendant, Matthew, born 1602, became a Protestant and moved to Newport, R.I., in 1630, beginning the American line of the family. Matthew’s son married a granddaughter of John and Priscilla Alden. Other charts trace various branches of the Chapin family from about 1576 to Mary Grinnell’s birth about 1857.

Grinnell, Josiah Bushnell

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

Cassius C. Stiles Papers

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.102
  • Collection

Consists mostly of correspondence relating to Mr. Stiles. The material is both business related and personal in nature, including several articles written by Stiles, a series of request and thank you letters for copies of his book, Manual of Public Archives of Iowa, work recommendations, literature relating to the American Historical Association, general correspondence and a paper written by Fleming C. Fraker, Cassius C. Stiles and the Public Archives of Iowa.

Stiles, Cassius C.

Cassius C. Stiles Papers

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.102
  • Collection

Consists mostly of correspondence relating to Mr. Stiles. The material is both business related and personal in nature, including several articles written by Stiles, a series of request and thank you letters for copies of his book, Manual of Public Archives of Iowa, work recommendations, literature relating to the American Historical Association, general correspondence and a paper written by Fleming C. Fraker, Cassius C. Stiles and the Public Archives of Iowa.

Stiles, Cassius C.

Cassius C. Stiles Papers

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.102
  • Collection

Consists mostly of correspondence relating to Mr. Stiles. The material is both business related and personal in nature, including several articles written by Stiles, a series of request and thank you letters for copies of his book, Manual of Public Archives of Iowa, work recommendations, literature relating to the American Historical Association, general correspondence and a paper written by Fleming C. Fraker, Cassius C. Stiles and the Public Archives of Iowa.

Stiles, Cassius C.

Magoun Club Records

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.11
  • Collection

Consists of treasurer's reports, minutes, clippings, and correspondence of the Elizabeth Earle Magoun Club.

Elizabeth Earle Magoun Club

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.

William Oelke Papers 1953-1974

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.13
  • Collection

Consists of manuscripts of talks, articles, correspondence, photographs, and slides.  Most relate to chemistry and chemists at Grinnell College in the early and mid-twentieth century.

Oelke, William C.

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

Jimmy Ley Papers 1922-1981 1940-1945

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.162
  • Collection

This collection is organized into four series: Biographical, Correspondence, Military, and Photographs.

Series 1: Biographical (1924-1981)

The Biographical series includes personal items including Ley’s birth certificate, framed high school basketball letter, and Catechism bible, as well as a handwritten copy of a poem composed by his mother for his funeral service. The series also includes an extensive scrapbook including photos, personal and educational documents, and newspaper clippings from early childhood until after his death.

Series 2: Correspondence (1939-1946)

The Correspondence series consists of three sub-series: letters written by Jimmy Ley, letters written to Ley and returned to his parents, and letters written to his parents after his disappearance. Ley’s letters are almost exclusively addressed to his parents and date from between just before he first attended Grinnell College in the fall of 1939 until his disappearance in February 1944. Ley’s letters are organized chronologically and divided into folders by location, mostly military camps where Ley was stationed. Mostly written by the families of other missing men in Ley’s flight crew, the letters to Jimmy’s parents after his death date from between November 1944 and August 1945 and are arranged alphabetically by sender’s last name.

Series 3: Military (unkown-1948)

The Military series consists of Ley’s official certificates and awards, bomb squadron yearbook, air force patch, and framed medals (Distinguished Flying Cross, 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, and Purple Heart).

Series 4: Photographs (unknown-1945)

The Photographs series includes fifteen unframed photographs, a portrait in a display folder, a framed photo collage documenting the medals Ley earned, a large framed portrait displayed at Ley’s funeral, and a large framed artistic collage of Ley’s plane and flight crew.

Ley, James

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