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Only top-level descriptions Grinnell College Libraries Special Collections Grinnell (Iowa) - Social life and customs
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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

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.

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.

Truman Douglass. Builders of a Commonwealth 1911

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.07
  • Collection

In preparing his book, Pilgrims of Iowa, published in 1911, Truman Douglass compiled extensive biographical information about Congregational ministers in Iowa up to 1900. He had hoped to publish this material in additional volumes to his book, but left only a typed manuscript.  The preface in volume I suggests further sources for information about some of the ministers.

Douglass, Truman O.

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)

Sara A. McIlrath Papers 1907-1964

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.84
  • Collection

The collection consists of invitations, announcements, notes, programs, college publications, notebooks, an issue of a newspaper, certificates and teaching recommendations.

McIlrath, Sara A.

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

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.

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

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

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)

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

Louis Hartson Memoirs 1904-1919

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.55
  • Collection

Louis Hartson received his bachelor’s degree from Iowa College in 1908 and returned to teach psychology from 1911-23.  Between the years 1973 and 1976, he recorded his memories of those years and of the following 19 years at Oberlin College.  These memoirs as well as several personal letters are held in this collection.

Louis Hartson

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

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