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Archival description
Only top-level descriptions Grinnell (Iowa) -- History
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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.

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.

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)

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

John and Louise Nollen Correspondence 1906-1932

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.32
  • Collection

The collection consists primarily of letters written to John Nollen from members of his family 1906-32.  Correspondents include his parents, his wife, Louise, brother Henry, and his sisters Hanna and Sara.  The two sisters taught 1929-33 at Anatolia College, Salonika, Greece.  The collection includes their letters to John as well as typed copies of their letters to other members of the family and contain descriptions of their travels during those years.

Nollen, John S.

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