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Grinnell College -- History Grinnell (Iowa) -- Buildings, structures, etc
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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is manuscripts of his writings, including his autobiography, novels, short stories, essays, and poems, published and unpublished.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)

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

Lenabel Courtney Oral Interview 1883-1977 1883-1899

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.10
  • Collection

Lenabel Body Courtney was interviewed by her grandson, J. Courtney Wilson, in January, February, August and December 1977. The collection consists of 15 cassette tapes and transcripts of approximately 230 typed pages, the transcript for each tape having an index of topics discussed.

Wilson, J. Courtney

Grant O. Gale Personal Papers 1850-1995

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.115
  • Collection

The personal correspondence, notes and photographs of former Grinnell professor of physics Grant O. Gale. Gale was educated at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and got his masters in physics at the University of Michigan in 1933. He taught at Grinnell from 1929 to 1972. The college's observatory is named for Gale, and he was active in several Grinnell community organizations before his passing in 1998.
Gale is remembered for his dedication to his students and to his role as a mentor on the Grinnell campus.

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

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

George Drake Family Papers 1861-2000

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.30
  • Collection

President George Drake and his brother, Professor Richard Drake of Berea College, donated family papers to Grinnell College Archives January 1991.  The bulk of the material is from their father, George Bryant Drake. It consists of correspondence, notes for sermons, family financial and business records, clippings, photographs, ca. 1920s-80s.  One box contains writings of Richard Drake, one box correspondence and writings of George Drake and family, one box papers of Alberta Drake, a box of Nell Drake's writings and publications.

George Bryant Drake (1895-1979) was a Congregational Minister and President of Doane College in Nebraska. He and his wife, Alberta Stimson Drake, had three children: George Albert Drake (1934-), professor and President of Grinnell College; Richard Bryant Drake (1925-), professor at Berea College; and Alberta Jane Drake (1928-). George Bryant was called Bryant; his parents were Nellie Jennie Rice Drake and George Burton Drake.

Harry Downer Papers 1930-1950

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.31
  • Collection

This collection includes correspondence from the 1940s, memoirs of Grinnell College in the 1880s, class letters and other related materials.

Harry Downer

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.

John Kleinschmidt Collection of Grinnell Local History

  • US US-IaGG MS/MS 01.39
  • Collection

Professor Kleinschmidt amassed countless photocopies, copies of microfilm and Sanborn maps, copies of newspaper articles, correspondence, and black and white photographs of local buildings (residences, commercial, college).  In the 1990s, Professor Kleinschmidt expressed his interest in having his collection deposited with the Grinnell College Archives.  Members of the Grinnell Historic Preservation Commission (Lisa Adkins, Don Irving, Cheryl Neubert), conducted interviews with him to access much of his accumulated knowledge about this history of the town, the occupants and the buildings.

Kleinschmidt, John

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

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.