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Vacation 2 USA   >   Iowa   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Iowa History

   
 

Iowa History


Iowa was originally home to at least 17 Native American tries, although today only the Meskwaki remain.

The first Europeans to reach Iowa were the French explorers, Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette in 1673. They recorded in their journals that the land was lush, green and fertile.

The United States gained control of the area from France in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. The first official American settlement began in 1833, and statehood was achieved in 1846.

During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Iowa contributed greatly to the Union war effort, including more 60% of its eligible males serving (the highest proportion of any state).

Iowa was a popular destination for immigrants, and the state encouraged immigration with a booklet printed in 1869 in English, German, Dutch, Swedish and Danish. Additionally, immigrants also arrived, particularly in coal mining areas from Italy and Croatia, and beginning in the 1880s, a significant number of African-Americans moved to the state, also to work in the mining industry. The coming of the railroads, also helped to encourage immigration, and, eventually, the establishment of the beginnings of a manufacturing sector.

World War One brought a brief agricultural boom to the state, but the 1920s and 1930s were a time of hardship after the elimination of the wartime agricultural subsidies. The state did not in fact fully recover until the 1940s.

After World War Two, Iowa's business and manufacturing sectors have continued to grow, and the state now produces a wide variety of manufactured products, as well the agricultural goods for which it is most famous.


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Iowa: The Middle Land

By Dorothy Schwieder

Brand: University Of Iowa Press
Paperback (398 pages)

Iowa: The Middle Land
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In this engrossing history of the Hawkeye State, Dorothy Schwieder brings her seasoned insight to the story of the Middle Land. Iowa emerges here as a place of fascinating grassroots politics, economic troubles and triumphs, surprising cultural diversity, and unsung natural beauty. Above all, this is the history of the people of Iowa and the lives they have led - the accomplishments of both ordinary and not-so-ordinary Iowans. The twenty-ninth state was admitted to the Union on December 29, 1846. After 150 years of statehood, The Middle Land gives a fresh perspective on what happened in Iowa and why. It also looks at where it happened. The underlying theme is Iowa's location in the center of the United States and the implications of that middle land status. From grasslands to factories, Black Hawk to Branstad, Schwieder takes the reader on a compelling journey. She presents the experience of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Native Americans in the Iowa region; the beginning of white settlement; and the subsequent development of social, educational, and economic institutions. In often arresting detail, Schwieder recounts recent episodes of Iowa's history, such as the farm crisis of the 1980s and the initiation of the lottery and casino gambling. She explores previously neglected areas and issues of social history - women, minorities, community, and Prohibition. Dorothy Schwieder has given us a most valuable addition to our understanding of America's "purest of prairie states." Iowa: The Middle Land is well suited for college history courses and senior-high courses. It is a fine library reference for all Iowans (and non-Iowans) wishing to know more about the state's history. The bookuniquely emphasizes Iowa's economic and social history and draws on manuscript sources not previously cited in general histories of Iowa.

Iowa: The Definitive Collection

By Zachary Michael Jack

Ice Cube Press
Paperback (542 pages)

Iowa: The Definitive Collection
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Iowa, the Definitive Collection gathers for student, teacher, researcher, and leisure reader alike a rich harvest of Iowa lore as told by a bevy of its most famous and forgotten voices Iowa history as made and told by Iowans, for Iowans. Totaling over 500 browsable pages and nearly 100 highly readable, classic and contemporary selections, this mammoth compendium of Iowa history, literature, and lore captures the Hawkeye State more diversely and more comprehensively than ever before. Here is a book a big book of Iowa readings of every conceivable kind (campaign platforms, creeds, diaries, editorials, ethnographic studies, fictions, government documents, history, humor, journalism, legal opinions, letters, memoirs, pamphlets, speeches, travel narratives, and more) and of every historical vintage (from Black Hawk s lament on being ordered to move west to Iowa in 1831 to Iowa writer-anthropologist Robert Leonard s freshly-penned roll call of the many different Iowans he has known). Between these covers, world-famous sons and daughters of Iowa, including Carrie Chapman Catt, Bob Feller, Susan Glaspell, Herbert Hoover, Ted Kooser, Aldo Leopold, Glenn Miller, Wallace Stegner, Henry Wallace, Grant Wood, and many others join a chorus of forgotten or neglected native greats to tell the story of their home state as only Iowans can tell it. Perfect fodder for Iowa history and literature classes, book clubs, civic organizations, museums, libraries, and visitor centers across the Land Between Two Rivers, Iowa, the Definitive Collection offers a first-of-its-kind, popular documentary history suitable for singing loudly, proudly, and circumspectly across the State, and across generations.

A Culinary History of Iowa: Sweet Corn, Pork Tenderloins, Maid-Rites & More (American Palate)

By Darcy Dougherty Maulsby

The History Press
Released: 2016-08-01
Paperback (192 pages)

A Culinary History of Iowa: Sweet Corn, Pork Tenderloins, Maid-Rites & More (American Palate)
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Iowa's delectable cuisine is quintessentially midwestern, grounded in its rich farming heritage and spiced with diverse ethnic influences. Classics like fresh sweet corn and breaded pork tenderloins are found on menus and in home kitchens across the state. At the world-famous Iowa State Fair, a dizzying array of food on a stick commands a nationwide cult following. From Maid-Rites to the moveable feast known as RAGBRAI, discover the remarkable stories behind Iowa originals. Find recipes for favorites ranging from classic Iowa ham balls and Steak de Burgo to homemade cinnamon rolls--served with chili, of course! Author Darcy Dougherty Maulsby serves up a bountiful history of tasty tradition.

Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression

By Mildred Armstrong Kalish

Brand: Bantam
Released: 2008-04-29
Paperback (292 pages)

Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression
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I tell of a time, a place, and a way of life long gone. For many years I have had the urge to describe that treasure trove, lest it vanish forever. So, partly in response to the basic human instinct to share feelings and experiences, and partly for the sheer joy and excitement of it all, I report on my early life. It was quite a romp.

So begins Mildred Kalish’s story of growing up on her grandparents’ Iowa farm during the depths of the Great Depression. With her father banished from the household for mysterious transgressions, five-year-old Mildred and her family could easily have been overwhelmed by the challenge of simply trying to survive. This, however, is not a tale of suffering.

Kalish counts herself among the lucky of that era. She had caring grandparents who possessed—and valiantly tried to impose—all the pioneer virtues of their forebears, teachers who inspired and befriended her, and a barnyard full of animals ready to be tamed and loved. She and her siblings and their cousins from the farm across the way played as hard as they worked, running barefoot through the fields, as free and wild as they dared.

Filled with recipes and how-tos for everything from catching and skinning a rabbit to preparing homemade skin and hair beautifiers, apple cream pie, and the world’s best head cheese (start by scrubbing the head of the pig until it is pink and clean), Little Heathens portrays a world of hardship and hard work tempered by simple rewards. There was the unsurpassed flavor of tender new dandelion greens harvested as soon as the snow melted; the taste of crystal clear marble-sized balls of honey robbed from a bumblebee nest; the sweet smell from the body of a lamb sleeping on sun-warmed grass; and the magical quality of oat shocking under the light of a full harvest moon.

Little Heathens offers a loving but realistic portrait of a “hearty-handshake Methodist” family that gave its members a remarkable legacy of kinship, kindness, and remembered pleasures. Recounted in a luminous narrative filled with tenderness and humor, Kalish’s memoir of her childhood shows how the right stuff can make even the bleakest of times seem like “quite a romp.”


From the Hardcover edition.

A history of Iowa

By O. J Fargo

Green Valley Area Education Agency
Unknown Binding (216 pages)

A history of Iowa
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The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History (Iowa and the Midwest Experience)

By Jon K. Lauck

University Of Iowa Press
Released: 2013-12-01
Paperback (206 pages)

The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History (Iowa and the Midwest Experience)
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 The American Midwest is an orphan among regions. In comparison to the South, the far West, and New England, its history has been sadly neglected. To spark more attention to their region, midwestern historians will need to explain the Midwest’s crucial roles in the development of the entire country: it helped spark the American Revolution and stabilized the young American republic by strengthening its economy and endowing it with an agricultural heartland; it played a critical role in the Union victory in the Civil War; it extended the republican institutions created by the American founders, and then its settler populism made those institutions more democratic; it weakened and decentered the cultural dominance of the urban East; and its bustling land markets deepened Americans’ embrace of capitalist institutions and attitudes.

In addition to outlining the centrality of the Midwest to crucial moments in American history, Jon K. Lauck resurrects the long-forgotten stories of the institutions founded by an earlier generation of midwestern historians, from state historical societies to the Mississippi Valley Historical Association. Their strong commitment to local and regional communities rooted their work in place and gave it an audience outside the academy. He also explores the works of these scholars, showing that they researched a broad range of themes and topics, often pioneering fields that remain vital today.

The Lost Region
demonstrates the importance of the Midwest, the depth of historical work once written about the region, the continuing insights that can be gleaned from this body of knowledge, and the lessons that can be learned from some of its prominent historians, all with the intent of once again finding the forgotten center of the nation and developing a robust historiography of the Midwest.

The Hook and Eye: A History of the Iowa Central Railway

By Don L. Hofsommer

Brand: Univ Of Minnesota Press
Hardcover (192 pages)

The Hook and Eye: A History of the Iowa Central Railway
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Fearing the rapacious power of Chicago’s railroad system in the mid-1900s, Iowa Central Railway supporters fought for a north-south route across the state that would link Minneapolis and St. Paul with St. Louis. Such a route would put the needs of Iowa’s citizens first and provide transportation for the state’s agricultural and industrial trade. 

Analyzing the origins, growth, and eventual dismantling of the Iowa Central Railway, which traversed the state from Ackley to Zearing and Mason City to Marshalltown, Don Hofsommer examines how this unremarkable, “plain vanilla” railway was an example of the life cycle of the American railroad industry. The Hook & Eye demonstrates its symbiotic relationship with its customers. Born in ambition but never rising far above its obscure origins, the Iowa Central eventually fell to outside competition from railroads based in greater metropolitan areas and was made part of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway in 1912. 

Drawing the story from station records, annual reports, newspaper articles, and interviews with former employees, The Hook & Eye brings both the industry and human sides of railroading into sharp and memorable view. 

Don L. Hofsommer is a native Iowan and professor of history at St. Cloud State University.

Dallas County (Images of America)

By Darcy Dougherty-Maulsby

Arcadia Publishing
Released: 2017-09-04
Hardcover (128 pages)

Dallas County (Images of America)
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No Iowa county has influenced American history more than Dallas County. It propelled Harry Truman to an unlikely victory in the 1948 presidential campaign, following a fiery speech he delivered to 100,000 farmers on a sweltering September day at the National Plowing Match near Dexter. Just 15 years earlier, a shoot-out near Dexfield Park marked the beginning of the end for infamous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde and the notorious Barrow Gang. Dallas County, located just west of Des Moines, has produced several major-league baseball players (among them Bob Feller and Hal Manders), a US congressman (David Young), and Nile Kinnick, the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner and University of Iowa football legend whose grandfather George Clarke, of Adel, served as Iowa's governor from 1913 to 1917. Today, Dallas County is one of the fastest-growing counties in America and remains a region of opportunity with a rich heritage of small-town living, farming, coal mining, and the immigrant experience.

Iowa History Reader

Brand: University Of Iowa Press
Released: 2008-03-15
Paperback (470 pages)

Iowa History Reader
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In 1978 historian Joseph Wall wrote that Iowa was “still seeking to assert its own identity. . . . It has no real center where the elite of either power, wealth, or culture may congregate. Iowa, in short, is middle America.” In this collection of well-written and accessible essays, originally published in 1996, seventeen of the Hawkeye State’s most accomplished historians reflect upon the dramatic and not-so-dramatic shifts in the middle land’s history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Marvin Bergman has drawn upon his years of editing the Annals of Iowa to gather contributors who cross disciplines, model the craft of writing a historical essay, cover more than one significant topic, and above all interpret history rather than recite it. In his preface to this new printing, he calls attention to publications that begin to fill the gaps noted in the 1996 edition.

Rather than survey the basic facts, the essayists engage readers in the actual making of Iowa’s history by trying to understand the meaning of its past. By providing comprehensive accounts of topics in Iowa history that embrace the broader historiographical issues in American history, such as the nature of Progressivism and Populism, the debate over whether women’s expanded roles in wartime carried over to postwar periods, and the place of quantification in history, the essayists contribute substantially to debates at the national level at the same time that they interpret Iowa’s distinctive culture.

A History of Iowa (Iowa Heritage Collection)

By Leland L. Sage

Brand: Iowa State Pr
Paperback (388 pages)

A History of Iowa (Iowa Heritage Collection)
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Book by Sage, Leland L.


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