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

By Darcy Dougherty Maulsby

History Pr
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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  • History Pr
Product Description:
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.

It Happened in Iowa: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened In Series)

By Tammy Partsch

Paperback (144 pages)

It Happened in Iowa: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened In Series)
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For most Americans, Iowa brings to mind endless acres of corn fields, one of the country’s longest-running state fairs, and American Gothic, but few may know how it serendipitously became the birthplace of the most iconic apple, why thousands of cyclists brave the Midwestern heat and humidity to cross the entire state one week each year, or how a former Des Moines sports announcer became one of the White House’s most popular residents. It Happened in Iowa goes behind the scenes to tell these stories and many more, in short episodes that reveal the intriguing people and events that have shaped the Hawkeye State.

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.

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.

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.

How Iowa Conquered the World: The Story of a Small Farm State's Journey to Global Dominance

By Michael Rank

Five Minute Books
Released: 2014-12-01
Kindle Edition (176 pages)

How Iowa Conquered the World: The Story of a Small Farm State s Journey to Global Dominance
Product Description:
Iowa is considered a backward farm state full of bumpkins who wear Carhartt jackets and do little besides give the world corn. But what if that understanding is wrong? What if Iowa has done more to influence the modern world than any other population group?

Turns out it has.

In this new book by #1 best-selling author Michael Rank -- himself a native Iowan -- he discovers how this underdog state

-- Saved billions of people from starvation in the 20th century

-- Created Silicon Valley in the 1960s and inspired the startup culture of egalitarianism and hoodies

-- Decides who will win the presidential election every four years

-- Was the multicultural center of America and hosted more utopian communes and transcendental meditation centers than any other place in the United States

-- Created the General American English accent spoken by all actors and broadcasters. People the world over are learning to speak like an Iowan, even if they don't know it

This book tells the story of Iowa's outsized influence on global events, but it is more importantly about how an underdog can defy the odds and truly make a lasting impact on the world.

Murder, Madness, and Mayhem on the Iowa Illinois Frontier (Midwest Heritage Book 1)

By Nick Vulich

Released: 2018-10-08
Kindle Edition (200 pages)

Murder, Madness, and Mayhem on the Iowa Illinois Frontier (Midwest Heritage Book 1)
Product Description:

Murder, Madness, and Mayhem on the Iowa-Illinois Frontier

It's not the usual boring history read. It's a fast-paced, easy to read, behind the scenes look at the making of Iowa and Illinois focusing on Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. When you're done reading it, you might even scratch your head and think - Oh, yeah! That's what Mrs. So, and So tried to tell me back in seventh-grade history class.

And, I tell you what. We're going to skip all the boring parts, like dates, politics, and founding fathers. We're going to go right to the fun stuff... Indian Wars. Murder. Suicide. Incest. Robberies. Killer storms.

  • If you live in Davenport, you're going to learn about the murder of the town's namesake, Colonel George Davenport, and get a few words about how he fathered two children by his stepdaughter, and another by a washerwoman at Fort Armstrong.

  • If you live in Nauvoo, Illinois we're going to review the Mormon Wars and their trek across Iowa on the way to their new home in Utah.

  • If you live in Camanche or DeWitt, Iowa, or Albany, Illinois, you're going to get a first-hand look at the Great Tornado of 1860 and how it killed over 150 people as it cut its way from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Whiteside County, Illinois.

  • If you live in Rockdale or Dubuque, Iowa, you're going to read about the Rockdale flood and how it destroyed every house in town and killed over 39 people in less than an hour.

Of course, there's more... The Black Hawk War, Jessie James in Iowa, the Grasshopper Plague, a short compendium of suicides, murders, and more.

And, did I mention, in 1857 Iowa was at the forefront of a new lynch craze that was spreading across the nation. Between April and December of 1857, sixteen men met their maker at the end of a rope. Many more were whipped within an inch or their lives then given orders to move on or die.

Such was life on the Iowa-Illinois Frontier...

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery

By Bill James

Released: 2017-09-19
Kindle Edition (481 pages)

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
Product Description:
An Edgar Award finalist for Best Fact Crime, this “impressive…open-eyed investigative inquiry wrapped within a cultural history of rural America” (The Wall Street Journal) shows legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applying his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.

Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Some of these cases—like the infamous Villisca, Iowa, murders—received national attention. But most incidents went almost unnoticed outside the communities in which they occurred. Few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station. When celebrated true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal and uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America.

“A suspenseful historical account” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history. “A beautifully written and extraordinarily researched narrative…This is no pure whodunit, but rather a how-many-did-he-do” (Buffalo News).

History of Hamilton County, Iowa Volume 2

By Jesse W. Lee
Paperback (156 pages)

History of Hamilton County, Iowa Volume 2
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1912 edition. Excerpt: ... graduate of the Webster City high schools and of the State University at Iowa City. Mr. and Mrs. Crosley have one daughter, Marv Eleanor, who was born on October 24, 1908. Our subject and his wife occupy a prominent position in the social and intellectual life of their community and their pleasant home is noted for its hospitality not only among their friends in Webster City but among guests from other towns and cities in the state. HARTYTG M. SPARBOE. Webster City has conferred upon Hartvig M. Sparboe the highest honor within her gift, having called him to the office of mayor for the second term. He has been actively and helpfully interested in municipal affairs for a number of years and looks at vital questions relative to the city's upbuilding and the management of its business interests in a practical yet progressive way. His own life history serves as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others, for Mr. Sparboe is a self-educated and self-made man whose advancement is due to the wise use he has made of his time and opportunities and not to any fortunate combination of circumstances. He was born in Norway. March 5, 1867, and was only three years of age at the time of the death of his father, Anthony Sparboe, who passed away in 1870, three days before the birth of his youngest son, leaving the widowed mother, who in her maidenhood bore the name of Bergitte Karoluson, with four sons. In 1873, with her little family, the eldest being then ten years of age and the youngest a little more than two years, she came to the United States and was also accompanied by her mother. After landing on the eastern coast they made their way direct to Hamilton county, Iowa, and settled in Scott township, where Mrs. Sparboe still makes her home...

History of Linn County Iowa

By Barthinius L. Wick

Released: 2013-02-27
Kindle Edition (1109 pages)

History of Linn County Iowa
Product Description:
History of Linn County Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time (1911)

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