Iowa Celebrates The Roaring 1920’s. The Twenties brought much change to both Iowa City and the State University of Iowa, as the campus and the community expanded to the west side of the Iowa River. Here are a few penny postcards celebrating the growth.
Iowa City & EKKO Radio Stamps. In the Roaring Twenties, there were many new and exciting pastimes that captured the attention of Americans. A small marketing company in Chicago had the brilliant idea of taking two of those themes – listening to radio and stamp collecting – and make a promotion that quickly became a national craze. From 1924 to 1930, EKKO Radio Stamps featured over 800 radio stations across North America, including Iowa City’s two stations – WSUI and KFQP!
Dixie C. Gebhardt – Iowa’s Own Betsy Ross. While the creation of a state flag had been suggested for years by patriotic organizations, no action was taken until 1916, when Iowa National Guardsmen stationed along the Mexican border suggested that a banner was needed. This prompted the Daughter’s of the American Revolution (DAR) to design a flag (1917), and in 1921, the State of Iowa General Assembly finally adopted Dixie Cornell Gebhardt’s unique design.
Carrie C. Catt – Iowa’s Champion for Women’s Rights. Growing up in Charles City as a farmer’s daughter, very few people expected Carrie Lane to be a world-changer. But over her 88 years, this ISU graduate became one of the key leaders of the American women’s suffrage movement. Her superb oratory and organizational skills led to ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote in August, 1920.
Fred W. Kent – Continuing The Photographic Tradition. Fred W. Kent was best known as a versatile and talented photographer who documented everything from family and community life to landscape and natural vistas in Iowa City. Arriving here as a student in 1911, Fred spent the next 50+ years serving our community through his amazing gift of photography.
Fred W. Kent’s Iowa City Classics. From 1911 into the 1970’s, Fred W. Kent was on campus – taking photographs of people, places, and things. As early as the 1920’s, he even dared to fly overhead to get the shots he wanted. Today, Fred’s collection has over 50,000 photographs. Here are just a handful spanning his seven decades in Iowa City.
Wetherby & Kent – Two Generations – Two Cameras – One City. Here’s our salute to Iowa City’s finest photographers – Isaac A. Wetherby and Fred W. Kent. Both were armed with a single camera. One strolled the streets of Iowa City during the middle part of the 19th century. The other walked, drove, and yes, even flew over our fair city during the first half of the 20th century. Together, they snapped over 60,000 pictures along the way.
The Hawkeyes Take The Field. Athletics and the University of Iowa have always gone hand-in-hand. Over the years, the Hawkeyes have played in a variety of different facilities – from a small basement gym to an armory built for military drills to a football stadium with nose-bleed bleachers that seated fans directly above the Iowa River!
SUI Mascots – The Big Three. Over the last 175 years of University of Iowa history – there have been a handful of “official” mascots that have roamed the friendly confines of our campus. Come join us as we offer you a brief overview of what we call, The Big Three: Burch the Bear, Rex the ROTC Dog, and of course, Herky the Hawk.
Iowa Homecoming: Hawkeye-Style. Since 1912, Iowa City has served as the gracious host for an annual gathering of Hawkeye alums, students, faculty and staff – all united to celebrate everything SUI. There’s always a football game, of course, but Iowa Homecoming has so much more. Come down memory lane with us and celebrate over 100+ years of Iowa Homecoming.
Henry County to Iowa City – The Red Ball Route. The Boller family lived in Henry County from 1896-1966. There were two main highways that we used to connect to the outside world. Here is the story of one of them, The Red Ball Route: a road paved with a lot of rich Iowa history.
Karl L. King – Iowa’s March King. In 1920, fresh off his gig as director of The Barnum & Bailey Circus Band, Ohio bandsman Karl King, came to Ft. Dodge, Iowa, setting up camp there for fifty-one years. Over that time, King established himself as Iowa’s March King, rivaling even the renowned John Philip Sousa as America’s most prolific composer of marches. In 1921, he helped pass The Iowa Band Law, which opened up opportunities for community bands nationwide.
Duke Slater – Iowa’s All-American Trailblazer. In 1921, Iowa had an All-American football player from Clinton that single-handedly took the Hawkeyes to a mythical national championship. A man cut from the same fabric as Nile Kinnick, Duke Slater has largely been forgotten over the last century, primarily because of his skin color. But no more. Beginning in 2021, the Hawkeyes began playing on Duke Slater Field in Kinnick Stadium. Come read this amazing man’s story.
Johnson County’s New Namesake – What a Lulu! A graduate of SUI – BA in 1929 and a Masters in History (1930) – Johnson went on to distinguish herself as the second African-American woman in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in History, and the first to receive a Doctorate of any kind in Iowa! In June 2021, Johnson County, Iowa did something that rarely happens – they officially changed their eponyn, removing a racist slave-holding southerner in favor of this amazing African-American Iowa farm girl who spent her life teaching us things we all need to know.
Waldo E. Boller & Olive A. Hulme. My grandfather, owner/manager of Boller Furniture Company of Wayland, Iowa, loved music. Not only did he sing baritone in Wayland’s civic and church quartets, but he also served as Henry County’s music man, offering RCA Victrolas, Victor Records, and Victor Radios to the public throughout the Great Depression.
Boller Furniture Company – Wayland’s Finest For 45 Years – Generation Two. In 1896, my great grandfather, D.J. Boller, started Boller Furniture Company in Wayland, Iowa. My grandfather, Waldo E. Boller, took over the family business around 1920, keeping it alive through the Great Depression. Sadly, the pressures of doing just that proved fatal for both him and the store, but not before Waldo successfully steered Boller Furniture through its most difficult decade of serving the good people of Henry County.
The Daily Iowan – The Newspaper For Hawkeyes. Any Boller story has to include a tip of the hat to The Daily Iowan, the long-standing University of Iowa student newspaper that employed both me and my dad.
Political Cartooning – A Rich Iowa Tradition. From the mid-19th century to the early 21st century, Iowa artists have been using the tool of political cartooning to confirm the old saying – “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Join us as we tip the hat to five Iowans who have excelled at giving us a chuckle while helping us digest the seriousness of world and local events.
Thomas Nast – The Father of Political Cartooning. In honor of Thomas Nast, we’ve combined our Christmastime short story, The Christmas Eve Santa Came To Iowa, with eighteen of Nast’s yuletide illustrations from the latter part of the 19th century. Nast was the American artist who gave us icons like the Democratic donkey, the Republican elephant, and Uncle Sam – first offering us his vision of St. Nicholas as early as 1863, drawing him as the jolly, round-bellied and white-bearded elf we all recognize today. Click here to read our Christmastime short story.
Ding Darling & Herbert Hoover – Two Iowa Friends. In 1919, Ding Darling, The Des Moines Register political cartoonist, met an up-n-coming public servant named Herbert Hoover. Over the next forty-three years these two men became close friends despite all their many differences. One pursued politics while the other won two Pulitzer Prizes for his editorial work poking fun at politicians.
An American President – Herbert Hoover. In 1874, Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch – a little farm community in eastern Iowa. Orphaned at age ten, Hoover took his strong Quaker roots and invested them well as he cared compassionately for others the remainder of his life. Before serving as our nation’s 31st President, Hoover achieved international success as a mining engineer and won worldwide gratitude as “The Great Humanitarian” who fed war-torn Europe during and after World War I.
Boyhood Days In Iowa – Herbert Hoover. On November 10, 1927, Herbert Hoover was the United States Secretary of Commerce – serving under President Calvin Coolidge. Within a few months, the Republican Party will nominate this widely-popular Iowa native to be their candidate for the White House in the 1928 national election, and by March of 1929, Hoover will be the 31st President of the United States. But on this autumn night in 1927 – in a dining hall in Washington D.C. – Herbert Hoover was not thinking about politics – but his childhood years in Iowa.