Our Iowa Heritage Index: 1930-1939.

As you can see, our growing website Our Iowa Heritage covers a lot of time (pre-1800 to the present) and a lot of people. We’ve written about famous people and the not-so-famous ones as well. Yet, despite a person’s prominence (or lack of it), everybody has a story. And as you read our posts, you’ll hopefully discover that everyone’s story is a good one. So, in order to better find these good stories and details surrounding them, we’ve added this INDEX of HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS to help you along the way. Enjoy your journey.

Our Iowa Heritage: An Introduction. We might suggest you start here! Here’s how & why I got started collecting stamps, coins, and other Iowa memorabilia.

U.S. Post Office Brings Their ‘Stamp Show’ To Iowa. In the 1930’s, the Great Depression was in full gear, but that didn’t stop Iowans from celebrating with special U.S. Post Office Stamp-Day celebrations. On August 17, 1933, one such party came to Nira, Iowa – a tiny Washington County village of twenty people – making for one big stamp celebration like none other.

Ozzie Simmons + Racial Targeting = Floyd of Rosedale. In 1933, a young black man from Texas showed up in Iowa City, looking to follow in the footsteps of Duke Slater. Before he graduated in 1936, he had become an All-American football player, but more importantly, he blazed a trail for other people of color and is remembered each year with Floyd of Rosedale – going to the winner of the Iowa/Minnesota game.

Remembering Helen Lemme – Grinnell’s Golden Girl. In the 1930’s, a proud black woman from Grinnell, Iowa, who was denied an 8th grade gold-medal in scholarship because of skin color, came to Iowa City and helped transform it by opening doors for people of color. When prejudice closed SUI dorms to African Americans, Helen and Allyn Lemme freely opened their home, setting in place an example of servanthood that touches people’s hearts even to today.

Harriet P. Macy – Iowa’s Own Teaching Artist. An art graduate from Drake University, the widely-celebrated artist – Harriet P. Macy – taught art for 38 years at East High School in Des Moines. Along the way, she and her students won numerous art awards, but more importantly, Macy instilled, through her life’s work, the beauty of diversity in God’s creation. One year after her death, the Iowa Art Guild celebrated her life by publishing a book of her sketches of historic sites around Iowa.

Grant Wood – Iowa’s Iconic Artist. Born in 1891 on a farm near Anamosa, Grant Wood went on to become one of the world’s best-known artists. Working out of a small studio located above a Cedar Rapids mortuary garage, Wood created one of the most familiar images in 20th-century American art: the iconic American Gothic.

Mildred W. Pelzer – An Iowa City Artist. Meet Mildred Pelzer and her amazing collection of Iowa-related artwork. A student of Grant Wood, Mildred gained fame with her oil paintings of flowers – with one of her pieces appearing on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens in July 1934. Later that year, her eight 4′ x 12′ murals depicting important events in Iowa City history debuted in the lobby of the Jefferson Hotel – becoming a city-wide favorite for many years.

The Mildred Pelzer Iowa City Murals. In 1934, the Jefferson Hotel commissioned this Iowa City artist to create eight murals that represented our rich Iowa City heritage, focusing on the theme of transportation. For fifteen years, these murals were proudly displayed in the hotel lobby until a ill-fated remodeling effort nearly sent these beauties to an early demise. Today, five have been rescued and remain as a beautiful tribute to both Mildred Pelzer and Our Iowa Heritage.

Roosevelt’s New Deal – The WPA & Iowa City. In a concentrated effort to stir the U.S. economy during the Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt initiated numerous federally-funded projects throughout the 1930’s – all under the larger theme of offering struggling Americans a New Deal. Come check out some of the WPA – Works Progress (Projects) Administration – programs that literally transformed Iowa City in the mid-to late 1930’s.

1938 – Iowa Celebrates Our Territorial Centennial. One hundred years ago – in 1838 – Iowa became a U.S. Territory. On August 24, 1938, at the State Fair in Des Moines, the U.S. Post Office issued a beautiful 3-cent commemorative stamp honoring this special one-hundredth anniversary.

Iowa City 1839-1939 Centennial. In July of 1939, the good citizens of Iowa City took time out of their summer schedules to celebrate 100 years of existence. And quite the party it was – with three days of celebration – July 2-3-4. A party well worth remembering.

The Press-Citizen Celebrates Iowa City’s Centennial. As Iowa City prepared to celebrate its 100th birthday, the Press Citizen got in on the act by publishing a huge 75-page Centennial Edition on Saturday, July 1, 1939. Come take a look at a few of the pages from this special edition.

The Old Stone Capitol Remembers – Benjamin F. Shambaugh. Professor Shambaugh was born in 1871 near Clinton, growing up as an Iowa farm boy yet always with a deep hunger for education. Over time, he became a dynamic administrator and teacher, authoring three books – the best known of which is The Old Stone Capitol Remembers (1939), editing nine more, and writing scores of articles as the first Supervisor/Editor of the State Historical Society of Iowa. Here at Our Iowa Heritage, his writings have served as a cornerstone to all we have published.

Nile Kinnick – Iowa’s Heisman Winner. 1939 was a banner year for Iowa City. Under the leadership of Coach Eddie Anderson and the athleticism of one young man from Adel, Iowa, the Iron Men of Iowa shocked the college football world. As a result, that one young man won the Heisman trophy and went on to become a legendary figure in Iowa football – Nile Kinnick.


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