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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 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.

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.

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.

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

By Tammy Partsch

Partsch Tammy
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 Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff (Curiosities Series)

By Eric Jones & Berit Thorkelson

Brand: Globe Pequot
Paperback (256 pages)

Iowa Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff (Curiosities Series)
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Your round-trip ticket to the wildest, wackiest, most outrageous people, places, and things the Hawkeye State has to offer!

The Only Dance in Iowa: A History of Six-Player Girls' Basketball

By Dr. David (Max) McElwain Ph.D

Brand: Bison Books
Paperback (265 pages)

The Only Dance in Iowa: A History of Six-Player Girls  Basketball
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Iowa six-player girls’ basketball was the most successful sporting activity for girls in American history, at its zenith involving more than 70 percent of the girls in the state. The state tournament was so popular—regularly drawing fifteen thousand fans, more than the boys’ tourney—that officials declined a lucrative broadcasting offer from ABC’s Wide World of Sports rather than forfeit the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union’s control of the game. The Only Dance in Iowa chronicles the one-hundred-year history of this Iowa tradition, long a symbol of the state’s independence and the people’s rural pride. Max McElwain shows how, well before the passage of Title IX in 1972, Iowa six-player girls’ basketball was, as Sports Illustrated gushed, “a utopia for girls’ athletics.” He also demonstrates how, ironically enough, the fallout from Title IX in many ways led to six-girl basketball’s demise.
 
Through interviews, careful ethnography, and detailed historical analysis, McElwain exposes the intricate political, sociological, and historical dynamics of this cultural phenomenon. His book reveals how six-girl basketball, flourishing with the passionate support of Iowa’s small towns, school districts, and media, came to represent the state’s strong traditional beliefs and the public school system’s determination to maintain its identity in the face of national educational trends. The Only Dance in Iowa is as much a study of this disappearing culture as of the game it claimed as its own.

Iowa Interstate Railroad: History Through the Miles

By Barton Jennings

TechScribes, Incorporated
Paperback (314 pages)

Iowa Interstate Railroad: History Through the Miles
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From Chicago to Council Bluffs, including various branch lines in between, this book describes the route of the Iowa Interstate Railroad through America's Heartland. Detailed route guides for the Iowa Interstate Railroad are provided, plus information about the history of the railroad and current railroad operations.

What It Means to Be a Hawkeye: Kirk Ferentz and Iowa's Greatest Players

By Michael Maxwell & Neal Rozendaal

Brand: Triumph Books
Hardcover (352 pages)

What It Means to Be a Hawkeye: Kirk Ferentz and Iowa s Greatest Players
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Taking a decade-by-decade approach to the University of Iowa football tradition, this collection brings together over 40 stories from the most outstanding voices of the program. The spirit of Hawkeye football is not captured by just one phrase, one season, or one particular game; instead, the student-athletes and coaches who made the magic happen over the decades blend their experiences to capture the true essence of their beloved school. Iowa fans will relish the intimate stories told by the figures they have come to cherish.


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