History

Couresty of Robin Lillie

In July of 2007 construction was beginning for a new housing development in Dubuque. That's when someone found human remains.  

J. Stephen Conn

While many see the Ten Commandments as a simple and powerful set of laws to live by; they are also a lightning rod for controversy in this country.

courtesy of Clark Kidder

Thousands of orphan came to Iowa and other Midwestern states by train. A documentary premiering on Iowa Public Television tonight chronicles their stories.

Örlygur Hnefill / Flickr

35 years ago this month, we were in the first few weeks of the Iran hostage crisis. The crisis would last 444 days, and one Iowan was there for all of them.

Courtesy of Charles Notis

Charles Notis created one of the most prominent commercial weather forecasting groups in the state with Harvey Freese.

C Zellmer / Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately 40 minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

Not many of us are aware of an event that occurred in 1840 in Bellevue, Iowa, a town along the Mississippi River in Jackson County, south of Dubuque.  It was there on main street that a massive frontier gunfight took place, between outlaws and vigilantes.   The shoot-out was between a posse led by sheriff W.A. Warren and a group of men led by W.W.

Rev. Superinteressante / Wikimedia Commons

Science often runs in the family. And while the Albert Einstein we all know studied particle physics, his first son, Hans Albert Einstein, studied rivers.

Emily Woodbury / Iowa Public Radio

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived hard and died young. But while their wild lifestyle did not endure, the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald continue to captivate modern readers.  Today on Talk of Iowa we'll talk with R. Clifton Spargo, author of "Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald."

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

When the wind picked up from the south on John Schweiser’s farm outside Rocky Ford, Colo., the sky would go black. A charging wall of dust would force the 80-year-old farmer and his wife to hunker down in their ranch-style farmhouse.

“You’d look up and here’d come this big ol’ rolling dirt,” Schweiser said. “You couldn’t see how high it was.”

Iowa National Guard cameramen

Iowa's worst air disaster is being commemorated this coming weekend. It was 25 years ago when United Flight 232 wobbled into Sioux City for a crash landing that killed 112 passengers. Our historic sound project remembers that tragic day with audio recordings going back to July 19, 1989. Reporter Durrie Bouscaren contributed to this story.

C Zellmer / Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately forty minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

Library of Congress

During prohibition, there were people all over the United States making and selling spirits, but the people in Templeton, Iowa who were making fine whiskey were not your run of the mill bootleggers.  Host Charity Nebbe digs in to the remarkable history of Templeton Rye with Bryce Bauer, author of Gentlemen Bootleggers: The True Story of Templeton Rye, Prohibition, and a Small Town in Cahoots and historian Tim Walch.  They talk about why Iowa went dry five years before the rest of the country and how this small town set

Cecil Stoughton / John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Do you believe the moon landing was faked? Do you think the “Great Recession” was orchestrated by a small group of Wall Street bankers?

Bill Erickson

Social studies doesn't fall under the three Rs in education, and it shows. From school district to school district, the way that history, government, and world culture courses are taught varies dramatically.

Today on Talk of Iowa, we focus on civics education in our state, and talk with some extraordinary teachers.

Underwood & Underwood / Public Domain/Library of Congress

In Iowa, many of us are proud of our progressive history, but that doesn't mean we don't have skeletons in our closets, and even some Ku Klux Klan robes in the attic.  After World War I, life in Iowa changed dramatically, and a lot of people didn't like it.  That disorientation opened the door to the Ku Klux Klan.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with two historians from Mason City about the history of the Klan in Iowa.  We heard from numerous listeners whose families had direct experience with the KKK, including Larry in Des Moines.  Charity talked with Larry after the show, and he shared this st

Lindsey Moon/Iowa Public Radio

Have you ever wished the Museum of Natural History would visit you? Well, it’s on its way.

This spring The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History has launched a new initiative - the University of Iowa Mobile Museum - in collaboration with the UI’s Old Capitol Museum and the Office of the State Archaeologist. The 38-foot, custom built RV will being its tour of the state next week.

Charity Nebbe

In 1955 Virginia Myers first arrived in Iowa City with $150 in her pocket. When she stepped off the train, she had no place to live and no job. She hadn’t even been in touch with the University of Iowa about enrolling in classes, even though that was the reason she came to Iowa in the first place.

University Press of Kansas

Many of the big ideas that have changed the world have started in small towns.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with John Miller about his new book, Small Town Dreams: Stories of Midwestern Boys Who Shaped America, we’ll talk about how the place you come from shapes who you are, how small towns have changed over the years and about some remarkable men who came from Midwestern small towns. Then, sociologist Paul Lasley talks about what it means to grow up in a small town today.

Archives of American Art

While the Nazis were murdering millions of people, they also perpetrated the greatest mass theft in history.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with former Congressman and Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Jim Leach and Director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art, Sean O'Harrow about that theft, efforts to understand it decades after the fact and efforts to protect priceless artifacts during the war.
 

Courtesy of the Eisenhower Presidential Library- Museum & Boyhood Home

During the American Revolution future first lady Abigail Adams melted down the family pewter to make bullets.  The bullet mold she used will be on display at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum from April 19-Oct. 26, 2014, as part of the museum's new exhibit, America’s First Ladies.

Host Charity Nebbe, gets a preview of the exhibit with curator Melanie Weir and historian Elizabeth Dinschel.

K.H. Sidey / Adair County Free Press

For 125 years, four generations of the Sidey family have delivered the news of Adair County.  While many small, independently owned papers perished or became parts of large conglomerates the Adair County Free Press persisted.

F.A. Rinehart

There is a short list of World’s Fairs that have inspired many stories, New York 1939, Chicago 1893, St. Louis 1904.  The 1898 Omaha World’s Fair is not one of them… until now. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with author Timothy Shaffert about his latest novel The Swan Gondola which takes place on the eve of the Omaha World’s Fair.

Bill Read

The internet has changed how we find information, get news, connect with friends, and for many people it also has changed the experience with faith and religion.  Guests include Elizabeth Drescher from Santa Clara University, L. Edward Philips from Emory University, and author, editor, and lecturer Phyllis Tickle.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

Construction on the University of Iowa campus has uncovered the foundations of homes dating back to Iowa City’s earliest settlers.

Archeologists are now racing against the clock to dig out what they can at the Hubbard Park site, as Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports. 

Infrogmation of New Orleans / flickr

When you think of jazz you might think of New Orleans or New York City.  But in the 20s, 30s, and 40s musicians in Iowa and the surrounding states kept Iowans dancing in ballrooms, hotel dining rooms, high school gymnasiums, and by playing on local radio. Join host Charity Nebbe for this hour of jazz in Iowa from the hot jazz of the 20s to the big band sound of the 30s and 40s. Hear from Jim Oatts, leader of the Des Moines Big Band, Josh Duffee, music director of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival in Davenport, and John Benoit professor of music at Simpson College.

Lea VanderVelde

In 1857 the Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sandford that a slave could not sue for his freedom. Many call this ruling the worst Supreme Court decision of all time. 

photolibrarian / flickr

Once a prominent stop on the Underground Railroad and later the seat of the Ku Klux Klan in Iowa, Centerville is a small town with a rich history. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with historian Enfys McMurry, author of Centerville: A Mid American Saga. They explore the ups and downs of this remarkable town.

Rachel Gardner

We get flown over, driven through, dismissed and mocked, but the history of this region is rich and important. Today on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with John Lauck, author of The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History, and historian Leo Landis. They talk about the history of the Midwest and why it matters.

Photo courtesy of Rod Stanley

This holiday season, you may be celebrating with champagne, wine, or beer. It’s hard to believe, but it was just 80 years ago when Prohibition was repealed, and drinking alcohol became legal again. Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer sits down with historian Tim Walch to find out what it was like to live in Iowa during the Prohibition era.

In the second half of the program - A Bonnie and Clyde miniseries appeared on television this week. Did you know that in 1933, there was a famous shootout involving the famous duo? Historian Rod Stanley shares the details.

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