History

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."

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

History is being preserved at Arnold’s Park in northern Iowa, where the state’s oldest roller coaster is undergoing a much-needed overhaul. We get the story, and take a ride, with Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen.

Gray Pearl Press

In 1935, seven-year-old Gerhard Loewenberg was on vacation with his family in Italy.  While they were there, they learned that their German citizenship had been revoked because they were Jewish.  Today Loewenberg is a University of Iowa professor emeritus of political science and the former dean of the College of Liberal Arts

"Talk of Iowa" sits down with Loewenberg to talk about the event that changed the course of his and discuss his new memoir "Moved by Politics."

IowayMovie.com / Fourth Wall Films

The people who gave our state its name are called the Ioway.   Few Iowans today know very much about the Ioway, but their stories, past and present, are being told in two new documentaries.

"Talk of Iowa" speaks with the filmmakers of "Lost Nation: The Ioway." An archeologist as well as an Ioway scholar and artist will also join the conversation.

In 1862 Private Silas W. Haven marched off to fight in the Civil War.  He left behind his wife and three small children for four long years.  During that time he wrote nearly 200 letters home. Those letters have now been published in the new book, “A Punishment on the Nation: An Iowa Soldier Endures the Civil War.”  I’ll talk with editor Brian Miller.

dbrooker1 / flickr

In ancient Rome the bath house was an important gathering place.   After the fall of Roman Empire interest in bathing waxed and waned, but somehow we’ve progressed from the chamber pot and basin to homes with a separate bathroom for every bedroom.  Host Charity Nebbe will explore the evolution of the bathroom, the most necessary room in the house. 

President Ronald Reagan is one of the nation’s more influential presidents. He served as president during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the beginning of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Ben Kieffer talks with film maker and Iowa native Chip Duncan. He has a new public television documentary series on the Reagan presidency premiering in February. We discuss the successes, failures and influential decisions made by President Reagan during his eight years in office.

An Iowa State University historian and expert on the 1930s dust bowl consulted on filmmaker Ken Burns’ newest documentary, which airs tonight and tomorrow night on PBS.

Professor and chair of history at ISU Pamela Riney-Kehrberg is featured in the film, she says she assisted to ensure the film’s historical accuracy…

Ken Burns' The Dust Bowl, airs tonight and tomorrow night on PBS

Arthur Rothstein

Urban areas in the Midwest are often referred to as “food deserts”, lacking in affordable, local fresh greens and produce. Many people living in these areas are suffering from poor diet and subsequent disease. Ben Kieffer speaks with Will Allen, an urban farmer who is working to eliminate the fresh food shortage is these neighborhoods. Then Iowa State historian Pamela Riney-Kehrberg  discusses a time when a large portion of the country was considered a desert, the 1930s Dust Bowl.

Dust Bowl memories offer present warning

Nov 15, 2012
courtesy kansasmemory.org Kansas Historical Society

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s is the subject of a new documentary from Ken Burns airing this month on PBS television stations. The man-made disaster left an indelible mark on the Midwest and on history — and, as Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, today’s extensive corn production could make the region vulnerable once again.

Bill Schaefer / Gold Star Museum

A new photo exhibit honors living Iowa veterans at the Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge. Most Iowans will recognize many of them. Exhibit opens to the public on Nov. 9th.

Christian Montone / Flickr

We all remember how George Bush defeated Al Gore by 269 votes in 2000, but how about when Grover Cleveland edged out James Blaine in the election of 1884, an ugly campaign that was the beginning of modern mudslinging. In this tight election year we’ll look back at other hard won presidential elections in our history with guests Tim Walch, former director of the Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, and Cary Covington, a University of Iowa professor of political science.

This week people across Iowa are recognizing the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution during this year’s national observance of “Constitution Week”. Historian David Wendell talks with Ben Kieffer about constitutional issues 225 years ago and their prevalence today. Then, the mayor of Hampton, Iowa, discusses his efforts in organizing “Libertyfest”, a week long celebration of the constitution and the founding fathers who established it.

The task of daily chores, attending class picnics, and the uneasiness of the Cold War days are just some of the memories Carroll Englehardt, author and professor emeritus of history at Concordia College, shares in his book, “The Farm at Holstein Dip: An Iowa Boyhood.” Then  Jeff Morgan, public information officer at the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Office, talks about the art of  historical preservation with Pete Sixbey, a conservator at the State Historical Society of Iowa.

My Farm Roots: Nan Gardiner

Jul 18, 2012
Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

This is the second installment of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s new series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here (http://harvestpublicmedia.org/myfarmroots)to explore more My Farm Rootsstories and to share your own.

It’s not every day that a trip to the drug store can change your destiny.

Civil War Medicine

Jul 9, 2012

More than six hundred thousand men died during the Civil War and twice as many men died of disease than of gunshot wounds. Charity talks with Dr. Kendall Reed from Des Moines University medical practices during the war and how the period led to numerous medical advancements.  Later, Lester Menke,  author of  “When Apples Had No Worms”, shares his stories from growing up in the 1920s and 30s.

One of the largest battleships to serve during World War II was the USS Iowa. Now the Iowa has found a place to rest, rather than rust, as a museum in the port of Los Angeles.  On Tuesday she welcomed many of her seamen back home. Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks visited the ship to hear their stories.

 

For nine days, starting next week, Iowa will be railroad heaven for fans of old trains. Thousands of people will be climbing aboard, photographing, or just admiring the romance of an earlier time. An organization of railroad buffs is bringing its national meeting to Iowa for the first time.

One hundred years ago, an entire family was wiped out by an axe wielding killer in the southwestern Iowa town of Villisca, a crime that remains unsolved to this day. Host Ben Kieffer re-examines Iowa’s worst mass homicide with award-winning filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle who made a documentary about the incident. Ben also talks with historian Edgar Epperly.

This Sunday, a new exhibit opens at the German American Heritage Center in Davenport, called "Suds."  The Quad Cities has a long and glorious brewery legacy.   This hour, we'll find out about the exhibit, which describes the breweries and taverns that operated in the area during the 19th century and the saloons where settlers gathered for their favorite brands.  The second-largest private beer can collector in America lives the Quad Cities and many of his 25,000 cans are on display.   "Suds" also features material on how Prohibition affected local brewery traditions and the lives of working

Steve Berry

May 29, 2012

Steve Berry has captivated millions of readers with his best-selling novels, he is also the co-founder of History Matters, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving our heritage. Charity talks with Berry about his latest novel, The Columbus Affair and his work in historic preservation.  

Early next Sunday morning will mark the moment exactly 100 years ago that the magnificent steamship R.M.S. Titanic sank in the N.

If everything you know about Iowa history you learned in fifth grade, now might be a good time for a refresher course. In a program that originally aired last September, Charity speaks with historians Dorothy Schwieder, Professor Emerita of History at Iowa State University and Thomas Morain of Graceland University in Lamoni. Their book is Iowa Past to Present: The People and the Prairie.

Iowa in the Civil War

Mar 12, 2012

The Battle of Pea Ridge, fought in Arkansas in March of 1862, is known as the Civil War battle that secured the West. It was also the first time Iowans saw major combat. This hour we’ll remember the Battle of Pea Ridge and Iowans young and old who fought in the Civil War. Charity speaks with David V. Wendell, curator of "More Than Any: Iowa in the Civil War," a new exhibit at the Marion Heritage Center. Later, we speak with historian Floyd E. Pearce of Cumberland, about "The Graybeards," older Iowans who served in the Civil War.

The Meskwaki people, often known to outsiders as the Sac and Fox Tribe, have long been a part of Iowa history. In 1856 the Iowa Legislature passed an unprecedented act allowing the Meskwaki to purchase land in Iowa. A year later, the Tribe purchased the first 80 acres in Tama County. Today the Meskwaki Settlement is a thriving community of over 4,000 residents which maintains a tribal school and a profitable casino. In a program that originally aired last September, we look at the history of the Meskwaki people in Iowa and the challenges they face today.

As Iowa tries to retain its last jet fighter base in Des Moines, a non-profit group is hoping to save one of the last remnants of an air station that closed at the end of World War Two. Historic audio from Stearman training film and You Tube.

Why are you an Iowan? How did your family wind up here? What is the explanation in your family lore? If you wanted to verify the tales, how would you do it? Wednesday on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe will speak with Theresa Liewer of the Iowa Genealogical Society and Steve Williams of IAGenWeb.org about genealogical research, the things you can learn from it and what resources are available in the state.

The White House

One of the most tragic days in America's history comes flooding back this weekend, as we commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9-11. Citizens of Iowa were casualties, mourners, and heroes. Our historic sound project looks back at those terrifying days, using audio recordings gathered by IPR reporters.

Sullivan Brothers

May 27, 2011
Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum

On Memorial Day weekend 70 years ago, a large Irish family was at home in eastern Iowa enjoying its last spring together. No one knew that the five Sullivan brothers were bound for history, in a tragedy that would shake the nation in a time of war. Historic audio from 1943-1944.

Cherokee Chronicle Times

It was 150 years ago this week when the “Iowa Lunatic Asylum” opened in Mount Pleasant and the state’s first mental health patient was admitted. Just about everything has changed since then, but a series of old television documentaries reveals a glimpse of the dark days of mental health care in Iowa, including frightening treatments now abandoned. Original WOI-TV documentary was filmed in 1952.

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