Books, A Photographic History of Iowa 1860-1920

1- An Iowa Album by Mary BennettI don’t remember where I got one of the books in your bookcase, but I’m glad that I have it especially after I flipped through its pages and found inside a wonderful sampling of over 375 historical black & white images that are reminders of days forever gone.

The name of this book is ”An Iowa Album, A Photographic History 1860-1920 by Mary Bennett” and all the images are reflections of a cultural past that preserves the lives of past generations.

The photographs in this book come from the photograph collection of the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City. The history for this period begins with the American Indians and the land in chapter one. It continues with a photographic history of Iowa’s settlement and countryside showing cows near a lake with planting of the corn along with the gathering of shocks of grain from the farms. The towns and the neighborhoods with community life in the early 1900’s remind us that children back then brought their lunch to school in pails.

I’ve never been to Iowa, but after reading this book and looking at these historical images, maybe I will visit that state some day.  What town or city should I visit first?

2-1 An Iowa Album by Mary Bennett

The cover of the book is a photograph described as “a nutting party in Hebard’s grove, Red Oak, ca. 1895-1905” by  Leonard Schwinn, photographer; 5×7 glass plate negative, Leonard Schwinn Collection. (I wonder if those nuts are Northern Pecans)…On page 318, in the Notes on the Photograph Collections’ section, it describes Leonard A. Schwinn (1861-1936) “as a photographer dedicated to recording not only his family’s recreational activities, but also life of his community in Red Oak.”

Written by Mary Gilmartin, September 9, 2013


September 9, 2013 · 12:03 am

2 responses to “Books, A Photographic History of Iowa 1860-1920

  1. Haha, I like the “normal” hat on the guy in the back; he felt it necessary to tilt it at a jaunty angle.

    • It’s a great photograph and that’s quite an observation from your photographic eye. I like the horse in the background and all the hats are great ones with everyone dressed in their Sunday bests.

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