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The Wilder Life

To celebrate Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday — she was born on this day in 1867 — we couldn’t decide whether to churn butter or make a corn-cob doll. So instead we chose to listen to this archived reading by Wendy McClure, and enjoy vicariously her adventures in obsessive Little House on the Prairie fandom. Wendy McClure reading, Live from Prairie Lights,Continue reading “The Wilder Life”

Food for body and spirit

On the last page of James Doak’s 1760s Art of cookery, following recipes for ketchup and pickled mushrooms, we find what appears to be a catalog of his library, an impressive collection for the time. He lists the classics: Shakespeare, Pope, Cato, Milton, the Bible, as well as some intriguing titles: Whytt on Lyme water,Continue reading “Food for body and spirit”

Nothing new under the sun: the drought of 1863

From our Civil War Diaries and Letters collection comes a letter from Sam Clark, farming in southern Iowa, to his love interest Tillie in Illinois: Unless we have rain and that very soon the corn crop in this state will be almost a complete failure … The last rain that we have had to amountContinue reading “Nothing new under the sun: the drought of 1863”

A Nancy Drew birthday

University of Iowa alumna Mildred Wirt Benson — journalist, pilot, amateur archaeologist, ghost writer, and the original author of the Nancy Drew mystery series — was born on this day in 1905. To mark the anniversary, we’re featuring a gallery of her book covers, from the iconic to the unintentionally terrifying, on our Iowa Digital LibraryContinue reading “A Nancy Drew birthday”