Our “Special” visitors for 2014

In 2014, genealogists and history researchers came from all over the country to the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, to use our wonderful resources. We also had email and hone requests come in from all over the world!

They came from far away to fill in the blank branches of their Family Trees. They found copies of birth, marriage and death records of their Scott County, Iowa ancestors. They came to do research on the Iowa Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home, Colonel George Davenport and Bix Beiderbecke. They looked at newspaper articles on microfilm, online databases we subscribe to and our photograph collection. Their searches were made easier by the many indices that have been prepared by our volunteers from the Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society.

Last year we had visitors and research requests from 38 states, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Australia!

Our superlatives were: Avon Park, Florida, in the southeast and Edmonds, Washington, in the northwest. Or e-mail patrons were from as far away as Treviglio, Italy, in the northeast; and Darlington, South Australia, which is almost as southwest as one can go!

Check out this map with all of our visitors for the year 2014, as recorded in our Guest Book. Pretty cool, huh?

We thank our patrons for visiting us this past year. We hope to see you again soon!

And if you came in to visit but did not sign our guest book, let us know in the comments, so we can add you to our map!

Are you planning to visit us this year? We look forward to helping you!

(posted by Cristina)

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Holiday Hotel Menus – 1895 Dining

This past Thanksgiving we explored new and interesting recipes to prepare for a holiday meal. We still wonder if anyone created some of the dishes we suggested. If not, there is still time to shop for ingredients to surprise your guests come Christmas.

If you are too tired to make some of those delicacies there is always the option for dining out. Even in the past, some individuals chose to eat out for their holiday meal. Hotels were well-known for their elaborate feasts. The menus printed in the newspapers along with the names of guests and local residents who partook of the feast.

The Davenport Daily Leader from December 27, 1895 covered the holiday festivities on the front page that year. It listed gatherings for children and dances for older adults among the ongoing amusements that holiday season.

Local hotel holiday menus were also reviewed in the article. Following are the menus for three local hotels with original spelling in the transcription.


The Hotel Downs

Boston Clam Chowder.

Olives.              Lettuce.

Boiled Columbia Salmon, Oyster Sauce.

Celery.             Sliced Tomatoes.

Westphalia Ham and Spinach.

Sirloin of Prime Rib, au Jus – Horse Radish.

Young Turkey, Oyster Dressing.

Domestic Goose with Apple Sauce.

Braised Sweet Breads with French Peaches.

Asparagus on Toast.

Cream Puffs.

Baked Sweet Potatoes.       Mashed Potatoes.

Boiled Onions.

Green Peas.           Sugar Corn.

Lobster Salad, au Mayonnaise.

Plum Pudding, Hard or Brandy Sauce.

Mince Pie.             Custard Pie.

Vanilla Ice Cream.              Assorted Cake.

Mixed Nuts.          Layer Raisins.

Cream Cheese.     Bents Crackers.

Green Tea.            Ceylon Tea.          Oolong Tea.


The Kimball House

Blue Points.

Crème de Volaide.               Green Turtle, Clear.

Almonds.               Olives Farcies.      Celery.   Radishes.

Croustades of Fresh Mushrooms.

Broiled Pompano, Maitre D’Hotel.


Roast Sirloin of Beef.

Mashed Potatoes.                                Stringless Beans.

Turkey, Stuffed with Chestnuts, Cranberry Sauce.

Browned Sweet Potatoes.                  Asparagus.

Loin of Venison, Current Jelly.

New Peas.

Breast of Teal Duck, Ponchartrain.

Lobster, Newburg.

Punch Matasbuino.

Partridge, Truffled, Bread Sauce.

Chicory and Tomato.

Plum Pudding.          Mince Pie.             Pumpkin Pie.

Neapolitaine Ice Cream.      Assorted Cake.

Fruit.       Confectionary.     Charlotte Russe.

Roquefort Cheese.



The St. James

New York Counts.

Consommé of Chicken.     Green Turtle.

Baked Columbia River Salmon, Wine Sauce.

Pommes de Tefre au Larded.

Olives.    Celery.   Lettuce.

Young Radishes.            Young Onions.

Boiled Capon, Egg Sauce.

Haunch of Venison with Jelly.

Saimi of Blue Wing Teal aux Petit Pois.

Broiled Young Fox Squirrel on Toast.

Wild Goose, a la Tip Toe.

Steamed Apple Dumplings, Hard Sauce.

Prime Ribs of Beef, au Jus.                Yorkshire Pudding.

Turkey Stuffed, Cranberry Sauce.

Roast Lamb, with Mint Sauce.

Suckling Pig, Apple Sauce.

Christmas Punch.

Mashed Potatoes.                      Spinnach.

Sweet Potatoes.                    Hubbard Squash.

Asparagus Toast.

Chicken Salad.

English Plum Pudding, Brandy or Hard Sauce.

Home Made Mince Pie.     Lemon Pie.

Vanilla Ice Cream.

Wine Jelly.             Edam and Cream Cheese, Brand Jelly.

Angel Food.               Fruit Cake.            Assorted Cake.

French Kisses.        Gruit.

Tea.        Coffee.       Milk.       Buttermilk.


We assume that no one left these meals hungary. We think the Wild Goose, a la Tip Toe will require some further research by staff to find out how it was prepared.

Hopefully your holiday meal, whether prepared at home or in a restaurant, will be as wonderful and filling as the items mentioned above.

And as always, we encourage you to try a few of these ideas and let us know how they turn out if you do!

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New Resource! Gale Genealogy Connect : Native American

The Main Street location of the Davenport Public Library will be closed until December 26th for renovations.  That means our Special Collections Center will also be closed.

You will still be able to access all the genealogical and local history information on our website—including our Free Local Database indexes—and our Eastern and Fairmount branches will continue to provide access to all of our online genealogical subscription databases.

In fact, we are excited to announce that our newest subscription database Gale Genealogy Connect: Native American can be accessed at home with your Davenport Public Library card!  colored background

Just click on the link in our list of  Online Databases to get started!

This database searches hundred of resources—some formerly only in print—to help you make family connections to the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole nations.

The search engine is easy to use and offers multi-page viewing, unlimited access, and the ability to print, save, or e-mail articles.  There’s even a translation feature, offering a choice of 34 languages.

AMLAnd for you genealogists on the go, there’s even an app for that!

To access Connect : Native Americans or other Gale databases on your mobile device, just download the “Access My Library” app from iTunes or the Google Play Store.

Using the app is as easy as typing in your Davenport library card number!

So when the weather outside is frightful, the Wifi inside is delightful,  and the Main library is closed, you can still delve into your genealogy research.  How cool is that?


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Now Online! The Index to Scott County, Iowa Cemetery Records!

The Main Street location of the Davenport Public Library will be closed until December 26th for renovations.  That means our Special Collections Center will also be closed.

You will still be able to access all the genealogical and local history information on our website—including our Free Local Database indexes—and our Eastern and Fairmount branches will continue to provide access to all of our online genealogical subscription databases.

But what if you need to find information about a rural Scott County, Iowa Cemetery?

And what if you need to take a look at the two volume set of the Index to Scott County, Iowa Cemetery Records, which was compiled by local  genealogists Scharlott Goettsch Blevins and Lorraine Edgman Duncan?

Fear not!

Thanks to the Scott County Library System, the invaluable resource is available to you online!

The SCLS staff  carefully transcribed and entered information from each entry, exactly as it appears in the index, which makes it possible to search for an individual many different ways in their new Scott County Cemetery Search:

SCLS Search Engine page

The website also includes information about each cemetery, including address and township, range and section info, as well as scanned cemetery maps and other documents from the original publication.

We applaud the Scott County Library staff for undertaking this massive project and making it available just in time!





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The Beginning of Mercy

On December 7, 1869 the first patient entered the new Mercy Hospital situated on the outskirts of Davenport. Started by the Order of the Sisters of Mercy , the hospital and its grounds would play a pivotal role in the physical and mental health of the local community.

Before it became a hospital, the grounds once housed the Academy of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, run by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This private school for young ladies opened in July 1859 in a beautiful brick building on land surrounded by fruit trees.

However lovely the grounds, the effort to transport their children to the edge of the city and back seems to have been a deterrent to parents. By 1861 the Sisters of Charity moved the school to a more central location on Brady Street, where the school flourished.

An advertisement in the Davenport Daily Gazette, March 7, 1865 describes the 10 acres and main building for sale for the “bargain price” of $9,000 (roughly $130,000 in today’s dollars).


It wasn’t until 1869 that the property was given to the Sisters of Mercy to start a hospital.  Ten additional acres were donated by a neighbor and the Scott County Board also provided a loan of $2,000 to remodel and make necessary improvements to the building.

The December 7, 1869 Davenport Daily Gazette described the large brick building and the twenty acre grounds. The Sisters had also created a medical board of local physicians and surgeons to staff the hospital.

Patients were either private, paying for their own rooms, or county patients, who were cared for in a dormitory environment. It was noted in the December 7th article that private and county patients were to be kept separate, but provided equal care. It was estimated 200 patients could be cared for at one time.

At the time, Mercy Hospital was unique. Not only were  patients treated for physical ailments, but the building housed psychiatric patients as well. Later, two dedicated psychiatric buildings would be added to the growing Mercy Hospital complex: St. Joseph’s for men and St. Elizabeth’s for women.

Mercy Hospital

Mercy Hospital grew quickly over the years, providing both physical and psychiatric care. In 1994, Mercy and St. Luke’s Hospital merged to form the Genesis Health System. Mercy Hospital was renamed Genesis West.

145 years later, the land  on which Mercy Hospital began is surrounded by local neighborhoods and schools and it is difficult to imagine it as twenty acres of trees and gardens.

Yet the hospital continues to be a place of healing—a fine legacy for the Sisters who offered Mercy to those in need.


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Turkey Notes of Note!

It’s time to take out our stash of colored paper and puns and write those Turkey Notes!

Luckily, the weather is conspiring to keep us all indoors this week, so you should have plenty of time to lovingly craft a special Turkey-themed poem for each of your loved ones.

If you’re wondering what on earth we’re talking about, our standard explanation for this Davenport tradition is here.

And our annual staff examples are here:

Turkey red
Turkey blue

Turkey Note!2 Turkey said
 I’ll keep an eye out for you!

Turkey brown,
Turkey navy,
Turkey says please pass the gravy!

Turkey black
Turkey gold
Turkey says,
“Eat before it gets cold!

Turkey red
Turkey blue
Turkey said
I need to run fast from you!Turkey Note!3

Turkey brown,
Turkey green,
Turkey wants a giant tv screen

Turkey ground
Turkey sky
Turkey says,
“Where’s my pie?”

Turkey red,
Turkey blue
Turkey says Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Turkey Note!

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Four “Helpful” Thanksgiving Menus – 1900 Style

Are you in the midst of planning your Thanksgiving feast this year? Are you thinking of adding some new dishes to the same-old, same-old holiday fare?

It appears that the urge to freshen up one’s Thanksgiving menu is nothing new—cooks were already looking for new recipes to impress their guests 114 years ago!

Ever helpful, the Davenport Daily Republican printed several suggestions for multi-course feasts on November 25, 1900—the Sunday before the holiday.

For your convenience, we’re reprinting them, in the same order and pattern as they originally appeared in the paper, but just a little earlier to give you time to assemble some of the more . . . exotic . . . ingredients.

And borrow your neighbors’ ovens.

The New England Dinner

Oyster Soup.

Boiled Halibut.                     Egg Sauce.

Chicken Pie.                          Sweet Cider.

Roast Turkey, Stuffed.

Roast Chicken.                    Boiled Chicken.

Mashed White Potatoes.                    Baked White Potatoes.

Yellow Squash.                    White Turnips.

Boiled Onions.                      Cranberry Sauce.

Celery.                   Cider.

Mince Pie.                             Cranberry Pie.

Pumpkin Pie.                        Apple Pie.

Plum Pudding.                      Wine Jelly.

Fruit.                       Assorted Nuts.


Very Inexpensive


Boiled Fish.           Sauce.

Roast Turkey.      Bread Filling.

Cranberry Sauce.

     Celery.           Mashed Potatoes.

String Beans.          Cold Slaw.

Roast Sweet Potatoes.

Tomatoes.             Pumpkin Custard Pie.

Cheese.     Nuts.     Wafers.



 From ‘Way Down South

Oysters on the Half Shell.

Clear Soup.

Custard and Spinach Blocks.

Olives.                    Celery.

Deviled Spaghetti.

Cranberry Jelly.

Sweet Potato Croquettes.

Peas served in Turnip Cups.

Ginger Sherbet.

Lettuce Salad.      Cheese Balls.

Toasted Crackers.

Plum Pudding, Hard Sauce.

Pumpkin Pie.        Coffee.

Bonbons.               Almonds.


 Turkey Stuffed With Oysters

Oysters on the Half Shell.

Cream of Celery Soup.

Roast Turkey with Oyster Stuffing.

Cranberry Sauce.                 Mashed Potatoes.

Baked Sweet Potatoes.

Spinach.                                Celery.

Chicken Salad.     Mayonnaise Dressing.

Cheese.                  Crackers.               Olives.

Pumpkin Pie.        Mince Pie.

Nuts.       Raisins.      Fruit.


No matter which menu you might choose, we have a feeling everyone at your table will leave full and thankful!

(and if you try the deviled spaghetti, let us know . . . we’re curious)

(posted by Amy D.)

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Famous Beards of Davenport

In case you need some inspiration for No-Shave November, here are some fantastic historic beards from our Hostetler Studio Photograph Collection.

The Dumbledore look:

Father Anton Niermann (1909)

Father Anton Niermann (1909)

The circus ringleader/movie villain look:

Thomas Griggs (ca. 1901)

Thomas Griggs (ca. 1901)

The beard-scarf, for the predicted cold temperatures:

John C. Graham (ca. 1913)

John C. Graham (ca. 1913)


The Abe Lincoln muttonchops look:

Charles Edwin Putnam (ca. 1912)

Charles Edwin Putnam (ca. 1912)

The perfect Santa Claus beard:

Col. G. Watson French (ca.1912)

Col. G. Watson French (ca.1912)

And finally, no Quad-City historic beard post would be complete without Dr. B. J. Palmer, who made any style his own:

Dr. Bartlett Joshua Palmer (ca.1910)

Dr. Bartlett Joshua Palmer (ca.1910)

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The Much Photographed Wedding of Anna Streckfus and Edward Manthey

Anna Streckfus married Edward Thomas Manthey on November 12, 1913.

The bride was the daughter of Captain John Streckfus, owner of the extremely successful Streckfus Steamboat line, and the groom was from a wealthy and influential New Orleans family. According to the Davenport Democrat, which offered a double-column description on page 10 of its evening edition, their wedding was one of the most elaborate events of the season.

It was also in Rock Island, Illinois.

Lucky for us, the Hostetler Studios of Davenport agreed to make a house-call. As it was rare to have photographers at weddings—generally, the bridal party went to the studio days or weeks before, or after, the event—this set of wedding photographs is unequalled in our collections.

The wedding took place at 10am and was performed by the Reverend J. F. Lockney at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rock Island. The marriage announcement said that music was provided by the church organist as well as a cello, a violin, and a vocal quartet:


Sometime before or after the ceremony, the wedding party had their photographs taken in the Streckfus house, which is also where the breakfast reception was held.

Since these photographs were taken on-site the day of the wedding, they are among the few in our collections from this time period that show us the wedding flowers as well as the finery!


“The bride was in an elaborate gown on heavy white charmeuse, trimmed in rose point lace and tulle, the neck slightly décolleté, and the skirt entrained ad draped with clusters of orange blossoms; the long wedding veil was in draped effect encircles with a wreath of orange blossoms and the bridal jewels were diamonds in an exquisite lavaliere setting of platinum. The wedding ring was out of the ordinary being a circlet of diamonds set in platinum. The bridal bouquet was of bride’s roses and lilies of the valley with tulle bows.”

The groom’s couture, as usual, was not mentioned. But we think he looked very nice, too!

Joseph Irwin of New Orleans stood up for the groom and the nephew of the bride, young master Streckfus Manning, was the flower bearer. The maid of honor was the bride’s sister, May Streckfus, and Mary Helen Behrman, the daughter of the mayor of New Orleans, was bridesmaid.

Even with the descriptions from the announcement, we had some difficulty determining which bridal attendant was which, from the black and white photographs.

An image of the Streckfus family, which is not shown here, helped us identify May Streckfus, the maid of honor, as the young lady standing to the bride’s left, in the flattened hat decorated with the band of roses. We assume that Joseph Irwin is the gentleman next to her.

Presumably, one of the four ushers—John Streckfus, Jr, Harry Larkin, Andrew Williams, and Oscar Schmidt—is standing with Miss Behrman to the groom’s right.


“The maid of honor, Miss Streckfus, was in Killarney rose-pink charmeuse with over dress of pink chiffon trimmed in shadow lace; she carried a spray of pink Killarney roses, and her hat as pink with white lace.”

“The bridesmaid [Mary Helen Behrman] was in pink brocaded crepe de meteor, with over dress of Chantilly lace and pearl trimmings; she wore a white lace hat and also carried pink roses.”

The wedding breakfast appeared to have crowded the house, though it’s probable that the photographer arranged things to get as many tables as possible in a single shot:


We assume the same applies to the wedding gifts, displayed in the front parlor; in 1910, one did not normally place one’s fine crystal and silver place settings on the floor!

dplx1016kTo round out his visit, the Hostetler photographer threw in an exterior shot of the Streckfus home—another rarity!


After the wedding, the bride and groom left Rock Island for an extended New York honeymoon and from there traveled to New Orleans, where they made their home after the New Year.

We hope that they were as happy as their wedding photographs have made us!

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Still Doing His Rounds: The Haunting of 723 Main Street

Join us tonight at 7pm at the Fairmount Street Branch Library for a spooky talk from Terry Fisk, author of The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations.

UnexplainedMr. Fisk’s book includes two entries for Davenport.  One is on the “Banshee of Brady Street”, an urban legend which we debunked in a previous post.

But there’s another Davenport haunting that our research can’t dismiss so easily.

 In May of 1972, another occult writer, Brad Steiger, visited Palmer College’s Pi Kappa Chi fraternity house at 723 Main Street in Davenport.  With him was Irene Hughes, a well-known medium from Chicago.

They were there to investigate reports that the residents had heard footsteps, typing sounds, and other unexplained phenomena.

After a few minutes talking with the residents, the medium mentioned that she saw a spirit that looked like a doctor wearing surgical clothes.

According to our research, the property on which the home sits was once owned by St. Luke’s Hospital and it is located near their first hospital building.

The residence itself had been the home of Dr. William A. Stoecks who had been associated with the firm of Hageboeck, Stoecks, Maxwell, Kornder & Boss.

Dr. Stoecks died on October 18, 1961 at Mercy Hospital in Davenport and is buried at Oakdale Cemetery.

But if Ms. Hughes is to be believed, he was still doing his rounds at least a decade later.


Works Cited

Arpy, Jim. “Haunted House.” Times-Democrat 11 April 1972.

Davis, Shirley. “Ghosts In Davenport? Maybe.” Times-Democrat 14 May 1972: p. 6D.

“Saturday Rites Set For Doctor.” Davenport Morning Democrat 19 October 1961: p. 12.

Steiger, Brad. “Psychic Safaris.” Times-Democrat 10 December 1972: p. 6 FOCUS.


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