With Memorial Day approaching, the staff at Richardson-Sloane Special Collections thought to share an online government resource to aid in searching for veterans who have served in United States military forces.

These resources are free and may be accessed from any computer. As always, our staff would be pleased to assist anyone visiting our department with research help on our public computers.

Following is a brief tutorial created by a RSSC staff member on one way to search part of the U.S. National Archives Records Administration Access to Archival Databases.

And yes, we found a lot of acronyms involved!

The Defense Casualty Analysis System (DCAS) is part of  the U. S. National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) Access to Archival Databases (AAD).

This series was created for the Department of Defense (DoD) and contains records of U.S. military officers and soldiers who died as a result of either a hostile or non-hostile occurrence in the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, or War on Terrorism. It includes persons who were missing in action and prisoners of war, deaths occurring during peacetime (beginning in 1975), and deaths resulting from accident or illness. Dates of death range from June 28, 1950 to May 28, 2006.

There are several other databases available on this site and they are organized by category. We were looking for casualties.

NARA - AAD - Main Page


Click the search button next to Defense Casualty Analysis System (DCAS). You can also search only Korean War or Vietnam Conflict casualties by selecting their “Extract Data File”

NARA - AAD - Casualties


You can search by name, birth date, hometown, casualty location or death date. You may also add other fields to search. We searched for people from Davenport, Iowa and got 59 results.

NARA - AAD - Fielded Search


The search results only show up to 10 fields (name, service, birth date, hometown, place of death, death date, war or conflict name, casualty/incident category). You can sort by any of these fields, for this example we sorted by birth date. Select the person you want and click on View Record to get more information.

NARA - AAD - Display


Each record may include: the service member’s name, service name, rank or rate, occupation, date of birth,  hometown (city, county, state or province, country), casualty city, state or province and country, death date, war or conflict, operation incident, location, hostile or non-hostile death indicator, casualty type and category, incident casualty reason, body (recovered or not).

This is a wonderful site with many options. We hope it opens many research doors for those searching this Memorial Day.

(posted by Cristina)

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Genealogy Night is this Sunday!

There is still time to sign up for Genealogy Night! Join us this Sunday May 17th from 3-8pm at he Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center of the Main Davenport Public Library. The $10 fee covers use of our extensive collections, online computer programs, wonderful staff, and yummy food! Pre-registration is required.

Call us at (563) 326-7902 to register. You will be as happy as Libby, the Library Dog in this video.

DPL Libby from Mike Mickle on Vimeo.

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Vintage Moms

This gallery contains 6 photos.

These portraits of mothers with their children were taken by J. B. Hostetler in Davenport, Iowa in the 1910’s and are part of our photograph collections. Happy Mother’s Day from the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center! Marjorie (Cosgrove) Walsh with Marjory Mary … Continue reading

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Living Memory History: The “Great Flood” turns Fifty

Does anyone remember the “Great Flood” of 1965?

The Mississippi River seemed liked it would never stop rising in April 1965 in the Quad Cities. It finally did, on April 28th with a crest at Lock and Dam 15 in Rock Island, IL at 22.48 feet.

At 15 feet the water had started out of the banks of the Mississippi River. The growing water covered roads and bridges. Its icy coldness entering into businesses and homes along the river.

Several factors contributed to this great flood. November and December 1964 had been unusually cold, but without snow. The ground frost had a chance to go deep into the soil before snow started falling in early 1965.*

Snow was still falling into March with cold temperatures lingering late into the month. Normally, slowly rising temperatures help snow to melt at an easy pace that does not overwhelm streams, creeks, and rivers. This did not happen in 1965.

When April arrived so did quickly warming temperatures by mid-month along with heavy rain up and down the river. The still frozen ground could not absorb the snow melt and rain.

The National Weather Service records March 1965 as the second coldest March on record (with an average of 26.9 degrees Fahrenheit) and the seventh snowiest March (with 16.2 inches).**

April 1965 falls as the second wettest April on record with 7.92 inches of rain falling. 2.26 inches fell on April 24th alone.

The end result was the water started rising and local citizens responded. During the cool, rainy April of 1965 sandbagging seemed a never-ending task. Some areas held well others fell to the flood. There was just too much water to fast to keep back at times.

The National Weather Service records the damage in 1965 at $125 million dollars (based on current inflation the cost today would be nearly $1 billion dollars).

We’ve recently scanned and uploaded a set of 20 slides from our collection. You can view them on the Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive and on our Historypin.

Flood stage in Quad Cities is 15-feet – the record 22.5 feet caused scenes like this one near Government Bridge.

Flood stage in Quad Cities is 15-feet – the record 22.48 feet caused scenes like this one near Government Bridge.

Davenport’s Municipal Stadium, home of the Quad-City Angels, farm team of Los Angeles Angels.

Davenport’s Municipal Stadium, in 1965 home of the Quad-City Angels, farm team of Los Angeles Angels.

One of Davenport’s inundated streets. [East 2nd Street]

One of Davenport’s inundated streets. [East 2nd Street]

“Snug Harbor”, Davenport’s American Legion riverside headquarters, suffered thousands of dollars in flood damage.

“Snug Harbor”, Davenport’s American Legion riverside headquarters, suffered thousands of dollars in flood damage.

Additional 1965 flood photos may be seen in A Flood of Images previously posted.

The Great Flood of 1965 stood as the top Mississippi River Flood at Lock and Dam 15 for 28 years.

Then the never-ending water returned in 1993.


*National Weather Service observations on 1965 Flood conditions.

**Weather records are based out of Moline, IL for the National Weather Service since record keeping began in 1871.

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Save the Date: Genealogy Night!

Have you been looking for your Great-great-aunt Ethel’s gravesite for so long, you suspect she’s still alive somewhere, snickering at your efforts to find her?

Family Tree Nut2We in the Special Collections Center of the Davenport Public Library understand. And we are once again opening our Center to give you a little extra time to root out those difficult ancestors and tie them to your family tree.

For $10.00, you’ll have the run of the Special Collections Center from 3-8pm on Sunday, May 17th. For five whole hours, you’ll be able to use our resources, pick the brains of your fellow genealogists, socialize with those who share your obsessions . . . and we’ll feed you, too!

Registration is limited, so please call us at 326-7902 for more information, or drop off your registration fee at the Special Collections Center at our Main Street location to secure your spot!

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“The Lydia” – Iowa’s First Bookmobile

[Hardin Co. IA] School District No. 2. Teacher - Miss Birdie Lee - ca. 1926

[Hardin Co. IA] School District No. 2. Teacher – Miss Birdie Lee – ca. 1926

In the summer of 1926, the County Library Committee of the Iowa Library Association rolled out what would become Iowa’s first bookmobile. Every county in Iowa could secure the use of this library on wheels for a week at a cost of $50, to help stimulate interest in the levy of a tax so that each county might have its own library and caravan.

[Hardin Co. IA] School District No. 4. Teacher - Miss Maurine Varnum - ca. 1926

[Hardin Co. IA] School District No. 4. Teacher – Miss Maurine Varnum – ca. 1926

The Book Caravan traveled to rural communities of the state, making stops at country school houses and farm homes. “Three books to every man, woman and child in Iowa” was the slogan of the county library initiative. The idea of the book caravan, also known as “The Lydia”, was conceived by Miss Lydia Barrette, city librarian at Mason City.

[Hardin Co. IA] School District No. 2. Teacher - Miss Helen Holbrook - ca. 1926

[Hardin Co. IA] School District No. 2. Teacher – Miss Helen Holbrook – ca. 1926

 Lydia Margaret Barrette was born in Rock Island, IL on April 24, 1881. She was the daughter of George M. and Martha Barrette. She graduated from Davenport High School in 1900, earned a BA degree from Cornell College in 1905 and attended the University of Iowa and University of Wisconsin, before graduating from Western Reserve University Library School in Cleveland, OH.

The Barrette family - George M, Mattie, Lydia, Ada & George, Jr. - ca. 1900. Photographed by J. B. Hostetler, Davenport, Iowa

The Barrette family – George M, Mattie, Lydia, Ada & George, Jr. – ca. 1900. Photographed by J. B. Hostetler, Davenport, Iowa

Miss Barrette began her library career in Davenport, first in the children’s library and then as a reference librarian. She spent some time in Jacksonville, IL before taking charge of the Carnegie Library at Mason City in 1921.

Under her leadership, the Mason City Library became one of the first in Iowa to establish circulating art and music collections. Her aim was to establish the public library as the cultural center of North Iowa.  A plaque hangs in the Mason City Public Library with the inscription:

“Lydia Margaret Barrette, librarian, whose creative vision and untiring devotion gave to this community a library unique in service and beauty, 1920-1955.”

According to her obituary, published in the Mason City Globe on October 21, 1963, Miss Barrette was known as “one of Mason City’s Grand Old Ladies”.


(posted by Cristina)

County Library Service Book Caravan images from the DPL Archive collection


Works Cited

Ames Daily Tribune and Evening Times. “Book Caravan Touring County.” July 22, 1926: p.1.

Ames Daily Tribune and Evening Times. “Library Notes.” May 26, 1926: p.4.

Davenport Democrat and Leader. “Miss Lydia Barrette Editor New Bulletin Iowa F.B.& P.W. Clubs.” December 4, 1923: p.6.

Harlan, Edgar Rubey. A Narrative History of The People of Iowa Vol. 3. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1931.

Mason City Globe. “Miss Lydia Barrette dies at 82.” October 21, 1963: p. 1-2.

Waterloo Evening Courier. “Book Caravan Due in Waterloo August 14-16.” August 3, 1926: p.7.

Waterloo Evening Courier. “Campaign for County Library.” January 18, 1928: p.8.

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The Flowery Rhymes of Charles Eugene Banks

It’s National Poetry Month and we can think of no better way to celebrate than to remind everyone that Davenport has been the home of quite a few nationally acclaimed poets in its time.

Charles Eugene Banks (b. 1852 – d. 1932) lived in Davenport from the late 1890s into the early 1900s.

While here, he became a part of the literary-minded Davenport Group.  The talented members of this group included Susan Glaspell, George Cram Cook, Alice French, and Arthur Davison Ficke.

The following selections are from Banks’ book Quiet Music, which was published in 1892:


We heard not a sound of their marshaling feet,

Saw never the gleam of a spear,

Till their tents stood saucily fronting each street,

And the army of blossoms is here.


The Pansy

Three flowers in my garden grew;
A lily, pansy, and a rose.
I questioned Psyche: “Tell me true,
Which is most beautiful of those?”

The lily, hearing, reared its head.
“Behold the charm of grace,” it cried.
“Voluptuous beauty here is bred,”
The blushing rose as quick replied.

The pansy, drooping on its stem,
Concealed its face with modest start.
“Alas!” I said, “pride ruins them”—
I wear the pansy in my heart.

 A happy spring to all!

(posted by Amy D.)

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The Library Will Be Closed April 3rd — Dress Accordingly!

The Davenport Public Library will be closed this Friday and our staff hopes to enjoy the Spring weather . . . whatever that turns out to be.

As those of us who live here know all too well, Calendar Spring in Eastern Iowa has little to do with Meteorological Spring.  This makes it difficult to dress appropriately for all possible fluctuations of temperature, precipitation, and wind velocity.

But we in Special Collections have photographic evidence that some Davenport residents have managed to wear the perfect Spring outfit, even without benefit of air conditioning.

Elva Yeatman Gifford, for one.

In April  of 1915, Miss Yeatman, who would marry Ira L. Gifford in Washington, D.C. in early May, had her photograph taken by the Hostetler Studio.

In the photographs, she is wearing an outfit, which does not match the description of her wedding dress offered by the May 3rd Davenport Democrat but was certainly lovely enough to have done the job:

Elva Gifford2.jpg

The flower motif, the pretty, pinfeathered hat, and the whimsical collar say, “Spring.”

The gathered, insulating ruching at the waistline and the doubled overlay of the bodice, not to mention the kid gloves say, “Not quite yet.”

It’s the perfect combination.

Elva Gifford

Well done, Mrs. Gifford!

It’s too bad this sort of style has gone out of fashion.  But I’m sure our staff will be just as comfortable in our shorts, sweatshirts, galoshes, and woolen socks, our umbrellas in one hand and our snow shovels in the other.

Because around here, Spring tends to make April Fools of us all!

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We’re History(Pin)!

As some of you have already discovered, we’ve recently started adding historical images from our collections to!

Why the excitement? Check out this description from HistoryPin’s FAQ:

HistoryPin was created to help people to come together from across different generations, cultures and places, around the history of their families and neighbourhoods, improving personal relations and building stronger communities.

We like the sound of that! And it’s also a neat way to share images from our collections.

Check out our interactive map!

So far, our profile features images in the following categories or “collections”:

  • Parks
  • Bridges
  • Around Town
  • Aerial Photographs
  • The 1940 National Corn Husking Competition (we gotta be us!)

We plan to add more soon, so check back often!

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New Digital Conversion Station (featuring the Quad Cities U.S.A. song!)

Conversion Station


Do you have home movies on VHS that you can’t watch?  Boxes of audio cassette tapes in your garage leftover from when you traded in your old car? LP records in your hall closet and no turntable?

We have a solution for your nostalgia-sickness:  Digitize your memorabilia and take it home on your flash drive!!

Our new Digital Conversion Station converts Vinyl, audio cassette tapes and video cassette tapes into digital files.

The conversion is done in real time, so it will take 2 hours to digitize a 2 hour movie.

The station is available for the public to use for up to 6 hours per day. Please call ahead at (563) 326-7902 to reserve your time.

There is no charge and you don’t need a library card to use it—all you need is a flash drive and time!

Naturally, we wouldn’t ask you to do anything we wouldn’t, so this morning, we digitized a 7 inch vinyl single of the “Themesong” of the Quad Cities, commissioned for the Quad-Cities USA campaign in 1980, which we blog about in a previous blog post.

Listen to the audio file below and sing along!


Music: Bob Jenkins; Lyrics: Charlie Teague; Arranged & Produced: Bob Jenkins; Vocal: Brent Webster ©1980 by the Quad City Development Group

I know a place
Where there’s work to be done
Where there’s room for me
and who I want to be.
Somewhere I can do the things
I’m good enough to do.
Where I can build my tomorrow.
Where I can live with the eagles.
Fly with the eagles and be free.
Quad Cities U.S.A.
Lookin’ better every day
Quad Cities, you’re the place I want to be.
I want to be.

There’s a river
A stream that works while it plays.
A road through history
Down to the shining sea.
This mighty, rollin’ river,
tells me that I’m home
Where I can build my tomorrow.
Where I can live with the river
Flow with the river and be free.
Quad Cities U.S.A.
Growin’ stronger every day
Quad Cities you’re the place I want to be.
I want to be.

On this good land
The seasons flavor my life.
And it’s good to know
Of things that live and grow.
I can raise my family
Where the good life’s gonna be.
And I can build my tomorrow.
Where I can live on the good land
Grow with the good land and be free.
Quad Cities U.S.A.
Growing better every day
Quad Cities you’re the place I want to be.

Where I can live with the eagles,
Fly with the eagles and be free.
Quad Cities U.S.A.
Lookin’ better every day
Quad Cities, you’re the place I want to be.
I want to be.
I want to be.

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