Davenport in Iowa City and Des Moines

In order to answer questions about the history of Davenport and its people, our reference staff might call upon resources outside the RSSC Center’s own collections and those of other historical organizations in the immediate area.

The State Historical Society of Iowa, based in Des Moines, is one of the repositories to which we most often refer our researchers. Fortunately, the Society has described (and even made available) many of its collection materials online. You can use these tools to discover information about Davenport and Scott County history for yourself.

The Library/Research Center Catalog, listed under History > Research > Online Catalogs on the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs website (iowaculture.gov), is actually a search of the University of Iowa Libraries’ extensive InfoHawk information retrieval system automatically limited to materials held at the SHSI Research Centers in both Des Moines and Iowa City.

A keyword search for “davenport iowa” returns 53 items under the subject “Labor unions,” for example, a topic not as well-represented in the RSSC Center’s own collection.

If you go directly to the University of Iowa’s InfoHawk+ catalog (search.lib.uiowa.edu), you can retrieve many more references to sources on Davenport, including newspaper and journal articles, maps, images, dissertations, government documents, and even some online texts and data sets available through the University’s subscription databases (the general public can see items labeled “open access”). In addition to materials available in the two Historical Libraries, you will find those held by the Law Library, Special Collections, and the Iowa Women’s Archives.

Links to digital issues of The State Historical Society of Iowa’s serial publications The PalimpsestIowa Heritage Illustrated, and The Annals of Iowa can be found under History > Research > Publications. A keyword search of “davenport” in the Annals of Iowa returns articles like these:

Use the Museum Objects Catalog under History > Research > Online Catalogs (click on the “museum collection” link in the brown “Museum” box in the lower left corner) to find material culture items such as this cream pitcher featuring an image of Davenport’s city hall, or

products manufactured in Davenport in the 1920’s: a clothes washer from the Voss Washing Machine Company and

a table radio made by the Tri-City Radio and Electric Supply Company.

On the same page, in the lower right corner, there is a purple “Special Collections” search box. The Society is still adding records to this database, but for now, a search for “Davenport” returns images like this one from the Photograph Collections M2A at the Iowa City Research Center:

And newspaper clippings about Davenport soldiers in WWII:

The blue “Archives” search is still under construction, too, but here you will soon be able to retrieve references to state-produced documents about Davenport. The red “Library” search draws from entries in the Library/Research Center Catalog/InfoHawk+.

What else can you find out about Davenport (try Scott County, too) in the State Historical Society of Iowa catalogs and collection listings? Of course, we are always available here at the RSSC Center to help you navigate these search tools and get you to the local history information you need!

(posted by Katie)

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