Davenport in the Digital Public Library of America

Would you like to explore the history of Davenport and Scott County but are unable to travel to our Special Collections Center to peruse our shelves and archives? With the dedicated work of the Digital Public Library of America and its contributors, you can easily access books, maps, and other sources from anywhere in the world. This extraordinary project, launched in the spring of 2013, brings together the digital collections created by libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions from across the country.

To find these fascinating items about our region, search for “Davenport, Iowa,” “Scott County, Iowa,” and other keywords to find desired titles and subjects. The search functionality is easy and simple for all users.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Davenport, Iowa” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 14, 2024. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/11491ca0-c5ee-012f-8b69-58d385a7bc34

As we search for Davenport-related materials, we discover Civil War resources, contract cards for Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), and John Henry Hauberg Papers from Augustana College to name a few eye-catching results. One can also find and read several key histories of the area through this valuable resource such as the works of Mr. Harry E. Downer, Mr. Franc B. Wilkie, and many others. Other source materials such as Geschichte der stadt Davenport und der County Scott : nebst seitenblicken auf das territorium und den staat Iowa in German are also available.

“Davenport, past and present: including the early history, and personal and anecdotal reminiscences of Davenport ; together with biographies, likenesses of its prominent men ; compendious articles upon physical, industrial, social and political characteristics of the city ; statistics of every department of note or interest, & c. / by Franc B.Wilkie.” In the digital collection Making of America Books. https://name.umdl.umich.edu/afk4431.0001.001. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 15, 2024.
Huebinger, M. & Co. (109) Sketch of Scott County. Scott County and Davenport City Offices. Descriptive Sketch of Davenport, Iowa.,Atlas of Scott County, Iowa. Containing Also Maps Of The Three Cities, Davenport, Rock Island, And Moline, Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island Rapids And The Hennepin Canal. Compiled And Drawn From Surveys And Records By M. Huebinger, C.E. Davenport, Ia. 1894. Published By M. Huebinger & Co. M. Huebinger Fecit.,Text: Sketches of Scott County and Davenport, Iowa.. 1894. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~255375~5519766. (Accessed May 15, 2024.)

Interestingly, we also found one of the most treasured artifacts in our collection, this Map of the City of Davenport and its Suburbs from 1857. This map shows the early growth of the City and its surrounding communities.

Hogane, James T. “Map of the city of Davenport and its suburbs, Scott County, Iowa.” Map. Iowa: s.n., 1857. Digital Commonwealth, https://ark.digitalcommonwealth.org/ark:/50959/4m90f963p (accessed May 14, 2024). https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:4m90f963p

We discovered that other Iowa institutions have collections of Davenport materials like this postcard of the Suburban Island pavilion held at Grinnell College.

Pavilion, Suburban Island, Davenport, Iowa. 1910. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, https://digital.grinnell.edu/islandora/object/grinnell:18454. (Accessed May 15, 2024.)

Created by the Huebinger Brothers the next two items offer early views of the City of Davenport, its buildings and structures, and details about its history and people. To learn more about the Huebingers, specifically Melchior Huebinger, we invite you to watch our Opening the Box program on YouTube.

This short note was written by our famed Alice French, pen name Octave Thanet, is found at the Boston Public Library. Alice was a well-known author in the latter part of the 19th and the early 20th century. It has made us curious to find other letters and materials relating to her in different libraries. We have another resource for those interested in learning about this figure of Davenport’s history which is our Research Guide on Alice French.

Thanet, Octave, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. “Alice French (Octave Thanet) autograph note signed to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Davenport, Iowa, 12 October.” Manuscript. [ca. 1870–1911]. Digital Commonwealth, https://ark.digitalcommonwealth.org/ark:/50959/5712ns20j (accessed May 15, 2024).

Lastly, we found these two maps in the DPLA long list of results. The first is the 1950 map of the Enumeration Districts of the City of Davenport. As many of you may know, the 1950 census was released two years ago. So if you want to explore the resources relating to this census, click on the map below!

Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. Office of the Associate Director for Decennial Census. Geography Division. (1/1987 – 7/15/2011). 1950 Census Enumeration District Maps – Iowa (IA) – Scott County – Davenport – ED 101-1 to 118. 1880-01-01/1990-12-31. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, http://catalog.archives.gov/id/19078337. (Accessed May 15, 2024.)

The second map and final item on this list is this unique-looking map created in 1957. It showcases the cities of Davenport and Bettendorf. It overlays images of each city on top of the respective areas that make up the municipalities.

Maporama. Davenport, Bettendorf / Maporama illustrated map enterprises. 1957. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America, http://collections.lib.uwm.edu/cdm/ref/collection/agdm/id/33411. (Accessed May 15, 2024.)

We hope you have a delightful time exploring Davenport’s history and hope you go on an adventure to discover the past with this fantastic resource!

(posted by Kathryn)

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