In Memoriam: 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Davenport photographer J.B. Hostetler photographed 22-year-old Amanda Ploehn and 18-year-old Wilma Barnes in the summer of 1918. Sadly, both young women died just a few months later during the Influenza pandemic.

Davenport Democrat and Leader. Tuesday, December 31, 1918

270 residents of Davenport died as a result of complications from Influenza from October through December of 1918. It was a record year for Davenport with 1,453 deaths total. There were 143 more deaths than births reported for the year. The worst month was December with an average of 7 deaths per day for a total of 252.

Amanda Ploehn

The 1918 Davenport City Directory says Miss Ploehn worked as a maid for the Davenport Hospital at 326 East 29th Street. She was living with her grandparents, Gustave & Sophie Larsen at 1741 West 16th Street. Her obituary, published in the Davenport Democrat and Leader on December 13, 1918, states that her parents Claus & Dora Ploehn and siblings Albert, Herbert, Alma, and Hulda all lived on a farm in Willow Vale, North Dakota.

Amanda Ploehn died November 28, 1918, sadly, at the hospital where she had once worked. Her Iowa Death Record indicates she was employed at the Rock Island Arsenal at the time of her death.

Wilma Barnes

Like many young men and women of the time, Miss Barnes visited the Hostetler Studio to have her Senior portraits taken that Summer. She had just graduated from Davenport High School and was going to start teaching at the Oak Hill school in the Fall. Her charming personality made her immediately popular with her students, reported the Davenport Democrat and Leader on September 19, 1918, when she led an “excellent” musical program during a War Savings Stamps fundraiser at Oak Hill school No. 5 in Buffalo township.

Wilma Eleanor Barnes died December 12, 1918, at her home in Blue Grass, where she lived with her parents, William & Minerva Barnes, and brothers Chester and Rolland. One of the portraits that Hostetler took during that Senior portrait session was used for her obituary, published in the Davenport Democrat and Leader on December 13, 1918.

(posted by Cristina)

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Becoming Iowa: The Saukie Indians and their Great Chiefs Black Hawk and Keokuk by Amer Mills Stocking

2021 marks the 175th anniversary of Iowa’s statehood. On December 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th state admitted into the Union. Commemorative publications, programs, and other events are planned by the Iowa Department of Culture Affairs and communities across the state.

In preparation for the festivities, we will be blogging about different areas of Iowa history and culture through books and novels written by Iowans and about Iowa throughout the year. This week we’ll explore the book of historical poetry by Amer Mills Stocking.

title page
Title page “The Saukie Indians”

The Saukie Indians and Their Great Chiefs Black Hawk and Keokuk by Amer Mills Stocking was published in 1926 by The Vaile Company in Rock Island, Illinois. The historical poetry is accompanied by an introduction by Alice French, or better known by her pseudonym Octave Thanet. The author dedicates the book to “Mr. and Mrs. John H. Hauberg, whose interest in the Historic Past is exceeded only by their helpfulness in the Living Present and their hope for the Glorious Future.”

Amer Mills Stocking according to his book is a descendant of the Wampanoags. According to the Middletown Upper Houses: A history of the North Society of Middletown, Connecticut, from 1650 to 1800 by Charles Collard Adams, Amer Mills was born September 26, 1858 in Chester, Ohio to William Halsey and Mercy Amelia Talcott. Mr. Stocking married Adelia L Stickle on December 25, 1888 in McDonough, Illinois.

Amer Mills Stocking, Image from Find A Grave. Uploaded by David Smith.

He graduated from Ohio National Normal University in 1884. Soon after he joined the Central Illinois Conference of Methodist Episcopal Church. According to the Moline and Rock Island City Directory, Reverend Amer M. Stocking lived at 712 16th, Rock Island, Illinois in 1891 and 1892. He ministered at the First Methodist Episcopal Church.

He and Adelia had two daughters, Sarah Psyche born on November 30, 1894 and Mary Majorie born on March 1, 1907. Mr. Stocking died on March 31, 1943 in Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois. Mr. Stocking’s legacy was impressed upon his parishioners, readers, and the historical conversation. His other works are two books of poetry for children, Paraphrases and Bible Stories in Verse and Verse for Children and Child Lovers.

The two companies associated with publishing and printing this volume are The Vaile Company of Rock Island, Illinois and the W.B. Conkey Company of Chicago. The W.B. Conkey began around 1877 in Chicago. Over its development, it absorbed the Illinois Printing and Binding Company in 1890. In 1897, they build a plant in Hammond, Indiana which is represented in the Printer’s device found on the copyright page of the book by “The Hammond Press”. The LUCILE Project by Sidney Huttner is a website devoted to publishing history of one 19th century book, but he does discuss the W.B. Conkey in a brief of history.

image of printer's device, a pegasus.
Printer’s Device from the W.B. Conkey Company in The Saukie Indians.

Mr. Stocking provides a delightful writing style to engage with the history of Native American tribes and early settlers. Additionally, the poems are written in a variety of meters which allow the reader to not tire of not reading something other than prose.

The following are several pages from the book along with illustrated plats relating to the topics in the poems.

first page of the book
The Undiscovered Land
  • illutrations and text from the book

The book was well-received in the Quad Cities region. Below are articles from two local newspapers, The Daily Times and The Rock Island Argus.

“The Saukie Indians.” The Daily Times. Published May 12, 1928, page 3.

As we look toward celebrating the 175th Anniversary of Iowa Statehood, Mr. Stocking’s book will cultivate our knowledge of this early part of Iowa history.


Adams, Charles Collard, Middletown Upper Houses: A history of the North Society of Middletown, Connecticut, from 1650 to 1800 (New York: Grafton Press, 1908), 693.

Huttner, Sidney F. The LUCILE Project. 2010.

Moline and Rock Island City Directory, 1888-1891. Rock Island, IL: Frank Orff Publishing Co., 1891.

Moline and Rock Island City Directory, 1891-1892. Rock Island, IL: H. N. Stone and Co., 1892

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Eugene Green and the Bethel A.M.E. Church Choir

In keeping with the theme for this year’s Black History Month The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity, and the broadcast of Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s latest series The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song we are featuring a prominent musical couple from Bethel A.M.E. Church from the early 20th Century.

Eugene Green was born in Macon City, Missouri around 1864. We haven’t been able to confirm his birth date or his parents’ names. We know that he had an older sister named Julia, who married Moulton Holden on January 12, 1883, in Burlington, Iowa, but her parents are listed as “unknown” in the marriage license. He also had a brother named William H. and a niece who lived in Niagara, North Dakota between 1909 and 1913. And a cousin named Geneva (Austin) Burton died in Clinton, Iowa on September 25, 1909.

Eugene married Catherine “Katie” (Hardin) Gamble on December 24, 1889, in Lewis County, Missouri. Katie had a son named Clarence Gamble from her previous marriage to James Thomas Gamble. The family moved to Davenport in 1896 and became members of Bethel A.M.E. Church. Eugene was the choir director and Sunday school teacher. Katie was the organist (1902-1918). Katie’s son Clarence Thomas Gamble was 1 of 2 African-Americans to graduate from the Davenport High School in 1905.

The Greens were delegates from the local district to the 1908 National A.M.E. Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. Eugene was elected as the lay delegate to the General Conference of the A.M.E. church in 1907, 1912, 1914 in Chicago, and in 1916 in Philadelphia. They organized clubs in the church and helped put on performances for the congregation and the community.

Mr. Green started out working as a waiter at the Kimball House (1896-1898), then a porter for the C.R.I.&P. Railroad (1900-1902), a bus driver for Henry Jager (1907-1914), and finally had his own Express business, the Green Express Company (1915-1929). Katie ran a rooming house and laundry at their home on 316 West 5th Street (1906-1920).

Eugene Green was involved with music outside of the Bethel A.M.E. Church Choir, performing with The Four Black Diamonds (1928-1930), and managing the Bates Light Guard Band (1910-1913). He was on the planning committee for the Emancipation Day celebrations at Suburban Island (1913).

Eugene was a member and founder of the Negro Business Local League of Davenport (1901-1916), the Colored Republican Club (1903-1908), the Equal Rights Club (1906), the Taft-Dawson Colored Men’s Club (1908), the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows (colored) (1902-1929), and was treasurer of the Davenport branch of the NAACP (1918).

Katie was Grand Matron of House Hold of Ruth (1911-1915), the Iowa delegate to the tenth annual convention of the Negro National Educational Congress at Washinton D.C. (1916), Third ward chairman for the Colored Women’s Republican Club (1924), and organizer for the State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (1922).

Eugene Green died in Oakland, California on February 18, 1930, where he was staying with his stepson Clarence Gamble. Catherine Green died July 21, 1941, in Davenport. They are both buried in Oakdale Cemetery.

(posted by Cristina)

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The Tuskegee Institute Singers’ visit to Davenport

The reviews were overwhelmingly positive. “Delightful, splendid, pleasing and greatly appreciated” described the entertaining performances of the Tuskegee Institute Singers ensemble that traveled the globe in 1914 and 1915 promoting the mission and interests of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

The Colorado Statesman. [volume 21 no. 34], April 17, 1915, page 5

Musicians and faculty chaperones gave concerts in the Tri-Cities from May 4 to May 6, 1915, in high schools, churches, and the Y.M.C.A. The program was consistently described as a rendering of plantation melodies, negro folk songs, and dialect readings. The talented entertainers’ names remained a mystery until a recent review in the Register and Leader newspaper out of Des Moines, Iowa listed them as Thomas Ray, Charles Anderson, LeRoy Brown, Luther Davidson, and Richard Mann. The busy performers took a bit of time while in the area to visit Davenport photographer J.B. Hostetler to have their group portrait taken.

Tuskegee Singers photographed by J.B. Hostetler in May 1915

Organized by Booker T. Washington in 1884, three years after the historically black, private university in Tuskegee, Alabama was founded, a quartet of singers was sent out by the founder to acquaint audiences with the Tuskegee name and educational philosophy. The school choir formed in 1886 and continues to be a vibrant part of the school’s culture to this day.

The glee club reorganized in 1909 and traveled until well into the 1940s, with membership numbers varying. On this particular tour, a quintet performed melodies including “Go Down, Moses”.

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Since You Went Away” written by black composer J. Rosmond Johnson. Interspersed between numbers were literary readings and brief addresses regarding the work of the Institute. No admission fees were charged but voluntary offerings benefiting the Institute were collected.

Tuskegee Singers photographed by J.B. Hostetler in May 1915

Newspaper reviews state lobbies were packed, audiences thronged into auditoriums, and applause was hearty and frequent.

 We salute these men for representing the Tuskegee Institute so ably with their harmonies.


(posted by Karen)

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New African American Genealogy Resources

Brand new to our collection: the first two volumes of D. C. Stricklin’s African American Genealogies from 1619 to the Present (SC 929.2 STRIC)!

This unique resource presents biographies and standard genealogies (using the Register System) of more than 250 members of African American families over “…fifty states and four hundred years…” Meticulously documented research in vital, census, court, probate, property, military, cemetery, and other records is intended to help those wishing to “…continue to reconstruct and document their own family history…by eliminating unnecessary time in duplicating research…” The work also “…strives to incorporate information on allied families,” as well as “…extended families and the communities in which they lived…” (from the summary on the back cover).

Find out more about African American families with our updated research guides on African American Genealogy and African Americans in Davenport and Iowa History.

(posted by Katie)

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The Nuckols Family of Davenport

In celebration of this year’s Black History Month theme, “The Black Family,” we return to Davenporter of Note Albert Nuckols, this time exploring his family relationships. Many details of his life suggested by local newspapers articles have proven difficult to verify, the absence of records being a typical challenge in the pursuit of genealogical information about African Americans. Nevertheless, we offer what pieces of Nuckols’ story we can, along with the questions they raise, in hopes of providing a Davenport example of Black families’ experiences in the Northern states in the years surrounding the Civil War.

Albert Nuckols was born about 1815 in or around Frankfort, Kentucky. His father was an “eminent Kentuckian” and his mother an enslaved woman. (1) His Democrat obituary attributed his “gifts” to the fact that he was “…a scion of a proud Kentucky family…” whose “head was one of the greatest statesmen in America.” (2) Albert and his sister Emma were two of fourteen children. (5)

Albert later became the property of R.C. Nuckols, working for him as a foreman in a Missouri iron mill. (1) There he met, and in 1849 married, an enslaved woman named Anna. She was the property of a Mrs. Elam, who had moved to Missouri from Virginia in 1847 because her late husband had a “large interest in the mines.” (2)

Like her husband, Anna Nuckols was mixed-race, the child of an enslaved woman and a man said to have served as a judge on the Supreme Court of Virginia. (2) After their marriage, Albert was able to purchase both his and his wife’s freedom from R.C. Nuckols for $1600. (It is possible he was still paying off the debt after he had moved Davenport: “In the office of the county recorder are the documents — the only instruments in existence to show ‘Prince Albert’ was a slave.” (3) Sadly, the grantor/grantee index for Scott County does not include Albert Nuckols’ name.

Albert and Anna’s daughter Eudora was born in Missouri on January 1st, 1850. When she was four years old, her mother died and her father decided to follow George L. Nuckols/Nickolls, son of his former master, to Davenport, Iowa.

Unfortunately, we find neither Albert nor Eudora in either the 1856 Iowa Census or the 1860 U.S. Census records, though newspaper items show Albert was renting a room in the Nickolls Block (George L.’s property) on 2nd and Brady Streets. The 1870 U.S. Census for Davenport shows a 20-year-old “Eudora Knuckels” living with James G. and Caledonia Garland and their children, suggesting she may have been raised in the household of another family of color (all are identified as “M” for “mulatto” in the race column of the census).

Eudora attended the high school in Davenport, graduating in June of 1873 with the distinction of being the “first of her race” to do so. At the commencement exercises, she read a “brief but very fine” essay entitled “What Shall My Song be Today,” at the conclusion of which “…Miss N. was rapturously applauded, and received a perfect storm of bouquets.” (4) She was surprised to be presented with a gold watch on behalf of forty Davenport lawyers and other gentlemen whose rooms her father cleaned. (1) The dedication read: “‘recognizing the worth, ability and perseverance of Miss Eudora Nuckolls, who being born a slave, nevertheless graduates this day from the High School of this city and desiring to express our appreciation of one, who, under such circumstances, proves herself and thereby the colored race, even under adverse circumstances, capable of intellectual culture and of education, equally with those of a fairer skin to whom the avenues of education and improvement have never closed…” (4)

According to one of his obituaries, Albert Nuckols was very proud of his only daughter; he had “bright hopes” that she “…should be of benefit to her people in the south in their schools.” He was “nearly heartbroken” when in October of the same year she married Walter S. Garland (in whose family home she had lived) who could “…hardly read, much less write…” We know little of Walter but that he worked alongside his father-in-law Albert as a janitor, bill-poster, and white-washer. (1) According to the 1880 U.S. Census, the couple lived at 319 West 10th Street; they were at 630 Main Street in the 1885 Iowa Census.

Eudora died on July 1, 1886 and was buried in Davenport’s Oakdale Cemetery. She hoped to provide for her father and husband with the returns of a $2500 life insurance policy purchased from a company in Waterloo, Iowa. (6) Her father passed away in 1889 of pneumonia and was buried with her.

Grave of Eudora and Albert Nuckols, Oakdale Cemetery, Davenport, Iowa
Eudora Nuckols’ epitaph

Although Eudora died childless, ending Albert Nuckols’ direct line, there are more family connections yet to explore. There is Albert’s sister, Emma, who had married a man named Kane and settled in Versailles, Kentucky by the time she visited her brother and niece in 1881. (5) There is also the family of Eudora’s grandfather and Anna’s father, “Judge” Elam of Virginia. And in Davenport, there is the Garland family to trace.

If we expand the definition of “the family,” however, there are many more possibilities. J.H. Warwick/Warrick was the barber who helped Albert Nuckols when he first arrived in Davenport and remained his friend for life; F. L. Dodge witnessed Eudora’s will (as well as her mother-in-law Caledonia Garland and Emily (her aunt Emma?) Kane. There are many that joined “Prince Albert” as orators in the various Emancipation celebrations, in addition to the families in the audience. There are preachers who invited him to speak, and fellow Black men who engaged in politics. There are the neighbors of the Garlands in 1870, and of Eudora and Walter in 1880 and 1885.

Scott County, Iowa, Will Record No. 2, page 554

Stay tuned as we work to widen the circle to include more connections made by Albert Nuckols and his family members. There is much more yet to tell of the history of the African American community in Davenport.

(posted by Katie)

  1. Davenport Morning Democrat, 31 Jan 1889.
  2. Davenport Democrat, 14 Sep 1886.
  3. Davenport Democrat-Gazette, 01 Feb 1889.
  4. Daily Davenport Democrat, 28 Jun 1873.
  5. Davenport Democrat, 09 Mar 1881.
  6. Scott County Will Record No. 2, page 553.

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Davenport High School: Making room for the Freshmen

By 1900, education was changing in Davenport, Iowa. The idea of continuing education past the 8th grade was becoming more accessible as stable work opportunities for adults meant their children did not need to leave school as early to help support the family.

As attendance rose in Davenport High School a new problem soon emerged – overcrowding in the classrooms. Some classes so crowded, according to teachers, that any additional students would have to stand in the back to learn as no more space existed for additional desks.

The three-story high school building dedicated in 1875 had simply become too crowded. The Davenport Community School District needed to find a solution quickly.

Davenport High School in 1887. Located at 7th Street and Rock Island Street (now Pershing Street). First Album of the City of Davenport. SC Oversize 917.7769 Huebi.

The school board quickly set their eyes on a property that ran from 11th – 12th Streets and Main to Harrison Streets. It seemed a perfect solution. The property was a block long and was once Iowa College (now Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa) and then Griswold College (please click here to learn more about the history of the property).

The site housed three buildings. Griswold College building, also called Wolfe Hall, was built in 1856. The three story structure plus basement had housed a men’s dormitory on the top floor, classrooms, library, dining hall, and recitation halls on the first two floors during its college days.

A collage of Griswold College photos and other properties owned by the Protectant Episcopalian Diocese of Iowa in 1887. First Album of the City of Davenport. SC Oversize 917.7769 Huebi.

Kemper Hall on the property had been a boys preparatory school for many years. Not as large as Wolfe Hall, it was still an impressive building that could be used by the school board. A third smaller residence was located near the other two buildings.

A deal was struck to purchase the land and buildings for $53,000. A vote was put to the public in March 1900 and passed. A new high school was planned with construction estimated to start in 1904 after finances and building plans were gathered and approved.

What to do until then? A temporary solution was quickly found. The freshman class of Davenport High School would be moved into Wolfe Hall. Kemper Hall and the small residence would be rented out for income for the school district. Once the decision was made to move the freshmen, things began to move quickly.

A close up view of Wolfe Hall from the collage above. First Album of the City of Davenport. SC Oversize 917.7769 Huebi.

Bathrooms needed to be installed in the basement, electricity updated, and spaces adapted into classrooms with desks and blackboards. The school board was able to make changes and additions for a little over $1,000.

Finally, the building was ready. The first semester of the 1900-1901 school year ended on January 25, 1901. On January 28, 1901, the first day of the second semester, the freshmen classes of Davenport High School reported to their new building. Classes in Algebra, Latin, English, History, and Botany were part of the freshmen curriculum.

As for the sophomores, juniors, and seniors at the high school; we are sure they breathed a sigh of relief as there was no longer the fear of having to stand in the classrooms due to overcrowding.

This solution lasted until the spring of 1904 when the freshmen were moved to an empty school on Eight Street. It was time for the new high school construction to begin. One of the first things that needed to be done was to demolish Wolfe Hall as it stood directly where the new high school was to be built.

The structure had served its purpose. Educating Davenport and Scott County youth in various ways for 48 years. In its place still stands Davenport High School, now known as Central High School, that replaced it. The building still proudly serving the Davenport community for 114 years.


  • First Album of the City of Davenport. SC Oversize 917.7769 Huebi.
  • The Morning Democrat, July 23, 1886. Pg. 3.
  • The Davenport Sunday Democrat, May 30, 1886. Pg. 4.
  • The Davenport Weekly Republican, February 17, 1900. Pg. 5.
  • The Davenport Sunday Democrat, March 11, 1900. Pg. 5.
  • The Davenport Democrat, May 23, 1900. Pg. 5.
  • The Davenport Democrat, October 9, 1900. Pg. 5.
  • The Daily Times, January 7, 1901. Pg. 3.
  • The Davenport Democrat, January 11, 1901. Pg. 4.
  • The Davenport Morning Star, January 26, 1901. Pg. 8.
  • The Davenport Sunday Democrat, January 27, 1901. Pg. 5.
  • The Daily Times, August 26, 1901. Pg. 6.
  • The Daily Times, August 26, 1904. Pg. 6.

(posted by Amy D.)

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Becoming Iowa: Iowa History 101

2021 marks the 175th anniversary of Iowa’s statehood. On December 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th state admitted into the Union. Commemorative publications, programs, and other events are planned by the Iowa Department of Culture Affairs and communities across the state.

In preparation for the festivities, we will be blogging about different areas of Iowa history and culture throughout the year. This week we’ll explore the history basics every Iowan should know.

For many non-Iowans, the people and land that make up this state are a mystery surrounded by corn, pigs, and Midwestern friendliness. But as the people who live in Iowa, it is a state full of history, stories, and interesting places. For those who don’t know or need a refresher, we will share the fundamental state facts and then showcase one of our Closed Stacks materials.

As mentioned before, Iowa is the 29th state admitted into the Union on December 28, 1846. It was part of the Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, and lastly the Wisconsin Territory before Iowa became a territory itself with Robert Lucas as governor. At the time of statehood, Iowa City was named as capital with the first state university chartered there. The young state grew with more European immigrants setting and making their home in towns and cities like New Buda (Hungarians in 1850), Pella (Dutch in 1847), and the Amana Colonies (Germans in 1855). In 1856, Davenport was the site of the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River. A year later, the state capital moved to Des Moines.

These facts and more can be found in Iowa Profile: Quick Facts About Iowa. The University of Northern Iowa created a timeline for those wishing to learn more about Iowa history.

For those wishing to test their knowledge, the Text and Workbook in the History of Iowa by Carl H. Erbe and published by the Holst Printing Company located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, would help that curious student of history.

This textbooks was intended for use by sixth and seventh graders, although it had many other possible uses including independent study by pupils. It used modern pedagogy of the time to develop skills and knowledge of students.

Below are a few sample pages of this compact Iowa history textbook:

We found some press written in Iowa newspaper about this wonderful little textbook.

We hope we whet your appetite for more this Iowa in the coming months.

(posted by Kathryn)

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JoAnna Lund’s Healthy Exchanges

It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life.

JoAnna Margaret McAndrews was born September 4, 1944, at Mercy Hospital in Davenport to Agnes Carrington and Jerome McAndrews. She graduated from Lost National High School in 1962, attended the American Institute of Commerce in Davenport, and graduated from the Moline Institute of Commerce.

JoAnna married Daniel Dierickx on June 4, 1966, in the Sacred Heart Church in Lost Nation, Iowa. The couple made their first home at 902 Bridge Avenue in Davenport and later lived in Wheatland and DeWitt. She married Clifford Lund on December 1, 1979, in DeWitt, Iowa.

JoAnna was a very crafty and creative young lady. She made all of her clothes herself, including her own wedding gown. She was style editor of the local Lost Nation paper in 1960. She probably inherited her creativity and talent from her mother, Agnes, who was an award-winning poet, collected and made her own hats, and kept a beautiful garden in front of her apartment on Brady Street.

JoAnna had an illustrious career with Iowa Mutual Insurance Co. in DeWitt as a commercial casualty-umbrella underwriter. Her professional certifications and designations included Certified Professional Insurance Woman, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, Associate in Automation Management, and Associate in Premium Auditing. She was named Woman of the Year by the Quad-Cities Association of Insurance Women in 1983 and was elected president of that organization in 1985. She was named Insurance Professional of the Year by the Quad Cities Insurance Association in 1992.

In 1982, she co-edited the cookbook, Insure Your Christmas Cooking through the Davenport Association of Insurance Women, which they sold as stocking stuffers for $1. The book was so popular that they did a second printing the next year and published a second book, Premium Holiday Recipes, in 1984.

In 1991, the stress of having a son, daughter, and son-in-law in active duty during the Gulf War made her re-evaluate her lifestyle. She had gained a lot of weight from stress-eating and worried about being healthy for her kids when they returned. She started going for walks every day, joined Weight Watchers, and changed her eating habits by reducing fat and sugar in her diet.

She lost 101 pounds that year and published the Cookbook Healthy Exchanges. She reworked family favorites cutting the amount of fat and making substitutions when needed. For JoAnna, it was a way to combine her creative side and her analytical side. She experimented in her home kitchen on the weekends and brought meals for her coworkers to taste test. She exchanged recipes with women at her church and her Weight Watchers group.

Her cookbook and monthly subscription newsletter were so successful that she was able to quit her job to focus on creating recipes full time. Keys to her success were that all ingredients could easily be found in local stores and the cooking steps were kept to a minimum. She also included inspirational notes, words of encouragement, and healthy lifestyle advice.

JoAnna Lund went on to write over 40 books and sold over 2,000,000 copies during her lifetime. She hosted 2 national PBS TV Series, Help Yourself with Joanna Lund in 1997 and Cooking Healthy with the Family in Mind in 2000. She and her husband hosted the Healthy Exchanges weekly call-in radio program on WOC-AM. She was a frequent guest on QVC and sold more books than anyone in the history of the company. She hosted cooking segments on the TV show RV Today on the Outdoor Living Network and had an online cooking column in Trailer Life. She also wrote a syndicated column for King features in weekly newspapers, a monthly food column in senior papers, and wrote for Voice of the Diabetic newspaper.

JoAnna Lund died on May 20, 2006, at her home in DeWitt after a long, courageous battle with breast cancer.

In 2001, the FRIENDS of the Davenport Public Library awarded JoAnna Lund the “Author Achievement Award” at that year’s Salute to Authors program. She was a frequent participant of the annual program beginning shortly after her first book was published in 1992. After her death, a plaque in her owner was placed in the Cookbook section of the downtown library.

Cookbooks by JoAnna Lund in our collection.


  • Quad-City Times, May 23, 2006
  • Quad-City Times, May 22, 2006
  • Quad-City Times, January 2, 2002
  • Quad-City Times, November 6, 1991
  • Quad-City Times, September 3, 1984
  • Quad-City Times, December 30, 1982
  • Sunday Times-Democrat, August 15, 1971
  • Sunday Times-Democrat, June 5, 1966
  • Sunday Times-Democrat, August 6, 1961
  • Morning Democrat, February 20, 1963
  • Des Moines Register, June 14, 1992
  • Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 12, 1992
  • Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 3, 1991

(posted by Cristina)

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Looking Back at 2020, Looking Forward to 2021

2020 began at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center as many years have done in the past: with a successful program. Along with the Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society, we presented the “Jump into Genealogy” beginning genealogy education series. We also made plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the 400th anniversary of the 1620 Mayflower voyage and subsequent founding of Plymouth Colony, and commemorations of other important historical events.

Over the following months the necessary closures challenged us to devise ways to offer safe remote access to our collections via online services, guides, and programs. Later, we adopted an appointment system in order to offer patrons safe access to our building and resources.

Despite these uncertainties, we were able to accomplish many goals and activities this year that we are proud to share with you all.

In July, the State Historical Society of Iowa awarded the FRIENDS of the Davenport Public Library with a $14,847 grant to digitize media from the Bix Beiderbecke Museum and World Archives Collection. The project involves digitizing media currently on inaccessible formats. The requested funds will be used to hire a professional digitization company to migrate 239 reel-to-reel tapes and other media formats to a more stable, accessible archival format. The media contains audio-visual content relating to Bix Beiderbecke and his jazz contemporaries. The project’s desired impact on the community will be to preserve and make accessible a piece of its musical history and influence. Once digitized and available for research, it will create educational opportunities for area primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions. This collection will bolster understanding of the history of Jazz in Iowa. The grant is supported by the Historical Resource Development Program (HRDP) and funded through Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP).

Currently, Media Transfer Services of Rochester, New York is migrating the data to a digital file format, giving future researchers the opportunity to study these reccordings. We are excited to continue this important project in 2021.

The Center also announced the launch of a new descriptive guide and search tool for its Archive and Manuscript Collections called ArchivesSpace. With this resource, the public can search hundreds of archival collection guides to learn about our holdings. It can be accessed at the following web address or by clicking on the image below:

Over the course of the year, Special Collections staff offered a variety of virtual programs which are available on the Library’s Calendar of Events and the Library’s YouTube Channel: Special Collections Playlist. We continued to send out our eNewsletter, sharing information and updates from the Special Collections Center.

2021, we hope, is a year in which we can offer more educational programs, and more opportunities for our community and beyond to engage and interact with the collections held at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. We appreciate your unwavering support and we look forward to sharing knowledge about our community’s wonderful history.

We’ve enjoyed seeing and chatting with those of you who have been in contact; we miss you all. If you wish to use Special Collections resources, please call or email us for assistance.

Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year! Start the year off with the fun of solving a jigsaw puzzle created from a photograph in our image collection. Click the image below to access it!

2003-09: Davenport Leisure Services & Facilities Parks Collection – Group of Silver Skaters winners holding trophies from [1950s]. Found in Box 75, Folder 771, Image 88.

(posted by Kathryn on behalf of the entire Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center Staff)

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