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Homer Calkin Collection of Printed Ephemera

Identifier: MsC0505

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Scope and Contents

The Homer L. Calkin collection of printed ephemera consists of two boxes containing 524 items that date from approximately 1880-1896. There are advertising and trade cards, spelling cards, calling cards and invitations, as well as paper dolls, and cut-outs of such things as flowers and fruit. The cards that make up this collection are arranged alphabetically by company and/or by the subject of the artwork. Some of the companies and/or products represented include Arm & Hammer, the Singer Manufacturing Company, and the Woolsen Spice Company. The cards arranged by artwork include the following categories: animals, birds, children, houses, ships, flowers, fruit, and paper dolls.


  • Creation: 1880-1896


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Homer Leonard Calkin was born on May 5, 1912, in Clearfield, Iowa. He attended Simpson College for two years (1931 -- 1933) before transferring to the University of Iowa. He finished his education at Iowa, earning a B.A. in history in 1935 and later both an M.A. (1936) and a Ph.D. (1939) in British history. On July 2, 1938, Homer Calkin married Corrine Reynolds (who died July 9, 1969). He was married Mary Katherine Ferriss in 1971..

During World War II, Calkin served as a military intelligence officer with the War Department General Staff in Washington, D.C. After the war he worked for the National Archives and Records Service. His career in the State Department began in 1950, when he was hired as chief of the records management staff. Over the next 27 years he held a number of positions within the department, was a member of the planning staff for the State Department building, served as a management analyst, and was deputy director of the research and reference division of the State Department historian's office when he retired in 1977. After his official retirement, Calkin continued to work as a consultant preparing histories of women and minorities in the Department of State and the Foreign Service.

Calkin published more than fifty articles, numerous book reviews, several hundred abstracts of historical articles, and compiled catalogues of Methodist Church archives. He wrote two books, Women in American Foreign Affairs and Castings from the Foundry Mold, and contributed chapters to Those Incredible Methodists. Calkin has been published in the United States, France, and Ireland.

Homer Calkin was active in a number of organizations, most of which were focused primarily on history, archives, libraries, and manuscripts. He belonged to the American Historical Association, Cosmos Club, Organization of American Historians, Society of American Archivists, Wesley Historical Society, and the World Methodist Historical Society. Calkin kept close ties to the University of Iowa. He was a member of the President's Club and served on the board of the Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries. In 1984, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award. He was also very active in the United Methodist Church, on the local, national and international fronts. His book, Castings from the Foundry Mold, illustrates the 150 year history of the Foundry Church and still serves as a model for historical church writing.

Homer L. Calkin died on June 5, 1995, of a heart attack at his home in Arlington, Virginia. He was eighty three years old.


1.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Historian, archivist, author and collector. This collection of printed ephemera consists of advertising and trade cards, spelling cards, calling cards and invitations, as well as paper dolls and cut-outs of artwork such as flowers and fruit.

Method of Acquisition

This collection was given to the University of Iowa Libraries on September 10, 1997, by Mary K. Calkin. This collection was separated from a larger collection of personal papers, now MsC 504.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)