Scope and Contents
From the Collection:
The Evelyn Birkby Collection of Radio Homemaker Materials dates from 1924 to 2012 and measures 8.4 linear feet. The papers are arranged in ten series: Evelyn Birkby, Kitchen-Klatter Products Co., KFNF Radio, KMA Radio, Henry Field Seed and Nursery Company, Miscellaneous Radio Homemaker materials, Photographs, Artifacts, Scrapbooks and Audiovisual. The bulk of these papers are in the form of publications.
The Evelyn Birkby series (1978-1999) is arranged in two subseries. The first subseries, Newspaper clippings by and about Birkby includes photocopies of Birkby's "Up a Country Lane" column and newspaper and magazine reviews of her 1993 book by the same name. A 1991 New Yorker article by Jane and Michael Stern provides a history of KMA and KFNF radio stations and the radio homemakers, and includes an interview with Evelyn and Robert Birkby. The second subseries, Publications (1978-1993) consists of six cookbooks by Birkby: KMA Cookie Festival (1978), Festival Cookie Book (1983), Cooking with KMA (1985), and Come Again Cookie Book (1987), Neighboring on the Air: Cooking with the KMA Radio Homemakers (1991), and Up A Country Lane Cookbook (1993). Also included is Adventure After Sixty: Alone Through England and Scotland (1985).
Kitchen-Klatter Products Co. (1936-1986) consists of Kitchen-Klatter magazine and various other publications by the Driftmier Company, makers of Kitchen-Klatter products. Birkby's column was featured each month in Kitchen-Klatter magazine, a staple for the rural woman wanting kitchen tips, household hints and general information. Kitchen-Klatter went out of business in 1986.
The KFNF Radio and KMA Radio series (1926-1987) are comprised of publications of these two Shenandoah, Iowa radio stations. They are primarily newsletters and recipe books, some taken from the homemakers' programs. Among the homemakers featured are Jessie S. Young, Edith Hansen, Florence Falk, Evelyn Birkby, and Billie Oakley. The KMA Radio series also includes a small collection of photographs, some of which appeared in Cooking with KMA (1985) and Up a Country Lane Cookbook (1993). Also contained in the KMA Radio series are Billie Oakley's Home Talk magazine, published by Home Talk Publications, Inc., 1987-1991. The magazine featured recipes, fiction and local news. Oakley began her radio career in 1932 for KFNF. She later worked for KMA radio station, retiring in 1992. Oakley died in 1996.
The Henry Field Seed and Nursery Company series (1924-1999) contains Henry Field's Seed Sense magazine and newspaper clippings.
The Miscellaneous Radio Homemaker materials are non-Iowa items collected by Evelyn Birkby. This series includes books by radio homemakers from South Dakota and Oklahoma that are shelved in the Iowa Women's Archives printed works collection. They are: The Best of the Neighbor Lady (1987) by Wynn Speece with M. Jill Karolevitz and Long Lost Recipes of Aunt Susan (1989) edited by Patty Vineyard MacDonald.
The Photographs series (1948-1965 and undated) consists of photographs of Birkby and other radio homemakers.
The Scrapbooks series (1933-2010) contains a school days scrapbook with journal entries, notes from friends, photographs and pamphlets documenting her extra curricula activities, music contests, a visit to the Iowa State Fair, and a trip to a homemaking congress in Ames. The World War II scrapbook consists of newspaper clippings and correspondence with soldiers met between 1943 and 1945. Correspondents included Clarence Clark, who was with the Iowa unit known as the Red Bull Division, and Dick Hayashi, a Japanese American soldier disillusioned by the treatment of his parents who were sent to an internment camp.
The majority of the Scrapbooks series documents Evelyn Birkby's sixty years as a columnist for The Evening Sentential. The Up A Country Lane columns not only featured recipes, but also covered a variety of topics from children's activities and family vacations to rural traditions and national current events.
The Artifacts are bottles that held Kitchen-Klatter flavorings, cooking utensils and items offered as premiums to listeners and readers.Also included is a scarf sent to Evelyn Birkby from Italy by Clarence Clark, a solider friend in World War II.
The Audiovisual series includes a video documentary about the radio homemakers and entertainers of Shenandoah, Iowa; a CD-ROM of Birkby's Kitchen-Klatter columns; and audiotapes of radio homemaker programs.
Two of Birkby's books are shelved in the printed works collection in the Iowa Women's Archives: Neighboring on the Air: Cooking with the KMA Radio Homemakers (1991), and Up a Country Lane Cookbook (1993), Adventure after Sixty: Alone through England and Scotland (1985), and Always Put in a Recipe and Other Tips for Living. KMA Radio: The First Sixty Years (1985), written by Birkby's son, Robert Birkby is also shelved in the Iowa Women's Archives printed works collection.