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Identifier: 6

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Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

The Gladys Homan papers date from 1871 to 2004 and measure 23 linear feet. The papers are arranged in ten series: Biography and Family History, Calendars, Diaries and Personal Writing, Correspondence, Club Activities, Farm Records, Photographs, Artifacts, and Activities.

The Biography and Family History series consists of three sub-series: Charles and Gladys Homan, Delmar Homan and Family. The Charles and Gladys Homan sub-series consists of various materials relating to their personal lives, including financial documents and receipts, handwritten cookbooks, a 1948 scrapbook, their 1922 wedding invitation, collected memorabilia and articles, and two audiocassettes that contain Gladys and Charles Homan reading poetry. There is also an undated scrapbook entitled, "Past, Present and Future of Gladys Madison," that utilizes magazine cut-outs to illustrate her life.

The Delmar Homan sub-series consists of three diaries Delmar maintained at ages nine, ten, and sixteen, along with several vacation diaries he kept during the thirties, forties and in 1965. The Delmar Homan sub-series also contains several papers he both wrote and collected, and newspaper articles regarding his achievements. This sub-series also contains audiocassettes on which Delmar Homan recorded memories of his childhood. These cassettes contain information about life in the Corning area during the Great Depression, family holiday traditions, gardening and food. Food was a central part of any gathering, whether it was the PTA meeting or just having company for dinner. Homan gives great detail about the vegetables in the Homan garden, recipes his mother used, and the ways she prepared certain dishes. Delmar Homan also discusses such topics as profanity and sexuality, illuminating community and family mores. Other audiocassettes include a 1992 "letter" to his Aunt Edith (Edith Dustin), and a commencement address given by Delmar Homan at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, where he was on the English faculty.

The Family sub-series includes an 1871 letter written by Charles Homan's great-grandparents, Mark and Rachel Homan, to their son Jesse, along with other family memorabilia including report cards, funeral cards, and a poem written by Gladys Homan's sister, Millie Madison DeVore. The Family sub-series also contains several diaries, including the 1873-1928 diary of Louisa Lawrence, Gladys Homan's grandmother. Gladys Homan's mother, Vira Madison's 1894-1900 diary is also in the sub-series. Of special interest is the May 7, 1899 entry when she comments on giving birth to Gladys. Other diaries in the sub-series were written by Temperance Madison Babbitt (Aunt Tempy). The Family sub-series also contains genealogical material, including two volumes, The Lawrence Family History (1998) and Adams County History (1984). The Lawrence Family History provides biographical and genealogical information about Gladys Homan, her ancestors, and her descendents. Adams County History is rich in information about both the Homan family and the area where they lived.

The Calendars series contains calendars from 1958-1992, in which Gladys Homan kept track of her daily activities, often recording daily temperature and precipitation measurements.

The Club Activities series contains material pertaining to several women's organizations of which Gladys Homan was a member. Booklets and information from the Corning Departmental Club, The Friendship Club, the Baptist Women's Club, and 4-H are included in this series, along with materials from several rural women's clubs. Homan was also active in the Tuberculosis and Health Association of Iowa. Also included in the series are several of Homan's own writings and poems that were presented at club meetings and numerous games and activities utilized atclub meetings.

The Diaries and personal writings series contains Gladys Homan's diaries from 1916 through 1966. Though the diaries were written during five turbulent decades of the twentieth century, most of the entries pertain to local and family events and provide a glimpse into rural life through the eyes of an Iowa farmwoman. Of special note is the 1921 diary, where entries between July 1 and August 19 were written by Gladys Homan's mother, Vira Madison. Gladys was suffering from scarlet fever and unable to maintain her diary during this period.

The Farm Records series pertains primarily to Timberdale, the Homan family farm outside Corning, Iowa, although early records precede Timberdale, pertaining to the farm run by Charles Homan's grandfather, Charles A. Foote. Timberdale records date from 1936 through 1996 and include expense and profit statements. This series also includes information about the layout of the farm (orchards, crops, etc.) and a completed 1982 Agriculture Census. Photographs of Timberdale may be found in the Photographs series.

The bulk of the Gladys Homan papers consist of Correspondence dating from 1907 to 2004. Most of the correspondence is between Gladys Homan and her son Delmar, Gladys Homan and her sister-in-law Edith Dustin, and Delmar Homan and his Aunt Edith (Dustin), although letters from other relatives and friends are included. (Following the Box List is a "Cast of Characters," identifying some of the correspondents.) Daily correspondence spanning the years from Gladys Homan's childhood, through her marriage, and old age encompass the births and deaths of children, the first and second World Wars, the Depression, the beginnings of the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement. The letters between Gladys and Delmar Homan contain information about his years as a student at the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) and Columbia University, New York, his two years in the Army, and continue through his marriage and teaching job at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, the death of his wife, Dorothe, and his retirement. The letters represent cover a wide range of topics, accentuating Gladys and Delmar's interests in community and world affairs. These letters are also a valuable tool in examining the transition from radio to television and the reaction of the general populace. As an example of the wide-ranging subject matter of the correspondence between Delmar and Gladys Homan, a list of topics touched on in 1957 is appended after the Scope and Content Note.

The Photographs series is divided into several categories: Club activities, Gladys Homan with her sisters (including photographs of the Madison sisters as children and mature women), the immediate family (consisting of Gladys, Charles and Delmar Homan), relatives, Timberdale Stock Farm and miscellaneous. The earliest photographs date from 1908 and depict Gladys and her sisters as children. Included with the photographs are two pins made from photographs of Gladys and her two older sisters. The miscellaneous folder includes shots Delmar Homan took of relatives' photographs hanging on his walls at home.

The Artifacts series includes 4-H pins and ribbons awarded to Gladys Homan, along with her pins from the Tuberculosis and Health Association of Iowa. Other artifacts are a salt and pepper shaker set, and instructions for a craft project "potato," including a sample of the completed project.


  • Creation: 1871-2004


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.


From the Collection: 23.00 Linear Feet

From the Collection: 6 Cassettes (Audiocassettes [AC543-547, AC934])

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)