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Ada Mae Brown Brinton memoir

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0708

Scope and Contents

In 1977 Brinton wrote an essay, "Sunshine and Rain in Iowa; Reminiscing Through 86 Years," which reflects on rural Iowa, hard work, church traditions, and the love of family and community. Brinton gives the rich details of her childhood, wedding, Sunday dinners, and husking corn. She explains the process for drying corn, testing oat seeds, removing chinch bugs, and the workings of a primitive electrical system. She offers a recipe for making soap, explains World War I rationing, describes roving gypsies, peddlers, the circus and Chautauquas. People and places in Stuart, Iowa are illuminated in her writing as well as the 'brick' ice cream with the lavender wedding bell shipped in from Atlantic for her wedding dinner. She describes the depression of the 1930s, the preaching of Billy Sunday, a train trip through Iowa, which was her honeymoon, and explains the importance of woolen underwear and feather beds in winter.


  • Creation: 1977


Conditions Governing Access

"Sunshine and Rain in Iowa: Reminiscing through 86 years" is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Ada Mae Brown was born May 5, 1891, near Stuart, Iowa. Her father, Thacher Brown, came by train to that area from Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1868; after purchasing land, horses and equipment, he broke the sod for farming. Brown's mother, Rhoannah Hinkson, had met her father in Lawrence; in 1869 Rhoannah and her family arrived, and purchased a farm across the road. Rhoannah and Thacher Brown were married Christmas Day, 1869. By the time Ada Mae Brown was born her parents had sold a very successful dairy farm and moved into Stuart where her father still maintained a dairy herd of four cows. Ada Mae Brown delivered milk throughout the community as a young girl. Though she did not finish high school, Brown was known for her musical ability and sang at weddings and funerals throughout her life. On December 9, 1914 she married Marion Brinton. Four children were born of this union but two died in infancy. Ada Mae Brown Brinton died at 97 years of age in 1988.


0.25 linear inches

Language of Materials



In Sunshine and Rain in Iowa: Reminiscing through 86 Years, Brinton reflects on rural Iowa, hard work, church traditions, and the love of family and community.


One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

"Sunshine and Rain in Iowa: Reminiscing through 86 years" was donated by Elaine Brinton Phair (donor no. 728) in 2000.

Margaret Richardson, 2001.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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)