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Gladys Homan papers

Identifier: IWA0261

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Scope and Contents

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.

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

Gladys Vernette Madison was born on May 7, 1899 in Carl Township in Adams County, Iowa to Vira (Lawrence) and John Francis Madison. She had three sisters, Millie Louisa, Ileathie Frances, and Maxene Vivian. Little is known about her childhood, but according to her son, Gladys Madison attended school regularly as a child and completed the eighth grade. Throughout her life, she was very active in her church and community and as a rural homemaker.

On February 23, 1922, Gladys Madison married Charles Foote Homan (September 7, 1897- November 5, 1988). The Homans had two children, Delmar Charles (January 10, 1927- ) and a second son who died shortly after birth in July 1929. The Homans began their married life living in Gladys' family farm in Carl Township until February 26, 1929 when the couple moved to a small house on 80 acres adjoining the property of Charles Homan's maternal grandfather. Upon the death of this grandfather in 1936, Charles Homan purchased the 80 acres he and the family were living on and combined that acreage with his grandfather's to form Timberdale Stock Farm, with a total of 312 acres.

Gladys Homan was active in several community groups and women's clubs. She was a charter member of the Friendship Club in 1939 and held various offices and remained active in that club and the Corning Departmental Club until the early 1990s. Homan was also a member of the Adams County Girls 4-H Committee and served as County Committee Chair in 1958 and 1959. She also served on the Adams County Tuberculosis and Health Board for over twenty-five years, during which she also served a term as the chair of the board. She was honored as Rural Homemaker of the Year in 1948 by the Farm Bureau County Women's Committee, of which she served as chair.

Gladys Homan had been baptized into the Baptist Church on April 16, 1911 (Easter Sunday) in the Nodaway River, near Mt. Etna, Iowa, and remained active in church activities through her life. She was the church secretary in 1918 and also a deaconess in the Adams County Baptist Church until the church closed. Thereafter, she was active in the Corning First Baptist Church, serving for many years as the Sunday School Superintendent and a member of the Baptist Women's Club.

After the closing of the Corning First Baptist Church, the Homans attended the Corning Methodist Church. Charles Homan was supportive of his wife's active community life, and himself participated in community and church affairs as a member of the Farmers' Cooperative Creamery Board in Corning, Iowa and deacon and adult Sunday School teacher at both churches the family attended. The Homans also participated in community plays.

Gladys Homan lived on Timberdale and remained interested in community affairs from 1936 until her death. She died in her home on April 7, 1996. Gladys and Charles Homan's son, Delmar Homan, attended the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) from 1944 to 1949, earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. He taught high school in Red Oak, Iowa for a year, and also taught at Iowa State University in Ames from 1957 to 1961. Delmar Homan earned a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University in New York in 1963, and taught English at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas from 1961 until his retirement in the spring of 1991. He also served in the United States Army for two years, from 1950 to 1952.


23.00 Linear Feet

6 Cassettes (Audiocassettes [AC543-547, AC934])

Language of Materials



Extensive correspondence of Corning, Iowa farm wife and club woman.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 364) were donated by Delmar C. Homan in 1995 and subsequent years.

Stacy Ross, 2001; Lisa Mott and Grace Van Voorhis, 2004, Margaret Halterman, 2013.
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)