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Rife, Gladys Talcott, 1914-2002



  • Existence: 1914 - 2002


Gladys Talcott Rife, a farm wife, teacher, newspaper columnist, museum owner and curator, was born on September 8, 1914 to Carrie and Myron Talcott on a farm near Maynard in Fayette County. Talcott graduated from Randalia High School and received her B.A. at Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) in 1934, majoring in English, with minors in history and speech. From 1934 to 1940 Talcott taught high school English and speech and directed theater programs in schools in Van Cleve, Lone Tree, and Sumner.

In 1940, Gladys Talcott interrupted her teaching career to marry Wayne Rife. She spent the next years as a farm wife and the mother of five children. While doing this, Rife began to write a weekly newspaper column, in 1948 for the Lone Tree Reporter, and in 1951 for the Iowa City Press Citizen. The Press Citizen column ran for ten years.

In 1955, Rife resumed teaching, this time in Nichols, Iowa. Three years later Wayne and Gladys Rife moved to Mt. Vernon where Rife taught at Mt. Vernon Community High School for twenty-one years. In 1966, Rife received an M.A. in English with an emphasis on Modern American and British Literature from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa). After receiving her M.A., Rife did some adjunct teaching at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon.

Wayne Rife died in 1975 and four years later, Gladys Rife retired from teaching to intern at the University of Iowa's Museum of Natural History as an archivist and research assistant. In 1965, Gladys and Wayne Rife had purchased the old Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad depot in Fayette County. Between 1980 and 1989, Rife supervised construction and furnishing of The Depot Museum, a private museum of which she was owner, curator, and director.

Once again, Rife resumed her education, entering the Ph.D. program in American Studies at the University of Iowa. In 1988, at the age of seventy-three, she completed her dissertation, "Iowa Rural Women Columnists, Especially of the Fifties: Cultural and Historical Import in a Comparative Context," earning a doctorate in American Studies with a minor in Women's Studies.

Gladys Talcott Rife died after a short illness on February 11, 2002.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Gladys Talcott Rife papers

Identifier: IWA0284

Mt. Vernon, Iowa high school teacher who later owned and directed The Depot Museum in Fayette County, Iowa.

Dates: 1920-2002