Why is Iowa first?

It’s a question that’s been asked with increasing frequency over the past four decades: Why does Iowa go first in the presidential nominating process? Is it because the state is a unique repository of American values? Or because Iowans are remarkable judges of character? As flattering as those explanations may be, neither is correct. The reason Iowa […]

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‘The Iowa Lawyer’: Five female attorneys from Iowa who made history

Arabella Mansfield was born Belle Aurelia Babb just outside of Burlington, Iowa in 1846. By the age of 23, Mansfield would become the nation’s first woman to be admitted to practice law, clearing a path for generations of women — including four of Iowa’s foremost orators, teachers, attorneys and civil rights activists — to take up the practice in the 150 years since. […]

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‘Bright Radical Star’: When John Brown came to Iowa

Halfway to Springdale, Iowa — a town about 15 miles east of Iowa City — on a snow-laden December evening in 1857, Owen Brown decided to journal. “Very cold night,” he wrote, “prairie wolves howl nobly.” He recounted the “hot discussion” had on the road that day: about the Bible, war, racial prejudice and abolition […]

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Christmas in the Amana Colonies

A thick sheet of slush lines 220th Trail, the road that runs through the Amana Colonies. It’s Dec. 13th, 2017, close enough to Christmas that I’m excited, but not too excited, for the seven inches of snow now filling my boots. Naturally, I’ve lost my parents on our annual Prelude to Christmas trip; luckily, I […]

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Uncovering Iowa’s German legacy of language, gymnastics and beer

German Iowa and Global Midwest Symposium CSPS Hall — Wednesday, Oct. 5 through Saturday, Oct. 8, view full schedule As administrators at the University of Iowa continue their efforts this semester to curb the consumption of alcohol in Iowa City, they may not realize they are participating in debates that are as old as the […]

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100 years later, new audiences discover legendary outsider

Historian Mike Zahs

In 1981, then-junior high history teacher Michael Zahs lucked into a treasure trove of relics from a Washington, Iowa basement. He took a chance on what might have been so many boxes of junk, because of their source — they had originally been owned by W. Frank Brinton, a man who had been known locally […]

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