|Creator:||Birkby, Evelyn (Collection of Radio Homemaker Materials) (1919-)|
|Extent:||8.40 linear feet.|
|Repository:||Iowa Women's Archives|
|Summary:||Cookbooks, newsletters, and other publications of the Radio Homemakers who broadcast over KMA and KFNF in southwest Iowa.|
Evelyn Corrie Birkby, wife, mother, homemaker, newspaper columnist, author, and radio personality, is a journalist with a passion for rural history. She became one of a group of area women known as radio homemakers. An Iowa native, Evelyn Corrie was born July 31, 1919 to Methodist minister Carl Corrie and his wife Mae Corrie. Evelyn Corrie attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa for two years and then taught third grade for four years. Later, she completed her education at the University of Chicago and served as director of youth activities at the First Methodist Church of Chicago ( Chicago Temple). Evelyn Corrie returned to Iowa in 1946 to marry her Sidney High School classmate Robert Birkby. The Birkbys had four children, Dulcie Jean, who died in 1953 at the age of five and a half; Bob, born in 1950; Jeff, born in 1954; and Craig, born in 1955.
In 1949 the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel advertised for a farm woman to write a weekly newspaper column. Encouraged by her husband, Birkby applied and was accepted. In speaking of her "Up a Country Lane" column, Evelyn Birkby said it was "a forum to share my observations about my own experiences and those of my neighbors." In the summer of 1950, the Birkbys moved seventeen miles southwest of Shenandoah to a 120-acre farm which they named "Cottonwood." On May 15, 1950, Evelyn Birkby took her column on the air with KMA radio station, changing its name to "Down a Country Lane." The program was broadcast over KMA until 1952 when the needs of her husband and children, Dulcie Jean and Bob, made it difficult to prepare a program and travel back and forth to the studio. Birkby took a hiatus until 1955, when she began working for Kitchen-Klatter as a writer and broadcaster. The Kitchen-Klatter radio program originated from KMA but was syndicated over a six-state area, while some programs had an even wider distribution: the Martha Bohlson and Edith Hanson programs were heard from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic seaboard.
In 1983, Birkby left Kitchen-Klatter and returned full-time to radio station KMA to head its book department. Besides authoring the KMA Festival Cookie Book (1983), Cooking with KMA: Featuring 60 Years of Radio Homemakers (1985), and KMA's Come Again Cookie Book (1987), Evelyn Birkby assisted with the radio homemaker broadcasts until the summer of 1991, when she resigned to give her full attention to writing. What followed were Neighboring on the Air: Cooking With the KMA Radio Homemakers in 1991 and Up A Country Lane Cookbook in 1993. In May 1990, KMA honored Birkby on the 40th anniversary of her first broadcast, May 15, 1950.
Birkby has had many opportunities and accolades: she was a member of the Iowa Bicentennial Commission, the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commission, the Iowa Grievance Commission, the Rural Betterment Commission, the National Board of Communication for the United Methodist Church, and a member of the state Methodist Communication Board. She was one of the Iowans in 1996 to represent Iowa at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington, D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa, and in 1998, she was chosen as one of the Iowa Master Farm Homemakers. Birkby's alma mater, Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, honored her with its Alumni Achievement Award in 1999. The 2002 novel Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg featured a character, Neighbor Dorothy, a radio homemaker modeled on Evelyn Birkby.
Birkby is in demand as a speaker on many subjects, including life on the farm from a woman's perspective in the 40's and the 50's. Birkby and her husband Robert live on an acreage in Sidney, Iowa.
Alternate Extent Statement: 1 videocassette [V239], 2 CDs [d0027 and d0037], 28 audiocassettes [AC532-AC535 and AC836-AC859], photographs in Box 9.
Access: The papers are open for research.
Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.
Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 191) were donated by Evelyn Birkby in 1993 and succeeding years.
Preferred Citation: Birkby Collection of Radio Homemakers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.
|Repository:||Iowa Women's Archives|
|Address:||100 Main Library |
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Browse by Series:
Series 1: EVELYN BIRKBY
Series 2: KITCHEN-KLATTER PRODUCTS CO.
Series 3: KFNF RADIO
Series 4: KMA RADIO
Series 5: HENRY FIELD SEED AND NURSERY CO.
Series 6: MISCELLANEOUS RADIO HOMEMAKER MATERIALS (non- Iowa)
Series 7: PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 8: ARTIFACTS
Series 9: SCRAPBOOKS
Series 10: AUDIOVISUAL
This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.