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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Ada Mae Brown Brinton memoir

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1977
Creator: Brinton, Ada Mae Brown (1891-1988)
Extent: 70.00 pages.
Collection Number: IWA0708
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: 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.

Arrangement: One folder, shelved in SCVF.

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


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

Preferred Citation: Ada Mae Brown Brinton memoir, 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
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

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.

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.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: MEMOIR

  • Series 1: MEMOIR
  • "Sunshine and Rain in Iowa: Reminiscing through 86 Years" - 1977

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Brinton, Ada Mae Brown, 1891-1988


Rural women
Farm life
Twentieth century
Great Depression, 1929
Country life


Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Stuart

Genre/Form of Materials:

Rural and Farm Women