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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Gladys Moeller Lage papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1912-1992
Creator: Lage, Gladys Moeller (1912-2006)
Extent: .50 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0768
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Personal accounts of Lage's childhood and upbringing on a farm in Cedar County, Iowa.

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. 699) were donated by Gladys Lage in 2000.

Preferred Citation: Gladys Moeller Lage papers, 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

Gladys Bernice Moeller was born December 3, 1912 on a farm in Cedar County near Bennett, Iowa. She attended a one-room school that was unique, for it was square. This school never had less than twenty-nine pupils under the guidance of one teacher. Moeller finished the first eight grades at the age of twelve and her parents thought that she was too young for high school so they made her repeat the eighth grade. She was then able to start ninth grade in Davenport by living in town with her grandparents. Her family needed her after that year so her education was finished. All the girls in her family followed that rule, while their brother was allowed to graduate from the University of Iowa.

The Gladys Moeller Lage papers date from 1912 to 1992 and measure 0.5 linear inches. The papers are bound in a volume and contain writings by Lage that are reminiscences of her childhood. She vividly describes her grandparents and their farms, country school days, spelling bees, box lunches, Christmas, the seasons and the many jobs a child was given to keep a farm operating. She describes hired help, harvesting, the terror of tornadoes, the upkeep of gravel roads, visits by peddlers, and the joys of gardening. She tells about dancing school, birdshoot (always played at dances) and the coming of the circus. Lage describes the family's first Chrystal radio, the work and food that accompanied threshing days, and the pleasure of music in their home. Two brothers from Muscatine came to start a band and gave instrument lessons to Lage, her two sisters and other town children.

In 1923 the family looked forward to a new house; the carpenters began July 5th and on October 14th the family moved in. Iowa electric had built a line from New Liberty to Wheatland and so they were able to experience electricity for the first time. Lage writes of the Depression of the thirties and its effect on the household. Many women used the feed bag material to make clothing and curtains for their families. Lage describes watching her first movie, "Birth of a Nation," at which her cousin played the piano accompaniment. Lage ends her reminiscence describing the thrill of shopping for clothes at a store, the excitement of watching a visiting tent show, the caution upon seeing traveling Gypsies and other poignant views of the world from a child's eye.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • "I Remember," a memoir - 1912 to 1992