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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Palmer/Calkins/Corbin Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1859-2000
Creator: Palmer, John E. IV
Extent: .50 linear foot.
Collection Number: MSC0528
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Letters, diaries, genealogies, papers, and videocassette dealing with the Civil War, the Mormon move west, and World War II.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: 2011 Addendum; VHS tape:Box 1.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries in 2000 by E. P. Corbin.

Preferred Citation: Palmer/Calkins/Corbin Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

The Palmer/Calkins/Corbin papers cover approximately one hundred years and provide insight into aspects of three important movements in American history -- the Civil War, the Mormon trek west, and World War II.

The children of John E. Palmer IV were born in Ohio. Some of them moved to Iowa, some stayed in Ohio, and one brother, William, moved to Charleston, South Carolina, and married a southern woman. This family kept up a lively correspondence, but the letters of William to his brother, Thomas Sharp Palmer, in Vinton, Iowa, are of particular interest, for they show the deterioration in the relationship between the brothers as the Civil War approached. William keeps slaves and defends the south against the apparent verbal attacks of Thomas in his letters. Their brothers, John Egerton Palmer and Joseph Ward Palmer, enlisted in the Union Army. William was killed in Charleston on September 11, 1862. John was killed in the Battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864. Joseph served in the war as one of General Kilpatrick's Raiders, and saw very hard service all during the war, which he apparently came through without a scratch.

Captain John Calkins (sometimes this appears as Calkin) was born in Dutchess County, New York in 1785. In 1837, he moved his family to Lower Sandusky (later Fremont) Ohio. Around 1848, he moved to Johnson County, Iowa, near Iowa City. It was here that the Palmer and Calkins families were united, when Captain John's daughter Harriet Calkins Catlett became the second wife of John Egerton Palmer V. Harriet's brother, Asa, and her sister, Angelina (sometimes written Angeline) converted to the Mormon faith during their time in Iowa City, and joined the trek west to Salt Lake City. Angelina kept a diary, portions of which reside in this collection.

E. Palmer Corbin is John Egerton Palmer's great grandson. He served in World War II, and has presented the collection with a videotape, apparently made for a reunion in 2000. Included in the video are portraits of his company, and moving pictures of his group taking advantage of the Army Specialized Training Program at the University of Iowa campus from 1944 -- 1947.

Photocopies. Letters of the Palmer family from 1859 -- 1897; a genealogy of the Palmer family and one for John Palmer; material on the 28th Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry; materials on the 13th Iowa Infantry; A History of the Palmer Family; information on Asa Starkweather Calkin, with selections from the diary of Angelina Calkin Farley; information on Captain John Calkin and Charles McNeil Calkin; a videocassette of E. Palmer Corbin, dealing with the Army Specialized Training Program, and showing scenes of the University of Iowa campus in the years between 1944 and 1947.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL
Series 2: 2011 ADDENDUM

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Palmer, Walter S. A Genealogical History and Biography of the Palmer Family. Vinton, Iowa - 1898
  • Genealogy of Joseph (Jack) Ward Palmer.
  • Twenty-Eighth Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Roster of Iowa volunteers
  • Photocopies from various publications, having to do with the Thirteenth Iowa Infantry
  • Activity of the Regiment From Dyers Compendium of the Civil War.
  • Ingersoll, Lurton Dunham. Iowa and the Rebellion, 1866. Photocopies of chapter XXIII, pp. 552-565, dealing with the Twenty-Eighth Regiment
  • The Undying Procession. Regimental Summary for the Twenty-Eighth Regiment, pp. 57-59.
  • Letter from J.W. McGuire to T.S. [Thomas Sharp?] Palmer, October 20, 1864, Strasburg, VA, describing the battle of October 19, 1864, and enumerating the killed and wounded. This letter also tells of the loss of the sword left with the division by Captain Palmer.
    Photocopy of autograph letterMissing?
  • Transcription of letter from J. W. McGuire to T. S. [Thomas Sharp] Palmer, Strasburg, VA October 20 - 1864
  • Letters from John Egerton Palmer IV to Thomas Palmer, - 1860, 1877
    Typescript transcription. Photocopy
  • Letters from Joseph Palmer to Thomas Palmer - 1860
    Typescript transcription. Photocopy
  • Information on Joseph (Jack) Ward Palmer
  • Letters of William J. Palmer, mostly to his brother Thomas - 1859-1861.
    Autograph letters with typescript transcription. Photocopies
  • Letters of Kate Palmer [to Thomas Palmer?] - 1860-1861
    Autograph letters with typescript transcription. Photocopies
  • Letters of Carrie [Carolyn] Palmer to T.S. [Thomas Sharp] Palmer - 1875
    Typescript transcription. Photocopies
  • Letters from C. W. [Clinton Ward?] Palmer to T.S. [Thomas Sharp] Palmer - 1877
    Typescript transcription. Photocopies
  • Letters to Tom [Thomas Sharp Palmer?] from C.W. [Charles Ward?] Palmer - 1877
    Typescript transcription. Photocopies
  • Letter from J.E. Palmer to T.S. [Thomas Sharp?] Palmer - 1877
    Autograph letter with typescript transcription. Photocopies
  • Letter to T.S. [Thomas Sharp?] Palmer from E. [Elizabeth Palmer] Macy - 1878
    Typescript transcription. Photocopy
  • Letter from E. [Elizabeth Palmer?] Macy to T. S. [Thomas Sharp?] Palmer - 1878
    Typescript transcription. Photocopy
  • Letter to Walter [Palmer] from T. S. [Thomas Sharp] Palmer - 1897
    Typescript transcription. Photocopy
  • Letter from Colorado State Veterans Center to E. Palmer Corbin in regard to Henry Nelson Palmer.
  • Palmer, Jay W. The History of the Palmer Family - 1960
  • Excerpts from the diary of Angelina Calkin Farley. The excerpts pertain to her brother Asa Starkweather Calkin. - 1847-1855
    Typescript transcription. Photocopy
  • Information on Captain John Calkins and Charles McNeil Calkins.
    Compiled in March 1960 by Elaine Olds Hagelberg.
  • The Last Sad Rites. In Memoriam. Eulogy for Charles M. Calkin.
  • Videocassette of E. Palmer Corbin during and after World War II. Some moving pictures in and around Iowa City and the University of Iowa Campus. - 1944 -1947
  • Series 2: 2011 ADDENDUM
    Transferred from the Grinnell Historical Museum. Organized and transcribed by Karen Groves, who assigned the numbers to the letters and journals. The syntax in the following list is: L=letter J=journal, followed by the date in year/month/day format, followed by a very brief synopsis of the contents. The transcription follows the entry. Single click on the highlighted word to open the document.
  • Box 1:
  • Documents pertaining to the transfer of the addendum from the Grinnell Historical Museum
  • Letters
  • Letter while on Steamboat Sandusky. June 3 - 1839
  • Letter has daily entries of trip from Sandusky to Adrian Michigan. November 19 - 1839
  • Letter from Elizabethtown, not well, come back here. April 16 - 1840
  • Letter from Salt Lake City. May 27 - 1851
  • Letter from Orinda to her mother shortly after marriage to C.M. June 23 - 1854
  • etter from Orinda to her mother. June 4L - 1855
  • Letter with Orinda's death. September 7 - 1863
  • Letter from Charles to mother regarding caring for ill person & the hard feelings among family. June 16 - 1864
  • Letter CM to Mother from Fremont House in Vinton. September 10 - 1864
  • Letter CM to John, cannot send much money as swindled - no house, turned outdoors, robbed of our farm & have no shelter. June 19 - 1873
  • Letter Charles to Amanda asking details of property trade. June 31 - 187-
  • Journals and photographs
  • C.M. Calkin Entries leaving home and going to east coast. May 8-September 30 - 1843
  • C. M. Calkin Entries in Massachusetts and other eastern towns. July 1-15 - 1844
  • C. M. Calkin Entries in NE towns. August 22-November 23 - 1844
  • C. M. Calkin Private diary. January 1- March 31 - 1845
  • C. M. Calkin Living in Solon or Iowa City area, must haul things for a living. April 1845-1849 May - 1845-1849
  • C. M. Calkin Living in Solon or Iowa City area, still hauling things. June- February 14 - 1849-1852
  • Four photographs, unidentified