Skip to content
print page header

The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Irelan Family Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1924-1996
Creator: Irelan Family
Extent: 1.00 linear foot.
Collection Number: MSC0845
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Curtis Glen Irelan worked as a telegraph operator for the Rock Island Railroad in Iowa and Nebraska from roughly the nineteen-thirties to the nineteen-sixties. His wife, Gerata Hunter Irelan, was a school teacher. These papers consist of railroad documents, items from their schools, legal and financial papers, and other family papers, including a reunion book for the Irelan extended family.

Access: This collection is open for research.

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

Acquisition: These papers were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Patrick Irelan in August 2006.

Preferred Citation: Irelan Family 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

Curtis Glen Irelan, known as Pete, was born on December 1, 1906. He went to school in Bloomfield, Iowa, and later worked as a telegrapher for the Rock Island Railroad. He married Gerata Hunter (1907 -- 1996) on August 19, 1932. She was known as Gerry and taught school. Their daughter, Jane, was born in 1936 and a son, Patrick, was born in 1943. Patrick Irelan worked at the University of Iowa and has written several books, among them Central Standard, a recollection of growing up in Iowa and Nebraska, and a sequel A Firefly in the Night.

Pete Irelan's job often took him away from his family and he kept in touch with letters home. There is a folder of such letters here, as well as financial documents relating to the family. There are records from Pete's job as a telegrapher, including documents, contracts, and correspondence having to do with the Rock Island Railroad. The Irelan family apparently held an annual family reunion, and kept a book of the attendees, along with brief minutes of the business meeting. This is quite complete for the years 1954 to 1988. Along with this is a history of the Hunter farm. Clippings, obituaries, postcards, memorial cards, and souvenir cards and programs round out this collection.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Cards, C.G. (Pete) Irelan, including his membership cards in the Order of Railroad Telegraphers; the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks, Rock Island Line Certificate of Examination; Burlington Lines Certificate of Examination; Transportation-Communication Employees Union; a campaign card for the Board of Supervisors; his Selective Service Card; report cards; Iowa School Bus Operators Permit; and a card that reads "Pete Irelan, King of the Canners".
  • Clippings
  • Correspondence
  • Family reunion book and history of the Hunter Farm
  • Financial and legal documents
  • Miscellaneous
  • Obituaries and memorial cards
  • Miscellaneous items pertaining to Patrick Irelan/Short stories and essays by Patrick Irelan. Photocopies
  • "The Band That Beguiles." Whiskey Island - 1983
  • "Blackjack Queen." Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. January - 1994
  • "Cabin Fever." Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. March - 1998
  • "Cinders." Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. June - 1996
  • "Comets." Prairie Weather: Seeing Wind, Hearing Light. North Liberty, Iowa: Ice Cube Press - 2005
  • "Dark Matter." Iowa City Magazine, September - 1994
  • "David's Toe." Crosscurrents Quarterly, Vol.9:No.3
  • "Good Hands." Sleuthhound Winter - 98-99
  • "High Water." Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September - 1995
  • "Landscapes." Wisconsin River Valley Journal, Vol.6:Iss.3
  • "Minutes." Amazon Shorts ( . . . )
  • "Never Carnal." Kansas Quarterly, Vol. 19:No. 2 - 1987
  • "New Money." Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, April  - 1991
  • "No Name Place." Opium, Spring  - 2007
  • "Pain de Cabaret." Uncle, Summer - 1985
  • "Red Dust." Alfred Hitchcock Magazine, Mid-December - 1992
  • "Reruns." Opium, No. 2
  • "Self-Starter." DeKalb Literary Arts Journal, Vol.XX:No. 1-4.
  • "Timekeeper." Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. May - 1992
  • "Top Secrets." Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, July - 1990
  • "Witness." Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, April - 1987
  • Box 2:
  • Photocopies of documents.
    Some of these documents are included in the original in the collection, some are not
  • Postcards
  • Railroad documents of Curtis Glen (Pete) Irelan (mostly relating to the Rock Island Railroad)
  • Contracts
  • Daily location and pay logs
  • Miscellaneous, including the "Rock Island Uniform Code of Operating Rules effective May 1950", "Agreement between The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company and Employees represented by The Order of Railroad Telegraphers", "Rock Island Lines Telegraph Brevity Code" (May 1, 1944), "A Guide to Codes and Signals", as well as personal documents of Pete Irelan, such as his contributions to his relief fund
  • Timetables
  • School souvenirs, Curtis Irelan and Gerata Hunter

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.