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Guide to the Hamlin Garland Literary Society Records

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1920-1932
Creator: Hamlin Garland Literary Society
Extent: .25 linear feet.
Collection Number: RG02.0001.012
Repository: University of Iowa Archives

Access: This collection is open for research.

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

Acquisition: These materials were transferred to the University Archives prior to 1970.

Preferred Citation: Hamlin Garland Literary Society Records, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: David McCartney

Hamlin Garland (1860-1940) was a prolific writer about the hardships of life on the prairie in Midwestern states. Garland was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Winneshiek and Mitchell counties in Iowa. He graduated from Cedar Valley Seminary at Osage, Iowa, in 1881. That year he moved to North Dakota. He taught English and American Literature at the Boston School of Oratory.

The Hamlin Garland Literary Society was founded at the State University of Iowa on May 14, 1920. It was named for Garland, as one member stated, "because he stands for all that is finest in the literature of the state." Founding members of the society described Garland's literature as providing rich details about the early years in Iowa. Society members wore an arrowhead pin, because it was made by America's first citizens. The purpose of the society was to provide women of the University the opportunity to present orations, readings, speeches, or pose questions for debate in the areas of literature and the fine arts. Membership was limited to 35.

Literary meetings were held twice each month and business meetings were held monthly. In addition, meetings were held each May and January for the election of officers and for the reading of annual reports. Meetings were held on the sun porch of the Iowa Memorial Union or in the drawing room of the Liberal Arts building (now Schaeffer Hall). The organization functioned until the 1933-34 school year, perhaps affected by the Great Depression.

Other SUI literary societies included Athenian, Ciceronian, Erodelphian, Hesperian, Irving Institute, Rhoterian, Whitby, and Zetagathian.

The records of the Hamlin Garland Literary Society span 1920 to 1932, all but the final year of the organization. The records include two ledgers, with meeting minutes, attendance records, expenditures, and presentations transcribed onto the pages. The constitution and bylaws, as well as a bank account book, are also included. One piece of correspondence dated November 26, 1926, from a former society member related the song lyrics to the Hamlin Garland song. Another former member described in a letter her attempts to tune in the Hamlin Garland radio presentation on the campus station, WSUI, from her home in Chicago on March 19, 1929.
Folder, "Hamlin Garland Literary Society," Organizations and Clubs Vertical File collection (RG01.0015.004)

S.U.I. Hawkeye yearbooks (RG02.0010.001)

Browse by Series:
Series 1: JOURNAL
Series 2: GENERAL

  • Series 1: JOURNAL
  • Box 1:
  • Minutes, May 2-April 29 - 1920-1930
  • Constitution and bylaws
  • Member's signatures listed by year - 1920-1932
  • Member's attendance records, September-April - 1920-1931
  • Presentations
  • Initiation Ceremony
  • Discovery of Iowa and the Indians
  • Early Iowa
  • Pioneer Days in Iowa
  • Hamlin Garland (the establishment of the society)
  • Installation Ceremony
  • Pledging Ceremony
  • Correspondence from two former members - 1926, 1929
  • Series 2: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Journal of income and expenditures - 1920-1925
  • Receipts - 1923-1924
  • Bank deposit book and statement - 1920-1924
  • Hamlin Garland Literary Society Constitution and By-Laws, May 14 - 1920

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

University of Iowa Student Life