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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Homer Calkin Collection of Printed Ephemera

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1880-1896
Creator: Calkin, Homer L. (1912-1995)
Extent: 1.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0505
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Historian, archivist, author and collector. This collection of printed ephemera consists of advertising and trade cards, spelling cards, calling cards and invitations, as well as paper dolls and cut-outs of artwork such as flowers and fruit.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Acquisition: This collection was given to the University of Iowa Libraries on September 10, 1997, by Mary K. Calkin. This collection was separated from a larger collection of personal papers, now MsC 504.

Preferred Citation: Homer Calkin Collection of Printed Ephemera, 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

Homer Leonard Calkin was born on May 5, 1912, in Clearfield, Iowa. He attended Simpson College for two years (1931-1933) before transferring to the University of Iowa. He finished his education at Iowa, earning a B.A. in history in 1935 and later both an M.A. (1936) and a Ph.D. (1939) in British history. On July 2, 1938, Homer Calkin married Corrine Reynolds (who died July 9, 1969). He was married Mary Katherine Ferriss in 1971.

During World War II, Calkin served as a military intelligence officer with the War Department General Staff in Washington, D.C. After the war he worked for the National Archives and Records Service. His career in the State Department began in 1950, when he was hired as chief of the records management staff. Over the next 27 years he held a number of positions within the department, was a member of the planning staff for the State Department building, served as a management analyst, and was deputy director of the research and reference division of the State Department historian's office when he retired in 1977. After his official retirement, Calkin continued to work as a consultant preparing histories of women and minorities in the Department of State and the Foreign Service.

Calkin published more than fifty articles, numerous book reviews, several hundred abstracts of historical articles, and compiled catalogues of Methodist Church archives. He wrote two books, Women in American Foreign Affairs and Castings from the Foundry Mold, and contributed chapters to Those Incredible Methodists. Calkin has been published in the United States, France, and Ireland.

Homer Calkin was active in a number of organizations, most of which were focused primarily on history, archives, libraries, and manuscripts. He belonged to the American Historical Association, Cosmos Club, Organization of American Historians, Society of American Archivists, Wesley Historical Society, and the World Methodist Historical Society. Calkin kept close ties to the University of Iowa. He was a member of the President's Club and served on the board of the Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries. In 1984, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award. He was also very active in the United Methodist Church, on the local, national and international fronts. His book, Castings from the Foundry Mold, illustrates the 150 year history of the Foundry Church and still serves as a model for historical church writing.

Homer L. Calkin died on June 5, 1995, of a heart attack at his home in Arlington, Virginia. He was eighty three years old.

The Homer L. Calkin collection of printed ephemera consists of two boxes containing 524 items that date from approximately 1880-1896. There are advertising and trade cards, spelling cards, calling cards and invitations, as well as paper dolls, and cut-outs of such things as flowers and fruit. The cards that make up this collection are arranged alphabetically by company and/or by the subject of the artwork. Some of the companies and/or products represented include Arm & Hammer, the Singer Manufacturing Company, and the Woolsen Spice Company. The cards arranged by artwork include the following categories: animals, birds, children, houses, ships, flowers, fruit, and paper dolls.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • "After the Fair" (5)
  • Animal cards (25)
  • "Antique Oak" Finest oak stove made (1)
  • Arbuckle's Ariosa Coffee (11)
  • Arm & Hammer Brand trading cards (30)
  • Bible Verses (40)
  • Birds cards (10)
  • Blaul's Four B, Coffee (2)
  • Boland & Valy (1)
  • Bunkio Matsuki, Boston (Department Store) Japanese Fabric Print Calendar (1) - 1897
  • Calling cards (32)
  • C.F. Gunther, Confectioner, Chicago (1)
  • Children cards (35)
  • Clarks O.N.T. Thread (2)
  • Consolidated Coffee Co. (3)
  • Cow Brand Soda (6)
  • Box 2:
  • D.M. Osborne & Co., Harvester and binder (1)
  • D.M. Sechler Carriage Co. (1)
  • Diamond Dyes trading card (1)
  • Dr. C. McLane's Celebrated Liver Pills (10)
  • Dr. C. McLane's Celebrated Vermifuge (1)
  • Dr. D. Jayne's Expectorant (1)
  • Ed. G. Yates' Shoes, Lincoln, NB, trading cards (2)
  • Electrie Lustre Starch trading card (1)
  • Fleming Bros. Ivory Polish for the Teeth (5)
  • Fleming's Crudoform Liniment (1)
  • Fleming's Mikado Cologne (1)
  • Flower cards (16)
  • Fruit cards (3)
  • Glover & Kepner (1)
  • Greeting cards (38)
  • Horsford's Baking Powder (1)
  • House cards (4)
  • Invitation card (1)
  • J & P Coats Thread (8)
  • James Pylle's Pearline (2)
  • Jersey Coffee trading card (1)
  • Jewel Stoves and Ranges, Detroit Stove Works (1)
  • Kenton Baking Powder (2)
  • King & Lamb (4)
  • Lallemand's Specific for Cure of Rheumatism and Neuralgia (4)
  • McLaughlin's Coffee trading cards (2)
  • Manhatten One Price Clothing Co. (1)
  • Merrick's Spool Cotton (2)
  • Midland Coffee & Spice (1)
  • Milwaukee Steel Junior (1)
  • Mohaska Coffee (5)
  • Montgomery Ward (1)
  • Outdoor scenes (2)
  • Paper dolls (7)
  • Parker's Hair Balsam (1)
  • "Peerless" Vapor Stove (1)
  • Pozzoni's Complexion Powder (1)
  • Pragues, Warner & Griswold Baking Powder (1)
  • "Quaker Bread," The Heissler & Junge Co. (11)
  • "Quick Meal" Gasoline stove (1)
  • Reward of Merit (18)
  • Round Oak (6)
  • Royal Yeast (2)
  • Rubifoam for the Teeth (1)
  • Scenery cards (30)
  • Scott & Bowne, Scott's Emulsion (9)
  • Scroggs & Taylor, Lenox, IA (2)
  • Seely's Perfume, Shilling Bros. (1)
  • Ship cards (2)
  • Singer Manufacturing Co. trading cards (36)
  • Slcandia Plow Co., Rockford, IL (1)
  • Spelling cards (30)
  • Stereopticon or stereoscope cards (5)
  • Temple of Economy (1)
  • Warner's Safe Cure (1)
  • Washburn Crosby's "Superlative" (1)
  • White Sewing Machines (5)
  • Willimantic Thread (2)
  • Woodruff & Trunky Bros., Coal (1)
  • Woolsen Spice Co., Lion Coffee (22)

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Commercial art

Genre/Form of Materials:
Advertising cards
Printed ephemera