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Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Records of the Hamlin Garland Literary Society
RG 02.01.12
Collection Dates: 1920-1932
0.25 linear ft.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

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Acquisition and Processing Information: These materials were transferred to the University Archives prior to 1970.  Finding aid created February 2011.

Photographs: None

Former member of Hamlin Garland Literary Society, letter dated April 15, 1929

Letter from former member Hamlin Garland Literary Society, 1929

Scope and Contents

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.

Historical Note

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.

[D. Anderson; 02/2011]

Related Materials

Folder, "Hamlin Garland Literary Society," Organizations and Clubs Vertical File collection (RG 01.15.04)

S.U.I. Hawkeye yearbooks (RG 02.10)

Box Contents List

Box 1


Minutes, May 2, 1920-April 29, 1930

Constitution and bylaws

Member's signatures listed by year, 1920-March 30, 1932

Member's attendance records, September 1920-April 1931


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

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