Part II


As in the case of Virginia the researcher gives here, as a part of his study of the social class factors of the Westward Movement, a sampling of biographies from one of the "egalitarian" states, where there never has been a true aristocracy and where scenes of widespread poverty are rare.

But Iowa has her leading families, and they have their forebears. Who are these people? Who were their ancestors?

Following the same plan used in the Virginia study, the researcher presents a condensed version of representative biographical data about Iowans and evaluations of the status and mobility factors involved.

These data are taken from Volume III of A narrative History of the People of Iowa, written by E. R. Harlan: Iowa Biography, by a special staff of writers of the American Historical Society published in Chicago, 1931. As before, every tenth biography has been chosen.

Case Studies

Henry Wallace, (p. 3): born 1836; rural school, a small college in Noble county, Geneva Hall, Jefferson College; taught one year; Theoretical Seminary at Allegheny, Monmouth Theological Seminary; minister in large towns; took up farming because of health; writer on farm subjects; agricultural experimentalist; editor of two farm journals; sat on state and federal commissions.

Family: father: "came over from County Antrim in the North of Ireland."
wife: daughter of a colonel.
sons: one editor of farm journal in St. Paul; one partner-successor to father's enterprises and national figure in Boy Scout and 4-H movements; one secretary of agriculture under Harding, co-editor of journals, agriculturalist.
grandsons: one Henry A. Wallace; one secretary of Wallace enterprises.

Evaluation: The essential data about the subject's background is missing, but one knows who the Vice-President's forebears were! Theirs is an aristocracy of "effective leadership," if not one of "exclusive swank."

Lewis Worthington Smith p. 11): born 1886; local schools, Beloit Academy, Fairfield College (Ph.B.), Univ. of Nebraska, Cotner College (MA.); taught in high schools and colleges; professor of English, Drake University since 1902; poet and writer of note (long bibliography); professional fraternities; clubs.

Family: "Mr. Smith represents a long line of American ancestors, representing business, the professions, and military life."
father: merchant and farmer, sergeant.
father: merchant and farmer, sergeant.
father's brother: clergyman and author of a volume of poems.
mother: daughter of a Conn. manufacturer.
mother's mother: daughter of clergyman and poet, descendant of prominent colonial family.
wife: writer, poet, dramatist, president of Iowa Press and Authors Club, 1919 - 1920; daughter of cattle-breeder and rancher.
daughter: AB., MA., assistant-secretary of National Board of Education of the Presbyterian Church.

Evaluation: This professor did not grow up in a sod house.

Hendrik Peter Scholte (p. 19): born 1805; "liberally educated"; took over father's factory, sold factory; resumed education, Univ. of Leyden, Doctor of Theology; clergyman, editor of church periodical; president of an emigration association; purchased a settler's claim "and all his belongings, acquired title to 18,000 acres of land for settlement"; one of founders of Central College; attorney, editor and publisher; dealer in farm implements; Republican convention of 1860.

Family: father: box manufacturer in Amsterdam.
mother: daughter of a broker.
wife: daughter of sugar refiner "to whom his father sold his cases."
daughter: mother of three sons, all of whom are listed in Who's Who: one Ph.B., president of Bankers Life Insurance Company, philanthropist, club man, civic leader; one president of the Equitable Life Insurance Company, clubs, welfare, churchman.
son-in-law: banker.

Evaluation: Pioneer had a good start; his daughter married well; her sons are among the socially most prominent people in Iowa.

James Augustus Howe (p. 28): born 1865; common schools, high school, Drake University (B.L.), lawyer, Republican county committee chairman, county attorney, district judge eight years; writer on probate law; lodge man.

Family: father: farmer all his life.
father's father: farmer and blacksmith.
mother's father: farmer.
brother: farmer and fruit-grower.
wife: daughter of farmer who became realtor and investor.
son: graduate of Culver Military Academy, commissioned officer in the World War; lawyer. Wife graduate of Iowa State U.

Evaluation: What kind of farms the ancestors had is not given. Through education and politics, subject doubtless rose above those who remained in agriculture. Subject's son, now partner of father, had a place in life cut out for him.

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