Iowa

Young, naive, and irrepressible, a turn-of-the-20th-century Iowa teacher documented her coming of age in letters home

In these letters, we encounter 18-year-old Elizabeth “Bess” Corey, a plucky schoolteacher in rural Tennant, Iowa, at the turn of the 20th century. Read more >>

The Greatest American Car Ever Made? “It’s a Duesy”

Living in, and with, the universal Midwestern latticework

Likely as not, when René Descartes invented his grid system of coordinates in the seventeenth century, he did not have Carroll, Iowa, in mind. No matter. Read more >>

Americans don’t hesitate to say anything they please about a public performance. But the right to do so wasn’t established until the Cherry Sisters sued a critic who didn’t like their appalling vaudeville act.

The year 1896 found Oscar Hammerstein in trouble. He was in debt, and the acts he had brought to Broadway weren’t doing well. He was desperate. “I’ve tried the best,” he is reported to have said. “Now I’ll try the worst.” So he sent for the Cherry Sisters. Read more >>
To most people, prairie country is farm country—big fields of corn and oats, rolling pastures with lone trees standing on the slopes. Read more >>