Iowa Women's Archives
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa



4 linear feet


Iowa Women's Archives
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Phone: 319-335-5068
Fax: 319-335-5900
E-mail the Iowa Women's Archives

Please cite materials from this collection as follows:
Evelyn Birkby Collection of Radio Homemaker Materials, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.


Collection Overview

The papers (donor no. 191) were donated by Evelyn Birkby in 1993 and succeeding years.
The papers are open for research.
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.
One videocassette (V239), One CD rom, One reel-to-reel, Twenty-eight audiocassettes (AC532 -AC535 and AC836-AC859).
In Box 9.
Processed by:

Bobby Jett, 1994; Marnie Schroer, 1995; Lisa Mott, 2002. [BirkbyEvelyn.doc]



Evelyn Corrie Birkby, wife, mother, homemaker, newspaper columnist, author, and radio personality, is a journalist with a passion for rural history. She became one of a group of area women known as radio homemakers. An Iowa native, Evelyn Corrie was born July 31, 1919 to Methodist minister Carl Corrie and his wife Mae Corrie. Evelyn Corrie attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa for two years and then taught third grade for four years. Later, she completed her education at the University of Chicago and served as director of youth activities at the First Methodist Church of Chicago ( Chicago Temple). Evelyn Corrie returned to Iowa in 1946 to marry her Sidney High School classmate Robert Birkby. The Birkbys had four children, Dulcie Jean, who died in 1953 at the age of five and a half; Bob, born in1950; Jeff, born in 1954; and Craig, born in 1955.

In 1949 the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel advertised for a farm woman to write a weekly newspaper column. Encouraged by her husband, Birkby applied and was accepted. In speaking of her "Up a Country Lane" column, Evelyn Birkby said it was "a forum to share my observations about my own experiences and those of my neighbors." In the summer of 1950, the Birkbys moved seventeen miles southwest of Shenandoah to a 120-acre farm which they named " Cottonwood." On May 15, 1950, Evelyn Birkby took her column on the air with KMA radio station, changing its name to "Down a Country Lane." The program was broadcast over KMA until 1952 when the needs of her husband and children, Dulcie Jean and Bob, made it difficult to prepare a program and travel back and forth to the studio. Birkby took a hiatus until 1955, when she began working for Kitchen-Klatter as a writer and broadcaster. The Kitchen-Klatter radio program originated from KMA but was syndicated over a six-state area, while some programs had an even wider distribution: the Martha Bohlson and Edith Hanson programs were heard from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic seaboard.

In 1983, Birkby left Kitchen-Klatter and returned full-time to radio station KMA to head its book department. Besides authoring the KMA Festival Cookie Book (1983), Cooking with KMA: Featuring 60 Years of Radio Homemakers (1985), and KMA's Come Again Cookie Book (1987), Evelyn Birkby assisted with the radio homemaker broadcasts until the summer of 1991, when she resigned to give her full attention to writing. What followed were Neighboring on the Air: Cooking With the KMA Radio Homemakers in 1991 and Up A Country Lane Cookbook in 1993. In May 1990, KMA honored Birkby on the 40 th anniversary of her first broadcast, May 15, 1950.

Birkby has had many opportunities and accolades: she was a member of the Iowa Bicentennial Commission, the Iowa Judicial Nominating Commission, the Iowa Grievance Commission, the Rural Betterment Commission, the National Board of Communication for the United Methodist Church, and a member of the state Methodist Communication Board. She was one of the Iowans in 1996 to represent Iowa at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington, D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa, and in 1998, she was chosen as one of the Iowa Master Farm Homemakers. Birkby's alma mater, Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, honored her with its Alumni Achievement Award in 1999. The 2002 novel Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg featured a character, Neighbor Dorothy, a radio homemaker modeled on Evelyn Birkby.

Birkby is in demand as a speaker on many subjects, including life on the farm from a woman's perspective in the 40's and the 50's. Birkby and her husband Robert live on an acreage in Sidney, Iowa.

Scope and Content Note

The Evelyn Birkby Collection of Radio Homemaker Materials dates from 1924 to 2002 and measures 4 linear feet. The papers are arranged in nine series: Evelyn Birkby, Kitchen-Klatter Products Co., KFNF Radio, KMA Radio, Henry Field Seed and Nursery Company, Miscellaneous Radio Homemaker materials, Photographs, Artifacts and Audiovisual. The bulk of these papers are in the form of publications.

The Evelyn Birkby series (1978-1999) is arranged in two subseries. The first subseries, Newspaper clippings by and about Birkby includes photocopies of Birkby's "Up a Country Lane" column and newspaper and magazine reviews of her 1993 book by the same name. A1991 New Yorker article by Jane and Michael Stern provides a history of KMA and KFNF radio stations and the radio homemakers, and includes an interview with Evelyn and Robert Birkby. The second subseries, Publications (1978-1993) consists of six cookbooks by Birkby: KMA Cookie Festival (1978), Festival Cookie Book (1983), Cooking with KMA (1985), and Come Again Cookie Book (1987), Neighboring on the Air: Cooking with the KMA Radio Homemakers (1991), and Up A Country Lane Cookbook (1993). Also included is Adventure After Sixty: Alone Through England and Scotland (1985).

Kitchen-Klatter Products Co. (1936-1986) consists of Kitchen-Klatter magazine and various other publications by the Driftmier Company, makers of Kitchen-Klatter products. Birkby's column was featured each month in Kitchen-Klatter magazine, a staple for the rural woman wanting kitchen tips, household hints and general information. Kitchen-Klatter went out of business in 1986.

The KFNF Radio and KMA Radio series (1926-1987) are comprised of publications of these two Shenandoah, Iowa radio stations. They are primarily newsletters and recipe books, some taken from the homemakers’ programs. Among the homemakers featured are Jessie S. Young, Edith Hansen, Florence Falk, Evelyn Birkby, and Billie Oakley. The KMA Radio series also includes a small collection of photographs, some of which appeared in Cooking with KMA (1985) and Up a Country Lane Cookbook (1993). Also contained in the KMA Radio series are Billie Oakley's Home Talk magazine, published by Home Talk Publications, Inc., 1987-1991. The magazine featured recipes, fiction and local news. Oakley began her radio career in 1932 for KFNF. She later worked for KMA radio station, retiring in 1992. Oakley died in 1996.

The Henry Field Seed and Nursery Company series (1924-1999) contains Henry Field's Seed Sense magazine and newspaper clippings.

The Miscellaneous Radio Homemaker materials are non-Iowa items collected by Evelyn Birkby. This series includes books by radio homemakers from South Dakota and Oklahoma that are shelved in the Iowa Women’s Archives printed works collection. They are: The Best of the Neighbor Lady (1987) by Wynn Speece with M. Jill Karolevitz and Long Lost Recipes of Aunt Susan (1989) edited by Patty Vineyard MacDonald.

The Photographs series (1948-1965 and undated) consists of photographs of Birkby and other radio homemakers.

The Artifacts are bottles that held Kitchen-Klatter flavorings, cooking utensils and items offered as premiums to listeners and readers.

The Audiovisual series includes a video documentary about the radio homemakers and entertainers of Shenandoah, Iowa; a CD-ROM of Birkby’s Kitchen-Klatter columns; and audiotapes of radio homemaker programs.

Two of Birkby’s books are shelved in the printed works collection in the Iowa Women's Archives: Neighboring on the Air: Cooking with the KMA Radio Homemakers (1991), and Up a Country Lane Cookbook (1993). KMA Radio: The First Sixty Years (1985), written by Birkby’s son, Robert Birkby is also shelved in the Iowa Women’s Archives printed works collection.

Box List

Box 1                          
  EVELYN BIRKBY                    
    Newspaper clippings by and about Birkby, 1991-2000
Newspaper columns by Birkby, 1987-2001 [3 folders]


Includes “Up a Country Lane” from The Evening Sentinel and Valley News Today in Shenandoah and “A favorite ‘Up A Country Lane Column’from The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs and Valley News Today in Shenandoah.
“Kitchen-Klatter: Articles of Evelyn Corrie Birkby 1955-1989” [CD-ROM shelved with audiovisual materials]
    “Kitchen Klatter: Articles of Evelyn Corrie Birkby 1955-1989 [CD                
      KMA Cookie Festival , 1978              
      KMA Festival Cookie Book , 1983              
      Cooking with KMA , 1985              
      Come Again Cookie Book , 1987              
      Neighboring on the Air: Cooking with the KMA Radio Homemakers, 1991 [shelved in printed works collection]              
      Up a Country Lane Cookbook, 1993 [shelved in printed works collection]              
      Adventure After Sixty, 1985              
  KITCHEN-KLATTER PRODUCTS CO.                    
      Programs and Ideas for Mother’s Day and Mother-Daughter Banquets, 1963              
      The Story of an American Family by Lucile Driftmier Verness, 1950              
      Kitchen-Klatter Cook Book , vol. V: Oven Dishes, One Dish Meals, Meat Cookery by Leanna Field Driftmier (undated)
Kitchen-Klatter Klippings by Leanna Field Driftmier, 1932
      Kitchen-Klatter Cookbook, 1977 [shelved in Printed works collection]              
      The Best of Kitchen-Klatter Dessert Recipes, 1983 [shelved in Printed works collection]              
      The Best of Kitchen-Klatter Main Dishes, 1984 [shelved in Printed works collection]              
      The Best of Kitchen-Klatter Bread, Brunch & Lunch Recipes, 1985 [shelved in Printed works collection]              
      The Best of Kitchen-Klatter Salad Recipes, 1985 [shelved in Printed works collection]              
      Kitchen Klatter Garden Chatter, Volume 1, Number 1, 1949              
      Kitchen-Klatter Magazine              
        1936 (July)
1937 (April, June)
        1938 (April, December)              
        1939 (April, June, August, October, November, December)
1940 (March, April, December)
Box 2                      
        1946 – 1952 (7 folders)              
Box 3                      
        1957 – 1963 (7 folders)              
Box 4                      
        1964-1970 (7 folders)              
Box 5                      
        1971-1977 (7 folders)              
Box 6                      
        1978-1984 (7 folders)              
Box 7                      
        1986 (January - final issue)              
      Cake Cook Book , 1953              

Pie Cook Book , 1953


Party Plans for Special Occasions , 1964


Church Projects and Programs , 1965

    KFNF RADIO              
      Mother's Hour Letter (1 folder), 1926-1927              
        November 1, 1926
April 1927
      Aunt Sammy's Radio Recipes , 1976 (reprinted from 1927)              
      Kitchen Klatter News (1 folder)              
        September, 1928
March and October, 1929
July, 1936
      Edith Hansen Kitchen Club Recipes, 1952-53              
      Coffee with Florence [Falk], 1966, 1967 and undated              
      Jessie Young (article, 1983 and obituary, 1987)              
      Jessie's Homemaker Radio...Visit (cont.)              
        1951 (March, July, December)              
        1951 (March, July, December)              
        1952 (lacking January, October, December)              
        1953 (lacking January, February, July, December)              
        1962 (December only)              
        1964 (January-March, May, August, December)
Box 8                      
        1966 (lacking January-March)              
        1967 (lacking September)              
        1969 (August-December only)              
        1970 (January, July-November only)              
        1971 (December only)              
        1974 (April only)              
        1975 (October-November only)              
        1976 (lacking March-June and September)              
        1977 (lacking June, August, October-December)              
        1978 (September and December only)              
        1979 (January-April only)              
        1980 (August-November only)              
      Jessie's recipe books (1 folder)              
        Homemaker's Salad and Sandwich Book, 1938
Jesse's Canning Book,
Jessie's Cake and Cookie Recipe Book,
Jessie's One-Dish Meal Book, undated
    KMA RADIO              
      Mayfair Stage Studio KMA Souvenir Booklet              
      The KMA Guide (2 folders)              
        January-February, 1948              
        June, 1958 (pp. 5-12)              
        1965-1977 (scattered)              
Box 9                      
      KMA Guide cook books (1 folder)              
        The 55 Favorite Recipes of KMA Personalities , 1948              
        The 1951 KMA Cook Book, 1951              
        KMA Guide Cook Book : All Time Favorite Recipes, 1952              
        KMA Cook Book , 1954              
        KMA's Cookie Book , 1955              
        KMA's All Time Recipe Treasures , 1956              
        KMA's One-Dish Favorites For busy, Particular Homemakers, 1956              
        KMA Christmas Tea Cookie Book , 1959              
        My Best Recipe Book , 1959              
        Kitchen Magic , 1960              
        Recipes for Today's Woman , 1969              
        Christmas Treats: Recipes of KMA Listeners , 1973              
      Recipes For Today's Woman (mailer)              
        January-June, 1970 (Lacking May-June, Nov.-Dec.)              
      Billie Oakley's Open Line              
        1985 (Lacking May-June and Nov.-Dec.)                    
        1987 (March-April)                    
      KMA Today's Open Line                    
        1987-1989 (May/June-Dec.)                    
      Billie Oakley's Home Talk              
        1987 (August, October, December)                    
        1988 (lacking January, March and May)                    
        1990-91 (farewell issue)                    
      Billie Oakley's Everybody's an Expert Cookbook [shelved in printed works collection]                    
      Billie Oakley's Golden Memories Cookbook, 1989 [shelved in printed works collection]                    
    HENRY FIELD SEED AND NURSERY CO. (1 folder)              
        Henry Field's SEED SENSE "For The Man Behind The Hoe ", March 1950
Newspaper clippings, 1984, 1994
      Aunt Sammy's Radio Recipes , 1976 (reprinted from 1927) [USDA]
The Best of the Neighbor Lady (1987) by Wynn Speece with M. Jill Karolevitz [shelved in Iowa Women’s Archives printed works collection]
Long Lost Recipes of Aunt Susan (1989) edited by Patty Vineyard
MacDonald [shelved in Iowa Women’s Archives printed works collection]
      1948 -1965 and undated                    
Box 10                        
    Kitchen-Klatter Products Co.          
        Artificial flavoring bottles
Cooking utensils
Box 11                            
        Kitchen-Klatter premiums                    
          child’s toy hut
wooden tray
butterfly decorations
      V239 “Pioneer Broadcasting: Shenandoah entertainers and Homemakers,” 1992 [shelved in videocassette collection]        
      Reel-to-reel audiotape (Evelyn for Billie, undated)          
        “Kitchen Klatter: Articles of Evelyn Corrie Birkby 1955- 1989” [shelved with CD roms]    
      Audiocassettes [shelved in audiocassette collection]          
        AC532 Kitchen-Klatter show, December 31, 1985
AC533 Different Homemakers, undated
AC534 Leanna Driftmier, 1946
AC535 Up a Country Lane, 1950
AC836 Florence Falk, March 18, 1969 [Side One only]
AC837 Doris McNeely interviewing Leona Nicholson, March 15, 1979 (history of Shenandoah, early days of broadcasting, post-WWII refugees and exchange programs) [Side One only]
AC838 Billie Oakley interviewing Bob Birkby (Evelyn Birkby’s son), June 24, 1986 AC839 Evelyn Birkby sitting in for Billie Oakley, October 6, 1986 (includes listeners calling in)
AC840 KMA Today Show hosted by Evelyn Birkby, May 29, 1990 [Side One only]
AC841 Evelyn Birkby, July 30 1990 (contains Birkby’s visit to Brooks, Iowa) [Side One only]
AC842 Evelyn Birkby sitting in for Billie Oakley on Labor Day Morning, undated [Side One Only]
AC843 KMA 50 th Anniversary, August 15, 1975
AC844 KMA 50 th Anniversary, 1975
(guests include homemakers Jessie Young and Leanna Driftmier) [Side One only]
AC845 KMA 50 th Anniversary, 1975 (guests include homemakers Leanna Driftmier, Adela Schumaker, Evelyn Birkby, Florence Falk and Billie Oakley) [Side One only]
AC846 Evenly Birkby, September 9, 1991 and KMA 60th Anniversary, 1985
AC847 KMA 60 th Anniversary, 1985
AC848 KMA 60 th Anniversary, 1985
AC849 KMA 60 th Anniversary, 1985
AC850 KMA 60 th Anniversary, 1985
AC851 KMA 60 th Anniversary, 1985 (Side Two contains “Big Band Jump-In Box”) AC852 KMA 60 th Anniversary, 1985
AC853 KMA 60 th Anniversary, 1985 (contains the Billie Oakley Show with Oakley interviewing Frances May Rankin and sharing memories of radio homemakers)
AC854 Project 75: the History of KMA, August 2000
[KMA’s 75 th anniversary project]
AC855 Bob Birkby’s first interview with Billie Oakley, January 4, 1982 (contains Oakley’s early radio experiences: Gooch foods, radio homemakers and women on radio)
AC856 Bob Birkby (Evenly Birkby’s son) interviewing Billie Oakley, May 10, 1982 Oakley discusses early experiences in radio, the Henry Field family, Earl May, women in radio and women homemakers)
AC857 Bob Birkby (Evelyn Birkby’s son) interviewing Lena Ferguson (the “Flower Lady”), undated
AC858 Doris Murphy interview (part one), undated
AC859 Doris Murphy interview (part three), undated
[part two of the interview was damaged]

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This page was created March 2005.
Last updated May 2006.