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


GLADYS HOMAN (1899-1996)

PAPERS, 1871-2004
20.5 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:
Gladys Homan Papers, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.


Collection Overview

The papers (donor no. 364) were donated by Delmar C. Homan in 1995 and subsequent years.
The papers are open for research.
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.
Six audiocassettes AC543-AC547 and AC934.
In Box 50.
Processed by:
Stacy Ross, 2001 and Lisa Mott and Grace Van Voorhis, 2004. [HomanGladys.doc]


Gladys Vernette Madison was born on May 7, 1899 in Carl Township in Adams County, Iowa to Vira (Lawrence) and John Francis Madison. She had three sisters, Millie Louisa, Ileathie Frances, and Maxene Vivian. Little is known about her childhood, but according to her son, Gladys Madison attended school regularly as a child and completed the eighth grade. Throughout her life, she was very active in her church and community and as a rural homemaker.

On February 23, 1922, Gladys Madison married Charles Foote Homan (September 7, 1897- November 5, 1988). The Homans had two children, Delmar Charles (January 10, 1927- ) and a second son who died shortly after birth in July 1929. The Homans began their married life living in Gladys’ family farm in Carl Township until February 26, 1929 when the couple moved to a small house on 80 acres adjoining the property of Charles Homan’s maternal grandfather. Upon the death of this grandfather in 1936, Charles Homan purchased the 80 acres he and the family were living on and combined that acreage with his grandfather’s to form Timberdale Stock Farm, with a total of 312 acres.

Gladys Homan was active in several community groups and women’s clubs. She was a charter member of the Friendship Club in 1939 and held various offices and remained active in that club and the Corning Departmental Club until the early 1990s. Homan was also a member of the Adams County Girls 4-H Committee and served as County Committee Chair in 1958 and 1959. She also served on the Adams County Tuberculosis and Health Board for over twenty-five years, during which she also served a term as the chair of the board. She was honored as Rural Homemaker of the Year in 1948 by the Farm Bureau County Women’s Committee, of which she served as chair.

Gladys Homan had been baptized into the Baptist Church on April 16, 1911 (Easter Sunday) in the Nodaway River, near Mt. Etna, Iowa, and remained active in church activities through her life. She was the church secretary in 1918 and also a deaconess in the Adams County Baptist Church until the church closed. Thereafter, she was active in the Corning First Baptist Church, serving for many years as the Sunday School Superintendent and a member of the Baptist Women’s Club. After the closing of the Corning First Baptist Church, the Homans attended the Corning Methodist Church.

Charles Homan was supportive of his wife’s active community life, and himself participated in community and church affairs as a member of the Farmers’ Cooperative Creamery Board in Corning, Iowa and deacon and adult Sunday School teacher at both churches the family attended. The Homans also participated in community plays.

Gladys Homan lived on Timberdale and remained interested in community affairs from 1936 until her death. She died in her home on April 7, 1996.

Gladys and Charles Homan’s son, Delmar Homan, attended the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) from 1944 to 1949, earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. He taught high school in Red Oak, Iowa for a year, and also taught at Iowa State University in Ames from 1957 to 1961. Delmar Homan earned a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University in New York in 1963, and taught English at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas from 1961 until his retirement in the spring of 1991. He also served in the United States Army for two years, from 1950 to 1952.

* Most of the biographical material contained here comes from The Lawrence Family History (1998) and Adams County History (1984). Both books are contained in the Gladys Homan Papers at the Iowa Women’s Archives.

Scope and Content Note

The Gladys Homan papers date from 1871 to 2004 and measure 20.5 linear feet. The papers are arranged in eight series: Biography and Family History, Calendars, Diaries and Personal Writing, Correspondence, Club Activities, Farm Records, Photographs,and Artifacts.

The Biography and Family History series consists of three sub-series: Charles and Gladys Homan, Delmar Homan and Family. The Charles and Gladys Homan sub-series consists of various materials relating to their personal lives, including financial documents and receipts, handwritten cookbooks, a 1948 scrapbook, their 1922 wedding invitation, collected memorabilia and articles, and two audiocassettes that contain Gladys and Charles Homan reading poetry. There is also an undated scrapbook entitled, “Past, Present and Future of Gladys Madison,” that utilizes magazine cut-outs to illustrate her life.

The Delmar Homan sub-series consists of three diaries Delmar maintained at ages nine, ten, and sixteen, along with several vacation diaries he kept during the thirties, forties and in 1965. The Delmar Homan sub-series also contains several papers he both wrote and collected, and newspaper articles regarding his achievements. This sub-series also contains audiocassettes on which Delmar Homan recorded memories of his childhood. These cassettes contain information about life in the Corning area during the Great Depression, family holiday traditions, gardening and food. Food was a central part of any gathering, whether it was the PTA meeting or just having company for dinner. Homan gives great detail about the vegetables in the Homan garden, recipes his mother used, and the ways she prepared certain dishes. Delmar Homan also discusses such topics as profanity and sexuality, illuminating community and family mores. Other audiocassettes include a 1992 “letter” to his Aunt Edith (Edith Dustin), and a commencement address given by Delmar Homan at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, where he was on the English faculty.

The Family sub-series includes an 1871 letter written by Charles Homan’s great-grandparents, Mark and Rachel Homan, to their son Jesse, along with other family memorabilia including report cards, funeral cards, and a poem written by Gladys Homan’s sister, Millie Madison DeVore. The Family sub-series also contains several diaries, including the 1873-1928 diary of Louisa Lawrence, Gladys Homan’s grandmother. Gladys Homan’s mother, Vira Madison’s 1894-1900 diary is also in the sub-series. Of special interest is the May 7, 1899 entry when she comments on giving birth to Gladys. Other diaries in the sub-series were written by Temperance Madison Babbitt (Aunt Tempy). The Family sub-series also contains genealogical material, including two volumes, The Lawrence Family History (1998) and Adams County History (1984). The Lawrence Family History provides biographical and genealogical information about Gladys Homan, her ancestors, and her descendents. Adams County History is rich in information about both the Homan family and the area where they lived.

The Calendars series contains calendars from 1958-1992, in which Gladys Homan kept track of her daily activities, often recording daily temperature and precipitation measurements.

The Club Activities series contains material pertaining to several women’s organizations of which Gladys Homan was a member. Booklets and information from the Corning Departmental Club, The Friendship Club, the Baptist Women’s Club, and 4-H are included in this series, along with materials from several rural women’s clubs. Homan was also active in the Tuberculosis and Health Association of Iowa. Also included in the series are several of Homan’s own writings and poems that were presented at club meetings and numerous games and activities utilized atclub meetings.

The Diaries series contains Gladys Homan’s diaries from 1916 through 1966. Though the diaries were written during five turbulent decades of the twentieth century, most of the entries pertain to local and family events and provide a glimpse into rural life through the eyes of an Iowa farmwoman. Of special note is the 1921 diary, where entries between July 1 and August 19 were written by Gladys Homan’s mother, Vira Madison. Gladys was suffering from scarlet fever and unable to maintain her diary during this period.

The Farm Records series pertains primarily to Timberdale, the Homan family farm outside Corning, Iowa, although early records precede Timberdale, pertaining to the farm run by Charles Homan’s grandfather, Charles A. Foote.Timberdale records date from 1936 through 1996 and include expense and profit statements. This series also includes information about the layout of the farm (orchards, crops, etc.) and a completed 1982 Agriculture Census. Photographs of Timberdale may be found in the Photographs series.

The bulk of the Gladys Homan papers consist of Correspondence dating from 1907 to 2004. Most of the correspondence is between Gladys Homan and her son Delmar, Gladys Homan and her sister-in-law Edith Dustin, and Delmar Homan and his Aunt Edith (Dustin), although letters from other relatives and friends are included. (Following the Box List is a “Cast of Characters,” identifying some of the correspondents.) Daily correspondence spanning the years from Gladys Homan’s childhood, through her marriage, and old age encompass the births and deaths of children, the first and second World Wars, the Depression, the beginnings of the Cold War and the CivilRights Movement. The letters between Gladys and Delmar Homan contain information about his years as a student at the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) and Columbia University, New York, his two years in the Army, and continue through his marriage and teaching job at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, the death of his wife, Dorothe, and his retirement. The letters represent cover a wide range of topics, accentuating Gladys and Delmar’s interests in community and world affairs. These letters are also a valuable tool in examining the transition from radio to television and the reaction of the general populace. As an example of the wide-ranging subject matter of the correspondence between Delmar and Gladys Homan, a list of topics touched on in 1957 is appended after the Scope and Content Note.

 The Photographs series is divided into several categories: Club activities, Gladys Homan with her sisters (including hotographs of the Madison sisters as children and mature women), the immediate family (consisting of Gladys, Charles and Delmar Homan), relatives, Timberdale Stock Farm and miscellaneous. The earliest photographs date from 1908 and depict Gladys and her sisters as children. Included with the photographs are two pins made from photographs of Gladys and her two older sisters. The miscellaneous folder includes shots Delmar Homan took of relatives’ photographs hanging on his walls at home.

The Artifacts series includes 4-H pins and ribbons awarded to Gladys Homan, along with her pins from the Tuberculosis and Health Association of Iowa. Other artifacts are a salt and pepper shaker set, and instructions for a craft project “potato,” including a sample of the completed project.

Homan correspondence outline: 1957

Similar to the rest of the Correspondence series, this portion of the collection contains extensive correspondence between Gladys Homan and her son, Delmar. Delmar was attending graduate school at Columbia University during the 1956-1957 academic year; he also attended summer term before accepting an instructorship in English at the Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) in Ames.

January 1957
reviews of Broadway productions (1957 season)
Quiz Show- intense interest generated in Charles Van Doren (professor at Columbia University and contestant on program)
shared reactions to early television programs
critique of Korean War and John Foster Dulles
NFO/Farm Bureau split and its repercussions
Polio treatment for Edna Rasmussen (friend of Delmar) at Warm Springs, GA
President Eisenhower’s second term in office and televised inauguration

February 1957
Continuing review of Broadway and Off-Broadway season
Quiz Show interest deepens
Korea/China and U.S. foreign relations discussed
Early television as a cultural medium

March 1957
Continuation of earlier topics, including reviews of Orpheus Descending, Duchess of Malfi, and Le Misanthrop
Visual representations of racial prejudice and their harms
Beginning to doubt the authenticity of the Quiz Show contestants (copious discussion of Van Doren)
Political commentary, particularly about Communist/ Anti-Communist politics
Centennial planning for Corning, Iowa

April 1957
Graduate school culture at Columbia University
Quiz Show- Van Doren married; record of doubting conversations about Van Doren
Political commentary, domestic and foreign- attends and reviews Cold War and anti-communist panel discussions
Anti-Catholicism/ anti-interfaith marriage- views outlined
Cosmopolitan life in New York City
Anti-segregation and discussion of South African situation
Final wrap-up review of Broadway season

May 1957
Comment on Joseph McCarthy- “a tragically misspent life”
Delmar attends lectures by Niebuhr and Van Doren
Delmar attends opening of major Picasso exibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)- commentary and public reactions
Domestic violence and alcoholism- extended family arranges for son of alcoholic to reside with Gladys and Charles Homan on Timberdale for a summer
Billy Graham revival and its effects- Delmar’s description of a session, plus program
Anti-fluoridation campaign in New York City

June 1957
Graham revival
Niebuhr sermons
Early television and discussion of programming
Civil Rights Bill debate and reactions
Critique of House Un-American Activities Committee actions (HUAC)

July and August 1957
Takes 10 minutes to connect a phone call from NYC to Corning
Farm production from Timberdale in summer months
Preparations for family vacation in New England and notes on roads to NYC
More commentary on Civil Rights legislation

September 1957
Overview of men’s and women’s work on the farm
Church affairs in Corning
Descriptions of Corning’s centennial celebration
Life of a bachelor educator in Ames, Iowa; descriptions of introductory writing classes at Iowa State University

October 1957
Delmar considers being a contestant on $64,000 Question (writes down address)
REA meeting and board activities
Social life in Corning
Farm life- friction between Homans and tenant/hired man and his family; attitudes of hired men
Family tensions between siblings over potential sale of Aunt Myrtle’s farm and belongings
Coffee Club activities in Corning and Ames (women’s social organizations)

November 1957
Asiatic flu- its effects on Corning, Ames, and reactions to its spread
Sputnik II- dogs and Russians critiqued and U.S. space program questioned
Rural school closings (commentaries on rural fertility and its class-linked dimensions)
Search for new hired worker on Timberdale- rural labor relations, importance of wives in hiring decisions Social clubs and church activities in Corning
Rural roads and their conditions in late fall
Pressure on Delmar to date and marry
Anti-Catholicism; anti-interfaith marriage and social pressures exerted to deter interfaith romances

December 1957
Ibsen anecdotes from Delmar’s Norwegian landlord
Christmas preparations

 Other subjects of note in correspondence

Reviews and Programs of State University of Iowa theatrical productions
Reviews of films including:
Disney Animated Features
Abbott and Costello films
“Iron Curtain”
Bob Hope films
Commentary about radio programs- specifically “Truth or Consequences”
Student life and activities at the State University of Iowa
Comments about possible political career of General MacArthur
Various descriptions and listings of farm prices (livestock, seeds, etc.)
Detailed price listings for rent (Delmar), laundry, groceries, and clothes in Iowa City
Discussion of Communism and Leftist politics
Discussion of 1948 election
Limited discussion about Red Oak School District and Delmar’s teaching there
Book of the Month Club selections

Commentary on the Korean Conflict
Comments on radio programs:
“Amos and Andy”
“Henry Aldrich”
“Father Knows Best”
“Inspector General”
News clippings of new buildings on SUI campus
Discussion of movies:
“Our Very Own”
“Disney’s Cinderella”
“The Heiress”
“Joan of Arc”
Interest in Kodak cameras, photography, and home movies
Universal military service
Indoor plumbing on Homan farm; prices for septic tank, etc.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield merger
Delmar in Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri and at Camp Polk
Race relations in the military (white and Native American) and North/South prejudices with regards to race Rural Women’s Day
State politics- representatives and districting
The American Legion’s involvement in Anti-Communist firings of librarians- raid on Dubuque library Additional cost of living expenses
The Advent of Television
Long-Distance telephone calls
Delmar teaching in New Mexico
Delmar heads to Columbia University for his PhD
The beginning of lengthy correspondence concerning Broadway productions
McCarthy Hearings and his subsequent censure

Start of Vietnam Conflict and U.S. responses to French interests in South East Asia
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) seals- written about and seals on envelopes
Finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Continued television and movie commentary
Iowa State University’s VEISHA parade televised in 1958
More comments on inter-faith marriages (Protestant and Catholic)
U.S.S.R. leader Khrushchev’s visit to Ames, Iowa

Civil Rights Legislation
Discussion of Iowa State University students’ reactions to “sit-ins” in the South
Nixon/Kennedy televised debate
Delmar earns PhD from Columbia University
Continued discussion of movies, radio, and television programs
Discussion of the rights of migrant workers

Continued discussion of television shows- nearly zero discussion about radio programs by this point
Delmar’s marriage preparations
Discussion of the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy
Comments on the re-marriage of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis


Box List

Box 1                          
  Biography and Family History                
    Charles and Gladys Homan                  
      Assorted memorabilia, 1908-1985 and undated          
      Christmas lists, 1960-1984          
      Church, 1933, 1953-1992 and undated (3 folders)          
      Collected articles and writings, 1950-1969 and undated      
      Cookbooks, 1932 and undated (2 folders)          
      Financial records and receipts, 1919-1974 and undated      
      Marriage, 1922 and 1972      
Box 2    


      Menus and recipes, 1939-1987 and undated      
      Napkins, 1968-1975 and undated      
      Notes, 1974-1977 and undated      
      Scrapbook, 1948      
      Audiocassettes [shelved in audiocassette collection]      
        Gladys and Charles Homan: parts of poetry and comments from Delmar Homan, 1974. (AC543)      
        “Bijah,” recording of Gladys Homan reciting the same-titled poem, 1993-1994. (AC547)      
    Delmar Homan      
      Country Home Agri-Book, 1937      
      Miscellaneous papers, 1936-1966 and undated      
      Newspaper articles, undated      
      School, 1943, 1944, 1957 and undated      
      Vacation diaries, mid-1930s, 1938, 1948, 1949 and 1965      
      Writings, 1937, 1940, 1941 and undated      
      Audiocassettes [shelved in audiocassette collection]      
        Delmar Homan: “ Bethany College commencement address” plus comments, 1982. (AC544)
“The Community I,” Delmar Homan comments about life in Corning during his childhood. (AC545)
“The Community II,” Delmar Homan continues discussing life in Corning. (AC546)
“A ‘Letter’ to Aunt Edith,” by Delmar Homan (with some comments by Gladys Homan at the beginning), made shortly after Thanksgiving, 1992 for Edith Dustin. (AC934)

      Collected papers, 1871-1972 and undated      
        Louisa Lawrence, 1873-1928        
Box 3                          
        Vira Madison, 1894-1900        
        Temperance Madison Babbitt, 1930 and 1938        
      Genealogical information, undated        
      Sympathy cards for baby Ralph Dustin, undated      
    The Adams County History (1984)      
    The Lawrence Family (1998)      
Box 4                          
    1958-1985 (11 folders)      
Box 5          

1986-1992 (9 folders)


Club Activities

    Adams County Women’s Committee, 1947-1949, 1952 and 1974      
    American Baptist Women, 1977-1978      
    Capper’s Farmer, 1944 and undated      
    The Corning Departmental Club, 1952-1982 (2 folders)      
Box 6          
    The Corning Departmental Club, 1983-1985      
    Friendship Club, 1940-1992 (3 folders)      
Box 7          
    4-H Girls Club, 1943-1973      
    Iowa Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1975-1978      
    Parent Teacher Association (PTA), 1949-1955 and undated      
    Rural women’s clubs, 1948-1962 and undated      
    Rural Women’s Day, undated      
    Teacher-Director dinners, 1940 and 1956      
    Tuberculosis and Health Association, 1955-1972 and undated      
    General, 1949-1967 and undated (5 folders)      
    Photographs, 1930-1973 and undated [see Box 50]      
    September-December, 1918      
    1919 (2 volumes)      

Box 8

    January-July, 1920
July 1920-January 1921
February-July, 1921
July-November, 1921
December 1921-April 1922

Farm Records

    Census of Agriculture, 1982          
    Charles A. Foote          
      Estate account book, 1936-1942        
      Farm account book, 1932        
      Assorted materials, 1936-1939, 1980 and undated
Farm account book, 1937-1963
Farm account book, 1937-1971
Farmers’ Income Tax Record, 1949-1953 (5 folders)
Box 9                
      Farmers’ Income Tax Record, 1975-1996 (22 folders)
Photographs, 1929-1990 and undated [see Box 50]
Box 11                          
    1907, 1920, 1916-1917
1920 (3 folders)
1922 (3 folders)
Box 12                          
    1923 (3 folders)
1924 (2 folders)
1927 (3 folders)

Box 13

    1929 (2 folders)
1930 (4 folders)
1931 (2 folders)
1932 (2 folders)
1933 (2 folders)
Box 14                          
    1934 (2 folders)

Box 15

    1944 (5 folders)
1945 (5 folders)
Box 16                          
    1945 (3 folders)
1946 (6 folders)
Box 17                          
    1946 (3 folders)
1947 (5 folders)
Box 18                          
    1948 (5 folders)
1949 (2 folders)
Box 19                          
    1949 (4 folders)
1950 (4 folders)
Box 20                          
1951 (5 folders)
Box 21                          
    1951 (6 folders)            
Box 22                          
1952 (7 folders)
Box 23                          

1952 (3 folders)
1953 (4 folders)

Box 24                          
    1954 (7 folders)            
Box 25                          
1955 (7 folders)
Box 26                          
1956 (6 folders)
Box 27                          
    1956 (3 folders)
1957 (4 folders)
Box 28                          
    1957 (7 folders)
Box 29                          
    1958 (7 folders)
Box 30                          
    1959 (5 folders)
1960 (3 folders)
Box 31                          
    1960 (2 folders)
1961 (6 folders)
Box 32                          
    1962 (5 folders)
1963 (2 folders)
1964 (2 folders)
Box 33                          
    1964 (2 folders)
1965 (5 folders)
Box 34                          
    1966 (4 folders)
1967 (4 folders)
Box 35                          
1968 (5 folders)
1969 (3 folders)
Box 36                          
    1969 (2 folders)
1970 (5 folders)
1971 (2 folders)
Box 37                          
    1971 (3 folders)
1972 (6 folders)
Box 38                          
    1973 (6 folders)
1974 (3 folders)
Box 39                          
    1974 (2 folders)
1975 (5 folders)
1976 (3 folders)
Box 40                          
    1976 (2 folders)
1977 (7 folders)
Box 41                          
    1978 (5 folders)
1979 (4 folders)
Box 42                          
    1979 (2 folders)
1980 (5 folders)
1981 (3 folders)
Box 43                          
    1981 (2 folders)
1982 (5 folders)
1983 (4 folders)
Box 44                
    1983 (4 folders)            
Box 45                
    1984 (5 folders)
1985 (6 folders)
Box 46                
    1986 (7 folders)
1987 (4 folders)
Box 47                
    1988 (5 folders)
1989 (5 folders)
1990 (2 folders)
Box 48                
    1990 (2 folders)
1991 (3 folders)
1992 (2 folders)
2001 and 2004
Santa Claus letters, 1931, 1938 and undated
Box 49                
    Greeting cards, undated (3 folders)
Undated (4 folders)
Box 50                
    Undated (4 folders)
Articles, newspaper clippings and poems, 1926, 1956 and undated
Box 51                
    Club activities, 1930-1973 and undated
Gladys Homan with her sisters, 1908, 1956 and undated
Immediate family (Gladys, Charles and Delmar Homan) 1915-1996 and undated
Relatives, 1914-1986 and undated (2 folders)
Timberdale Stock Farm, 1929-1990 and undated
Miscellaneous, 1962, 1980 and undated
Box 51                
    Club pins, undated
4-H club (pins and ribbons), 1958-1977 and undated
Miscellaneous, undated

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