Harlan-Lincoln House becomes a museum

Letter from the Director

Daguerreotype, tintype, carte de visite. Polaroid, 35mm film, digital image. From the 1840s to the modern era, photographic prints provide critical insight into history. These snapshots capture both the pivotal moments of our collective past and expose the raw emotions of the individual human experience.

The Harlan-Lincoln House has been part of Iowa Wesleyan University since 1907, and its history is cataloged in the institution’s photographic prints. Serialized campus publications such as the Croaker Yearbook, the Iowa Wesleyan Bulletin newsprint, and the Purple & White magazine track the Harlan-Lincoln House and its inhabitants from presidential residence (1907-1926) to Art Department (1946-1959) to museum (1959-current).

Most often these photographic prints enhance museum exhibits and educational programs but, there are always too many options to select from. Over the last three and a half years, I have kept an ever-expanding computer file of historic images related to the museum and its artifacts. From informational to humorous, each provides a unique insight into a historical moment linked to the Harlan and Lincoln tradition on campus.

As we enter a new year and the next round of dynamic educational programs at the Harlan-Lincoln House (see page three for the entire 2021 Brown Bag Lecture Series schedule) I want to share a collection of photographic prints from this file, ensuring their continued use and enjoyment.

On behalf of the Friends of the Harlan-Lincoln House and Iowa Wesleyan University, thank you for your continued support. We look forward to being together again this March for the Brown Bag Lecture Series and throughout 2021.

Anna Villareal, Director of the Harlan-Lincoln House

Photograph of Iowa Wesleyan College students at the campus bell from the 1952 Croaker Yearbook. During his time in Washington D.C., several Iowa Wesleyan students sent the clapper of the campus bell to Senator James Harlan as part of a campus prank.

Photograph of an individual displaying a Harlan-Lincoln House museum artifact in the P.E.O. Memorial Library from the museum’s institutional archives. The individual holds an interior door from the Harlan House which measures the heights of the three Harlan-Lincoln grandchildren, Mary Todd “Mamie” Lincoln Isham, Abraham “Jack” Lincoln II, and Jessie Harlan Lincoln from 1883.

(Left) Photograph of Mrs. Kay Lange, Director of the Harlan-Lincoln House from the Purple & White Summer 1969. Original caption reads, “Mrs. Lange shows wide-eyed second graders an umbrella that belonged to Mrs. Robert Todd Lincoln.” (Right) Photograph of Mrs. Kay Lange on the porch of the Harlan-Lincoln House from the museum’s institutional archives.

“Advertisement” for I.W.C. Presidential Action Figures in the 1993 Croaker Yearbook including “Big Jim Harlan: A pioneer president. The Senator comes with some mighty big connections.

Our Front Porch Update

Last fall, the Friends of the Harlan-Lincoln House organization announced the “Our Front Porch” campaign. This campaign seeks to raise $30,000 to repair storm damage to the front porch that occurred in July 2020, complete additional museums facilities projects, replant trees on the museum’s west lawn, and develop new external educational signage.

As of February 1st, over 81% of the campaign’s goal has been met! THANK YOU!

For more information on the “Our Front Porch” campaign visit iw.edu/harlan-lincoln-house.

Damage to the front porch caused
by a fallen tree in July 2020.

Completed porch floorboard repairs with new anti-slip paint in late-September 2020.

Brown Bag Lecture Series

2021 Friends of the Harlan-Lincoln House

March 2
Art [in this] Residence

Join Anna Villareal, Director of the Harlan-Lincoln House, to discover the foundations of the modern Iowa Wesleyan University Art Department and its residency in the historic “Harlan House” on campus from 1946 to 1959.

March 9
The Historic Mount Pleasant, Iowa & Greencastle, Indiana Connection

Join Mount Pleasant historian Pat White as she investigates the diverse connections between two rural university communities, from individuals like Senator James Harlan and Arabella “Belle” Babb Mansfield to families such as the Coles and the Saunders.

March 16
Remembering the Orphan Train

Join historian and retired Canadian Pacific Railroad conductor Dennis Wilson as he explores the Orphan Trains which transported over 300,000 children from the Eastern seaboard to homes in every state of the Union, including Iowa, from 1854 to 1929.

March 23
Iowa’s Country School Memories

Join renowned Iowa historian and author William Sherman as he explores the important dates and dynamic people who established Iowa as the country school capital of America. Remarks on regional country schools to follow by the Henry County Historic Preservation Commission.

March 30
Nancy Drew and the Ghost of Ladora (Presented at 6:00 pm)

Join Patricia Essick, historian and Iowa Wesleyan alum, as she unravels the mystery of how one Iowa writer took on the penname “Carolyn Keene” and became the first author of the Iconic Nancy Drew Mystery Series.

Program presented in partnership with the Mount Pleasant Public Library.

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