CyPix: WOI in the 1920s

January 12th 1925

Two men in the WOI recording studio, January 12, 1925

The 1920s: age of jazz, flappers and sheiks, the Charleston, and Prohibition. It was also arguably the decade in which the Golden Age of Radio began. At the very least, radio started to become quite popular during this time. The dapper gentlemen in the photo look as though they’re getting ready to go on the air in the WOI recording studio. WOI first went on the air on April 28, 1922, with market news as its first regular feature. The station began broadcasting Cyclones football games in fall of 1922. Two long-running radio programs began in this era, Music Shop (originally introduced by Andy Woolfries) and The Book Club. The former began in 1925 and ended in 2009, while the latter began in 1927 and ended in 2006. More information on WOI radio can be found in the WOI Radio and Television Records, the WOI Radio and Television Biographical Files, these other related collections, and more photos can be found on our Flickr site.


Thanksgiving, Part 2

Since we already have several blog posts related to Thanksgiving items here in the Special Collections Department (available here and here), I had not intended to create a Thanksgiving blog post for this year.  However, I recently received a call from Iowa Public Radio asking me if I would like to speak on the Iowa Public Radio program Talk of Iowa.  I was one of three guests on the program last Wednesday morning, and I spoke about some items in our collections which are related to Thanksgiving.  I enjoyed being a part of the conversation, even though the hour’s program was far too short to share all of the recipes I had put together to speak about!

Did you enjoy last Thursday’s Thanksgiving meal?  Are you all ready to start planning for next year’s Thanksgiving?  If so, this is the post for you!  If not, hopefully you will find some of the recipes below interesting, and perhaps they will inspire you to remember them when planning for the 2013 Thanksgiving meal next fall.  Or you may even find a delightful holiday recipe to add some historical cuisine to your menu (holiday or otherwise)!

Below are some of the recipes I did not have a chance to talk about on last week’s radio program, including links to some recipes you can find online through Digital Collections:

The Suffrage Cook Book, published in 1915, was once owned by Carrie Chapman Catt (Iowa State graduate and suffragist).  The cook book contains a wide variety of recipes, including a nut turkey for Thanksgiving.  As the introduction explains:

“Now that we are entering upon an age of sane living it is important that home makers should be impressed with the fact that good health precedes all that is worth while in life, and that it starts in the kitchen; that the dining room is a greater social factor than the drawing room.”

What better introduction do we need to inspire us to create healthy recipes together in the kitchen?

The section under meats contains a chapter on “Nuts as a Substitute for Meat.”  The introduction to this chapter states that since the “soaring cost” of meat, many had been rationing or eliminating their use of meat.  However, as the chapter notes, nuts “contain more food value to the pound than almost any other food product known” and goes on to explain that peanuts have a significant amount of protein.

Interested in making a Nut Turkey (page 68) instead of the traditional turkey for Thanksgiving?  Below is the recipe from this interesting book – I recommend you take a look at it!  As the note found at the beginning of the cookbook states, the book includes notes and check marks made by Carrie Chapman Catt.  If you are not interested in the Nut Turkey, then peruse the digital version, and perhaps make a favorite of Catt’s instead!

Nut Turkey

One quart sifted bread crumbs

1 pint English walnuts (or any other kind of nuts “will go”)

1 cupful of Peanuts (“simply washed and dried”)

1 level tsp Sage

2 tsp Salt

1 T. Parsley

2 Raw eggs (not beaten)

“sufficient water to bind the mass together”

“Then form them into the shape of a turkey, with pieces of macaroni to form the leg bones.  Brush with a little butter and bake an hour in a slow oven and serve with drawn butter sauce.”

Another interesting cookbook which contains a turkey recipe (and this one for the actual bird!) is Mrs. Welch’s Cookbook.  Mary Welch was the wife of Iowa State’s first president, Adonijah Welch.  Mary Welch had many accomplishments in her own right, including helping start and acting as the first head the Department of Domestic Economy (now better known as Home Economics or Family and Consumer Sciences).  In addition to the recipes, the cookbook also contains explanations and experiments for learning the why of cooking.  For instance, the section on Soups, Meats, Poultry and Game tells the reader to thinly cut a piece of meat and then wash and boil it.  She explains the changes that are taking place to the meat, and why.  The recipes sometimes also contain references to this experiment at the beginning of the chapter in order to provide brief lessons within the recipe itself.

Mary B. Welch

Wondering how March Welch recommends making a turkey?  You can find the recipe online here on page 178-180.

Trying to figure out what to do with your turkey leftovers?  A recipe for turkey soup can be found here on page 154.

Interested in learning more about Mary Welch or Carrie Chapman Catt?  The University Archives also holds the papers of both.  The finding aid for the Mary B. (Mary Beaumont) Welch Papers can be found here, and the finding aid for the Carrie Chapman Catt Papers can be found here.

Radio Homemakers

Today (Thursday, March 11) and over the weekend, Iowa Public Television will be showing a program called Iowa’s Radio Homemakers.  The Special Collections department contributed film footage and photographs to the show.  The program focuses on how rural women in Iowa listened to the radio for news and information, in addition to entertainment, and a popular form of radio show they tuned in for were the homemaker radio shows. These programs provided information on a wide variety of topics including food, nutrition, recipes, child rearing, sewing and gardening.  One of the radio homemakers featured on the show is Evelyn Birkby (to hear Evelyn Birkby describe her experiences, watch this youtube video).  Our Special Collections Department has a number of her books, including Cooking with KMA : Featuring 60 years of Radio Homemakers (TX715.B49924 1985).

Eleanor Wilkinson (Martha Duncan)

Iowa State’s own WOI had a number of radio shows for homemakers, including the popular “Homemaker’s Half Hour.”  The WOI Radio and Television Administrative Records (RS 5/6/3) here at the University Archives has a variety of documents from the program, including scripts, interviews and recipes.  “Homemaker’s Half Hour” programming director for many years, Eleanor Wilkins (known as Martha Duncan on radio), worked in the food and nutrition department of ISU when she started at WOI in 1938.  An interesting folder in the WOI Radio and Television Administrative Records (RS 5/6/3) contains letters written to Duncan from women who had been educated in home economics.  They wrote of how their education had influenced their careers and lives. These letters were for a program she was planning on careers.  When Martha Duncan retired as host of the program in 1966, the “Homemakers Half Hour” also ended its continuous run since 1925.

ISU home economics class from 1953.

In addition to producing radio shows for homemakers through WOI, Iowa State University had another important contribution to the radio shows and homemakers through its programs of study, such as home economics (now more commonly known as Family and Consumer Science), first taught as Domestic Economy in 1872.  Women graduating with a degree in home economics contributed valuable guidance to the people of Iowa and the nation in the area of home economics.

In honor of Women’s History Month, or just to learn more about radio programs for homemakers in Iowa, come visit the Special Collections Department.  We have some collections (RS 5/6/3 and RS 10/12/3)  and  and rare books related to these programs, in addition other homemaker related collections (such as MS-60).