Friday, May 14, 2010


The State Historical Society of Iowa Library and Archives Reading Rooms will now be open to the public 12:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday, Monday and official state holidays. The new hours went into effect Dec. 8, 2009 for both Reading Rooms-– located at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines, and at the Centennial Building, 402 Iowa Avenue in Iowa City. The change in hours stems from a 10 percent across-the-board reduction in state appropriations for Fiscal Year 2010 and changed job responsibilities due to the loss of several library positions.

“While this is a difficult decision, this adjustment will help us meet our 10 percent budget reduction and still be able to serve the public,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Cyndi Pederson said. “It does mean, however, that genealogists, historians and other researchers will have fewer hours to access materials and interact one-on-one with staff at the Library and Archives.”

The State Historical Library offers a wide variety of materials to the public, including:

1. Books and periodicals ranging from general history books, plat maps and genealogy resources to cemetery surveys, biographies and memoirs.
2. Newspapers from 1836 to the present representing all of Iowa’s 99 counties, and access to NEWSPAPER ARCHIVE, an archive of millions of on-line historical newspaper pages dating back to 1700.
3. County government records, which include marriage, birth and death certificates; naturalization papers; and land deeds.
4. Manuscripts, Audio-Visual and Map Collections that feature personal papers, and records of organizations such as schools, churches, clubs, businesses and labor unions. Other items include diaries, letters and photographs as well as audio, film, video and oral history collections.
5. State and federal census records dating to 1838.

The State Archives, which represents a public trust and is an advocate for openness and accountability in state government, works to ensure the essential records created by state government are maintained and available to the public. The State Archives contains records that document all facets of the state’s history, including:

1. Records of the office of the Governor and Lt. Governor.
2. Records of the Iowa General Assembly from the Iowa Territory to present.
3. Records of various state agencies that are maintained permanently for their historic value.
4. Military Records, including the records of the Iowa Adjutant General from the territorial period to 1915, which includes the military records of Iowa regiments that fought in the Mexican War, Civil War and Spanish-American War. Major record series include correspondence, military reports, muster rolls, roster books and volunteer enlistments.

Other military records in the State Archives collections include the following:

5. Grand Army of the Republic Post Minutes & Roster Books, which include information on Union soldiers who served in the Civil War from other states and later belonged to Iowa G.A.R. posts. An index to G.A.R. members and membership cards, compiled in the 1930s, are available on microfilm.
6. Bonus Board Case Files, which record military bonuses paid by the State Bonus Board for military service from World War I through Vietnam, are being acquired by the State Archives.
7. World War I and World War II Casualty Files, which contain photographs and compiled service records of men who enlisted from Iowa and died during wartime, are available.
8. Armed Forces Grave Registration Records, which contain information on veterans of the U.S. military buried in Iowa. The series may include genealogical information as well as data pertaining to military service and place of burial. The earliest graves registered are those of Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Iowa and the latest are for veterans who died in 1998.

More information about the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Library and Archives Reading Room is available at or by calling 515-281-5111.

Susan M. Jellinger, Librarian II
State Historical Society of Iowa
Department of Cultural Affairs
Des Moines, Iowa

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