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Posts Tagged ‘Weber on Wednesday’

History in the Making

by Susan Craig on June 5th, 2015

Our month long celebration of local history is over for another year.  In May, National Historical Preservation month, we highlight local history during a series of programs we call WOW—Weber on Wednesday.  The programs honor Iowa City’s unofficial historian, the late Irving B. Weber.lemme

This year we heard about historical gardens, beer caves, food history (oyster bars galore, who knew!), corner grocery stores, downtown Iowa City, and early Coralville.  We also hope to encourage interest in local history and get people involved in preserving and researching.  We offered special scanning days to allow people to use professional grade scanners to digitize documents and solicit items for our Digital History Project.

Of all the programs this year the one that most imbodies the spirit of Irving Weber was a presentation by the 6th grade girls of Helen Lemme school who visited the University of Iowa Women’s Archives, the State Historical Society Library and the Iowa City Public Library to research their school’s namesake, Helen Lemme.  They presented their finding at a WOW program and also shared it with the governor this week.  Their research and work reflects that our history is for everyone – not just scholars.

Many people are concerned about access to the records that make this and future research possible.  The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs which oversees all the state’s arts and cultural programs, including state historical libraries in Des Moines and Iowa City, has reduced hours at both facilities to just three days a week.  The Iowa City State Historical Society of Iowa had a staff of 20 in 2000, as of July 1, they will have two.

University of Iowa associate professor of history and geography, Tyler Priest, has focused well deserved attention on concerns regarding access to the historical documents housed in the Iowa City Centennial Building.  His perspective is as teacher and a scholar.   The issues he raises affect all Iowans.  We are all “citizen historians,” just like Irving Weber.  All of us who care about the history of our state need to educate ourselves about the situation and follow up on the consultants’ report due out in about a month that the DCA has commissioned.

Currently, the DCA is gathering feedback on how historical collections in Des Moines and Iowa City are used.  If you are interested please complete the survey:

<>  now through Tuesday, June 30.  It will take approximately 10 minutes or less to complete.

Irving B Weber would thank you for your interest!

Celebrate Local History with Weber on Wednesday at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 24th, 2015

Are you ready to be WOWed?

WOW — Weber on Wednesday – is a month-long program created specifically for local history buffs. On every Wednesday in May – and a few other dates – the Iowa City Public Library will host an event that delves into Iowa City’s history.

WOW is held in conjunction with Irving B. Weber Days, which are held every May in honor of Iowa City’s unofficial historian, the late Irving B. Weber. May also is National Historical Preservation Month.

Plum Grove Gardens Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Wednesday, May 6 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Iowa State Extension Master Gardeners Betty Kelly and Carolyn Murphy will talk about the gardens at Plum Grove, the home of Iowa’s first Territorial Governor, Robert Lucas. Co-sponsored by the Johnson County Historical Society and Master Gardeners of Johnson County.


Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Bring your photos and documents related to Iowa City and Johnson County history, and have them added to the Library’s Digital History Project. Staff will help you scan your items, and send you home with your original and a digital copy. Please bring a USB thumb drive.

A Pictorial History of Downtown Iowa City

Wednesday, May 13 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Author Marybeth Slonneger will present a program on the history of Downtown Iowa City. Co-sponsored by The Friends of Historic Preservation.

Prohibition, Breweries and Beer Caves in Iowa City

Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Marlin Ingalls, Architectural Historian, will give a presentation on prohibition, breweries and the beer caves in Iowa City.

Iowa City Food History from 1830 -1900

Wednesday, May 20 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Rachel Wobeter, a University of Iowa Museum Studies student, will give a tour of Iowa City’s food history, sharing photos and historical notes about the town’s early grocers, brewers, and more. Refreshments will be provided. Co-sponsored by Historic Foodies.

Helen Lemme: A History

Tuesday, May 26 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Learn about Helen Lemme from the Lemme Elementary sixth-grade girl history detectives. Join them for an ice cream social after the program.

Images of America: Coralville

Wednesday, May 27 at noon in Meeting Room A

Author and Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Director Emeritus Timothy Walch will share stories about Coralville from his new book “Images of America: Coralville.”

History of Iowa City’s Grocery Stores

Wednesday, May 27 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Tom Schulein, citizen historian, will present a program on the history of Iowa City groceries from the corner store to the superstore. Co-sponsored by the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Pie Plant – What’s that and what’s it have to do with Irving B. Weber?

by Maeve Clark on April 23rd, 2015

Rhubarb- Did you know that rhubarb is also known as pie plant?  I hadn’t heard, (or at least I didn’t remember hearing),  rhubarb called pie plant, (or pieplant), until I lived in Dubuque. However, a little online digging shows that term pie plant has been in written use since 1838.  If you are a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, you might recall that it from a passage in The First Four Years -Laura was cooking for the threshers, the first dinner in her very own little house, and was running through the menu: “There was pie plant in the garden; she must make a couple of pies.”

A discussion of the term came up last month when I attended a meeting Historic Foodies, a local group with an interest in using recipes from the cookbooks of  yesteryear.  We were using The Iowa City Cook Book, and on page 181 one of our members found the recipe below. Pie PlantThe cookbook dates from 1898 and is chock-full of recipes that will invite much discussion.  You might just recognize the names of prominent Iowa City residents of the past.  In fact, while we at the meeting we consulted Margaret Keyes book Nineteenth century home architecture of Iowa City to see if we could locate the recipe writer’s house. When we did we pulled up the Iowa City assessors website to find out if the house was extant.  It was tremendous fun and we found a good number of the names in Dr. Keyes’ book and many of the houses are still here!

So what does all of this have to do with Irving B. Weber?  First, Weber wrote the introduction to Dr. Keyes book.  Second,  while Weber’s mother doesn’t have any recipes in the cookbook, some of his parent’s neighbors do.  Third, we are just about to celebrate Irving B Weber Days,  webera full month of programming and displays dedicated to local history.  Fourth, the Historic Foodies will be providing refreshments from the Iowa City Cook Book for a program during Weber Days. Make sure you mark your calendar to come to Rachel Wobeter’s talking to tour of Iowa City food history.  Rachel will share her research on what Iowa City folk ate between 1830 and 1900 on Wednesday, May 20 at 7  p.m.  The program will air live on Library Channel 2o.

And finally, what  does pie plant have to do with with Irving Weber?  Well, here’s what I think, I bet you anything Irving ate pie plant in either a pie or as a sauce or maybe even like I did as a child, by dipping the stalk in the sugar bowl and taking a great big bite of sour delight.



WOW: Iowa City Public Library celebrates Weber on Wednesday

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 30th, 2014

Are you fascinated by local history? Do you look forward to Iowa City’s Irving B. Weber Days every year? If you answered yes to either of those questions, be prepared to say WOW in

WOW — Weber on Wednesday – is a new twist to Irving B. Weber Days, which are held every May in honor of Iowa City’s unofficial historian, the late Irving B. Weber. On every Wednesday in May, the Library will host an event that delves into Iowa City’s history.

“Instead of having events scattered throughout the month, we redesigned this year’s Irving B. Weber celebration to focus on once-a-week programs,” says Maeve Clark, the Library’s coordinator of adult services.

May also is National Historical Preservation Month, and the Library will partner with The Friends of Historic Preservation for a special Saturday presentation on May 10.

“Learning about local history enhances our community. It gives us a better understanding of Iowa City and how it came to be,” Clark says. “You can’t plan for the future unless you understand the past.”

Weber on Wednesday Events:

Archives Alive!: Teaching with WWII Correspondence

Wednesday, May 7 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Learn more about a teaching project from the University of Iowa Libraries and the Iowa Digital Engagement and Learning (IDEAL) initiative based on the transcription of letters from Evelyn Birkby’s World War II scrapbook. Birkby, an Iowa native, is a longtime newspaper columnist, author and radio personality.

The Annual Irving Weber History Lecture: The History of Transportation in Iowa

Wednesday, May 7 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Leighton Christiansen, Librarian at the Iowa Department of Transportation, will present “A Journey in Transportation: The Iowa DOT Centennial and Iowa Transportation History Highlights,” including a focus on Iowa City and Johnson County.

How East Iowa City Came To Be

Wednesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

This presentation by Dr. Thomas Schulein will trace the history of early manufacturing concerns in the neighborhood and describe the suburban development of “East Iowa City” up to the present.

Caring for Keepsakes: What do you do with a family memento or keepsake?

Wednesday, May 21 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Preservation staff from the University of Iowa Libraries, Archives, Special Collections, and University Museums will talk about caring for your collections at home. Have a question about a special heirloom? Bring it with you. After a brief presentation, you can ask the experts how to best store and protect your keepsakes for future generations. Please note: No appraisals will be done.

ScanIt! @ ICPL – The Digital History Project

Wednesday, May 28 from 5 to 8 p.m. in Meeting Room A

Do you have old photographs of Iowa City or Johnson County or family photos that have recognizable locations or buildings in the background? Would you like to turn them into digital images and donate a copy to ICPL’s Digital History Project? During ScanIt!, librarians will teach you how to scan photographs. Storage media (CDs) will be provided. Appointments are one hour each and registration is requested. Drop-ins will be accommodated if space permits. To register, call the Library at 356-5200.

A bonus event will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, in Meeting Room A. Join us as local historian Bob Hibbs presents “College Green Park: Covered Wagons to Tornadoes.” Sponsored by the Iowa City Public Library and the Friends of Historic Preservation, this program is held in conjunction with the Friends of Historic Preservation’s Historic House Tour of the College Green neighborhood on May 11. For additional information, visit