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Chapter 19

This webpage reproduces a section of
Ioway to Iowa

Irving Berdine Richman

published by
The State Historical Society of Iowa

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p395  After

 p397  Black Hawk's Autobiography
Iowa Newspapers
Iowa Lecturers
Comment and Citationa

 p399  Black Hawk's Autobiography

No histrion was Black Hawk — no poseur. Yet, says Indian Commissioner Caleb Atwater, nothing pleases Indian chiefs and warriors so much as to tell them 'that their fame is spread through the world. Carrymauny, the elder [a Winnebago], three times repeated to me his history, and requested me to write it in a book'. Black Hawk made a like request of Antoine Le Claire, interpreter for the Sauk and Fox Indians at Fort Armstrong. Le Claire sought in collaboration an Illinois journalist, J. B. Patterson, and the three men bent together over their task, Black Hawk dictating to Le Claire, Le Claire translating to Patterson, and Patterson committing to paper.

'I do hereby certify', writes Le Claire, October 16, 1833, 'that Black Hawk did call upon me . . . and expressed a great desire to have a History of his Life written and published, in order (as he said) "that the people of the United States . . . might know the causes that had impelled him to act as he had done [in the Black Hawk War], and the principles by which he was governed". . . . I acted as Interpreter; and was particularly cautious to understand distinctly the narrative of Black Hawk throughout — and have examined the work carefully since its completion, and have no hesitation in pronouncing it strictly correct, in all its particulars'. Thus came to birth Black Hawk's autobiography, fruit of the aboriginal mind.

The book, copyrighted in 1833, has been issued at least  p400 fourteen times. The first edition (1834) was published in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Mobile. In 1836 a London edition appeared over the imprint of Richard James Kennett, 14 York Street. 'Here', says the 'prefatory Notice', quoting the Athenaeum, 'we have the whole tale of the North American Indian taken down from mouth of an Indian chieftain; and as displaying the structure and bent of his mind . . . a work of no ordinary nature'. In America the book was reviewed by the New England Magazine, May, 1834; by The American Quarterly Review, June, 1834; and by The North American Review, January, 1835. 'This book', says The North American Review in a notice of eighteen pages, 'is a curiosity; an anomaly in literature. It is the only autobiography of an Indian extant. . . . The only drawback . . . is the intermixture of courtly phrases . . . These are, doubtless, to be attributed to the bad taste of Black Hawk's amanuensis. . . . It appears throughout the work, that though Black Hawk was a thorough savage he had yet a strong sense of honor, personal dignity, and generosity'.

Two good editions of Autobiography mark recent years: one (1912) by James D. Riskell of Rock Island; the other (1916) by Milo M. Quaife, then of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Both have introductions and are annotated. The Riskell edition is illustrated and both editions are provided with maps.

In the eighteen forties a young boy, starting off with a well-filled knapsack, carried as a treasure within it a copy of the Autobiography of Black Hawk.

 p401  Iowa Newspapers

The first Iowa newspaper (1836) was the Dubuque Visitor with John King as editor; the next (1837) was the Western Adventurer and Herald of the Upper Mississippi, sponsored by Isaac Galland of Montrose and edited by Thomas Gregg. The same year at Burlington there was founded the Territorial Gazette and Burlington Advertiser by James Clarke, brother-in‑law of Augustus Caesar Dodge and last Territorial Governor of Iowa. The year 1838 ushered into being two journals of note, the Fort Madison Patriot, and the Iowa Sun and Davenport and Rock Island News; while in 1839 there arose in Burlington the Iowa Patriot, and in 1840 in Bloomington (Muscatine) the Iowa Standard and the Bloomington Herald — the latter being the precursor of the Muscatine Journal. In 1841 the Iowa City Standard, precursor of the Iowa City Republican, was started at Iowa City, the Miners' Express at Dubuque, and the Gazette at Davenport; these being followed in 1848 by the Ottumwa Courier and the Kanesville Frontier Guardian (Mormon); and in 1849 by the Des Moines Valley Whig (later the Keokuk Gate City) and the Fairfield Ledger; and at Fort Des Moines (Raccoon Fork) by the Iowa Star.

So the founding of newspapers in Iowa went merrily on, keeping pace with the advance in population until by 1860 amid 675,000 souls the number of papers in existence out of 222 which had made a start was 104 — one paper, that is to say, to each population unit of 6500.

 p402  With four-fifths of the people of Iowa in 1860 isolated upon farms, the newspapers were inevitably for the most part weeklies. Starting with about eleven in 1841 there were about nine in 1842, about twenty in 1848, and about thirty-three in 1851, of which five were tri-weekly. However, at Dubuque, where the first weekly had appeared in 1836, there appeared in 1851 the first daily — the Dubuque Tribune. The same year Dubuque brought forth two more dailies, the Dubuque Herald (still in existence) and the Miners' Express. The year 1854 saw a fourth daily in Dubuque, the Dubuque Observer, and in Keokuk the Des Moines Valley Whig and Keokuk Register. By 1855 there were in Iowa about ten dailies including the Davenport Gazette, the Burlington Hawk-Eye and Telegraph, and the Muscatine Journal.280

 p403  Early Iowa Lecturers

In the eighteen forties and fifties almost every Iowa town maintained a lyceum. Lectures by local men graced each winter season. In the eighteen seventies the State Historical Society of Iowa provided a lecture course by Iowans. In the list were Chancellor William G. Hammond, Judge George G. Wright, Hon. Hiram Price, Dr. George F. Magoun, and the Rev. Henry Clay Dean. However, lecturers from outside the State were naturally the greater attraction. Between 1850 and 1860 there came to the Mississippi River towns of Iowa lecturers in troops: Horace Greeley, John G. Saxe (author of The Proud Miss McBride), Horace Mann, Wendell Phillips (a disappointment), Ralph Waldo Emerson (rather frayed with time), John B. Gough (tremendous always).

Of stars of the platform rising over Iowa between 1860 and 1870 there may be named Bayard Taylor, Ralph W. Emerson, James E. Murdoch, P. T. Barnum ('part of the twenty-five cents worth'), Theodore Tilton, Carl Schurz, John B. Gough, Wendell Phillips, Schuyler Colfax, Louis Agassiz, Charles Sumner, Anna E. Dickinson, 'Petroleum V. Nasby' (D. R. Locke), E. P. Whipple, Frederick Douglass (well up in his facts), George Francis Train, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Josh Billings ('who didn't care how much a man talked so long as he said it in a few words'), Mark Twain, 'Grace Greenwood' (Mrs. Lippincott), Clara Barton, and Horace Greeley.

Among the lecturers in Iowa between 1870 and 1880  p404 were: Susan B. Anthony, Julia Ward Howe, the Rev. David Swing, Mrs. Scott-Siddons, Oscar Wilde, Josh Billings, Mark Twain, Henry Watterson, and Henry Ward Beecher.

Of more interest to many than what the lecturer said was what he was 'honored' with for saying it. Of Wendell Phillips (when not speaking on Slavery, whereon he spoke for nothing) the honorarium was $110; of Frederick Douglass, $60 to $100; of Charles Sumner, John B. Gough, and Anna Dickinson, each $200; of Henry Ward Beecher (1877), $500.281

 p405  Acknowledgment

Very special acknowledgment in connection with the foregoing pages is gratefully made by the author to Dr. Benj F. Shambaugh, Superintendent of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and to his efficient corps of assistants. To Dr. Shambaugh personally the author is indebted for a careful reading of the entire book in manuscript and the supervision of its publication.

Hearty acknowledgment is also made to Mr. Edgar R. Harlan, Curator of the Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa at Des Moines, and to his capable research assistant, Mr. Charles Blanchard.

Indebtedness to libraries, societies, collections, and individuals is widespread.

The State University of Iowa Library; Grinnell College Library; State Historical Society of Wisconsin (Dr. Louise Phelps Kellogg); Library of Congress; Archives of the War Department, Washington, D. C.; Canadian Archives at Ottawa; Smithsonian Institution (Bureau of American Ethnology), Washington, D. C.; Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, New York City; Indian Department of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee; Yankton Indian Agency, Yankton, South Dakota; Agency for the Iowa Indians, Shawnee, Oklahoma; Sauk and Fox Indian Agency, Tama, Iowa.

Mr. Doane Robinson, formerly Secretary of the South Dakota Historical Society, Pierre, South Dakota; Dr. Orin  p406 G. Libby, University of North Dakota; Dr. Truman Michelson, Smithsonian Institution; Miss Stella M. Drumm, Librarian, Missouri Historical society; Mrs. Benj F. Shambaugh, Iowa City; Mr. Alanson Skinner (now deceased), Assistant in the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee, and subsequently in the Heye Foundation; Mr. R. Harrington, Assistant in the Heye Foundation; Dr. A. McG. Beede, Fort Yates, North Dakota; Mr. George F. Parker (now deceased), New York City; Captain Fred. A. Bill, St. Paul, Minnesota; Mississippi River Master-Pilot George Byron Merrick.

Dr. Thomas H. Macbride, President Emeritus, State University of Iowa; Mr. Charles D. Reed, United States Weather Service, Des Moines; Dr. B. Shimek and Dr. Frank Luther Mott, both of the State University of Iowa; Dr. Louis B. Schmidt, Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts; Dr. Jacob A. Swisher, Dr. Ruth A. Gallaher, Dr. William J. Petersen, Dr. E. Douglas Branch, and Dr. Bruce E. Mahan, all of the State Historical Society of Iowa; Mr. Clifford Powell, Red Oak; Mr. Richard Herrmann, Proprietor of the Herrmann Museum, and Mr. Peter McCarty, both of Dubuque; Miss Merta Mitchell and Mr. Joseph Ayres, both of Keokuk; Mr. George H. Boynton (now deceased), Muscatine; Mrs. Gertrude Henderson, Mr. Albert M. Holman, Mr. Constant R. Marks, all of Sioux City; Dr. A. L. Hageboeck, M. D., President of the Davenport Municipal Art Gallery; Dr. John C. Parish, University of California at Los Angeles.

Iowa public libraries throughout the State.

Newspapers of Iowa: the unique Burlington Hawk-Eye  p407 files; the files in the Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa; those in the Sioux City Free Public Library and in the Public Library of Council Bluffs, including the able and highly partisan Council Bluffs Bugle.

Recent general histories of Iowa; History of Iowa by Benjamin F. Gue (1903); Iowa: Its History and Its Foremost Citizens by Johnson Brigham (1915); and A History of the People of Iowa by Cyrenus Cole (1921).

For valued secretarial aid the author wishes to express acknowledgment to Mrs. Edna Schultz Sherman, now of the staff of the Public Library of Akron, Ohio; to Mrs. Irma Molis Hoopes of Muscatine, formerly of the staff of the State Historical Society of Iowa; and to Miss Marie Haefner, now of the staff of the State Historical Society of Iowa.

The Author's Notes:

(p454) 280 Condensed from Early Iowa Newspapers by David C. Mott in the Annals of Iowa (Third Series), Vol. XVI, pp161 et seq.

[decorative delimiter]

281 Condensed from Notes on the History of Lecturing in Iowa 1855‑1885 by Hubert H. Hoeltje in The Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Vol. XXV, pp62 et seq.

Thayer's Note:

a "Comment and Citation" is the author's title for his endnotes, pp409‑454; as stated on my orientation page to the book, I folded them into the chapters as footnotes.

I haven't transcribed the index.

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Page updated: 6 Jul 13