Letter from the Director

Iowa is my home. I recognize its pastoral landscape in Grant Wood’s painting Young Corn and I studied alongside its historic residents in his grand murals When Tillage Begins, Other Arts Follow at Iowa State University. An artist and Iowa native, Wood once stated, “I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa”. This quote is depicted on my favorite bookmark, which made the one hundred and fifteen mile trip to Mount Pleasant from Kirksville, Missouri as I moved back to my home state of Iowa last fall.

The offer to return to Iowa and work as the Director of the Harlan-Lincoln House and Coordinator of the Founders Society at Iowa Wesleyan University was an invaluable opportunity. The welcoming yellow house on the corner of Main Street and Broad Street is truly a museum of local, state, and national significance. The house’s former occupants and artifact collection creates an interwoven narrative, not only of the Harlan and Lincoln families, but of the Iowa Wesleyan University campus and Mount Pleasant community.

My background in museums began as an Anthropology and History student at Iowa State University, which included internships across the state. After graduation I joined the staff at the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa, working to catalog their paintings and large furniture pieces. I then completed my Master’s Degree in Historical Administration at Eastern Illinois University, working for the Illinois Regional Archives Depository and volunteering at the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site. Most recently I served as the Research Coordinator for the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri.

During my first three months at Iowa Wesleyan University, the key word used throughout operational planning and decision making for the Harlan-Lincoln House was potential. The potential of the house to better serve the campus, community, and region is immeasurable. Realization of this potential will come over time, but has already begun in many ways. For example, on December 1st, 2017 we began daily tour hours for the public, a foundational step in the forward momentum of this museum. Over the course of the month we welcomed over 40 guests from 3 different countries.

On behalf of the Friends of the Harlan-Lincoln House and Iowa Wesleyan University, I invite you to join us for tours, lectures, and special events that work to maximize the potential of this one-of-a kind historic location. Whether it is in France, or Iowa, the histories of the sites in our communities are ours to maintain, foster, and grow.

Anna Villareal
Director of the Harlan-Lincoln House

Upcoming Events

Welcome Home: The Harlan-Lincoln House Grand re-Opening

Friday, February 23rd, 2018
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Join us for the grand re-opening of the Harlan-Lincoln House at Iowa Wesleyan University. The evening will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance and includes tours of the museum and a reception in the International Room of the Chadwick Library. We hope to see you there!

Brown Bag Lecture Series

March 2018

The Brown Bag Lecture series is back! Lectures are held Tuesdays in March at noon in the International Room of the Chadwick Library on the campus of Iowa Wesleyan University. The programs are free and open to the public. Audience members are encouraged to bring their lunch.

March 6th

I Believe in the Wesleyan Spirit which knows
No Defeat: Echos of the Class of 1918

Who were the graduates of the Iowa Wesleyan Class of 1918? What did their lives on campus and in the Mount Pleasant community encompass? And how has their legacy influenced the University? Join Anna Villareal, Director of the Harlan-Lincoln House, to reflect on this student cohort, impacted by both war and a global health crisis, from a century ago.

March 13th

The Jefferson Highway: From Winnipeg to
New Orleans through Iowa

Envision a time when the automobile was a new form of transportation and when “good roads” were hard to find. One of the earliest attempts at improvement was the Jefferson Highway, which stretched from Winnipeg to New Orleans and traversed the great state of Iowa. Join Lyell D. Henry, Jr., author of “The Jefferson Highway: Blazing the Way from Winnipeg to New Orleans” (2016), as he recounts the story of the Jefferson Highway and looks especially at its route through Iowa one hundred years ago and today.

March 20th

Buxton, Iowa: A Coal Mining Town
Ahead of Its Time

In 1900, at a time when Jim Crow laws, segregation, and the Ku Klux Klan kept blacks and whites separated, residents in Buxton, Iowa—a thriving coal mining town of 5,000 residents—lived, worked, and went to school side by side. African Americans—miners, teachers, business owners, doctors, lawyers, and more—made up more than half of the population for the first 10 years and remained the largest ethnic group until 1914. By 1922, Buxton was a ghost town. Using photographs and rare audio clips from interviews with former Buxton residents, author Rachelle Chase will share what made Buxton so unique and why Buxton is still being talked about today.

March 27th

Iowa and Henry County in WWI

In 1918, we were in the midst of a global war. 2017 marked the centennial year of the United States’ entrance into World War I and in November 2018 we will remember the armistice that signified the end of conflict.  Join Leo Landis, curator for the State Historical Museum, in Des Moines, Iowa, to learn about the experiences of Iowans and Henry County residence during World War I.

The mission of the Harlan-Lincoln House and its collection is to interpret the site to the public for its significance to the Harlan and Lincoln families, to reinforce the relationship to Iowa Wesleyan University, and to fulfill the home’s vital role in the living history of the University and the Mount Pleasant community.
Future mailings of the Harlan-Lincoln Newsletter will be primarily electronic. To ensure you receive an e-newlsetter, please email Anna at hlhouse@iw.edu with your preferred contact information.