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State Research Guide: Iowa
12/1/2006
Plow through your research in the Hawkeye State.
Hear “Iowa,” and if you're like most people, corn comes to mind. After all, it's no secret the state, with its rolling, fertile hills, is tops in corn and runner-up in soybean production. But the Hawkeye State is more than farms: Historically, it's led the nation in education and women's rights. An October 1884 Annals of Iowa article boasts about the state's high number of schoolhouses and excellent attendance record, as well its progressive attitude toward women. Its author, citing the 1880 US census, claims more than 80,000 Iowa women worked outside the home. And Iowan Carrie Chapman Cart began crusading for suffrage in 1900.

She's in the company of well-known musicians, writers, actors and political figures, including painter Grant Wood, comedian Johnny Carson, western movie star John Wayne, first lady Mamie Eisenhower and frontiersman Buffalo Bill Cody. As the highway signs say, Iowa offers “fields of opportunities” — not only for farmers and other natives, but also for genealogists.

Fields of dreams

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