Our final 2017 meeting is Friday, Dec. 1, with holiday music & elections

JEFFERSON, Iowa, Nov. 20, 2017 — The Greene County Historical Society will meet Friday, Dec. 1, in Jefferson to close its 2017 programming, elect officers & board members for 2018, and celebrate the holidays.

Lunch is at 12 noon at the Greenewood Center, 401 West Greenewood Road, with the business meeting following about 1 p.m.

There’ll be holiday music during and after the meal, from 12:30 to 1 p.m., provided by Greene County High School band members, directed by Wes Anderson.

Dale Hanaman

“Mr. Anderson mentioned that he will be bringing six saxophones this year for a new sound,” said the historical society’s program director Nancy Hanaman. “In previous years, the performers have played brass instruments and clarinets.”

Nominated as officers and board members for 2018 are Dale Hanaman, for re-election as president; Nancy Hanaman, vice-president; Joyce Ausberger, secretary; Becki Cunningham, treasurer; Ces Brunow, as past-president. Others nominated for the board are Margaret Hamilton, Nick Foster, Carol John, Dallas Schrader, Paul White and Chuck Offenburger. Executive director Roger Aegerter is hired, not elected, and is an advisor to the board.

Additional nominations will be accepted from members at the meeting.

Printed newsletters with a 2017 recap and the schedule of meetings & programs for 2018, will be distributed at the Dec. 1 meeting, and will be mailed subsequently to members who are not at the meeting.

The lunch is $8 for historical society members, $10 for non-members. The members should phone reservations to their community contacts by 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Others can RSVP for lunch by calling Nancy Hanaman at (515) 436-7684.

The day Jane Millard changed the reading lists of many Greene Countians

SCRANTON, Iowa, Nov. 4, 2017 —If you were among the 45 people attending our Greene County Historical Society program on Friday, Nov. 3, at the United Methodist Church here in Scranton, you almost certainly came away with a half-dozen or more books that you’ve now put high on your reading lists. Jane Millard, director of the Jefferson Public Library, gave an outstanding program on “Greene County authors.” She highlighted 45 of them who, collectively, have written more than 100 books, and she says she knows there are several more, maybe many more.

“It’s quite a feat, writing a book,” Millard said in opening. “How many times do we all say, ‘I could write a book!’ But not many of us ever do.”

In putting the program together, Millard built an actual file on authors with Greene County roots or ties, and she now has that available for the public reference at the library in Jefferson. And she says her intent is to have a whole section at the library for local authors. She said it’s not exclusive.

Jane Millard

“So, who is a ‘Greene County author’?” she asked rhetorically. “Well, we pretty much claim everybody. If you’ve ever put a foot in Greene County, we’ll count you.”

The works she has collected so far from Greene Countians begin early in the 20th century, but some are new in the past two years, and she knows of a couple new books coming out in 2018 from Greene County authors.

There are many surprises on her list, or at least they seemed to be to most of our crowd. Two were especially so:

–One of those is Robert Harned, now of Brooklyn NY, who in 2015 published a book about his mother Sally Phipps, a head-turning beauty who was a star in the silent movies of the 1920s and early talking movies of the 1930s. Her second husband was Alfred Harned, who was born and raised in our Grand Junction. Phipps, in her heyday, was the talk of the movie industry in Hollywood and of all of show business in New York City. Quick browsing indicates her life was in many ways a sad, perhaps tragic one, but nevertheless very interesting.

–Another surprise to most is a 2016 book by Fred Monthei II, now of South Yarmouth, Mass., called “Iowa Farm Wife.” His grandmother Anna Cox Monthei lived out her life on a Greene County farm, and one remarkable thing about her was that she always kept a camera and often took photos of life and work happening around the farm — more than 1,600 “stunning photos of her everyday life,” as Millard described them. After she showed her visiting grandson Fred the 50 years’ worth of photo negatives stored in her attic, he made mental note to do something about them eventually. He now has done that, publishing more than 150 of them in what looks to be an excellent coffee table-type book that the library has available.

Those are just two of the authors and their books that Millard has now made many more people aware of, with her thoughtful program for our historical society. And as we said in starting, she has probably just changed the reading lists of Greene Countians for the near future.

Jane Millard (left) had help during her presentation on Greene County authors from three other staff members from the Jefferson Public Library. Two of those with her here are Dorothy Hadley and Terry Clark. They were helping project book covers and author information on a screen and also displaying the actual books.
Library staff member Sarah Schwery displays Robert Harned’s book on his grandmother Sally Phipps, a famous “flapper” in the 1920s and early ’30s who starred in many silent movies and a few “talkies,” too. Sally Phipps was married to Alfred Harned, a native of Grand Junction.
One group of books by authors with Greene County ties.
Second group of books by Greene County authors.
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    How many courthouse structures have been built on the site of the current Greene County Courthouse?

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    There have been three courthouses built where the Greene County Courthouse stands today.  Ground was broken on the current courthouse in November of 1915, the cornerstone was set in May 1916 and the new building was dedicated in October of 1917. The centennial celebration of the courthouse is already underway, with events being planned by the “Courthouse 100” committee, with support from the Greene County Historical Society.  You can learn more about the courthouse history and the celebration plans on the Facebook page “Courthouse 100: Greene County, Iowa.”

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