Local History

Archives Room

Our archive space provide secure, climate controlled conditions for long term preservation of local records. We actively seek materials from area organizations and individuals that are valuable to preserving the history of our community. The collections include the records of many local organizations, Grinnell High School yearbooks, and various personal papers and photographs.  The collections may be viewed and used by appointment as staffing levels permit.  View the Local Archives page for a current list of collections or call the library at 641-236-2661.

Digital Collections

Through digitization, Drake Community Library is able to bring you some of our treasures from the past. We also have many in-house resources to aid your research of Grinnell’s rich history.

PHPP logo

The Poweshiek History Preservation Project (PHPP) is a searchable, digital archive of images and documents related to the Poweshiek County area.  It includes materials contributed by individuals, as well as items from the Drake Community Library and Grinnell College archives.  See the PHPP webpage for information about how you may contribute and to access the database.


iowaheritagecollectionsIowa Heritage Collections
Drake Community Library is a participant in the Iowa Heritage Digital Collections database project. All 38 photographs from the Billy Robinson Collection have been digitized as has the Spaulding Manufacturing Collection.


Obituary Databaseobituary graphic
Obituaries from local area newspapers dating back to 1871 are indexed in a searchable database. A pdf file of each obituary in the collection is available for viewing/download. This service is accessible in the library and online.




Voices from the Pastaugustapederson-smallest
A Grinnell oral history project recorded the experiences of residents as they lived through the Great Depression and World War II. Share their memories through taped interviews, video, transcripts, and photographs. These resources are available in the library and through an online version.




Edith Renfrow Smith: A Century of Life

Edith was interviewed at age 101, sharp, witty, and engaging. Born and raised in Grinnell, she shares stories of growing up here and becoming the first African American woman to graduate from Grinnell College. Local historian Dan Kaiser conducted the interview at Drake Community Library in front of an overflow crowd. Click below to view the video.

Edith Renfrow Smith

Edith Renfrow Smith, October 7, 2015. Edith was 101 when this interview was recorded.

Copyright Information for Drake Community Library website and archival materials.