Local History Materials

Explore Grinnell's past and present
with Drake Community Library Archives

Our archival collections focus on the history of Grinnell, Iowa, and the surrounding area. These physical archives include microfilm of area newspapers from 1871 to the present, city directories, records of many local organizations, Grinnell High School yearbooks, and various personal papers and photographs. All materials are kept in a secure, climate-controlled room in the library. These physical archive materials are only accessible with staff supervision. Staff are available to help with your research needs and can assist with basic archive questions as availability allows. You can make an appointment with the archivist on this page.

Click on Search Archives Contents to explore our shelved collections, pamphlet files, family collections, by keyword. [Note: The search database is a subcollection within the local history collections database maintained by Grinnell College.] You can also see a list of our area authors collection (pdf document).

Explore Digital Materials

Through digitization, Drake Community Library is now able to virtually bring you some of our treasures from the past. Below, you can find all of our online resources, including our obituaries database, digital archive repository, oral histories, property research resources, the Poweshiek History Preservation Project, and other online, outside resources on the history of the city, the county, and the state.

Obituaries Database

Search our database of thousands of scanned obituaries from the newspapers of Grinnell and Poweshiek County, from the late 1800s to the present day.

Poweshiek History Preservation Project (PHPP)

Explore a digital archive of images and documents related to the Poweshiek County area in this collaboration between DCL and the Grinnell College library, or submit your own materials to add to this historical record.

Oral Histories

Hear the voices of 157 Grinnell residents through ten projects with audio, video, transcripts, and photographs.

Property Research

Learn about the history of about 20% of Grinnell’s residential properties and discover the former owners of nearly all residential properties.

Digital Archive Repository

Explore a sampling of our higher interest items as we work to digitize the materials in our local history collection of physical archives.

Explore Digital Displays

View digital displays of the Underground Railroad, the Renfrow story, the Longhorn, and many other local history highlights.

Other Online Resources

Digital Grinnell

Explore a growing database of materials from Grinnell College students, faculty, and staff, as well as material on the College’s history.

Iowa Heritage Digital

Browse this database project where DCL is a participant, which includes photographs from the Billy Robinson and Spaulding Manufacturing collections.

Genealogy Resources

Discover your ancestry through Ancestry Library Edition, HeritageQuest, and FamilySearch, available within the library or for home users with a library account.

Copyright Guidelines

Learn the copyright and use guidelines of library materials.

Grinnell Historical Museum

Learn the history of Grinnell through physical and virtual exhibitions of artifacts.

Grinnell College Archives

Discover materials from the 15th century to the present, including manuscript collections from individuals, organizations, and historical records of the college and Grinnell community.

Local History Blog: "Grinnell Stories"

Read articles related to the history of the Grinnell area, written by local history enthusiast Dan Kaiser.

Poweshiek County Historical and Genealogical Society

Browse resources on the history of Poweshiek County, including Stewart Cemetery information, biographies, railroads, Civil War veterans, and a mystery person of the month.

Poweshiek IAGenWeb

Explore a collection of genealogical resources, including biographies, cemeteries, maps, photos, and surnames.

State Historical Society of Iowa

Explore Iowa’s historical resources through statewide programs, exhibitions, and projects, including some online resources.