Other Oral Histories

These miscellaneous oral histories include audio interviews with Jackie Collum, Rev. Leland Mann (interviewed by Rev. Porter French), and Edith Renfrow Smith. Resources without audio include an interview with Lorene Alyce Pearce Morrison and a piece on the Union Township Freewill School based upon the writings of Gamette Steele Wheeler and the Grinnell Register piece by J. R. Steele on his early life in Poweshiek County (included here in the Frank Heath page).

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People Included

Collum, Jackie

A 2006 audio interview with Jackie Collum, a baseball player who pitched in the major leagues from 1951-1962.

Baseball player on a baseball field
“When I lived on a farm with two older brothers, that’s all we did.” On playing baseball, 2:50

Mann, Rev. Leland (with Porter French)

An interview between Reverend Porter French and Reverend Leland Mann, former minister of United Church of Christ Congregational (UCC) for 21 years. 

For more on the Old Stone Church, see Dan Kaiser’s blog post “The Wendell Phillips Pew in the Old Stone Church.”

Black and white photo of a church's steeple
“I would also [...] conduct services every Sunday in German for the boys.” 65:25 Photo in Digital Grinnell: "Bell Tower and Steeple of Old Stone Church," 1952

Morrison, Lorene Alyce Pearce

Morrison’s 2013 reflection on her own life in Grinnell, including descriptions of many of the businesses of the time.

Explore PDF in Digital Grinnell:
Black and white photo of businesses and cars
Photo in Digital Grinnell: "Fourth Ave., Grinnell, Ia., R-92," 1930

Renfrow Smith, Edith

This 2015 video interview was between Edith Renfrow Smith and former Grinnell College professor Daniel Kaiser on Smith’s life in Grinnell and her time at the College. She was the first African American woman to graduate from Grinnell College in 1937, and at the time of the interview, she was 101 years old. Many photos of the Renfrow family are included in Digital Grinnell. At the 2019 Grinnell College commencement, she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Topics discussed include her childhood, Grinnell College, prejudice, family, and aging.

For more on the Edith Renfrow Smith and the Renfrow family, see Daniel Kaiser’s book Grinnell Stories: African Americans of Early Grinnell.

Steele Wheeler, Garnette

An article on the Union Township Freewill School based upon Steele Wheeler’s writings on her father’s stories and J. R. Steele’s article in the Grinnell Register (included in the Frank Heath interviews section).

Black and white photo of an man, child, woman, and dog
J. R. and Ruth Mae Steele with their daughter Garnette Wheeler, from page 6 of "J.R. Steele Describes Union Twp." in Digital Grinnell