Turning to History to Find the Future

Two books published by the Loras College Center for Dubuque History could become the first chapter in the story of how supporters can help create an endowed fund for the Center.

A City at Work: Dubuque, 1912, by Tim Olson (’03) and retired Center Director Mike Gibson (’91), features prints from a collection of glass plate negatives taken in 1912 and housed at the Center in the Bill (A ’52) & JoAnne Miller Academic Resource Center on the Loras campus. It also includes a series of essays by Gibson, Olson, Mary Allison Farley, Duane Hagerty, Daniel Joseph Rapp and Loras Professor of History Kristin Anderson-Bricker, Ph.D. The essays reflect research related to the photographs. The second book, A City at Work: Dubuque, 2012, shares photos by Olson — many of which were taken at the same locations as the 1912 glass plate set or similar occupations 100 years later.

Both volumes are available separately or together from the Loras College Barnes & Noble Bookstore and from River Lights Bookstore in Dubuque. A City at Work: Dubuque, 1912 is a 184-page hardbound 9 x 11.5 first edition that retails for $34.95, while A City at Work: Dubuque, 2012 is a 104-page softbound first edition 9 x 11.5 that retails for $24.95. They can be purchased together for $50.

“It has always been the Center’s mission to encourage people to research, write and publish local history,” Gibson said. The Center was established in 1976 and Gibson has served as its director since 1983. “Publishing books like this certainly has been a goal of the Center and we’ve created a fund over the years to encourage people to do this sort of thing.”

Proceeds from the sale of the books will be used to help research, write and publish more Dubuque history.

Both books in the City at Work project were completed over a 10-year period, thanks to a series of grants awarded to the project through the years. One of the earliest and most-significant benefactors of the project was the family of the late William Klauer (’31). His grandfather, Peter, who established a business in 1870 in Dubuque that made galvanized iron cornices, stoves, home furnishings, furnaces and tin roofs, is believed to have purchased the collection of negatives from the two itinerant photographers who shot the photos in 1912. For decades, the negatives were stored in a Klauer Manufacturing Co. warehouse. The 330 glass plates that remained were given to the Center in the 1980s by William Klauer.

The Klauer family’s interest and support helped launch the book project, leading to the support of several other individuals and organizations.
“It’s really a huge community effort,” said Valorie Woerdehoff (’82, M.A. ’12), interim director of marketing at Loras. She helped obtain the grants that funded the project.

“It would be powerful if we can take this and parlay it into an endowed fund,” she said. “Ultimately, and there is a plan for this, the Center would love to have an endowment and gifts to that endowment would help the Center in perpetuity.”

For more information on supporting the Center for Dubuque History or other Loras College initiatives, contact Brien Nugent (’17), Director of Annual Giving, at 563.588.4966 or consider contributing an online gift by clicking here.