Artists & Scholars

Fall 2021

Books

The University of Oklahoma Press released African Maroons in Sixteenth-Century Panama: A History in Documents edited by Robert C. Schwaller ’03 in September. From the 1520s through the 1580s, thousands of African slaves fled captivity in Spanish Panama and formed their own communities in the interior of the isthmus. In this book, Schwaller documents this marronage in the context of five decades of African resistance to slavery.

by Beatrice Mills Wall ’40 and Joseph Frazier Wall ’41, edited by Terry Bisson ’64

Excerpt from the foreword by Sarah J. Purcell ’92:

Readers of this manuscript can follow the development of themes that were important to the growth and development of Grinnell College from 1900 through approximately 1975: secularization, enrollments and admissions, curriculum changes and development, commitments to social service, political activism, international students and initiatives, town-gown relationships and tensions, athletic competition, tensions over race and gender, student life and social relationships, and the changing physical plant and importance of campus buildings. Two of the most important themes that shape the narrative demonstrate amply that history is never the story of straightforward progress: College finances and the relationships between Grinnell presidents, trustees, faculty, and, to a lesser degree, students and staff. Readers will see how Grinnell College survived at least two eras of financial hardship in the late 1940s/early 1950s and again in the early 1970s, as the financial drama plays out against the story of strong and weak College presidents, struggles over faculty pay and authority, and against a rising tide of student autonomy, protest, and power across the century.

Published by Routledge in September, Inside the Bubble: Campaigns, Caucuses, and the Future of the Presidential Nomination Process, by Grinnell political science professor Barbara Trish and William Menner, is a behind-the-scenes look at the 2020 Democratic nomination process, focusing on the Iowa caucuses and the campaign workers who located there. The lessons learned in 2020 underscored the importance of local staff who organize and mobilize supporters for a candidate in whom they believe.

Clarion Books says Rainbow in the Dark by Sean McGinty ’00, which they published in August, is “The Wizard of Oz meets Ready Player One in this darkly comic young adult novel about identity, depression, giving up, and finding your way home.” High school senior Rainbow is trapped with three other teens in a game-like world that may or may not be real. Together, they must complete quests and gain experience in order to access their own forgotten memories, decode what has happened to them, and find a portal home.

by George A. Drake ’56

From his undergraduate experience at Grinnell in the 1950s to his retirement from Grinnell at age 85, George Drake recounts the story of his 70 years as a student and educator. He recollects the influence of his Grinnell professors, such as Joe Wall, Homer Norton, Fred Baumann, and John Kleinschmidt. After graduating in 1956, Drake spent a year in Paris on a Fulbright scholarship, studied for two years at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and completed graduate work at the University of Chicago in 1964. He began as an assistant professor at Colorado College and rose to become dean of the college and implement the distinctive Block Plan. In 1979, he was appointed president of Grinnell College, serving until 1991, and he reminisces about the innovations and crises of his tenure. In 1991, he and his wife, Sue, spent two years as Peace Corps volunteers in Lesotho. In 1994 he returned to Grinnell and taught full time for 10 years and continued teaching part time until 2020, particularly enjoying teaching the First-Year Tutorial.

Lamar University Literary Press published Snow in New York: New and Selected Poems, the sixth collection of poetry by Matthew Brennan ’77, in May. His subjects include family, love, and memory, as well as art, history, and landscape.

Dean Robbins ’80 is a children’s author with four nonfiction picture books out in 2021. Thank You, Dr. Salk!: The Scientist Who Beat Polio and Healed the World was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in June. The Fastest Girl on Earth! Meet Kitty O’Neil, Daredevil Driver! was published by Knopf in August. Mambo Mucho Mambo!: The Dance That Crossed Color Lines was published by Candlewick in October. And in December, Scholastic will publish You Are a Star, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Robbins’ previous works tell the stories of Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Alice Paul, Margaret Hamilton, and Alan Bean.

by George A. Drake ’56

Edward Steiner was Rand Professor of Applied Christianity at Grinnell for 38 years in the early 20th century. He was perhaps the most published faculty member in College history, publishing more than 20 books and 50 articles during his career. In this chapbook, George Drake recounts Steiner’s life as an immigrant from Slovakia, the hardships he experienced until he mastered the English language, and his adherence to ideals of the Social Gospel and Applied Christianity. He crossed the Atlantic at least 12 times, always in steerage, while interviewing immigrants. His friendship with Leo Tolstoy influenced him profoundly. And, in turn, he influenced Grinnell’s five New Deal administrators, including Harry Hopkins 1912.

The Walt Disney Studios and World War II exhibition, curated by Kent Ramsey ’77, is a retrospective of The Walt Disney Studios’ extensive contributions to the Allies’ World War II effort. This original exhibition illustrates how The Walt Disney Studios devoted over 90% of its wartime output to producing training, propaganda, entertainment, public-service films, publicity, print campaigns, and more than 1,200 insignia, while also deploying a group of talented artists, including Walt Disney himself, to Latin America on a goodwill tour. The exhibition opened in March 2021 at the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall at the Presidio in San Francisco and will move to Seattle’s Museum of Flight in 2022.

John Fritzell ’89 published his first chapter book of poems, Thuribles, through Kelsay Books in May. Fritzell was short-listed in Tiny Seed Literary Journal’s annual chapbook contest and was a finalist for the North Dakota State University Press’ Poets of the Plains and Prairies (POPP) chapbook awards. He is a member of The Mill, a place for writers, and the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (WFOP).