University of Northern Iowa

Work Phone: (319) 939-6513
Email: Lounsberry@gmail.com

Barbara Lounsberry recently retired as a Professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa. She was named the University’s Distinguished Scholar in 1994 and its Outstanding Teacher in 1998.  She is particularly interested in the subjects of Midwestern life and literature. Born and raised in Iowa, Professor Lounsberry believes Iowa culture, like its soil, is incredibly rich.

Yup…Nope…and Why Midwesterners Don’t Say Much
The writer Ernest Hemingway made a virtue of Midwestern reserve. Reticence became part of the Hemingway “code” and the strong, silent type came to be associated with honor and heroism. This half-in-jest, whole-in-earnest presentation (with slides) explores the historical roots of Midwestern reserve, along with contemporary illustrations. As one Midwesterner deadpanned on return from the East: “We think we are being polite when we wait for people to finish their sentences; they think we are slow-witted.”

Nancy Drew: Iowa’s Heroine to the World
Nancy Drew is the most popular female detective in fiction. Few know, however, that Nancy is an Iowa heroine and that her creator was Mildred Augustine of Ladora.  Nancy Drew and Mildred Augustine are extraordinary role models for Iowa girls and boys, women and men. An academic pioneer (the first woman to earn a master’s degree from the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism), Augustine earned 6 airplane pilots’ licenses, including one for sea-planing; wrote 130 stories for young people; and continued her newspaper column “On the Go” through her 98th and last year of her life. Augustine wrote in the first Nancy Drew volume, The Secret of the Old Clock published in 1930, “Nancy Drew took pride in the fertility of her state and saw beauty in a crop of waving green corn as well as in the rolling hills and the expanse of prairie land.”  This program, with lots of images, is meant to inspire young and old.

The Charm of Diaries
This multi-image program describes the value of diaries–as history, as literature, and more. Part of the charm of diaries and journals is that they come today in so many different forms–from the much-too-small 5-year locked diary to today’s blogs. One doesn’t have to write every day to be a sublime diarist. The program celebrates some of Iowa’s most famous diarists.