West Des Moines
Phone: 515-979-8539
Email: jliepa17@aol.com

John is Professor Emeritus of History and Political Science at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC.)  He taught courses in Political Science, U.S., and Iowa History from 1972-2010.  He has a B.S in History and an M.A. in Political Science from Iowa State University.  He received an “Excellence in Education” award in 2001 and was honored as DMACC’s “Educator of the Year” in 2004. He served five terms on the State Historical Society of Iowa’s Board of Trustees from 1998 - 2113, having served both as Chair and Vice-Chair; and, on the Iowa Historical Foundation, the fundraising arm of the State Historical Society of Iowa.  Since retiring, he has taught courses for the Senior College of Greater Des Moines on “Iowa’s Role in the Civil War,” Iowa’s Ethnic Heritage,” and the “Early History of Baseball in Iowa.” John has been  a 22-year member and Program Chair of the Des Moines Civil War Roundtable.  

A life-long baseball card collector, John owns an extensive collection of cards and memorabilia representing Iowa’s 222 Major Leaguers, featuring Iowa’s seven Hall-of-Famers.  A charter member of Iowa’s “Field of Dreams” chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), he has published numerous articles on Iowa baseball history and currently serves on an ‘ad hoc’ committee working with Major League Baseball to host  activities at the Field of Dreams site as part of the game to be played on August 12, 2021. Over the past 11 years, he has done over 160 presentations on baseball history throughout Iowa, often appearing as Montrose, Iowa’s Calvin McVey, Iowa’s first professional baseball player, who played for America’s first all-professional baseball team-the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. John lives in West Des Moines, Iowa with his wife, Dianne.


How Iowa Met Baseball:  the Myths, the History, the Players
Over the past century the setting for the spring passion of many Iowans has been the ballpark. This presentation explores the myths of baseball's origins, the early history and evolution of the game, baseball's journey to Iowa and the role of the Civil War in spreading its popularity. Audiences will learn about some of Iowa's baseball pioneers and view an extensive collection of baseball memorabilia featuring Iowa players.

Iowa's Role in the Civil War
This presentation tells the story of how Iowa events and changing attitudes from 1830-1861 influenced its Civil War roles; the evolution and changing status of laws affecting black Iowans; the role played by Iowans during the war, including key individuals and battles; the home front; and finally, the immediate and long-term impact on Iowa history.  

Iowa's Ethnic Heritage:  A Brief History
Enjoy the unfolding adventure of Iowa's immigration history.  From Native Americans to Spanish explorers and French trappers and traders; to German, Irish and English groups; to more recent arrivals including Sudanese, Bosians and Burmese -- Iowa has had a long, rich ethnic heritage. Follow chronologically as our immigrant ancestors chose to leave their home, settled in Iowa, and added their ethnic contributions to our unique state history.