Des Moines
Phone: (515) 250-8542
Email: LLossian(at)aol(dot)com

Dr. Lisa Payne Ossian is emerita professor of history at Des Moines Area Community College.  Ossian earned her master’s degree in women’s studies at Eastern Michigan University and doctorate at Iowa State University in agricultural history and rural studies.  She has edited a recently published volume American Women’s War Writings:  A Near Century of Violence, 1852-1945 for a series “Feminist History” and contributed an essay on women activism in Prohibition to the anthology titled The Making of the Midwest (2020).

Ossian has received research and travel grants from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the Truman Presidential Library, and the Hoover Presidential Foundation and has been elected to the National Education Association’s national board and twice to the State Historical Society of Iowa board as well as selected for the Hoover Presidential Education Committee, OAH Committee on Community Colleges, and NEA’s academic journal Thought & Action.   

Her three books-- (1) The Home Fronts of Iowa, 1939-1945; (2) The Forgotten Generation:  American Children and World War II; and (3) The Depression Dilemmas of Rural Iowa, 1929-1933--were published by the University of Missouri Press.  She is currently writing her next book titled ‘The Grimmest Spectre’:  Herbert Hoover’s Global Famine Mission & the Founding of UNICEF during ‘the Invisible Years,’ 1946-47.  She has presented her research papers at over a hundred regional, national, and international conferences.

The Home Fronts of Iowa, 1940-45
The home front contributions of Iowans and Americans divided into four historical fronts: the farm front, the production front, the community front and the kitchen front. Food for Freedom directed American farmers in the all-out production needed for the war effort and the Allies’ relief, and Iowa farmers led the nation in crop and livestock production. Iowa’s small businesses and industries such as Maytag added to the “Arsenal of Democracy” by filling many military sub-contract orders while the two newly constructed ordnance plants in Burlington and Ankeny produced thousands of bombs and millions of machine gun bullets. Iowa’s small towns and cities matched and exceeded records in the eight War Bond Drives as well as the numerous scrap drives for iron, paper, rubber and tin, and Iowa’s women met the rationing and production requirements demanded from the federal government in all home kitchens.

The Early Depression Dilemmas of Rural Iowa, October 1929 to November 1932
The early depression years, from October 1929 through November 1932 during President Herbert Hoover’s administration, marked the depths of the Great Depression for the United States. For Iowa and other Midwestern States, these years actually marked the middle of two decades of agricultural depression which began shortly after the Great War. The years imply desperation—both economically and emotionally—but rural and urban Iowans met the challenges often with great wit, humor and intelligence. Rural Iowans especially wrestled with several economic and social dilemmas: the aftermath of the 1929 New York Stock Exchange crash, the increasing tariffs and agricultural consequences, the politics of farm children’s health, the continuation and effectiveness of Prohibition, the demise of the soft coal mining industry in Iowa’s District 13, increasing rural violence, changing perceptions of rural artistic creations and the consequences of the 1932 presidential election. Iowans not only met the challenges but developed different ideas and plans which proliferated in the agricultural landscape—truly depression dilemmas.

Equipment required: laptop with projector