Burlington, IA, Hawkeye: Mutel to Deliver Rand Lecture November 5

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Burlington Hawkeye

Four lecturers will highlight different Iowa perspectives in a series of weekly discussions that touch on education, art, agriculture and conservation.

Titled "Voices of Iowa," the series will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at First Congregational Church, 313 N. Fourth St. The free lectures are sponsored by the Charles W. Rand Trust, which has been underwriting such events for nearly 100 years.


The first lecture will be presented by Michael Zahs, a retired social studies instructor who is a nominee for the 2010 National Education Association Teacher of the Year award. He will present "Iowa History through the Eyes of Ordinary Women and Their Life Experiences."

Zahs helped develop Iowa Wesleyan College's annual Iowa: Eye to I tours and the Iowa display on the mall in Washington, D.C. He lives in Washington, Iowa.

On Oct. 22, Linda Lewis of Davenport will present "Grant Wood: The Man, the Mission and the Paintings."

Lewis is a former president of the Figge Art Museum's board of directors and now serves as a docent at the museum. She will present images and photographs of Wood's art and tell his story in relation to the cultural and economic conditions of his day.

On Oct. 29, Carol Bodensteiner, author of "Growing up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl" will share excerpts from her memoir and encourage aspiring writers who might wish to learn the writing process.

Bodensteiner is a public relations counselor in Des Moines and has been a magazine editor and adjunct instructor at Drake University She has written numerous magazine and journal articles and recently was featured in an issue of The Iowan, a magazine that celebrates the people and communities, history and traditions, ideas and events in the state.

Connie Mutel will conclude the series Nov. 5 when she presents "Emerald Horizons: Sustainability and Nature in Iowa."

Mutel wrote "Fragile Giants: A Natural History of the Loess Hills" and "The Emerald Horizon" in addition to other writings about the natural history of Iowa. She is historian and archivist for the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research in the Department of Hydroscience and Engineering at the University of Iowa's College of Engineering.

Each Thursday lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the church's sanctuary. Each presentation will be followed with time to meet the presenter and chat with other attendees over refreshments in the church's Fellowship Hall.

A trust fund established in 1897 by Charles Wellington Rand is responsible for the free lectures.

The Burlington businessman put $12,000 into the lecture fund before his death in 1900. The initial investment would be the equivalent of $300,000 today.

At the time of his death, the 45-year-old Rand was president of Northwestern Manufacturing Co., the Rand and Leopold Desk Co., a director of National State Bank in Burlington, owner of Rand Lumber and Burlington Lumber Cos. He also was a partner of Duncan & Schell Furniture Co. and Wyman & Rand Carpet Co. in Keokuk. Burlington Lumber Co. also owned Burlington Opera House.

Provisions in Rand's will stipulated that three trustees be appointed by First Congregational Church, where he was a member, the Burlington School Board and his bank. The trustees manage the investments and line up lectures that, according to the provisions in Rand's will, "should be of a character tending to the moral and intellectual advancement of the people."

None of the lectures should be delivered on Sunday, Rand decreed.

Records of the earliest lecture series date to 1914, 14 years after Rand's death.