Orphans Home materials

Collection Overview

Title: Orphans Home materials

Record Series: 25/01

Record Group:

25 - University Small Collections

Date: 1873-1961

Extent: 1 box (0.21 linear feet)

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives at Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language: Materials entirely in English.

Information for Users

Accessing the Collection:

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

Technical Access: Nettie Collins Gordon’s oral history is recorded on magnetic audiotape and requires special playback equipment for access and use. It may require the production of a listening copy. SC&UA staff will determine options for use on a case by case basis.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Mark Albright donated the George Gallarno materials in 2004. Members of the Baird family donated copies of Sarah Baird’s correspondence in 1999.

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], in the [Series Title] #[series number], [folder number or title when applicable], [Collection Name], Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

General Use, Reproduction, and Copyright Policies

Many items housed in the Rod Library Special Collections & University Archives, including unpublished images and manuscripts, may be protected by copyright, publication rights, trademarks, or model release rights which the library does not own and for which the library cannot grant permission or licensing. Materials currently under copyright are usually still available for research and limited reproduction under Fair Use laws. However, it is the sole responsibility of the patron to determine whether or not their use of a given material falls within Fair Use guidelines and to obtain permission for said use from the rightful copyright owner. If you are unsure where to begin, please consult the Copyright LibGuide. Please note that it is not the library's responsibility to locate or contact copyright holders for a patron, and neither the library nor library employees are responsible for copyright violations of the materials to which they facilitate research access. Please see our full General Use and Service Policies for more information.

Historical Note

Nettie Collins Gordon lived from January 16, 1861 to October 19, 1962.

Daniel Walker was born on November 15, 1859, in Moneek, Iowa. His father was killed in the Civil War and at some point between 1965-1969, Daniel and his sister were sent to live at the Iowa Soldiers Orphans’ Home in Cedar Falls.

The family of George Gallarno and Nancy O’Roke Gallarno lived near La Porte City, Iowa, when George enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1864, where he served in the 3rd Iowa Light Artillery Battery until his death from typhoid fever in Little Rock, Arkansas, on September 22, 1864. Following his death, Nancy tried to keep the family together but ultimately placed the children in the Orphans Home in 1866. The Gallarnos’ son, also named George, wrote an account of his nearly nine year stay in the Home.


Scope and Content

This series consists of four different individuals’ accounts of life in the Iowa Soldiers Orphans Home. The first individual, Nettie Collins Gordon, lived at the home for a few years and  participated in an oral history on July 13, 1961, conducted by Dr. Paul Kelso, Coordinator of Counseling at the State College of Iowa (now the University of Northern Iowa). Her records include the oral history tape as well as correspondence between those who arranged the interview: Dr. A.E. Brown, SCI Archivist; Donald Rod, Director of the Library; and Vesta Gordon, Nettie Gordon’s daughter.

Daniel Walker wrote a 32-page book about his life, published in 1926. This series includes chapter one.

The George Gallarno materials consist of correspondence between George Gallarno and his wife, Nancy, which is focused on military life and family matters. The correspondence also includes two letters from a fellow soldier concerning George Gallarno’s death and backpay. Also included is son George Gallarno’s account of his life at the Orphans Home, written c. 1925. It covers food, clothing, curriculum, teachers and more.

Finally, the series contains photocopies and transcriptions of two letters written by Sarah Baird from the Cedar Falls Soldiers’ Orphans Home in 1873.



Box 1

Folder 1: Nettie Collins Gordon oral history 

Folder 2: Nettie Collins Gordon oral history correspondence

Folder 3: Daniel Walker Account of Life at the Orphans’ Home, 1926

Folder 4: George Gallarno materials (copy 1)

Folder 5: George Gallarno materials (copy 2)

Folder 6: Sarah Baird letters


Processing Information

Nettie Collins Gordon materials originally processed and finding aid created by Library Associate Dave Hoing, January 2017. Updated October 2017 and February 2018 (dh). Linear feet updated July 31, 2017. Daniel Walker materials processed by Library Associate Dave Hoing, February 2017. Updated October 2017 and February 2018 (dh). Linear feet updated July 31, 2017. Gallarno materials processed and finding aid prepared by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson, October 2005; modified, June 18, 2013 (GP). Updated by Library Associate Dave Hoing, October 2017 and February 2018. Linear feet updated July 31, 2017. Sarah Baird letters described by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson, April 26, 2016. Updated by Library Associate Dave Hoing, October 2017 and February 2018. Linear feet updated July 31, 2017. Collections consolidated and finding aid updated by Archival Processor Tessa Wakefield, February 2022. Please note that these collections were previously processed under the following record series numbers: 00/03/01; 00/03/06; 00/03/07; and 00/03/10.