Monday, June 16, 2014

Host's new book

Sandra Kessler Host is a native Iowa farm girl who left Iowa after teaching in Des Moines to go to California. After further education, she served as Chief of County Medical Services for San Diego County Department of Health Services. When her husband Tony Host’s career brought them back to Council Bluffs, IA in 2006, she continued her life-time passion of researching and writing on Iowa rural settlement history and the role one-room schools played. She serves as the curator of the Iowa Rural Schools Museum of Odebolt which is in a recently restored 1883 Victorian built country school that she attended.

Host’s newest book is titled Iowa Historic Schools Highlighting Victorian Influence. This book has the most photos and information on current standing Iowa’s historic schools that you can find. It is the first book to document Victorian features on Iowa schools. It contains her current  photo study (2011-13) of the architectural styles of Iowa’s one-room schools that found about 30% still have remnants of Victorian features. The 126 page hardbound book has over 400 color photos.

Iowa designed its one-room school system specifically for farm children.  Nearly 13,000 one-room schools were built across Iowa during the Victorian Era (1860-1900). The rural settlement of Iowa just happened to coincide with the Victorian Era.  The book provides insight on each style of school and lists current standing school museums with information on each by county.  Her well documented presentation to the Missouri Valley History Conference of 2012 “The Authentic Story of  Iowa Rural Settlement and the Role of the Rural Schools” helps any reader to understand the importance of one-room schools in Iowa’s unique settlement. It explains why education became so ingrained in the heritage and character of Iowa. It is a book for anyone, like historians, researchers, teachers, students, and all who want to see and understand the features that made one-room schools  anchors for rural communities. It is a treasure for those who want to reminisce about them and for descendants of pioneers who have heard their family stories about these schools.

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