Wynegar Oral History Collection

Manuscript Record Series: MsC-18

The Wynegar Oral History Collection consists of oral recordings made by Stella Wynegar and her son Claude Wynegar. Stella Wynegar made her tape in 1970 with Herb Hake as the interviewer. Mrs. Wynegar was a long-time resident of Cedar Falls and an early alumna of the Normal School. Claude Wynegar made his recordings in the 1980s and 1990s. Both Stella and Claude Wynegar discuss life during the early days of Cedar Falls.

The University Museum gave these tapes to the University Archives in 1997.


  • Audio Cassette Tape: 60 minutes, SiCo Micra 6XL
    Date Made: March 5, 1981, for the Cedar Falls Historical Society
    Quality: Poorest of the Wynegar Collection. Voice is still audible, although there is a fair amount of tape hiss and echoing. There are also numerous abrupt starts and stops.
    Subjects: The subjects on the tape fall roughly into three categories: the Cedar Valley District Fair, local businesses and merchants, and miscellaneous. The construction and nature of the Cedar Valley District Fair (1911-1916) take up the most space. Mr. Wynegar discusses subjects such as the location of the fairgrounds, the kinds of structures on the fairgrounds, and the kinds of entertainment offered there. The second major part of the tape is a listing of early Cedar Falls businesses. Mr. Wynegar goes street by street in describing business locations: movie theaters, doctors, dentists, filling stations, etc. The final part of the tape consists of miscellaneous notes about important historical events such as Armistice Day (1918) and Theodore Roosevelt's campaign stop in Cedar Falls.
    Analysis: None of the subjects is dealt with in enough detail to be of use to professional researchers and scholars. Little is presented in this tape which will supplant or add to the written record. Most of the subjects and stories presented are also recorded on other tapes made after this one. This tape will be of interest to local amateur historians and people related either to Claude Wynegar or the people he mentions.
     
  • Audio Cassette Tape: 90 minutes, Sony UX
    Date Made: April 1994
    Quality: Very good quality. Voice is plainly audible and easy for the listener to understand and follow. The tape ends early on Side B.
    Subjects: Most of this tape relates to businesses and merchants in Cedar Falls from about 1900 until 1920. Mr. Wynegar goes street by street, telling which businesses were located where and who their owners were. Types of businesses mentioned include barbershops, movie theaters, grocery stores, and gas stations. Mr. Wynegar finishes the tape on Side B with a discussion of his experiences as a driver for the Yellow Cab Company in Chicago (1923), a subject dealt with in greater detail on a separate tape. In between, Mr. Wynegar mentions some of the more important and memorable events in early Cedar Falls, such as the visit by "Buffalo" Bill Cody (1911 or 1912).
    Analysis: None of the subjects is dealt with in enough detail to be of real use to professional researchers and scholars. Little is presented in this tape which will supplant or add to the written record. Most of the subjects and stories presented are also recorded on other tapes made by Claude Wynegar. This tape will be of interest to local amateur historians, and people related either to Claude Wynegar or the people he mentions in the recording.
     
  • Audio Cassette Tape: 90 minutes, entitled Chicago Yellow Cab Experiences
    Date Made: Unknown
    Quality: Very good quality. Voice is plainly audible and easy for the listener to understand and follow.
    Subjects: Discussion of Mr. Wynegar's experiences as a driver for the Chicago Yellow Cab Company from June to December 1923. He once drove a gangster-like figure around town. On another occasion, he gave Babe Ruth a ride. He also was almost killed when one rider stuck a gun in his face before exiting the cab. The tape can be difficult to follow without a street map of Chicago, because Mr. Wynegar constantly refers to street names to discuss the routes he frequently took while on the job. The cab company discussion continues onto the second side of the tape, although for only a small amount of time. Most of the second side is a discussion of Mr. Wynegar's philosophy of life, including advice on avoiding smoking and raising children.
    Analysis: One of the more interesting tapes of the Wynegar Collection, but still of little use to professional researchers and scholars. None of the subjects is dealt with in detail. Little is presented in this tape which will supplant or add to the written record. This tape will be of interest to relatives of Claude Wynegar, or people interested in 1920s Chicago.
     
  • Audio Cassette Tape: 60 minutes, Maxell
    Date Made: Interview of Stella Wynegar by Herb Hake from August 15, 1970 (stated date on tape) or October 23, 1970 (date on tape label).
    Subject: Side A is a duplicate recording of Mrs. Wynegar's interview with Herb Hake. See description below. Side B is a recording of the 1992 Vice Presidential Debate among Al Gore, Dan Quayle, and James Stockdale.
     
  • Audio Cassette Tape: 60 minutes, Rezound
    Date Made: May 16, 1984
    Quality: Very good quality. Clarity of the recording on Side B is excellent; it is easy to understand and follow Mr. Wynegar.
    Subjects: Side A of the tape is completely inaudible, due to static and tape hiss. Side B is a general discussion of the history of the Cedar Valley District Fair, which Mr. Wynegar says ran from about 1911 to 1916. The location of the fairgrounds, the types of entertainment provided, and the construction of the grandstand are several of the subjects Mr. Wynegar speaks of.
    Analysis: None of the subjects is dealt with in enough detail to be useful to professional researchers and scholars. Little is presented in this tape which will supplant or add to the written record. This tape will be of interest to local amateur historians, and people related either to Claude Wynegar or to the people he mentions in the recording.
     
  • Audio Cassette Tape: 90 minutes, Maxell
    Date Made: Interview of Stella Wynegar by Herb Hake from August 15, 1970 (stated date on tape) or October 23, 1970 (date on tape label).
    Quality: Quality of the recording is excellent. Voices are clear, and easy to understand and follow.
    Subjects: Anything that occurred in Cedar Falls from about 1900 to the 1920s. Some of the subjects included are: the Ku Klux Klan, "Buffalo" Bill Cody's show, the campaign stop of William Howard Taft, experiences with Indians, the railroad, and Armistice Day.
    Analysis: None of the subjects is dealt with in detail; Hake does not ask follow-up questions. For example, when Mrs. Wynegar dismisses the KKK as "delinquents", Hake goes no further. When Mrs. Wynegar reports that many people got drunk on Armistice Day (Nov 1918), Hake does not ask other questions. This tape will be of interest to local amateur historians and people related either to Stella or Claude Wynegar or the people mentioned in the recording.
     
  • Audio Cassette Tape: 90 minutes, Radio Shack
    Date Made: Recorded April 22, 1991, at the request of a "Mr. Wilson" (possibly UNI Museum Director Ron Wilson) from UNI
    Quality: Excellent
    Subjects: Very general history of Cedar Falls during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Mr. Wynegar discusses many different aspects of early Cedar Falls, all of which have been recorded on previous tapes. The Cedar Valley District Fair (1911-1916) is mentioned prominently, while many local businesses and merchants are also discussed. As recorded previously, Mr. Wynegar also mentions memorable local events, such as Armistice Day, campaign stops, and the Fourth of July parade.
    Analysis: None of the subjects is dealt with in detail. Little is presented in this tape which will supplant the written record. This tape will be of interest to local amateur historians, and people related either to Claude Wynegar or the people he mentions in the recording.
     
  • Cassette Audio Tape: 90 minutes, Supertape LN-90
    Date Made: April 2-15, 1991, for the Fellowship Group of the Pacific Palisades, California, Methodist Church
    Quality: Excellent
    Subjects: Very general history of early Cedar Falls, all of which is discussed on other tapes of the collection. The Cedar Valley District Fair is prominently discussed, although most of the tape is a listing of the places (both foreign and domestic) that Mr. Wynegar has visited.
    Analysis: Since most of this tape deals with Mr. Wynegar's travels, this particular tape is of less historical value than the other tapes of the Wynegar collection. This tape might be of interest to Mr. Wynegar's relatives.
     
  • Audio Cassette Tape: 60 minutes, Maxell Supertape
    Date Made: April 2-15, 1991, for the Fellowship Group of the Pacific Palisades, California, Methodist Church
    Subject: This tape is a duplicate of the tape dealing with Mr. Wynegar's travels. See description above

Tapes described and finding aid created by Curt Hanson, Student Intern, University Archives, January-February 1998.

Last modified: September 20, 2001 (SB)


Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613-3675
Telephone: (319)-273-6307
Fax: (319)-273-2913
Email: Gerald.Peterson@uni.edu