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The Palimpsest: A Girl Reporter at Camp Dodge

The Palimpsest: A Girl Reporter at Camp Dodge

1966 The Palimpsest: A Girl Reporter at Camp Dodge Dorothy Ashby Pownall 32 + 13 (Photos) AW1B 898076844

Wartime Adventure

Throughout the Middle West there surely are many old scrapbooks, filled with brittle, yellowed clippings and unidentifiable souvenirs. These are mementos of a period when thousands of raw recruits became trained soldiers at Camp Dodge, the World War I Cantonment near Des Moines.

Fond recollections of Camp Dodge personnel and the busy, exciting daily life at the great Cantonment flood my memory. The concern and friendship shown by Des Moines people and other Midwestern communities for those trainees are recorded in my scrapbook, now falling gently apart, here on my kitchen table.

In it are reminders of some of my happiest experiences in a half century of newspaper reporting. From the opening of the Cantonment in 1917 until the 88th Division of the National Army was demobilized in 1919, Camp Dodge was my beat, as a girl reporter for the Des Moines Daily Capital.



  • Wartime Adventure 225
  • Meet Four Generals 229
  • You're In The Army Now 234
  • Food, Fun And Games 241
  • Heroes And Homecoming 253


Illustrations were provided by the Des Moines Register, Mayor George Whitmer, Laurence Fairall, Mrs. Ethel Towne Holmes, Mrs. A. R. Mellor, Mrs. A. C. Trowbridge, and the author. Many are reproduced from "Our Sons At Camp Dodge,” from the Society's book collection.


Dorothy Ashby Pownall, following her service in St. Paul and Des Moines, spent ten years as woman's page editor of the Iowa City Press-Citizen. She has contributed articles and poetry to newspapers and magazines, including the Ladies' Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping and The Palimpsest. She is a member of Iowa Press Women.




Copyright 1966 by The State Historical Society of Iowa

THE PALIMPSEST Is published monthly by the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City, William J. Petersen. Editor. it is printed in Iowa City and distributed free to Society members, depositories, and exchanges. This
le the June, 1966, issue and is Number 6 of Volume 47. Second class postage paid at Iowa City, Iowa.
PRICE — Included in Membership. Regular issues, 25¢; Special-50¢
MEMBERSHIP — By application. Annual Dues $3.00
ADDRESS — The State Historical Society, Iowa City, Iowa 52240

The Meaning of Palimpsest

In early times a palimpsest was a parchment or other material from which one or more writings had been erased to give room for later records. But the erasures were not always complete; and so it became the fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the later records but also to reconstruct the original writings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly erased and partly covered by subsequent texts.
The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest which holds the record of successive generations. To decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, and tell the stories which they contain is the task of those who write history.

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