Pat Klopfenstein Library

Explore our reference library about Marion history. The collection includes an extensive archive researched and compiled by Pat Klopfenstein.  In addition, there are many newspapers, books and maps donated by the Marion Public Library, plus additional materials, photos and artifacts received through personal donations.

If you have specific questions about Marion history, genealogy or photo searches, a staff member or volunteer may be able to assist you. This service is free to Marion Historical Society members. Others are requested to provide a donation or become a member.

For in-person browsing, please call for an appointment.

Items cannot be checked out from the library. Staff can make photocopies for $0.10 per black and white page, or $0.50 per color page.

Collection Policies

Donations of artifacts, photos or other materials

The Marion Historical Society collects objects and archival materials that are relevant to and help define the history and culture of the Marion, Iowa area. The collections span from prehistory of the area through present time, including Native American habitation; European immigration and settlement; and the establishment, growth and development of the city of Marion.

Please contact Museum staff if you have items you’d like to share with our community. In general, the Museum only accepts donations of original items. However, originals such as photographs can be returned if staff is allowed to make high-quality digital scans of these items.

In addition to permanent donation, the museum will also accept items on loan for use in specific exhibits or programs.


Loans from the collection

Loans from the Marion Historical Society collection are available to other museums, historical groups or educational institutions. Loans will be for a specified period of time. The purpose of the loan must align with the mission and goals of the Marion Historical Society. 

History Gateway

Follow these links to other area organizations which may be able to provide additional insights to Marion history or genealogical research. 

Iowa Museum Association »

Working in the interests of Iowa museums, the Iowa Museum Association builds organizational capacity, advocates to heighten awareness of the field, and fosters community.

Marion Historic Preservation »

The Marion Historic Preservation Commission oversees the development and management of Marion’s Historic Preservation Program.  The City currently has three historic districts recognized by the Nation Register of Historic Places.

Uptown Marion »

Uptown Marion has preserved its historic character in harmony with revitalization and growth. More than 60 businesses make up Uptown, including several restaurants, galleries and boutiques.

Marion Public Library »

Promotes cultural engagement, lifelong learning, and personal development for audiences of all backgrounds and ages by providing collections and services that educate, inform, enrich, and entertain. All of the library’s Marion historical documents are digitized and searchable. Click here to go directly to this digital archive.

Cedar Rapids Area Genealogy Library »

The Cedar Rapids Area Genealogy Library (formerly the Genealogical Society of Linn County) is dedicated to the preservation of family records and historical documents and provides assistance and information to anyone with an interest in Iowa genealogy, with an emphasis on Linn County.

Friends of Oak Shade Cemetery »

The Friends of Oak Shade Cemetery meet on a regular basis and assist Marion Parks and Recreation staff with seasonal clean up, perennial flower bed maintenance, headstone repairs, and genealogy and cemetery history research.

Goldie’s Kids Club »

Introduces children aged 12 and under to Iowa history. The program is through the State Historical Society of Iowa. Sign up for a free membership with access to select museum programs and events. 

Granger House Victorian Museum »

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, an example of Victorian Italianate architecture, the Granger House is the only restored middle-class family home in the Cedar Rapids area. Occupied by a single family for nearly 100 years, the house contains many original furnishings.  Guided tours include the 1879 brick carriage house.

Humanities Iowa »

To promote understanding and appreciation of the people, communities, culture, and stories of importance to Iowa and the nation.

Iowa History Journal »

Publication devoted exclusively to Iowa’s fascinating history. Subscribers receive six issues annually that are packed with unique stories that appeal to Iowans of all ages.

Oak Shade Cemetery »

Marion Parks & Recreation manages the beautiful and historic city-owned cemetery located at 789 2nd Avenue. Site includes listing of burials, space purchase information and cemetery rules.

State Historical Society of Iowa »

Preserving and providing access to Iowa’s historical resources through a variety of statewide programs, exhibitions and projects. The State Historical Society  maintains a museum, two research centers, a preservation office and eight historic sites. 

Teaching Iowa History »

Administered by the Iowa Museum Association, the Teaching Iowa History website is a state-wide project providing standards-based instructional resources for the benefit of K-12 teachers. By incorporating primary sources into instructional resources, Teaching Iowa History raises awareness of the collections held in Iowa’s museums.  

The Forgotten Iowa Historical Society »

A public Facebook group of over 28,000 members who love Iowa and enjoy talking about Iowa history and culture. Members post photos or memories and ask questions for comments by other members.

The Marion Memory Facebook Page »

The ORIGINAL and most popular Marion group! Post your memories, photos, information and EVERYTHING that is Marion, Iowa. (Creator Gary Wolter, licensed realtor in Iowa/AZ.)