Ginalie Bein Swaim

Honored by:Jim Swaim
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Ginalie Bein Swaim was born on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1951, in Davenport, Iowa. She was raised by her parents, Lawrence and Evelyn Bein, on the family farm just outside of Walcott. Her father died when she was five years old and her mother and older brother continued to operate the farm. She moved to Davenport six years later and graduated from Davenport West High School in 1969.

Ginalie took an early interest in journalism at West High. She was editor-in-chief for the high school newspaper, the Beak ‘n Eye when it received national recognition; winning the George H. Gallup award for outstanding high school journalism. She enrolled at the University of Iowa with a journalism scholarship but her passion for literature led her to major in English. In 1972. she married Jim Swaim in the Welsh Church near Iowa City and after one year away in Washington State, they returned to Iowa City. Ginalie graduated from the University of Iowa in 1974 with a degree in English and remained in Iowa City. As a volunteer for the State Historical Society of Iowa, she was an editorial assistant for The Palimpsest Iowa's popular history magazine.

Ginalie worked as the business manager for Willowwind, a small private school in Iowa City. She and her husband volunteered as houseparents for the youth shelter and became foster parents, raising a teenager, Chris. After her daughter Quenby was born, Ginalie returned to the work force, becoming the assistant editor for The Journal of Economic History in 1981. During this time she danced in the Val Camonica Dance Company and was a board member of the Iowa City Dance Center. She returned to the State Historical Society of Iowa in 1984, after her son Logan was born, to become the editor of The Goldfinch, Iowa’s history magazine for children. In 1986 she became editor of The Palimpsest.

Ginalie has brought Iowa history to life in her writing research and editing. She wrote an article about Cora Bussey Hillis another Iowa heroine and a contemporary of Carrie Chapman Catt. She has interviewed hundreds of everyday Iowa history makers. She is a regular participant in the Eye-to-Eye Iowa history tour, visiting the places where Iowa history has been made. She serves on the Historic Preservation Commission for Iowa City and her home on Woodlawn is on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

What makes her special to us, her family, is how she loves Iowa. Camping on the Mississippi; walking in the Bellevue butterfly park in May; stopping to sit in the shade of a back road cemetery in August; driving along the autumn bluffs north of Dubuque; taking a winter photograph of Iowa sheep amid the hoarfrost on a hillside near Old Man's Creek; canoeing on the Upper Iowa River; or cruising to the state capitol; Ginalie cherishes what is good in Iowa. That is something she shares with the hundreds of other Iowa Heroines and we love her for it.

Submitted on 7/1/96