Harriet Elizabeth Dawkins McClurg

Honored by:Carol Onkst
Brick location:D:23  map

Harriet Elizabeth Dawkins McClurg was the first born to Eva Elizabeth Jenkins and Elmer Everett Dawkins on September 13, 1917 in Boone County, Iowa. Her three younger brothers James Allen William Hanley and John Ellis later joined her to complete the Dawkins family. Harriet spent her childhood on farms near Beaver and Ogden and attended country churches in these communities. She enjoyed playing piano and alto saxophone and was an active charter member of the Beaver Blue Belles 4-H Club - one of the first girls 4-H clubs in the state of Iowa organized by Eva Dawkins and Mrs. Roy Jenkins in February of 1932. Harriet graduated as the salutatorian of the Ogden High School class of 1933. She helped her father farm for several years before entering Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa in 1936. Harriet became energetically involved in all aspects of collegiate life.

As a Household Equipment major in the College of Home Economics she was an active member of the Home Economics Club and served on the Home Economics Council which planned organized and supervised departmental clubs. She was also invited to join both Omicron Nu - a Home Economics Scholastic Honorary and Phi Upsilon Omicron - the National Honor Society for Jr./Sr. women who have shown good leadership scholarship and professional attitude in work in the field of home economics. Art classes filled most of her electives and she learned to sculpt under the direction of ISC professor Christian Petersen.

Outside of academia, Harriet enjoyed membership in the YWCA Campus 4-H Club Joint Social Council Intramural Board and the Women's Athletic Association. She became a member of the Women's "I" Fraternity at ISC for her participation in Outing Club archery and soccer. This honor was attained by very few women as qualifications for membership included six quarters of activity in three different sports. Harriet resided in Alice Freeman Hall with roommate Lois Swain all four years of her Iowa State career. She received her Bachelors degree in Household Equipment in June 1940.

On September 1, 1940 Harriet was married to Buford Ronald McClurg of Scranton, Iowa in a ceremony at her parent's home in Boone County. Their family eventually expanded with the birth of seven children: Ronald Bruce, Charles Alan, Jean Elizabeth, Joan Elaine, Barbe Jane, Sharon Gay and Carol Ann.

Though money was often scarce with such a large family Harriet's knowledge and talents enabled her to provide her family with a comfortable loving home atmosphere. Her home-improvement abilities were always evident as friends and family watched her transform her home by designing and building a home addition building her own cabinets laying hardwood flooring wallpapering and other remodeling procedures. She hand-crafted toys household items and clothing for her children throughout their lives also teaching them valuable life skills as they watched and ''helped'' by her side.

Harriet became an accomplished folk artist. She began making ''applehead people'' in 1971. These figures included handmade clothing and accessories depicting early American life. Her talent was nationally recognized in 1976 when she was chosen to represent the Heartland at the Festival of American Folklife in Washington D.C.. She also demonstrated her techniques at the Fall Festival held annually at Living History Farms in Des Moines until she became ill in 1982.

Harriet died of cancer in Newell, Iowa in November 1983. We lovingly dedicate this brick as a memorial to-our mother who quietly taught us so much by her example: love, patience, perseverance, honesty, tolerance, respect for others, and the joy of reading music and nature. She was in our eyes truly a heroine.

-Ron, Charles, Jean, Joan, Barbe, Sharon and Carol