DES MOINES—N’West Iowa native Andrew Klumpp has achieved his twin goals of returning to his home state and landing a job in historical scholarship.
The 32-year-old Sanborn son recently became the new editor of the “Annals of Iowa,” which is a scholarly journal of the Hawkeye State’s history published by the State Historical Society of Iowa.
He came across the position as he was looking for jobs while finishing up his doctoral work in American religious history at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
“When I saw this job come open, it really was kind of a perfect fit for the things I was looking for: It was back in the Midwest — more specifically back in Iowa — it was doing history, which is what I am trained in and it was work that I am invested in, which is the history of Iowa and telling the history of the state,” Klumpp said.
The publication was founded in 1863, just 17 years after Iowa gained statehood. The journal is published on a quarterly basis each year and includes scholarly writing from historians and professors from around the world.
“It is the flagship journal for anyone who wants to publish serious historical scholarship about the state of Iowa or Iowa and the Midwest,” Klumpp said.
He replaced Marv Bergman, who was the longest-serving editor in the journal’s 157-year existence, having held the position for 33 years.
Before Klumpp officially took over the role on Jan. 22, he had spent 10 days training with Bergman in Iowa City and helped him move the office for the publication to the State Historical Building in Des Moines.
Klumpp’s job as editor will consist of determining which articles, historical book reviews and other writings will be included in each issue of the journal.
He also will edit each submission that comes through and ensure it meets the journal’s rigorous scholarly standards.
Klumpp is no stranger when it comes to reviewing the academic work of others.
Before he returned to Iowa to edit the “Annals of Iowa,” Klumpp taught online courses at Northwestern College in Orange City, where he had earned bachelor’s degrees in music and religion in 2010.
After he received his master’s degree from Duke University in Durham, NC, in 2014, Klumpp was a teaching fellow at Trinity University in San Antonio while working on his doctoral degree at Southern Methodist.
Klumpp’s fascination in the history of Iowa stems from his time living in N’West Iowa and seeing the cultural differences between counties adjacent to the region. Although he grew up in Sanborn, his parents are originally from Cherokee County and his grandparents still live in the Cherokee-Aurelia area.
He noticed that in N’West Iowa, residents celebrate their cultural heritage and preserve their ancestral history differently than in Cherokee County, despite the proximity. One example he gave was the Tulip Festival in Orange City, where he lived while attending Northwestern.
“It was so curious to me because there were these people who had managed to maintain and tell their story for so long and there was big parties and people dressed in Dutch costumes and that kind of thing,” he said.
His interest in regional differences in history and culture is what led him to dig into those topics first while studying at Northwestern and later at Duke and Southern Methodist.
“I had a really top-rate academic formation at Northwestern that allowed me to compete and to be on par with the very best students in the nation at Duke,” Klumpp said.
The move to Des Moines from San Antonio will be a welcome one for Klumpp, who noted he has lived in metro areas larger than the Iowa capital for the last 10 years while earning his master’s and doctorate degrees. The comparatively smaller size will allow him to enjoy city living without the high levels of traffic and cost of living as in the Durham and San Antonio metros.
But more than anything, Klumpp is glad to get back to his Iowa roots and live closer to his family.
“That’s probably the most important and the thing that’s most exciting for me, to find this great job in a place I really want to live.”