O blessed poet of freedom and God, How few have ascended the heights thou hast trod! Marietta Walker printed these lines in Autumn Leaves— the young adult literary journal she founded and edited—two years before donating a 20 acre plot of land in southern Iowa for the construction of Graceland College. Walker, who became one of the college’s first instructors, was already a prolific author in the blossoming literary scene of fin de siècle Lamoni. In the verse above, a tribute to J.G. Whittier, Walker stressed the core values she shared with the abolitionist bard—social justice and spirituality—and on which Graceland College and her poetry were established. As a resident of nineteenth century letters, Walker believed deeply in the ethical significance[…]