Evelyn Birkby

Radio Homemaker, Sidney

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Evelyn BirkbyEvelyn Corrie Birkby lives in Sidney in southwestern Iowa.  She became a radio homemaker in 1950 and is a wife, mother, homemaker, newspaper columnist, author, and radio personality. For nearly 60 years, she has enchanted her audience with her honest chatty ways, her warm stories, and wonderful recipes. Evelyn was a featured participant in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian’s 1996 Festival of American Folklife and at the Sesquicentennial Festival of Iowa Folklife in Des Moines that same year. She regaled visitors to both events with her stories about rural Iowa life, farm women, and Iowa food traditions.

Daughter of a Methodist minister and a musical mother, Evelyn lived most of her early years in small towns in Iowa. After college she taught school for four years and then worked as Director of Religious Education in the Grace United Methodist Church in Waterloo, Iowa. She later became Youth Director at the First United Methodist Church of Chicago. Evelyn married her high school classmate Robert Birkby, and in 1948 they moved to a small farm south of Farragut, Iowa.

Since 1949, Evelyn has written the weekly column, “Up a Country Lane,” a chronicle of rural life.  Evelyn has the remarkable record of never having missed her weekly deadline.

PieDuring the heyday of radio, on air "homemakers" created a virtual community for farm and small town women--reaching into their homes and across their kitchen tables with talk, advice, recipes, and friendship. As one of those amazing women, Evelyn was a "radio homemaker" for over 40 years on KMA in Shenandoah, Iowa. For over 28 of those years, she was also a regular monthly columnist for Kitchen-Klatter magazine and broadcast on the syndicated Kitchen-Klatter radio program. Evelyn still airs a monthly radio visit with the KMA listening audience.
Evelyn is the author of ten books, Neighboring on the Air (published by the University of Iowa Press), describes the heyday of radio homemakers. Her book Up a Country Lane (also published by the University of Iowa Press), stitches together stories, photographs and recipes from Iowa farm life in the 1940s and 1950s.

Evelyn was also the inspiration for Neighbor Dorothy, the main character in three of novelist Fannie Flagg's popular books: Welcome to the World Baby Girl, Standing in the Rainbow, and Can't Wait to Get to Heaven.

Contact: Evelyn Birkby, Box 387, Sidney, IA, 712-374-2335, ebirkby@bitwind.net, http://www.evelynbirkby.com