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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Dubuque Dial. Dubuque Dial was a short-lived literary periodical of the 1930s. Edited by Karlton Kelm, an instructor of creative writing in Dubuque, the publication was sponsored by several Dubuque residents including Miss Less G. Bissell, associate editor; Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Ezekiel BISSELL, and Ruth Suckow. (1) Donald GLASELL and his wife Christine "Criss" GLASELL were the staff artists. (2)

The publication policy of the "Dial" was to print only the works of writers "aware of the changing trend in American literature and who are competent as artists in other fields including paintings, sculpture, poetry and music. The magazine was a civic enterprise and was not operated for profit. (3)

The magazine published stories written by Josephine Herbst, Meridel Le Seur, Raymond Kresensky, and Mildred Fowler. (4) In 1935 the publication sponsored a short-story contest for anyone living in Dubuque who had not published a story in any magazine with school publications excepted. The winner was Miss Alice Sanner who submitted Spring On An Iowa Hill. (5)

Dubuque Dial, appeared in 1934. It received nation-wide circulation and was used in creative writing courses in universities and libraries as a reference work on the short story. The first issue of 1935 appeared in May with wood-cut illustrations done by the Glasells. This was considered an innovation in the publication of short story magazines. Whit Burnett, considered one of America's great short story writers, commented about the Dial:

                    Such straws in the wind as "The Dubuque
                    Dial" will make New York look to its 
                    laurels. Dubuque may not be the new
                    publishing center, but things like the
                    Dubuque Dial indicate good work
                    can spring up a long way from Broadway." (6)

Famed critic H. L. Mencken wrote,"It seemed to me that your first issue was excellent." (7) Thomas H. Uzzell, a short story critic, teacher, and editor of the yearly anthology Short Story Hits remarked,"I am absolutely won with the purpose in this little magazine. I have made a note to consider Meridel Le Suer's "The Way It Seems" seriously for my 1934 anthology." (8) An editorial in the Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal stated:

                    A magazine like the Dubuque Dial should
                    accomplish much in disabusing sophisticated
                    easterners of the idea that Dubuque is
                    culturally on a corn-hog basis. (9)

Evidence of the publication after 1935 has not been found.



1. "Wins Short Story Contest," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, April 21, 1935, p. 31

2. "First 1935 Issue of Dubuque Dial Appears in May," Telegraph-Herald, March 3, 1935, p. 13

3. Ibid.

4. "Wins Short Story..."

5. "Wins Short Story Contest," Telegraph-Herald and Times Journal, April 21, 1935, p. 31

6. "First 1935 Issue of Dubuque..."

7. "The Dubuque Dial" Wins Praise From Many Critics," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, July 1, 1934, p. 11

8. Ibid.

9. "The Dubuque Dial," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, March 5, 1935, p. 6