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Ione Love Thielke collection,




MSS 271



Ione Love Thielke: Biographical Sketch


            During the 1940s and 50s, Ione Love Thielke (pronounced Til-key) was known as the Musical Poem Recorder of Cascade, Idaho.  She set poems to music--her own poems and poems of others.  She sang them before live audiences and on the radio, and recorded them on discs, using a disc recorder she personally owned.  She turned her love of music and poetry into a small business, advertising  that she would "accept any poem that can be sung and weave for it a fitting melody.  She will send the poet an eight-inch record of the song she composes sung by herself, and she will also use the song on her radio programs and public appearances."   More often than not, she accompanied herself on the tiple, a mandolin-like string instrument that became her trademark.  The Deseret News, of Salt Lake City, Utah,  characterized her musical style as a "revival of the original folk song music,"  and she recorded many poem-songs of a Western nature.  Frances Yost in the Soda Springs Sun wrote that her "voice is soft like a thrush, but people hear her, no matter how large the audience.  For there isn't any talking going on while Ione sings.  It's quiet except for the strum strum and the soft melodious voice.  Soon you get the rhythm of her foot as she keeps time and somehow you wish her song would never end."


            Ione Love Thielke was born in California in 1903, daughter of James B. and Blanche Love.  Her mother taught her how to play the mandolin.  According to a 1948 article in the Boise newspaper Statewide (which she annotated as "my 1st write-up"),  she lived in California, Oregon, and Texas before coming to Idaho. She also stated that she spent time in Nevada, where she worked with cowhands on the range.  "When she appears now in her cow-girl outfit,"  the Statewide reported, "she wears it with the ease of long practice--a surprise to those who know her only in chic feminine dress." 


            While living in Cascade with her husband Richard Thielke, she performed at conventions, conferences, and other gatherings in Idaho and elsewhere in the West.  The first appearances documented in the collection were in the late 1940s, though a clipping from 1951 stated that she "was one of the first persons to be televised on an experimental TV show held at the World's Fair at Treasure Island in San Francisco in 1939."  She had her own radio program on a Weiser radio station and appeared numerous times on KDSH in Boise and other Idaho radio stations.  She did some patriotic recordings for the Crusade for Freedom in 1950 and sang songs promoting Idaho agricutlural products for the Idaho Advertising Commission in 1952.  In a letter dated March 15, 1952 (Box 1, Folder 6) she described a tour through California, where she made radio appearances and appeared on Del Courtney's television show, out of San Francisco.  Later that same year she travelled East, and wrote to her husband of a forthcoming audition in New York with one of Arthur Godfrey's talent scouts.  She said the receptionist gave her a "bad time" until someone in the office overheard her say she played the tiple--and immediately scheduled an audition.  There is no record, however, that she ever appeared on Godfrey's television program.


            In 1953 Ione Love Thielke moved to Mill City, Oregon, to care for her ailing father. She lived in Oregon from then on.  Working from Mill City, and then Eugene, she continued to make public appearances and occasional radio broadcasts through the early 1960s.  She later married Donald Barnes.  Ione Love Thielke died in Eugene, Oregon, in 1979, leaving behind a trove of papers and recordings documenting her musical career.


                                                                                    -- Christian Savage and Alan Virta, 2011




The Ione Love Thielke Collection


            This collection documents Ione Love Thielke's activities as a musical poem recorder and performer, mainly between 1948 and 1960, but particularly in the early 1950s, when she attempted to break into the national music scene.  It contains approximately 210 phonorecords of various sizes, approximately 30 reel-to-reel tapes, newspaper clippings, correspondence, collected poetry from acquaintances around the country, personal photographs, and miscellaneous items that  she collected.   Many of the correspondents were poets whose poems Thielke recorded; other correspondence relates to arrangements for her appearances and radio programs.  Included are an encouraging letter from Spade Cooley (1952) and a letter from her mother recalling the day she married Thielke's father (1944).  Her file of collected poems includes several written by her father (Box 1, Folder 37)



            The bulk of the collection was donated by Ione Love Thielke's stepson, Dr. Dexter Barnes, of Seattle, Washington, in 2009.  An additional album of her records, found at a yard sale, were donated by Cathy Furniss, of Blackfoot, Idaho, also in 2009.  Both donations were facilitated by P. Gary Eller,  who rediscovered Thielke's largely-forgotten work during his research on Idaho folk music. He included one of her musical poems ("Rainbow Stallion of the Owyhees") on his CD "Idaho Songbag," issued by the Idaho Humanities Council in 2010.


            A computerized database cataloging Ione Love Thielke's records is kept in the Special Collections Department.

                                                                                    Collection number: MSS 271
                                                                                    Inclusive dates: 1920, 1948-1962
                                                                                    Size of collection: ca. 5 ft. (in 8 boxes)
                                                                                    Processed by: Christian Savage, 2011



Box and Folder List


Box 1: Personal papers (Series I)


Folder 1          Personal papers: Biographical material
Folder 2          Personal papers: Newspaper clippings about Ione Love Thielke, 1948-1955
Folder 3          Personal papers: Programs from her performances, 1954-1960
Folder 4          Personal papers: Material for radio show, 1950-1951
Folder 5          Personal papers; Receipts and legal papers


Box 1: Correspondence (Series II)


Folder 6          Correspondence:  Letters by Ione Love Thielke, 1951-1952
Folder 7          Correspondence:  Art Publication Society, 1920
Folder 8          Correspondence:  Brubacker, Esther A., 1947-1949
Folder 9          Correspondence:  Bullington, Jim, 1950
Folder 10        Correspondence:  Clark, Virgil,undated
Folder 11        Correspondence:  Cooley, Spade ( “The Spade Cooley Show”), 1952
Folder 12        Correspondence:  Dreyer, Cora, 1948
Folder 13        Correspondence:  Edmunson, Mary
Folder 14        Correspondence:  Garrison, Dorothy, 1949
Folder 15        Correspondence:  Hayes, Edith Goodwin, 1949, 1956
Folder 16        Correspondence:  Heller, Lee/Rice, C.G. (Idaho Advertising Commission), 1952
Folder 17        Correspondence:  Hof, Alice (American Legion Auxiliary, Idaho), 1952
Folder 18        Correspondence:  Hohmann, Caroline,  Elmhurst Park District (“Music Under the Stars”)        , 1952
Folder 19        Correspondence:  Johnson, Gail, 1947
Folder 20        Correspondence:  Johnson, Lamont, 1951-1959
Folder 21        Correspondence:  Jones, Don (KWEI- Inland Broadcasting Company), 1950
Folder 22        Correspondence:  Kahn, Marvin/Carr, J.M. (Veterans Administration), 1952
Folder 23        Correspondence:  Kinney, Mary S., 1948
Folder 24        Correspondence:  Krenk, Mary, 1959
Folder 25        Correspondence:  Love, Blanche. M. (Ione Love Thielke’s mother), 1944
Folder 26        Correspondence:  Rogers, Virgil, Mrs., 1953
Folder 27        Correspondence:  Slade, Earl, Jr./Woodward, Ross (KDSH), 1951
Folder 28        Correspondence:  Smith, Bess Foster, 1948
Folder 29        Correspondence:  Stokes, Lilly, 1952
Folder 30        Correspondence:  Tonning, Merrill, 1956
Folder 31        Correspondence:  Turner, Faith, 1948
Folder 32        Correspondence from unidentifiable authors


Box 1:  Music and Poetry (Series III)


Folder 33        Personal and copied music and poems by Ione Love Thielke
Folder 34        Music written by Ione Love Thielke
Folder 35        Collected poetry written by Esther A. Brubacker and Mary Edmunson
Folder 36        Collected music and poetry by Edith Goodwin, Lamont Johnson and Mary S. Kinney
Folder 37        Collected music and poetry by Doris M. Kirkpatrick,  James B. Love, and Gerald G. Sigler
Folder 38        Poetry and music by various and unknown artist
Folder 39        Collected poetry from newspaper clippings


Box 1: Miscellaneous (Series IV)


Folder 40        Randomly collected newspaper clippings that are not about Ione Love Thielke
Folder 41        Issues of Statewide (with 1948 profile of Thielke) and Brewery Gulch Gazette Folder 42       Keep Oregon Green material
Folder 43        Miscellaneous
Folder 44        Photos (24)



Box 2: Phonorecords

Records numbered 1-79


Box 3: Phonorecords

Records numbered 80-122


Box 4: Phonorecords

Records numbered 123-148


Box 5: Phonorecords

Records numbered 150-196


Box 6: Audiotapes



Box 7: Furniss donation

9 records in an album
CD made of them by P. Gary Eller


Box 8 (Oversize)

Large records




Special Collections • 1910 University Drive • Boise, ID 83725-1430 • Phone: 208-426-1204 • Email: Archives