Emilie and Marie Stapp Archive
the turn of the century when most women were
expected to stay home, Emilie and Marie Stapp
chose a different path. Working for rival newspapers
in Des Moines, Iowa, the Stapp sisters were
role models not only for women and young girls,
but young citizens--boys and girls alike.
In 1908 Emilie published The Trail of the
Go-Hawks, the first in a series of popular
children's novels. It's success led to the founding
of the Go-Hawks, an international organization
for children dedicated to doing good deeds and
making the world a better place.
1915 the Go Hawk tribe was featured in an article
by Frank G. Moorhead for Today's Magazine.
Impressed that poet James Whitcomb Riley
had agreed to become the tribe's Big Chief of
All the Go-Hawks, Moorhead wanted to know more
about the organization. He discovered that the
idea to create a national organization came
to Emilie Stapp, author of the Go-Hawk series
books, when she received a letter from a young
boy named Jimmie in 1913.
Hawk doll (1930)
Today's Magazine, 1915. Emilie Stapp,
founder of the Go-Hawks tribe, is pictured in
the circle on the right next to poet, James
Witcomb Riley, Big Chief of All the Go-Hawks.
ill and confined to a wheel chair, Jimmie wrote that
he wanted to be part of the fun "but no one would
choose him to be part of their tribe." Using
her position as Literary page editor at the Des
Moines Capital newspaper, Stapp added a daily
feature for children entitled "The Happy Tribe."
in the club was open to anyone who performed at least
one act of kindness per day. "To make the world
a better place" was chosen as the group's motto.
Tribe would eventually gain a membership of 80,000
children and adults with Rudyard Kipling joining his
fellow poet, James Witcomb Riley, as
Big Chief of All the Go-Hawks in England. The
Emilie Stapp answering children's fan mail
extension of the club overseas came about as result of the
Tribe's efforts to help Belgian refugees (see above, center)
who had fled across the English Channel to escape the German
invasion. On July 4, 1917, the governor of Iowa sent out
a proclamation for the "Happy Tribe Million Penny War
Fund." It was followed by similar proclamations in
Texas and Alabama. By 1921, more than $43,000 or 4,300,892
pennies had been collected for orphans of the war. Following
her retirement from
Big Secret (1946) tells
the story of Isabella's war work.
Mifflin in 1925, Emilie moved to Wiggins, Mississippi
to be closer to relatives and to pursue her writing
career. During the height of the Depression, Emilie
reprised the story of the Goose that lay the Golden
Isabella, the Wise Goose became more than just a new
folktale, however. Like all patriotic Americans, Isabella
was drafted as part of the nation's war effort in
October 1942. Once again, Emilie Stapp and her Penny
Patriots went into action.
October 28, 1942 the United States Treasury Department
and the Holy Cathedral Book Club of Chicago sponsored
an autographed book party. That night with such dignitaries
as Carl Sandberg and Alvin C. York in attendance,
a copy of Isabella the Goose sold for $800. Along
with Isabella and other books, an original Lincoln
letter and an autographed Kipling book sold to raise
$283,000 in war bonds and stamps.
after, Isabella was commissioned to sell war
bonds on her own and Isabella's Victory Flight was launched.
From her small cottage in rural Mississippi, Emilie Stapp
raised a total of $3,339,429 for the war effort.
the closing of his Today's Magazine article, Frank
Moorhead wrote, "There is so much good that can be
done in the world; there are so many boys and girls to do
good deeds if only they can think of them and see them.
Emilie Stapp turned the natural juvenile longing for play
into the channels of unselfish service to others...."