From Bess' Diary:
January 25, 1940, Thurs.
Vacuum cleaned, sent Milky Way (? Unreadable?)
Didn’t go to Mrs. Harshbarger’s tea but did walk for mail.
Kept furnace and grate going, fed birds, worked on spread
Radio – read a lot. Eric Wilson married today
"Mrs. Harshbarger is Gretchen Harshbarger one of Bess' best friends. In 1940 Gretchen and her mother published Flower Family Album .
She was also the garden editor for Household Magazine and American Homes and president of the Garden Writers' Association of America and the American Hemerocallis Society. Harshbarger received numerous national and local awards for her contributions to horticulture. In Iowa City she is remembered for her leadership in founding Project GREEN (Grow to Reach Environmental Excellence Now), a group devoted to beautifying public spaces.
In her Jan. 21, 1940 entry Bess reported "To Mrs. Harshbarger's 2-4 to see her unpack 600 bulbs, she gave me dozens of them, home and planted all I had earth for, dug more from hotbed and left it to warm till morning."
"Eric Wilson" was a neighbor two doors away to the east. An Iowa City native, Wilson was an outstanding track athlete at the University, winning Big 10 and NCAA titles in the 220 meter dash. Despite having broken the world record in the 400 meter dash in an Olympic qualifying meet prior to the 1924 Paris Olympics, he did not place in the event, having notably lost in the preliminary heats to Eric Liddell, who's achievement was documented in the movie Chariots of Fire.
By 1940 Mr. Wilson was working as the director of sports information for the University of Iowa.