Friday, June 26, 2009

Ruth Suckow Wikipedia entry is up!

If you're a wikipedia enthusiast, you will be excited to know that Michael has completed work on the Ruth Suckow entry for Wikipedia.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ferner Nuhn Tombstone

We've solved a mystery, folks! For several years I have been puzzled about where Ferner Nuhn is buried. Now we know, and I can't wait until my foot heals up enough to take a trip to Greenwood Cemetary so that we can take pictures of Ferner Nuhn's recently installed tombstone, thanks to his niece Barbara Comano.

As a fairly new member to the RMSA I didn't realize at first that Ruth was buried in Cedar Falls; once I did, I thought those of us who lived locally should be putting flowers on her grave each year on Memorial Day, so Barbara Lounsberry (President) and my husband Michael and I made it a tradition. However, Ruth is buried next to her father, but there was no sign of Ferner. There was an empty space next to Ruth

I knew that Ferner had remarried after Ruth's death, and assumed that he might be buried out in California. Then Mike found Ferner's obituary, revealing that he died in Claremont, CA on April 15, 1989, at age 85. He was living in a retirement facility at the time. He had been active in the Claremont Religious Society of Friends. After a service in California, his body was taken to Greenwood Cemetery in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

So, after TWENTY YEARS,now we know -- Ferner has been beside Ruth, his first wife, in an unmarked grave. For whatever reason, no one ever took steps to get a tombstone put in place. After Barbara Lounsberry contacted her about it, Ruth's niece took the matters into her own hands and offered to pay for the tombstone, which matches the existing stones for Ruth and her father.

Annual Meeting -- Sat., June 12, 2010


Next year's meeting will be at the Cedar Falls Public Library; we will meet at 10 am on Saturday, June 12th, 2010. The next book to discuss will be The Kramer Girls; from my preliminary investigation, there are not a lot of copies for sale, so you will probably want to use interlibrary loan.

If you want to find out which libraries have copies of the Kramer Girls, go to the Waterloo Reference Department blog and find the icon for world cat

Annual Meeting Follow up

We had a great time on Saturday in Earlville, with 15-20 people from all across the state joining us for our discussion of Cora. President Barbara Lounsberry presided over the business meeting in the morning; we discussed ways to promote the RSMA as well as Ruth Suckow's writings, as well as other matters. After lunch, George Day led us in a lively discussion of Cora.

George found a wonderful quote about the main character of Cora: "Cora deserves to be numbered among the notable women in American fiction, for she is sharply realized in all her seeming contradictions. She is strong, but she has moments of weakness. She is capable and efficient, yet she can let herself be carried away by desire. Completely recognizable as a complex, modern woman, she is a vivid, compelling figure."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Country People to be added to site soon!

I had foot surgery a few weeks ago, and have been catching up on photo albums, reading, and family history projects. Michael found a great software package (Cute PDF) that lets you scan in a muliple page document as all one PDF. So I have been using it to archive some of my mother's old stories about the family. Then I found out that Barbara has been given permission for us to post Suckow's Country People, and she and I have been working on that project.

If you have not read it, Country People is a very special book. describes the book as follows: "Country People. After being encouraged by H. L. Mencken, who helped publish her work in Smart Set and American Mercury, the Iowa native publishes her first novel, a realistic study of three generations of a German American family. Avoiding striking incidents, the novel is a restrained, documentary-like narrative that shows the writer's characteristic strengths of local color and psychological characterization."

As I have noted in other postings, I use one of Suckow's short stories in my Introduction to Literature class, and am always pleased to see that the majority of my students can identify with Suckow's characters and descriptions of small town life. This book includes many of the themes that Suckow is so well known for, with her depiction of life on the farm in the early part of the 1900s, the differences between the generations as children leave the farm and move to town, and the impact of the first World War on these German American farmers.

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