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History of the RSMA

About Us (The Ruth Suckow Memorial Association)

The Ruth Suckow Memorial Association was founded in 1966--six years after her death--to develop "appropriate memorials to the late Ruth Suckow and to further a literary and educational interest in her works."  

To accomplish its goals, members of the Association gather once a year, each June, to reflect on one of Suckow's works and to update the group on our various projects, such as the restoration of the Suckow birthplace in Hawarden, the maintenance of the Suckow Park in Earlville, ongoing efforts to gather more of her books for use by book clubs and educators, the website and blog.

The Association publishes the annual Ruth Suckow Newsletter, and in 1982 established the Ruth Suckow Park in Earlville, Iowa, at the site of Suckow's former Earlville home. This public Park contains a shelter, picnic tables, and a memorial stone and engraving which states:

"Ruth Suckow, famed Iowa author, established herself as a writer while living in Earlville 1920-1926. She earned a living by operating an apiary. She lived in a white house on this site 1925-1926."

Here are some pictures of the Park, showing the shelter house, the engraving, and flowers; President Barbara Lounsberry and Vice President Mike Dargan pose by the engraved sign that tells visitors about Suckow's life and work. 

 The engraved sign in the Ruth Suckow Park, Earlville, Iowa.
  The Ruth Suckow Park in Earlville, established 1982
Barbara Lounsberry and Michael Dargan pose by the engraved sign honoring Ruth Suckow

The engraved sign reads: "Ruth Suckow, famed Iowa author, established herself as a writer while living in Earlville 1920-1928. She earned a living by operating an apiary. She lived in a White house on this site 1925-1928."

Erected by Earlville-Ruth Suckow Memorial Association

Another view of the park, with the shelter, and lovely flowers.
"Ruth Suckow loved the Iowa countryside near this site: the rolling farmlands, woods, streams and wildflowers. She called the little house that stood here 'My House.' Ruth was unknown when she came to Earlville in 1920. By 1926, she had published two novels and many short stories and was recognized in this country as the author of a fresh kind of realism. Her work tells in rich detail the life of Middlewestern communities in the earlier part of the 20th century: the family gatherings, church suppers, holiday celebrations, school commencements. Born in Hawarden, Iowa, August 6, 1892, Ruth died in Claremont, California, January 23, 1960.

The engraved granite panel containing these words, as well as a drawing of Suckow's former home, were created by Suckow Association Board members Geri Bley, Terry Walters, and Ferner Nuhn (Suckow's husband).

Earlville is also the home of the Ruth Suckow Memorial Library, as seen below.  

The engraved sign on the Library/Community Center's entrance.
Several members pose by the sign at one of our Annual meetings in Earlville.
The building housing the library and Community Center.


 Here is a model of the Suckow home that is on display at the library.


 Our annual meeting in Earlville, 2005.



 The Suckow Display in the Earlville library.



 Close up on the Bulletin Board.
 In 1992, the Association supported Ruth Suckow Centenary activities in seven Iowa cities: Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Dubuque, Earlville, Grinnell, Hawarden, and Iowa City. Celebrations included lectures, tours, readings from Suckow's works, and performances of a new play, "Just Suppose," by Iowa writer Rebecca Christian. This one-woman show brought Suckow to life (enacted by Lenore Howard).

The Association has also helped make possible the reprinting by the University of Iowa Press of two of Suckow's out-of-print texts: The Folks and New Hope.

More recently, with the establishment of this website, the Association offers access to three of Suckow's short stories, as Adobe PDFs, to make it easier for book clubs or teachers to acquaint new readers with Suckow's work.

In 1996, a plaque was unveiled at Suckow's birthplace in Hawarden, Iowa, and the Association is currently working to help Hawarden buy and preserve this "prairie cottage with the long windows," as Suckow affectionately called it. Please visit our page dedicated to the Birthplace for pictures of its interior, after the renovation. 

 The Suckow Birthplace in Hawarden before restoration work.

 Contact Information

Those wishing to help preserve Suckow's birthplace and first home may make donations to the "Suckow Birthplace Fund." Contributions can be sent to Association Board member Mary Helgevold; 1901 Avenue F; Hawarden, IA 51023-1242.

Those wanting to join the RSMA can send a check to our Treasurer Joanne Laxson, 217 Summit Street, Earlville, IA  52041 

Those wanting more information about Ruth Suckow can contact one of the following people:

Webmaster -- Cherie Dargan        

cheriedargan@gmail.com or suckowgroup@ruthsuckow.org

President and Suckow Historian--Barbara Lounsberry



Last updated December 28, 2015
Subpages (1): 50th Celebration--2016
Cherie Dargan,
Dec 28, 2015, 2:22 PM
Cherie Dargan,
Dec 28, 2015, 2:22 PM
Cherie Dargan,
Apr 12, 2014, 3:23 PM