Welcome to the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association (RSMA) Website

1931 Publicity Photo of Ruth Suckow

An informal photo of Ruth, enjoying the outdoors in Minnesota, 1932.

Ruth and Ferner with a writer friend, and a cat. (undated)

This is the Ruth Suckow Website: a website dedicated to the work of noted Iowa author Ruth Suckow and her husband Ferner Nuhn.


Ruth Suckow was a famous writer with Iowa roots; this website was created by the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association (RSMA) to celebrate her literary legacy, and to help readers find information about her life and work--as well as provide access to some of her short stories.

She was born in Hawarden, Iowa: her father was a Congregational minister and the family lived in eight cities around the state. She married Ferner Nuhn in 1929: he was a young writer, critic, and artist from Cedar Falls and eleven years younger. After their marriage they traveled around the country, spending time at several writers' colonies, including Yaddo in New York. Ferner wrote of his wife's love of Iowa: “Always she returned to Iowa, rejoicing in the superb farm land, tree- shaded towns, and unpretentious friendly people.”

They lived in New Mexico and Washington, D. C. and spent a summer with Robert Frost in his Vermont home. However, they always returned to Iowa, where they twice lived in Cedar Falls, until health problems led them to move to Arizona and then California, where she died in 1960.

Several years after her death, Ferner remarried, and he and Georgia helped to establish the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association in 1966 to make sure that new generations of readers would be able to read her short stories and books.

Great gift for the literature lovers in your life! Suckow Note pads

Costs for Members--$2.00

Cost for Non members--$3.00

50 page tablets

16 quotes by or about Ruth Suckow & 7 images

Contact: Cherie or Barb

Virtual Book Talk with Cherie Dargan, Tuesday, April 20 (Sponsored by the Hearst Center for the Arts)

To purchase the book, go to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


The Sower and the Seer: Perspectives on the Intellectual History of the American Midwest (Paperback), March 23, 2021. $24.95. This is a collection of 22 essays about the intellectual history of the Midwest, including one that features Cedar Falls, and the Cedar Falls Authors Festival, with Ruth Suckow, Bess Streeter Aldrich, James Hearst, Robert James Waller, and Nancy Price.

The Sower and the Seer: Perspectives on the Intellectual History of the American Midwest. This is a book about the Intellectual History of the Midwest. (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, March 2021)

This is a collection of 22 essays. My chapter focuses on the city of Cedar Falls, Iowa.

"Mind & Soil: An Iowa Town that Grows Writers."

"Mind & Soil: An Iowa Town that Grows Writers." Cedar Falls, Iowa predates the Civil war by a decade: this frontier town became a railroad town, provided a home for Civil War orphans, established a college to train teachers, supported a newspaper, created a library, and built a number of churches. Along the way, it became an important hub for readers and writers: five best-selling authors have ties to Cedar Falls, including Bess Streeter Aldrich, Ruth Suckow, James Hearst, Robert James Waller, and Nancy Price. The secret of this town’s success? A persistent focus by a succession of civic leaders on the fertile blend of literature and the land. Many towns had literary societies, but early Cedar Falls had Peter Melendy, founder of the Cedar Falls Horticultural and Literary Society in 1859. His motto, “the mind and the soil,” bore fruit in the creation of a city with beautiful parks, gardens, and trees complemented by a vibrant literary culture with a modern public library. This chapter explores the city’s early history, examines several community organizations that fostered reading and discussing ideas, and explains how the community has honored its five best-selling authors.

Annual Meeting of the RSMA, September 18, 2021

Hearst Center for the Arts

Social Hour at 9:00

Business meeting at 10:00 am

Lunch on the Patio

Program: Ken and Barbara leading group discussions of two Suckow short stories (“Susan and the Doctor” and “Spinster and Cat”).

We will include a Zoom session, as needed.

Officers for 2020-2021

President: Barbara Lounsberry

Vice President: Jim Schaap

Secretary: Ken Lyftogt

Treasurer: Carol Watson

Webmaster: Cherie Dargan

Read Suckow's Stories On Iowa Digital Heritage

RSMA President Barbara Lounsberry worked hard to get Ruth Suckow's stories on the Iowa Digital Heritage website. The first set of stories is about Iowa women's lives. There are now nineteen short stories plus her novelette, "A Part of the Institution" in all, thanks to the hard work of one of our members, Roy Kenagy. Thanks, Roy!

Read Barbara's essay introducing the stories, putting them into context, with a brief summary.

Follow the link below to go to the website.

Then click on "People and Biographies."

The Ruth Suckow Short Story Collection is on page 7--if you want to take a look or to direct others to these stories. Once you see the story, scroll down and you can read the description and other information. If you then click on the red box, by the page at the top, the story will come up and there is a "pop up" button in the right-hand corner. If you click on that, it makes the story even bigger and easier to read or to print out.

Updates from the University of Iowa's Special Collections, 2018

Go to our RSMA News link to see some new Suckow materials posted by the Special Collections, including an excerpt from Ruth's unfinished novel (and an introduction by Ferner).

To view materials in the Suckow Papers at the University of Iowa's Special Collections, visit http://aspace.lib.uiowa.edu/repositories/2/resources/3236

RSMA Founder Ferner Nuhn is on Wikipedia.

We have posted pictures of some of his artwork: Figures of the 30s.

Please check out the page on Ferner (Resources on Ferner Nuhn) as well as Mentions to discover what other websites are saying about Suckow & RSMA (Links to Posts on Blogs), Writing about Suckow (for another chance to read Marsha's poem on Suckow), and RSMA News (for updates about projects and events).


We have replicated the Wikipedia entry on our site--on the page about Ferner. Written by webmaster Cherie Dargan, it draws from the hard work of several writers and historians in our group from the past, including Dorothy Grant.

In addition, the Ruth Suckow website may look the same, but we were approved for Google Apps for Non-Profits in 2013, which gives us a larger web space.

Ferner's Art is now here! Check out his sketches of fellow participants at some of the Writer's Workshops he and Ruth attended at Yaddo and MacDowell Colony, retreats established to give writers and artists a place to spend time creating their work. He called this collection of paintings "Figures of the 30s."

Find a reference to Suckow, a new photo, or have information about one of Ruth or Ferner's relatives?

Please contact Cherie, webmaster, at cheriedargan@gmail.com.

Want to contact us? Want to become a member? Click here for information!

Some people find us through the Wikipedia article on Ruth Suckow; however, if you haven't seen it yet, here it is. The article was written by Michael Dargan, the original webmaster for the first Suckow website.

You can LIKE us on Facebook! Search for the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association.


Liane Nichols, "Just Suppose" after our 2019 meeting

Liane Nichols reprised her performance at 1:00, after our annual meeting which was held on Saturday, June 15 at the Hearst Center for the Arts in Cedar Falls.

We lunched on the lovely outdoor patio at the Hearst after having our Annual Meeting.

RSMA President Barbara Lounsberry doing research at the Special Collections.

Almost every summer Barbara, Mike and I would go down to visit the Special Collections, do research, and frequently take materials that had been donated.

Ruth Suckow & Ferner loved cats. Here is one of many photos of her with a cat. This one was sent to the Iowan.

(To the Left)

Ruth and Ferner on their wedding trip to California, 1929.


Last updated September 16, 2021

Cherie Dargan, Webmaster

Original website created and maintained by Michael Dargan