Guide to the Hazelle Keir Schmuecker papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1983-2007
Creator: Schmuecker, Hazelle Keir (1907-2007)
Extent: 2.50 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0244
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Autobiographical essays and family history of six generations by rural schoolteacher, homemaker, and artist.

Administrative Information

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright has been retained by the donor and her heirs.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 339) were donated by Hazelle Keir Schmueckerin 1996 and by Grace and Richard Keir (donor no. 909) in 2008.

Preferred Citation: Hazelle Keir Schmuecker papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Biographical Note

Hazelle Keir, schoolteacher and artist, was born September 8, 1907 in the town of Nemaha, in Sac County, Iowa. Upon graduation from high school she taught in a rural school for one year and then attended Iowa State University from which she received a bachelor's degree in 1931. She married Ervin J. Schmuecker in 1932; together they farmed, raised Angus livestock, and reared three children. Schmuecker taught school in Blairstown, Iowa for six years and Norway, Iowa for fourteen years, retiring in 1972. In 1982 Schmuecker attended a writing class. She and several classmates continued the group, naming it "Way with Words," meeting for breakfast and then critiquing each other's writing. Schmuecker's prodigious writing grew from this experience. Hazelle Schmuecker lived to be 100 years old; she passed away on September 21, 2007.

Content Description

The Schmuecker papers date from 1983 to 2007 and measure 2.5 linear inches. The papers include Autobiographical essays and family history, Correspondence and cards, Verse, and Newspaper clippings.

The four books of essays contain Schmuecker's memories and stories of six generations of the Schmuecker and Keir families. These writings concern all aspects of work, marriage, and civic involvement of the several generations, as well as memories of the Depression. Schmuecker reflects on her own work as a teacher, writer, speaker, judge at fairs, and gardener, and on her artistry in painting and pottery. She writes engagingly of the joy and difficulty of rural life during the1930s and reflects on the risks and rewards in agriculture and livestock production which she and her husband maintained until the 1970s. Her writing reveals the many ways lives are abruptly changed due to automobile accidents, war, and illness.

The correspondence and cards consists of letters she wrote to her nephew, Richard Keir and his wife, Grace Keir.

The Verse series contains three books of verse written and illustrated by Schmuecker. The Newspaper clippings series contain a profile on Schmuecker at eighty-three years of age and an announcement celebrating her eighty-fifth birthday.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Browse by Series:


This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Schmuecker, Hazelle Keir, 1907-2007


Great Depression, 1929
Rural women
Rural families
Women in education
Women in agriculture
Twentieth century
Farm life
Family life
Rural schools


Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Ames
United States -- Iowa -- Blairstown
United States -- Iowa -- Norway

Genre/Form of Materials:
Personal papers

Family Names:
Schmuecker family
Keir family

Rural and Farm Women
Teachers and Teaching
Autobiographical Resources: Diaries, Memoirs and Oral Histories