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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Lela Aurilla Yost memoir

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1995
Creator: Yost, Lela Aurilla (1890-1977)
Extent: .50 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0325
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Schoolteacher and farm wife near Mason City and Kesley, Iowa.

Arrangement: Shelved in printer works, CT 275.Y48 AC 1990

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The memoir was donated by Carol Basgall (donor no. 446) in 1997.

Preferred Citation: Lela Aurilla Yost memoir, 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

Lela Yost was born in Butler County, Iowa on August 4, 1890. After graduating from high school in 1909, she attended the Teacher's Institute in Allison, Iowa. Yost taught at Fairview School, Ripley Township, Butler County, Iowa, a one-room schoolhouse, until her marriage to Richard Ludemann on September 18, 1910. The couple settled in Mason City, Iowa.

The Ludemanns had four daughters and one son. During the Great Depression the family moved to Portland Township (just east of Mason City) to farm. The family returned to Mason City after World War II. In 1946, Lela and Richard Ludemann moved to Rockwell, Iowa where Richard Ludemann died in September. Later, Lela Yost Ludemann returned to Mason City and remained there until her death from cancer on November 3, 1977.

Eight Decades of Lela Yost is a "genealogy in words" written by Lela Yost and her daughter, Carol Basgall, and compiled by Basgall in 1995. Not just the story of Lela Yost, the book contains eight decades of photographs, clippings, and text documenting five generations of men and women in the Ludemann and Yost families. The work is 170 pages long.

Eight Decades of Lela Yost is especially valuable for its information and first-hand accounts of farming from the late nineteenth century and into the twentieth century. It begins with the history of the Yost family from their immigration from Germany to the United States, and continues through their move to Iowa. In addition to the farm life of Yost's family, there is discussion of the social life of the times, such as county fairs, and political and holiday gatherings. Yost also mentions the rise of the railroad and later, the automobile and how these changed life on the farm. There is also discussion of the effect the Great Depression had on the Ludemann family and its farm, as well as descriptions of Yost's experiences as a school teacher. Interspersed with Yost's own writings are the comments by her daughter,Carol Basgall, as well as copies of letters, newspaper articles, sketches by Lela Yost, photographs, greeting cards, and postcards.
Mae Ludemann papers (IWA): Ludemann was Yost's sister-in-law.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BOOK

  • Series 1: BOOK
  • Box 1:
  • "Eight Decades of Lela Yost" by Lela A. Yost (in collaboration with her daughter Carol Basgall) - 1995