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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Elizabeth Fagan Lynch memoir

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1991
Creator: Lynch, Elizabeth Fagan (-1908)
Extent: 166.00 pages.
Collection Number: IWA0465
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Teacher and farmer of Irish descent from Dubuque County, Iowa whose memoir is called, A Trunk and its Chips.

Arrangement: One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Access: "A Trunk and Its Chips" is open for research.

Use: Copyright has been retained by the donor.

Acquisition: "A Trunk and Its Chips" was donated by Elizabeth Lynch (donor no. 684) in 2000.

Preferred Citation: Elizabeth Fagan Lynch 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

Elizabeth Fagan Lynch was born March 15, 1908, the youngest of twelve children of Matthew and Elizabeth Fagan. She grew up on a farm in Dubuque County and attended rural school before enrolling at the Immaculate Conception Academy boarding school in Dubuque for four years of high school. After graduation, she taught rural school and earned a B.A. degree from the University of Dubuque. She taught from1927 until her marriage to Ralph Lynch in 1940. Elizabeth and Ralph Lynch had two children, Jeremiah and Mary Ann, born in 1944 and 1946 respectively. Mary Ann died soon after birth. In 1949, a teacher shortage changed the ruling against married teachers. Elizabeth Lynch resumed teaching when her son entered the rural school where she taught. Over the next years, she farmed, taught, and earned an endorsement from the State University of Iowa to teach Special Education in 1965. She taught Special Education for twelve years before retiring in 1977.

After Ralph Lynch died in 1964, Elizabeth and Jeremiah Lynch continued to farm with the help of her brother-in-law Al Lynch for the next thirteen years. When her son married in 1977, Elizabeth Lynch moved to an apartment in Dubuque, staying involved with friends and church activities.

Additional biographical information is found in the reminiscence.

The reminiscence "A Trunk and Its Chips" was self-published by Elizabeth Lynch in 1991 and includes 166 pages.  The prose is lively and informal, but always informative.  It begins with a brief account of the journeys of her grandparents from Ireland to Iowa in the nineteenth century and brief biographies of her brothers and sisters. The remainder of the reminiscence consists primarily of details from her memories of her childhood on the farm, descriptions of the weekly and monthly rhythms of work, play, illness, and church activities.  A collage of photographs illustrates these memories.

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