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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Ruth Fuller papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1925-2002
Creator: Fuller, Ruth Beard (1907-2008)
Extent: 2.50 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0482
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: The first female pilot in Appanoose County and active in the local Democratic Party.

Access: The papers are open for research.

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

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 798) were donated by Joan Hoffman in 2001.

Preferred Citation: Ruth Beard Fuller 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
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

Pilot, columnist, and volunteer, Ruth Beard Fuller was born in Mt. Ayr , Iowa in 1907 to Henry Clay Beard and Anna Caletta Duncan Beard. Fuller attended Mt. Ayr High School where she played basketball and tennis, wrote for the school newspaper "Ayrplane," and participated in debate and orchestra. After graduating from high school in 1925, Fuller attended the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa ) where she met her future husband Bernard "Barney" A. Fuller. Ruth Beard and Barney Fuller were married in August 1928. Together they raised two daughters in Centerville , Iowa and were co-owners of Fuller Manufacturing Company.

Fuller was the first female pilot in Appanoose County . She began flight instructions in 1943 and received her Private Pilot Certificate at the age of thirty-seven. Fuller traveled with her husband and carried passengers on their Aeronca Chief side-by-side aircraft. Very active in community and volunteer life, Fuller worked with the Democratic National Committee Women for Iowa and the Council of Catholic Women.

Upon retirement in 1976, the Fullers moved from Centerville, Iowa to the Mobile Home Park in North Fort Myers , Florida . They enjoyed daily golf on the Six Lakes Country Club course and Fuller wrote a monthly column, the "Personalities," for Splash , the Six Lakes Country Club's monthly magazine. The Fullers later returned to Iowa where Barney Fuller died in 1997. Ruth Beard Fuller died in January 2008.

The Ruth Beard Fuller papers date from 1925 to 2002 and measure 2.5 linear inches. The papers include a six-part memoir written by Fuller for her children: Memories of a Long Life by Ruth Mildred Beard Fuller. In the memoir Fuller describes growing up in Mount Ayr , Iowa where her father worked as an attorney and her life as a student at the State University of Iowa in the 1920s with particular reference to Currier Hall. Here she candidly states, "For my life after school I had three choices. One was to be a physical education teacher or go on to law school like my father. The other was not something I made public. It was to get married and have six children." Part IV of the memoir offers a glimpse of family and community life in Centerville , Iowa , including detailed accounts of Fuller's significant involvement in local politics, clubs, and charitable organizations. This section also outlines the startup and operation of the couple's jointly owned farm implement factory, Fuller Manufacturing Company, between 1946 and 1976 and concludes with a description of Ruth Fuller's flying experiences. The remainder of the memoir describes the couple's retirement years in Florida and their return to Mount Ayr in 1991. Color copies of photographs of the family, their homes, their business, and of Fuller's flying years are scattered throughout the memoir.

The collection also contains Six Lakes Splash articles from 1981-1991, newspaper clippings, four Christmas letters, a paper written by Fuller in high school and her high school commencement announcement.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
  • Box 1:
  • Memoir: Memories of a Long Life by Ruth Mildred Beard Fuller
  • High school paper and commencement announcement - 1925
  • Six Lakes Splash (folder 1) - 1981-1991
  • Six Lakes Splash (folder 2) - 1981-1991
  • Christmas letters - 1976, 1987, 1991, 1998
  • Newspaper clippings - 1959, 1978, 2001
  • Photograph, Fuller family portrait