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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Mary Hagen memoir

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1996
Creator: Hagen, Mary Doebel (1922-)
Extent: .25 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0531
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Memoir describing life on a family farm near Manly, Iowa during the 1920s and 1930s.

Arrangement: One folder, shelved in SCVF.

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. 930 ) were donated by Jean Hagen in 2004.

Preferred Citation: Mary Hagen 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

Mary Doebel was born in 1922 on the family farm three miles northeast of Manly, Iowa. Even as a child Doebel was known for her poems and writings and was also an avid reader. As the oldest of three children, she was relied on for farm and household chores. She attended the one-room Worth County rural schools during the depression years. In 1941, at nineteen years of age, she married Orville Hagen. The couple raised eight children.

The Mary Hagen papers consist of a 52-page unpublished memoir written by Hagen in 1996. The memoir is untitled and describes her life growing up on an Iowa farm from early childhood until her marriage to Orville Hagen. Thoroughly covering typical issues facing farm families at the time, Mary Hagen discusses everyday operations on the farm, livestock, chores, hired help, planting, and harvest. Hagen explains rural school life and tells the story of her first day of school. Special animals on the farm are remembered and Hagen tells of her plight with what she calls her nemesis on the farm, the chicken. Hagen describes in full the variety of food raised in the garden and how it was gathered and preserved. Butchering livestock and hauling manure, two of the least pleasant chores on a farm, are tasks Hagen vividly recalls. Hagen includes a family history and tells numerous anecdotes ending with the story of the tornado that destroyed her parents' farm the summer of their marriage in 1921. The Mary Hagen memoir is a comprehensive and fond look back at day to day life on the farm as a young girl.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: Memoir

  • Series 1: Memoir
  • Memories of farm life, 52pp - 1996