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Larson, Helen, 1899-1996



  • Existence: 1899 - 1996


Helen Kruse Larson was born on September 6, 1899 , in Hale, Iowa . She attended the one room schoolhouse in Hale, and graduated from the high school in nearby Wyoming . In 1917 she entered Cornell College in Mount Vernon , Iowa , forging friendships and connections to Cornell that would last her lifetime. After graduation in 1921, Helen Kruse taught in the Wapello schools for one year, and then moved to Anamosa after her marriage to Robert Larson in 1922. After six years in Anamosa, the family moved to Iowa City while Robert Larson pursued his law degree. The couple divorced in 1937. Helen Larson married William Pruess in 1951, and after their divorce in 1957, she again went by the last name of Larson.

Helen Larson worked at a book shop in Iowa City and for the Wesley Foundation, though the majority of her work experience was at the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa Hospital. First employed as the supervisor of the outpatient clinic in 1955, she later continued on as a part-time librarian for the department when she retired from full-time employment in 1965.

Helen Larson's love of learning continued long after her formal schooling had ended. Literature, art, and creative writing especially appealed to her, and she collected quotations, articles, and reproduced artwork that she arranged in scrapbooks. An earnest and enthusiastic letter writer, she was characterized in her eulogy as having "?kept our mail system in business and many a friend's mailbox dust free as she would write countless letters to keep in touch with those she loved." She remained in contact with many Cornell friends through a circle letter.

Her creative writing found an outlet in the Creative Writing Class for People Over 60 sponsored by the Iowa Arts Council and Kirkwood Community College . The Speakeasy, the magazine created by the class and published by the Iowa Arts Council, published some of her stories and reminiscences. Many of the stories are set in Hale, Iowa , and are about her family, friends, and pets.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Helen Larson papers

Identifier: IWA0347

Anamosa and Iowa City resident who worked for the The University of Iowa Hospital.

Dates: 1884-1996